What Girls Want to See Guys Wearing: In the Gym

March 13, 2012 · 116 comments

in Apparel, Guest Articles, Tips

The following is a guest post by Megan Collins of Style Girlfriend.

The other day at the gym, a guy stepped on to the treadmill next to mine. I noticed him throwing a few glances my way as he fiddled with the machine’s settings.

I didn’t take much notice–at mile ten, I was in the zone… okay, fine, it was only mile three… but I was still too wrapped up in my workout to be making eyes at some dude. Kanye and Jay-Z were blaring encouragement in my headphones; this was not the time for chit chat.

During my cool down, I gave him a quick once-over. Cute enough face, but his outfit? Not so much.

Tall black socks that hovered in confusion right below his calf. Too-short soccer shorts in a strange wind-breaker material and a skin-tight UnderArmour tank top completed the ensemble. I wiped the machine down and hopped off without another look.

Right now, you’re probably thinking – Great, you’re going to tell me I have to watch what I wear to the gym now too?

Well, yes and no.

Yes, there are some broad guidelines I would recommend for all you fellas gettin’ your fitness on. But if you’re bothering to show up at all (and a big slow clap for those of you who are), it can’t hurt to look good for the ladies while you’re there.

Amirite? Of course I am.

Let’s start at the top and work our way down:

Headphones

This is not the time to bust out your “weekend DJ” headphones. We get it, you like music. Keep the earbuds small and subtle during your workout. I like this pair from Logitech ($45), that stay put even when you’re running or jumping.

Also, no one needs to wear a doo rag. No one.

Shirts

Basic Tee. From Lululemon though?! At least it has sleeves.

I’m far from the greenest girl on the block, but I do believe in recycling t-shirts. That championship tee you got for the 3-on-3 tourney you won in high school? Wear it ‘til it falls apart. The more loved (read: worn-in) your t-shirts look, the better.

However, leave the form-fitting gear to us ladies and our obscenely expensive Lululemon yoga pants (you know, the ones that make our butts look so cute). We do not need to see you in all your spandex glory at the gym.

I know, I know – that skin-tight shirt you love so much has sweat-wicking capabilities!! But really, if your gym has air conditioning, you probably don’t need high tech materials to keep you cool anyway.

Also? Sleeves. Sleeves are good. Granted, I can’t work out in anything but a tank top, so this may sound hypocritical, but I prefer a guy with a little upper-arm modesty at the gym. If you’re snapping up tank tops at the store or snipping the sleeves off your tees, that’s your prerogative, but in my mind, the muscle tee look has become synonymous with the bulked-up guys on Jersey Shore and the term “juiceheads”.

Of course, if the meathead, “Yo, which way to the gym?” bicep-flexing look is what you’re going for, well…this article’s probably not for you anyway.

Shorts

Shorts are all about happy mediums – not too short or too long, not too tight or too baggy. Personally, I live in my old high school basketball shorts, and I can’t think of anything more comfortable or effortlessly stylish (for guys or girls) than a nice mesh short at the gym. To me, soccer shorts belong on the field, and running shorts at the finish line of a marathon.

No matter what you’re doing at the gym, you can’t go wrong doing it in a simple mesh basketball short. My favorites are those that say the name of your school/favorite sports team on the leg – it gives us ladies a little insight on more about you. If we have any connection to the team you’re repping—and think you’re cute—we may even comment on them as a way to strike up conversation.

As a girl from Wisconsin who attended Penn State, I’ve been known to chat up dudes in Big Ten gear. Well, not Ohio State, but I mean, that should be a given.

Socks

You didn’t think I’d forget socks, did you? C’mon, I’m all about the details. This one’s easy – go for ankle socks that don’t peek out of your shoes. Nothing fancy, these ones from Hanes ($11, six-pack) will do the trick. Don’t be like my treadmill mate, with socks that announce their presence to a party they weren’t invited to.

On the other end of the spectrum, taller tube socks play a little too Poindexter at the gym. Plus, you risk rocking a phantom cankle. Yes, guys can get cankles too. It’s not pretty.

Shoes

Good for your basic gym routine

I am not a shoe snob, and I don’t think most gym shoes fall too far from each other on a hip/unhip continuum, so you’re pretty much free to do as you please here. (Ed note: The Minimus from New Balance will probably be my next gym shoe purchase.)

Just watch how you wear them – there’s no need for laces that require humongous bunny ear loops, nor should you try to act all cool and wear them with loose, tongue sticking out.

You won’t look so cool when you sprain your ankle when your shoe flies off on the treadmill.

That’s it!

And one more slow clap for the male readers who are already putting this advice to good use at the gym. You like us ladies to look good, and, well, it works both ways.

Yeah, yeah, girls love saying they’re just looking for a “nice guy with a sense of humor,” but if he’s telling jokes with a (relatively) flat stomach and good-sized guns… hey, all the better.

[photo, photo, photo]

About

Megan is editor of Style Girlfriend, a site about guys' style from a girl's perspective. She lives in New York City and gets lots of inspiration for articles (on what to wear and what definitely NOT to wear) while waiting for the train. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

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