The 12 Best Exercise Dresses for Workouts or Lounging

These dresses from brands like Outdoor Voices, Beyond Yoga, and Athleta, are made to move.

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The 11 Best Exercise Dresses for Workouts or Lounging
Abercrombie/ Old Navy/ LuluLemon

Since stay-at-home orders went into effect and donning yoga pants and messy buns during work meetings became socially acceptable, demand for comfortable, Zoom-appropriate attire soared. Your closet may be concealing one too many ghost trends of quarantines past - here's looking at you, tie-dye sweat sets, but activewear has evolved beyond typical track pants, racer-backed tanks, and yes, even matching sweatsuits. Instead, athleisure options have expanded to include everything from slacks to sweaters, and with normal activities (slowly but surely) returning, it's time to transition to more versatile, wear-anywhere pieces.

Enter, the exercise dress. While these have typically been reserved for sports like golf or tennis, more recently exercise dresses have made their debut beyond the gates of the country club. We chatted with a few seasoned style experts for some tips on how to take this fun-loving frock from running marathons to running errands, then ranked our favorites based on fit, cost, and sizing options. Read on to discover the best exercise dresses to move in (or not).

Best Overall

Outdoor Voices The Exercise Dress

Outdoor Voices The Exercise Dress

Outdoor Voices

What We Love: The ultra-flexible material hugs your figure without clinging.

What We Don't Love: This stretchy staple might not be supportive for larger breasts.

As the exercise dress that can basically be credited for the category's popularity, this spaghetti strap dress is made to move with you — not against you. The midweight compression fabric offers subtle sculpting around the middle, especially with the built-in shorts that feature two pockets and a grippy material on the hem to keep from riding up. The scoop neck enhances your collarbones, too, while the adjustable straps turn it into a sports bra. But anyone with a larger bust size might not find it super supportive for any actual exercising. However, it does go up to a 3XL, fitting a wide variety of body types. It even comes in eight different colors, so you can get away with owning more than one (and trust us, you'll probably want to).

Price at time of publish: $100

Sizes Available: XXS-3XL | Number of Colors: 8 | Fabric: Polyester, spandex

Best Budget

Old Navy PowerSoft Sleeveless Shelf-Bra Support Dress for Women

Old Navy PowerSoft Sleeveless Shelf-Bra Support Dress for Women

Old Navy

What We Love: The thick straps offer better support for larger chests.

What We Don't Love: It runs a little large, so keep that in mind when ordering.

Activewear has become akin to our everyday uniform, but more often than not, these pieces cost more than we would prefer to shell out. This comfy get-up from Old Navy offers everything you want from an exercise dress: a wide range of sizes, multiple colorways, sweat-wicking material, and a built-in bodysuit but at half the cost. Reviewers also say that the material is so flexible it can double as maternity wear. But it does run a little large, so keep that in mind as you add to your cart. Other than that, our prediction? You won't want to take it off all season.

Price at time of publish: $60

Sizes Available: XS-4X; Petite, Regular, Tall | Number of Colors: 8 | Fabric: Polyester, spandex

Best Splurge

Lacoste Women's Short Sleeve Pique Polo Dress

Lacoste Women's Short Sleeve Pique Polo Dress


What We Love: For those looking to cover up, the sleeves and button-up collar offer a more modest option than racerbacks and tank tops.

What We Don't Love: It runs a little small, so we recommend sizing up when purchasing.

Ever wonder how celebs like Hailey Bieber, Bella Hadid, and Kendall Jenner achieve that effortless, sporty girl vibe? The answer is simple. They take a classic piece, (like the one above) and pair it with a few modern touches (think a pair of sleek, white sneakers and some funky-rimmed sunglasses). The hip-hugging silhouette highlights curves while leaving a comfortable amount of room around your waist. Not to mention, this sporty number offers a more modest take on the exercise dress for those looking for a little more coverage.

Just make sure to consider sizing up before purchasing. We found the sleeves and chest especially run a little tight.

Price at time of publish: $155

Sizes Available: 32-44 | Number of Colors: 10 | Fabric: Stretch Cotton

Best Plus-Size

Girlfriend Collective Lola V-Neck Dress

Girlfriend Collective Lola V-Neck Dress

Girlfriend Collective

What We Love: With sizes starting at XXS and going through 6XL, this dress offers something for everyone.

What We Don't Love: The dress is so popular - it sells out quickly.

Come for comfortable wear, but stay for the eco-conscious mission. The fabric is so buttery you would never guess it is made out of 90% recycled plastic bottles (PRET) and 10 percent spandex.

"The Girlfriend Collective exercise dress will be any thick-thighed gal's BFF. The dress both compresses and skims my body in the most flattering way, and the built-in bike shorts are the first I've experienced that don't constantly ride up. Plus, it's long enough to accommodate my 5'11 frame, and the best part is, I don't even have to wear a bra," says Averi Baudler, InStyle news writer.

