Modern Takes on 70s Workout Outfits for Women 

by Yvette in Comment — Updated December 28, 2023

Get ready to groove because the magic of 70s workout outfits is returning. And the modern spin on these classics gives us a new vibe! 

Before, training wear wasn’t just about sweating it out but making a statement! 

And now, the modern take on 70s workout gear and even the 80s workout costume outfit isn’t just a fashion statement. They’re a cultural phenomenon. 

Celebrating the old days and adding fresh vibes for today’s fitness fans – it’s a total win!

Keep reading as we explore the significance of 70s workout fashion by breaking down its iconic elements. We’ll also spill the beans on how today’s fitness fanatics can infuse some serious retro flair into their workout wardrobes.

Free Two Women on Aerobics Outfit Looking at Camera Stock Photo

The Evolution of Women’s Workout Clothes 

Let’s rewind the clock to the groovy era of the 1970s. In this era, exercise ensembles were a statement of style and rebellion.

Traditional workout attire took a backseat as the era embraced bold and vibrant choices. Colored-leg warmers, leotards, crop tops, and short shorts became the holy grail of fitness fashion. 

Moreover, the influence of iconic figures like Jane Fonda added a touch of glam to the treadmill routine. Fonda’s workout videos inspired millions to get moving and set the tone for fashionable exercise attire.

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The impact of “Saturday Night Fever” also reached beyond the dance floor. It left an indelible mark on workout fashion. 

The disco fever transcended into fitness outfits, bringing flair and excitement to the gym. Suddenly, waffle trainers became as essential as dance moves.

As we lace up our sneakers today, we can’t help but pay homage to the pioneers of workout fashion. 

And that’s because the 70s weren’t just about exercise. They’re about expressing individuality and embracing a vibrant, active lifestyle that continues to inspire our workout choices today.

Key Elements of 70s Workout Fashion

When envisioning workout attire, we consider staples like tees, shorts, and sneakers. Yet, the athleisure of the 1970s took a distinct path. It incorporated essential elements tailored for optimal workout performance.

Leg Warmers: A Nostalgic Trend

Picture this: leg warmers that weren’t just for warmth but a style statement. These knit wonders adorned the legs of fitness enthusiasts, adding a touch of flair to every workout. 

Leg warmers didn’t just stay as aerobic wear, but they became an ultimate gym clothing staple.  

Bright Colors and Bold Choices

This era was also all about turning up the color dial. Neon hues and bold choices ruled the workout wardrobe. 

Imagine a gym that was a kaleidoscope of energy, from vibrant sports bras or tank tops to eye-popping headbands. 

It wasn’t just a workout; it was a fashion fiesta!

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For others jogging outdoors in cold weather, long sleeves, hooded pullovers, or sweatshirts are their go-to. 

Some even wear a colorful windbreaker, a long-sleeved zipper front windbreaker,  high waist pants, long sleeve zipper jackets, and others, as these are famous 80s outfits. 

Crop Tops and Short Shorts 

Moreover, showing off a little midriff and some leg action was also a trend. A popular style for this is a shiny crop top hoodie metallic casual, and short shorts became the go-to workout outfit, bringing a touch of sass to the gym. 

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Confidence soared as these bold choices redefined exercise attire. 

Waffle Trainers: Iconic Footwear

These stylish yet functional shoes made a mark in the 70s fitness world. This famous waffle sole wasn’t just footwear; it symbolized the era’s athletic spirit, leaving a lasting imprint on the ever-changing world of workout styles.

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Source: @pritchie88 / Pinterest

In essence, the design of 1970s athletic attire prioritized both comfort and functionality. 

These garments facilitated unrestricted movement, making them a popular workout outfit material in the fashion industry. 

At the same time, it ensured individuals could easily exercise while remaining fashionable even during the most demanding activities. 

Looking for a vintage aesthetic that ensures comfort throughout your workouts? Opting for 1970s workout attire is an excellent choice.

Modern Interpretations 

Now, let’s step into the present with a touch of nostalgia! 

Modern interpretations of 70s workout fashion are about infusing that classic groove into contemporary activewear. 

It’s like bringing the disco dance floor to your workout routine – familiar yet refreshingly new.

Incorporating Vintage 70s Elements into Modern Workout Set

Ever wished you could rock those leg warmers and bright colors without feeling like you stepped out of a time machine? 

Well, you can! Modern gym wear is embracing 70s elements with open arms. 

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Source: @creativemarket / Pinterest

Think funky patterns, bold hues, and maybe a sprinkle of glitter – it’s a fusion of the best from both eras.

The Seamless Influence of 70s Fashion on Today’s Fitness Industry

The sway of 70s fashion on the contemporary mainstream fashion trends is no small feat. 

In that era, a sudden shift in exercise culture kickstarted the biggest fitness fashion market.

The “fitness craze” during that time was clamoring for activewear that was as stylish as it was functional. That’s especially true with the rising social vibe of gym workouts.

