In recent years, athleisure has made gym wear a whole lot hipper and more attractive. Instead of grubby t-shirts and ill-fitting sweatpants or baggy shorts, numerous brands (and even celebrities) have made their mark in the fitness industry by creating garments that can make exercisers feel stylish without sacrificing on functionality. But when you work up a sweat, you’ll need to throw those gym clothes in the washing machine — and according to Reader’s Digest, you may be laundering your workout gear all wrong. Fortunately, there’s now a brand that requires only monthly washings, which might free up some of your time (and save you money on detergent).
Athleisure refers to clothing items that are designed for athletic activities yet are comfortable and trendy enough to be worn outside the gym — while running errands, lounging around the house, or even going to school. Considering that 36% of all regular exercisers participate in some sort of fitness class, these clothes have mass appeal, particularly among yogis and indoor cycling devotees who want to dress to impress. Many A-list celebrities have cashed in on the craze; Beyonce, Demi Lovato, Kate Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Selena Gomez, and more have collaborated with established brands like Fabletics, Puma, and Dick’s Sporting Goods to sell their bold workout wear to eager consumers.
But although there may be no wrong way to wear these garments, it turns out that we may be cleaning them completely wrong. Normally, you should wash your athletic clothing after each wear due to the way bacteria and sweat cling to synthetic materials. But experts say that you should skip the fabric softener with these garments; not only is it pretty unnecessary for these types of clothes, but the softener can actually remove the moisture-wicking properties of the fabric that help keep you comfortable during your workouts. And while a lot of people are under the impression that hot water is the best defense against odors and bacteria, high temperatures or steam cycles can shorten the lifespan of the clothes. Cold water, on the other hand, will preserve the stretch in your clothes and will be just as effective in removing odors and debris. And since the dryer can be tough on many garments, you should choose to air dry your athleisure, too.
Of course, none of this will matter nearly as much if you invest in garments that purportedly don’t need to be washed more frequently than once a month. That’s the claim Ably Apparel is making with their newest line. The brand says their clothes can be worn for days or weeks without having to change or wash these items, thanks to a fabric called Filium. According to press materials obtained by Bustle, Filum is breathable and “activates natural fabrics,” outperforming synthetic materials by a large margin. It’s resistant to stains, odors, and liquids, meaning that it’s “lifeproof,” according to Ably.
The brand is also eco-friendly and size-inclusive, two major pluses for many athleisure-wearing millennials. Ably doesn’t use harmful chemicals or nano-particles during their garment production, which decreases ecological impact and won’t harm sensitive skin. You’ll also reduce water waste and save money because you won’t need to wash these items after every wear. So whether you jump rope for 10 minutes (which NASA says is a better cardiovascular workout than 30 minutes of running) or can’t skip your weekly pilates class, you’ll be covered without having to do a load of wash every night.
Ably Apparel’s clothes, which include tees, sweatpants, hoodies, and jackets, run up to 3X, a rarity for all kinds of brands but for workout clothes in particular. That said, the clothes aren’t cheap (one of their t-shirts will cost almost $50 a pop) and they aren’t especially edgy in terms of aesthetics. But if you’d rather cut down on your laundering and exercise in garments that will keep you comfy and dry throughout your intense fitness class, they might be well worth it. And if you decide to stick with your tried-and-true leggings and sports bra combo, make sure to wash them the right way.