Fashion is the way I introduce myself to the world, every day, without saying anything.

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Let’s put it out there. I love workout clothes: a new sweat-wicking, housekey-holding, neon racerback makes me run farther and jump faster. I NEED IT. That said, it’s hard enough to stay dedicated to your fitness routine without adding financial stress because of your yoga pants. Still, there’s something to be said for investing in a few key items that will last. So to find the compromise between fitness style and the green, here are my top five workout style essentials:

a950f0c65881d432840f10aeb01105b21. ZELLA AMOUR JACKET  $98. Half the price of comparable fitness brands, Zella by Nordstrom is a fantastic activewear line that I have been wearing for the past nine months or so. The jacket that I swear by has a perfectly tight fit, a slightly longer back to cover my badunk, and thumbholes to keep everything right and tight for those crisp fall runs. It’s super lightweight, which makes it a great layering piece. Even just pairing it with my pleather biker jacket from H&M makes me feel like a badass. My jacket is no longer in stock, but the link above is a close match.

And here’s a mini-splurge option. Throw a chunky scarf on this puppy and switch out your sneakers for boots and you can go straight from workout to happy hour. Not that I’ve ever done that…

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2. SOCK BUN OR BRAID – FREE. Doing your hair to work out might seem vain, but I assure you, one rogue strand can completely wreck your mojo. That’s why I invested in my sock bun – an old sock that I cut the toe off of, rolled up to look like a doughnut, and slid on top of my ponytail, pinning my hair around it to form the most perfect bun imaginable. I have run, danced, and bounced on a trampoline for hours with this thing. It doesn’t move. If your hair is too long or too thick for the sock – go for the braid. Either a side fishtail braid with an elastic headband to keep your flyaways outta yo’ face, or two sweet braids on either side of your part, meeting in the back in a simple ponytail.

up-by-jawbone-display-004-e13528267943653. UP BAND + BRACELET – $130 + $3.80. My Up Band is my favorite workout essential. It tracks my steps, my calories burned, even my sleep patterns. The Up band app is also a social platform so you can see what your friends are doing, or if you’re like me, check in with your dad (we have matching bands in black – it’s so cute it’s disgusting). They come in a load of sweet colors and I love to pair mine with my sports watch, and a whole bunch of cheap bracelets from H&M, Forever 21, and a few I found under my bed. They won’t get in your way and will give you a touch of personality while tracking your workout. If you get one of these, friend me.

54f6ce2067ab3a7558cdc15408e83e504. OLD NAVY WOMEN’S COMPRESSION CINCH TIE LEGGINGS  $27. Did I just rock your world? Yes. $27 PANTS THAT ACTUALLY LAST. Here it is folks: Old Navy. I’ve worn their compression pants for a year now with absolutely no complaints. Everything pulls up and in to create a super slim leg in these little ditties. You can go ahead and buy a few different lengths and colors because they are so inexpensive. Old Navy is hit or miss with me and fitness fashion finds, but man when it’s good, it’s GOOD. 

f0af0f704bbe70d8adc367e91546d4d15. ADIDAS WOMEN’S ENERGY BOOST SHOES  $150. Shoes make or break my workout. If ever you’re going to splurge, do it here. My favorite shoe of the moment is my Adidas Energy Boost. Running shoes with some added cushion, a sweet design, and lots of color options. I wear a six normally and the six is snug but not too tight, true to size. I’ve danced all my life, I work out around 15 hours a week, and on top of the everyday beating my feet endure, Craig and I went on a 4.5 mile run this past Sunday, and in these sneaks: my feet never felt a thing. When I wear these out, I’ll probably get a second pair!

What are your favorite workout essentials? Would you rather splurge on shoes or clothing when it comes to your fitness style? What’s the most budget-friendly part of your fitness wardrobe?

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