Little did we know that bold colors and funky patterns are trends that would foreshadow the future. It’s like witnessing the seamless transition of athletic wear into casual wear. 

We can now see a resurgence of 70s sportswear making its mark, particularly in the gym class activewear trend.

This legacy endures, leaving an indelible mark on the design and marketing of athletic wear collections. 

Behemoths in the workout wear arena, including Adidas, Lululemon, Nike, Puma, and Under Armour, are at the forefront.

They’re delivering high-end exercise outfits, known as athleisure, coined in the 70s. This is a testament to the ongoing influence of 70s fashion on the fitness industry.

Eco-Friendly Fabrics in Modern Workout Athletic

Style is one thing, but sustainability is a growing interest in the present. Modern workout wear isn’t just about looking good; it’s about feeling good about your choices. 

Eco-friendly fabrics steal the show, ensuring that your activewear isn’t just comfortable and kind to the planet.

High-End Exercise Gear for Contemporary Fitness Enthusiasts

For fitness enthusiasts who want to kick it up a notch, high-end exercise gear is the name of the game. 

From designer collaborations to cutting-edge technology, contemporary workout gear is as chic as it is functional. 

A great example is the emergence of moisture-wicking fabric, making it a popular exercise wear.

Modern interpretations of 70s workout fashion are fresh air in a constantly evolving world. It’s not just about looking back; it’s about dancing forward with a sprinkle of classic fashion statements. 

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Source: @anneenke / Pinterest

So, whether you’re hitting the gym or mastering that home workout routine, why not do it with a flair inspired by the funky and fabulous 70s? 

Famous Brands and Designers for 70s Workout Clothes

Regarding athletic wear, we can’t help but tip our hats to the trailblazing brands and designers who have shaped our individual styles for the previous decade. 

Let’s dive into the world of fashion revolutionaries and discover how remarkable changes are in sportswear.

Yves Saint Laurent: A Fashion Revolution

Yves Saint Laurent’s impact on workout wear echoes his groundbreaking approach to women’s fashion. 

His elegant pantsuits broke down barriers between genders and ignited a sartorial revolution that transformed the dressing habits of generations of women. 

As the 1970s marked the inception of a burgeoning market for exercise fashion, Saint Laurent’s influence on ready-to-wear fashion became increasingly apparent.

The growing demand for more stylish activewear that mirrored the social aspect of gym workouts spurred YSL. 

He marked the introduction of chic pantsuits and a penchant for diverse inspirations. As a result, it greatly impacted the design and marketing of active clothing. 

His influence resonates strongly in today’s fitness industry, a testament to the timeless impact of his groundbreaking vision.

Calvin Klein’s Impact on Workout Fashion from the 70s to 80s Sportswear

Calvin Klein also impacted the fashion world during the 1970s, remaining a cornerstone in the evolution of activewear. 

It’s one of the pioneers of sensually charged and quintessentially American minimalism in fashion. Klein’s influence reverberated through the subsequent decades. 

It marks styles ranging from the popular grunge and hip-hop trends of the 1980s and ’90s to the widespread adoption of sportswear.

His imprint on ready-to-wear fashion became evident. The demand for more stylish activewear soared, mirroring the societal shift towards a more communal approach to working out, particularly in gym settings.

Fast forward to today, and Calvin Klein’s legacy endures. The brand continues to offer a diverse range of women’s gym wear. It features stretch leggings and sports bras meticulously designed to provide a perfect fit without compromising freedom of movement. 

This commitment to marrying fashion with functionality echoes Klein’s timeless vision. That is to ensure that individuals can embrace their active lifestyles with confidence.

Nike: The Founder and the Legacy of Retro Workout Shoes

Of course, Nike’s imprint on the 70s workout industry is an iconic tale of innovation, style, and a game-changing approach to athletic footwear and apparel. 

Founded in the mid-1960s, Nike perfectly timed its inception to ride the wave of the national fitness craze that motivated everyday folks to invest in specialized sports shoes and clothing.

The 70s marked a pivotal era for Nike, with primary colors and minimalist graphics characterizing their designs. 

The unmistakable Nike logo became a staple on most of their apparel, creating a visual identity that resonated across the fitness landscape. 

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Source: @groupe2ensad / Pinterest

In 1972, Nike introduced the Cortez sneaker, drawing inspiration from the Munich Olympics and featuring a groundbreaking midsole cushioning system. 

This innovative shoe not only became iconic in the 70s. It also retained its popularity across subsequent decades, seamlessly blending with styles from the 80s, 90s, and even today.

Role of Athletic Wear Companies in the 70s, 80s, 90s Gym Workout

Beyond individual designers, workout wear giants have played a pivotal role in shaping the fashion landscape. 

Whether in the 60s, 70s, 80s, or 90s workout fashion, they’ve allowed us to wear vintage style in our yoga workout or home exercises.

They act as trendsetters, responding to the dynamic needs of consumers and blending fashion with functionality. 

