Boutique Fitness Fashion Wars: Can You Wear One Studio's Apparel to A Different Studio's Class?
Athleisure, gym clothes, workout gear. Whatever you want to call it, you can't deny the fact that it is everywhere and on everyone. These days it feels like every clothing company has an athletic line (not to mention the companies that are dedicated solely to this type of apparel, hello Lululemlon) and every boutique studio has a corner or more dedicated to retail.
In general, I used to stay away from clothes/shoes/accessories with labels. We grew up in a household that hated anything showy or to flash logos in anyone's faces. True story, my mom once said she would buy an X car if they would remove their logo from the front. When I told her that would probably cost extra and make it more elite, she backtracked. (She still hasn't purchased from that company.) Of course there were times during my pre-teen and teen years when I succumbed to peer pressure and wanting to look cool because nothing says "cool" like "Juicy" written across your behind, oh the 90s... but aside from that and anything and everything from the Brown Bookstore because I adore my alma mater #EverTrue, I was never really a labels girl.
Cue SoulCycle. If I've never said this before, and I realize I may not have, I started my indoor cycling at Soul way back in 2008 when it wasn't really the cool thing to do and it was mostly me and a lot of moms. We're talking just one studio, in a rear lobby in NYC; you could call up that day and get a bike. How things change. 45 minutes after my first class, I was hooked. I spent the next two years amassing Soul gear, including a watch (btw it still works!). But then, my favorite instructor left and founded Flywheel. My Soul apparel, once prized-possessions now found itself relegated to the bottom of my drawer buried under a steady influx of Flywheel tanks.
Here begins the conundrum, what do you do with a studio's clothes when you no longer go there? Is it tacky to wear them somewhere else? Is it ok so long as the place you wear them teaches a different method (i.e. wearing a yoga studio's tank to a cycling class)? Have you ever done a double take when a girl walked into your Soul class wearing a Fly tank or vice versa?
Why am I asking this? Well, I've recently been taking classes at two new-to-me studios, Shadowbox and Cyc (I'll do class reviews soon!), and as I get dressed in the morning, I'm very conscious about choosing tops that don't say "Fly" anywhere on them. I then feel totally ridiculous and remind myself that I wouldn't feel awkward walking into J.Crew wearing a shirt from Lou & Grey, so why should this be any different? But the thing is, it is different. Boutique fitness, at least in NYC, establishes these cults or tribes if you will. Once you find your place, everyone there becomes your people. Wearing the apparel signals you've drunk the Cool Aid. If you see someone on the street wearing something from your chosen studio you feel a connection, you have something in common, maybe you'll even be friends one day. By purchasing the apparel, you also make an emotional buy-in and choose to make that place part of your identity, however big or small. So now I find myself wondering, do I start loading up on new apparel or do I wear what I own and as time goes on, fill in with unbranded (with maybe some branded every now and then)? Part of me says by non-studio clothes but another part of me says to just go with the flow and do what I want. It's all a part of my fitness journey and shouldn't each of these chapters be celebrated? Plus, it's not like by buying one studio's retail I'm saying that I don't like or won't ever take class at another studio.
What do you think, is wearing one studio's apparel to another studio A-OK or OMG Never?