If there's one word to describe the mood of fashion this fall, it's “playful,” and fitness apparel designers have wholeheartedly embraced the mood. Rich, saturated colors and mixed prints will make you stand out from the parade of basic black, soft neutrals and even the pop of neon that has become — dare we say — cliché in fitness circles. This season also heralds the return of easy, breezy sweatpants and fun tees that will make you feel comfortable and cozy well into winter.
Bright colors are mingling together on everything from sports bras to leggings. Victoria Sport, the athletic apparel collection from Victoria's Secret, has The Player ($15), a classic shape with sweat-wicking technology and medium support at an affordable price. There are many colorful choices here, but a great pick is the rainbow bar graphic.
Channel the deconstructed blocks of color at Marni with the Fabletics Salar Capri in Global Print ($64.95), which comes in sizes from XS to 2XL, or go with the K-Deer Legging in Wild Card ($98) a madcap brushstroke striped print that comes in sizes from XS to 4XL and features a high waist and a UPF of 50+ for added sun protection.
K-Deer perfectly evokes Fendi's stunning stripes with the Signature Stripes collection ($88 for capris, $98 for full-length leggings), which include several brightly hued options like the sunset-motif Sophia Stripe, the mixed-neon Josephine Stripe that breathes new life into the typical day-glo fitness fashion gear and the classic red-white-and-blue Susanne Stripe.
If you can't kick your monochrome habit completely, go the Alexander Wang route with a pair of gray-and-black striped leggings.
Stripes are far from the only print making a big splash this season. Athletic apparel designers are taking their cues from houses like Dior and Balenciaga and piling on the prints with stunning results. Victoria Sport's limited edition Knockout Tight ($94.50) punches up a tonal graphic logo with shards of bright purple and a striking multicolored owl design.
Botanical prints are also holding strong, and they feel fresher than ever when mixed with other patterns. Athleta goes double-floral with the Black Orchid Relay 2.0 Capri ($79), featuring pockets galore, and matching mid-to-high support Movement Bralette ($54), both of which merge a gorgeous wallpaper-esque floral with a graphic black-and-white digital floral print.
Affordability, function and fashion come together beautifully with the Danskin Now Women's Active Graphic Performance Leggings ($14.46), a glorious mash-up of either vivid blue or violet flowers with checkerboard and digital prints.
Not feeling quite so bold? You can still try the trend. The Old Navy Go-Dry High-Rise Printed Compression Legging in Pink Watercolor Floral ($32.94), boasts a painterly print and a waistband that will never do you wrong.
The Fabletics Clara Bra in Constellation Print ($34.95), a hybrid crop top/bra with an artsy black-and-white splatter motif, works with a number of prints and solids. You can also try this nifty trick from Fabletics, in which they style their Peyton Tank ($39.95), featuring double mesh straps and a slim mesh panel in back, with a patterned sports bra so that just a hint of print can be seen.
Praise the fashion gods: sweats are back in a big way. Easy knits were everywhere from Christian Siriano, who showed massive love for cable knit, to Elizabeth and James's Sunday brunch basics, but it's Yeezy's oversized, tattered knits and slouchy sweats that you'll evoke most of all when you wear high-end athletic apparel brand Sundry's Sweatpants ($121), which look like the ultimate comfy moth-eaten sweats in your collection, while the triple band of stripes below the knee giving these just the right amount of interest. (You could also break out your old, hole-y, most-loved pair and wear them with pride. Thrifty and fashionable!) For a similar silhouette, try the C9 by Champion Women's Campus Pant ($22.99) or the Livi Active Ruched Active Jogger ($49.95), classic sweatpants that you'll want to live in.
For easy tops, get inspired by DKNY's playful take on the brand's acronym and go with an irreverent message tee. Y7 Studio, home of hip-hop yoga with a cult following, captures this spirit with the I'm Like Hey What's Up Let's Flow Crop Top and the must-have Namast'ay Fly Racerback Tank (Y7-Studio.myshopify.com, $50 each), while Spiritual Gangster's Namaste All Day Rocker Tee ($54) has the perfect throwback details with its ringer crew neck, retro lettering and cutoff sleeves. Another option: try a fun graphic T-shirt. Torrid Active's Skull Tee ($27.98) puts a cheeky spin on punk with its sweatband-adorned skull and off-the-shoulder fit, and Wonder Woman leaps off the comic book page and into your gym to motivate you to do one more rep with The Under Armour Alter Ego Retro Wonder Woman Kettlebell tee ($34.99), made in the brand's signature quick-drying Charged Cotton.