Their role extends beyond creating garments; they’re lifestyle curators, encapsulating the spirit of movement and well-being.

The Influence of Pop Culture 

Imagine sweating it to the rhythm of iconic music videos that set the beat and shape active wears. 

Enter the David Bowie effect – a style revolution that brought glam and individuality to the gym scene. 

Physical fitness enthusiasts gained great ideas from his fashion, where they’ve incorporated their individuality in their workout wear.

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And who could forget Dirty Dancing? This timeless classic showcased a fashion extravaganza, influencing workout wear with its sizzling style. 

So, next time you’re gearing up for a workout, let the pop culture vibes guide your fashion choices. 

From Bowie’s glam to Dirty Dancing’s flair, make your fitness routine a dance of style through the ages. 

70s Workout Fashion Around the World

Let’s have a global journey through the lens of 70s workout fashion that unveils diverse perspectives. 

South Africa adds a unique flair, blending vibrant tribal influences with the era’s fitness trends

In North America, it has also its own characteristics. Fashion is full of vibrant colors, flamboyant attire, and materials like spandex, lycra, and velour. 

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Source: @vintagedancer / Pinterest

Some iconic workout fashion trends from that era included short shorts, tracksuits, leotards, and tights.

And, of course, the popularity of exercise was influenced by figures like Jane Fonda and Arnold Schwarzenegger, leading to a calm and hip workout scene. 

The bigger and flashier the workout attire, the better, reflecting the fun and bold nature of 1970s fitness fashion.

Now, let’s explore the unconventional choices in South Sudan and St Helena.

Here, local culture intertwines with workout styles in unexpected yet refreshing ways. Each region brings its distinct touch to the 70s workout legacy, reflecting cultural nuances and individuality. 

From the rhythmic beats of African dance to the unconventional twists in the Atlantic, the 70s workout fashion transcends borders.

It proved that fitness trends are a universal language of self-expression. In every corner of the world, the 70s workout spirit lives on.

Workout Outfits for All Body Types

Finding the right workout clothes isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal. It’s about catering to every unique body type.

The world is now diverse. Thus, women’s exercise fashion follows suit. 

The importance of inclusivity in workout wear goes beyond aesthetics. It’s about making everyone feel comfortable, confident, and ready to conquer their fitness journey.

So, how can we find our ideal workout gear? 

  • The first is to prioritize comfort and functionality. Choose fabrics that breathe and move with you, ensuring a comfortable fit during every squat and stretch. 
  • And don’t forget to embrace your personal style. Opt for colors and designs that resonate with your taste. 

Remember, the perfect athletic attire is more than just clothing. It’s a confidence booster, motivating us to push boundaries and embrace our unique fitness journey. 

So, whether you’re curvy, athletic, or somewhere in between, you can find the perfect one.  

Enjoy the personal journey that celebrates the diversity of bodies and the joy of movement.

Practical Tips for Incorporating 70s Style

Let’s not forget to bring a touch of the 70s into our workout wardrobe. Here are some of my personal fave to effortlessly infuse that groovy retro vibe into my modern 70s outfits for women:

Incorporate 70s Workout Set

Embrace the funky flair of the 70s outfits using leg warmers, tights, running shorts, bold colors, and iconic waffle trainers. 

Whether you’re hitting the gym or doing home workouts, let the spirit of the 70s be your fitness companion.

Add Retro Elements

It’s also about the details! From head to toe, think about incorporating retro elements. 

Consider wearing a headband or wearing a disco outfit top and shorts set. Let your outfit stand out through the little things for a significant impact on your workout style.

Choose the Right Colors and Fabrics

Dive into a palette of vibrant colors, too. Think disco-worthy hues like electric blues, fiery reds, and sunshine yellows to the two-piece sets for women. 

As for fabrics, opt for ones that breathe and move with you. This can help enhance style and comfort as you break a sweat.

Styling Ideas for Modern 70s Workout Fashion

Now, mix and match for maximum impact! 

  • Pair your favorite leggings with a loose-fitting crop top tee.
  • Layer a leotard under a jumpsuit. 

Experiment with patterns and textures, especially for a gym suit. 

These styling ideas can create a look that’s uniquely yours, channeling the free-spirited vibes of the vintage 70s.

With these simple tips, you’ll turn heads in your own retro-inspired workout fashion in no time! Get ready to sweat in style and groove like it’s the 70s all over again!


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In wrapping up our fitness fashion journey, one thing is clear. The timelessness of 70s workout fashion is an enduring source of style inspiration. 

Embracing those retro vibes in the modern world isn’t just a nod to the past; it’s a celebration of enduring trends. 

The 70s brought us bold colors, funky patterns, and a carefree spirit, and these elements continue to captivate fitness enthusiasts today. 

So, whether you’re hitting the gym, jogging, or doing yoga at home, let the groove of the 70s be your style companion. It’s not just a gym workout fashion for women but a timeless journey through fitness history. 

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