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Last year, while writing about the death of the sporting goods industry, a source shared a thought from her high school soccer coach. “For training, both on and off the field, we subscribed to the idea of ‘look good, feel good, play good,’” she told me.
This really stuck with me because it sort of validated the effort I put into my gym outfits. Not only do I think about which leggings will look best with which top, but I’m also deciding what looks best during yoga or spin. On the surface, it might seem like I’m doing this for vanity. But I don’t care about my gym outfits for the finance bros pumping iron to my left; I do it for me.
About two years ago, I began taking classes at Vixen, a Beyoncé-themed dance workout that also touches on this “look good, feel good” theme. I started becoming hyper-aware of my torso and stomach, mainly since we spend a lot of time concentrating on moving those areas, but also because a lot of my fellow dancers wear crop tops (or tie their shirts to look like one). I’m more of a baggy muscle tank top-type of “athlete,” or whatever Soulcycle has brainwashed me into calling myself, so I was concerned this kind of look would make me feel too exposed.
I finally caved, though, and decided to give ADAY’s Don’t Stop Top a chance. I can report that while, yes, I definitely feel exposed, I also have a a totally different workout experience while wearing it. The top is fitted and has a scooped neckline and armholes, so it doesn’t cut in anywhere. The material is stretchy and moisture-wicking and the back is ventilated, so the shirt’s really breathable.
It runs pretty small, which honestly has me wanting to cover my stomach any time I’m doing anything other than standing. But it’s great for dance classes, especially if it’s paired with high-waisted leggings.
I’m still not totally over the instinct to cover my stomach, but I will say that wearing this top is really helping me appreciate my body shape more. Some people like to wear crop tops because they’re cute and trendy. Others, like myself, find this silhouette to be extremely flattering for the petite and curvy, and when I wear this top to a dance class, I basically feel like I can be a backup hip-hop dancer. I might not have the coordination, but at least the outfit is on point.