Best luxury activewear brands for women

By Naomi May and Ellie Davis
PRISM² (Picture: MatchesFashion)

Collectively, we’re all trying to devote time and energy to our health and find the exercise routine that suits us best.

And while that might feel like a shock to the system after the sedentary nature of our lockdown lives and spending our evenings wading through the wealth of stellar telly currently gracing the small screen, it makes sense. Given the corona stones which have attached themselves onto our legs, bums and tums, we need to do at least some shaking of our booties.

Indeed, according to figures, 85 per cent of people globally exercised daily during the pandemic, with sales of activewear to accompany our new found love of moving are soaring too. Brands like Sweaty Betty, M&S and more have all reported an increase in sales and new labels are launching all the time to add to the hugely competitive market.

But just because you’ve upped your exercise game, doesn’t mean you ought to drop the fashion ball. There is an army of luxury activewear brands that will help you to keep on moving, but in style. We’ll race you to the checkout!


You might recognise Austrian brand Nagnata’s moniker given its current ubiquity on the ‘gram, but trust us when we say it’s gone viral for a reason. Its workout garms are equal parts adorable, kitschy-retro and body-hugging comfortable. Oh, and did we mention that all of its pieces are also made from upcycled materials and organic yarn?

Its shorts, which this season come in a fresh and zesty orange and vibrant purple hue, struggle to stay in stock because they are quite literally the most comfortable stretch of fabric ever worn. We’re pairing them with the Twin Flame stretch-organic cotton sports bra for our morning stretches in our living room-cum-office.


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The Upside

There are workout wares, and then there are workout wares and The Upside knows its way around the latter like no other. The brainchild of Australian designer and yogi Jodhi Meares, The Upside was founded to provide hard-working athleisurewear, which doesn’t compromise on style. Since its inception in 2014, the Sydney-based label’s achingly cool designs have been championed by the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to Bella Hadid, and Kim Kardashian.

(The Upside)

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Anine Sport

ANINE BING has established itself as one of the chicest smart-casual labels on the block and in 2021, the brand has expanded its offering to include sportswear. In its signature aesthetic, the pieces are effortlessly cool, designed for workouts or simply work - you won’t want to take them off. Go matchy-matchy with the combination of the Blair leggings and Brett tank, both with coordinating white detailing, biker shorts and the cosy sweatshirts and hoodies.

(Anine Bing)

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Manchester-based activewear brand Adanola has come a long way in a short time. The Instagram-favourite label has an extensive celebrity fan base that includes the likes of Kourtney Kardashian. If you haven’t yet spotted the impeccably styled matching two-piece sets, you may have noticed the branded tote that is as popular to those in the know. The ADANOLA ATHLETICS range is on hand for your high-intensity workouts with sweat-wicking fabrics but always with the same elevated styling and cosy constructions that the brand is known for.


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P.E Nation

Leading the pack in the sustainable athleisure department, Sydney-born label P.E Nation will brighten your workout wear, while being kind to the planet at the time. Founders Pip Edwards and Claire Tregoning opt solely for recycled, low-impact, conscious and compostable fabrics as well as eco-conscious practices from production, to packaging and delivery. The collections lean towards the brighter and bolder end of the colour spectrum with electric blue, hot pinks and cheetah prints taking a starring role. These hues are set on fashionable yet functional long sleeve gym tops, tracksuits, leggings and bras.

(P.E Nation)

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Ernest Leoty

Defined as ‘couture for leisure’, Parisian brand Ernest Leoty appropriately borrowed its moniker from an infamous corset maker of the 19th century, whose innovative designs enabled freedom of movement rather than restriction. Its founder Marion Rabate heads up a team that features those with couture design experience and those with premium athleisurewear prowess, to ensure the best designs. 

As the purveyor of chic and refined workout wear, it’s perhaps no surprise that every design of Ernest Leoty will have you willing to spend the rest of your days in athleisure, but its jumpsuits are a particular show-stopper. The best part of a unitard? Not only will it have you feeling like Mr. Motivator, but it negates the need for workout bras and leggings, and will instead condense your activewear arsenal. The red is just a *chef’s kiss*.

(Matches Fashion)

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Anna Laub founded PRISM² in 2009 with the idea to craft stylish and functional workout wear. The result is chic pieces, all of which are made in Italy, that can work on their own as well as for your daily stretch ‘n’ flex.

Given that all of our sweating is currently happening in our homes, there’s a little sartorial scope to keep it skimpy in our activewear with pieces that will work just as well with oversized shirts come summer (remember summer?). The collection of tops and shorts are some of the most comfortable pieces to have ever graced our bodies.

(Matches Fashion)

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Founded by entrepreneur and former model Tatiana Korsakova, London-based Vaara knows a thing or two about making fabulous fitness fashions. But it’s the labels’ skin-hugging leggings that we have fallen hook, line, and sinker for. 

Not only do they surreptitiously sculpt the body as well as act as a second skin, but they come alongside matching sports bras to make a two-piece that will make you the envy of absolutely everybody. We’ve got them in the baby blue, but they come in an array of unique colourways from the muted to the bold.


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Live The Process

Live The Process, which was founded by Robyn Berkley and Jared Vere, has flourished in the pandemic largely owing to its apropos pieces for the New Normal. Think elevated athleisure in an array of zingy colours that works as well for Pilates as it will do for the pub. 

We love the the Ballet stirrup-cuff stretch-jersey leggings. Not only is the material light as a feather but the leggings genuinely do not fall down and the duo just looks so darn cute. If the blue isn’t for you, the brand has a brown colourway in the same shape which we’re also eyeing up.

(Live The Process)

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You’d be forgiven for assuming that the purveyor of shapewear’s athleisurewear range will fall short of expectations. But, oh, how wrong you are. Its newly-launched activewear range is seriously worthy of your attention, and money. 

If booty-enhancing leggings are your poison of choice, then look no further than its Booty Boost high-rise stretch-jersey leggings (the clue is in the name) which are figure-hugging and stylish, especially when paired with the brand’s Look At Me Now Moto low-impact stretch-woven sports bra which we, frankly, never want to take off. Next on our list is the camo-print.


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All of these workout wares promise to motivate you to move your body, but our favourite is the Nagnata shorts and sports bra combination in the bold hues and patterns. Look good, do good exemplified.

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