Our favorite part? Any Girlfriend Collective piece that has run its course can be sent back to its ReGirlfriend program. Girlfriend Collective will recycle your old piece into its current collection. Their earth-friendly attitude extends beyond their materials. They consolidate their fulfillment centers to limit the distance their clothing has to travel. Shipping times are a bit longer, but the sacrifice is worth it.

Price at time of publish: $88

Sizes Available: XXXS-6XL; Petite, Regular, Tall | Number of Colors: 6 | Fabric: Polyester, spandex

Best With Shorts

Alo Yoga Alosoft Courtside Tennis Dress

Alosoft Courtside Tennis Dress


What We Love: The lightweight, matte material makes this the most transitional piece in the lineup.

What We Don't Love: The top runs a bit small, so bigger-chested ladies should size up.

A favorite from Instagram girls and stylists alike, Alo Yoga's sporty dress looks just as cute with a pair of tennis shoes as they do with some slingbacks. Wishi stylist Kate Gordon recommends Alo as one of her favorite brands of workout gear. "They have such a modern take on activewear. Their pieces feel easy to incorporate into anyone's wardrobe." Alo Yoga has been worn by high-profile celebs, including Jennifer Garner, Lucy Hale, and Chrissy Teigen — just to name a few. The soft matte material zaps wetness, so you'll stay dry no matter how hot the summer gets. The cinched middle creates the snatched waist of your dreams. But if we could change one thing, we would add a bit more room to the built-in bra because it definitely runs small.

Price at time of publish: $118

Sizes Available: XXS-L | Number of Colors: 5 | Fabric: Polyester, spandex

Best Without Shorts

Abercrombie & Fitch Traveler Polo Mini Dress

Abercrombie & Fitch Traveler Polo Mini Dress

Abercrombie & Fitch

What We Love: The collar provides a put-together feel, making it easy to take this dress from court to cafe.

What We Don't Love: No shorts means easy visits to the restroom, but since the dress hits mid-thigh. Consider bringing your own along.

Are spaghetti straps not working for you? Try this collared cutie instead. If you are having flashbacks to the ill-fitting, pit-stained Abercrombie logo tees of your youth, take a breather. The recent Abercrombie rebrand is all about comfort and care, and spoiler alert: they're killing it. But if you need further proof, this dress is available in 3 lengths (petite, regular, and tall), so there are lengths for everyone. Pair this dress with a quarter zip sweater and crew socks for a preppy feel or a baseball cap and leather Birkenstocks for something more laid back.

Price at time of publish: $59

Sizes Available: XXS-XL; Petite, Regular, Tall | Number of Colors: 2 | Fabric: Polyester, nylon

Best For Larger Busts

Halara Everyday Cloudful 2-in-1 Flare Activity Dress

Halara Everyday Workout Dress


What We Love: Available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and cup sizes, this off-the-rack dress feels tailored to you.

What We Don't Love: Certain colors aren't available for larger cup sizes.

If you are unsure about trying the exercise dress trend, this TikTok famous frock is a good place to start. With frequent markdowns and sales, you can score this stylish staple for well under $50. The fabric is woven with ultra-fine yarn that delivers the same velvety soft feel as other luxury brands. Best of all, the dress accommodates bigger busts through adjustable straps and ample room. While the skinny straps may look precarious, they actually offer steady support. And those with particularly large cup sizes should check out the "Fit DD-F Cups," which provide a higher neckline and a larger built-in bra, so you can feel secure. Either way, this will appropriately fit your gals and keep you supported all day.

Price at time of publish: $55

Sizes Available: XS-4XL | Number of Colors: 32 | Fabric: Nylon, elastane

Best for Tennis

Lululemon Nulux Asymmetrical Tennis Dress

Nulux Asymmetrical Tennis Dress

What We Love: The paneling around the waist contours across the middle.

What We Don't Love: The built-in shorts leave behind no lines when wearing, but they do make it more difficult to use the restroom.

Though exercise dresses may be inspired by traditional tennis and golf wear, not every exercise dress could carry its weight on the court. With a high-neck and built-in sports bra, this fit and flare keep both your bust and stray tennis balls in their proper place. The extra paneling across the middle creates an hourglass shape, and the flouncy skirt has two layers to ensure your behind gets as much coverage as your front. The built-in shorts leave you line-free and also come with a hidden pocket big enough to stash your phone mid-match. (But you will have to take the whole thing off to use the bathroom.) We particularly love the Nulux fabric that Lululemon uses for this dress, which not only has a four-way stretch, but also feels weightless, dries quickly, wicks away sweat, and feels breathable. Basically, we're sold.

Price at time of publish: $138

Sizes Available: 0-14 | Number of Colors: 4 | Fabric: Nylon, lycra elastane

Best One-Shoulder

Beyond Yoga Spacedye Lost Your Mind Dress

Spacedye Lost Your Mind Dress

What We Love: For only one shoulder, the top actually feels supportive.

What We Don't Love: The keyhole cutout might not lay properly on larger busts.

We know what you're thinking: how could a one-shoulder top actually be supportive? Well, hear us out. This stylish exercise dress made from Beyond Yoga's beloved super soft space-dye fabric features a built-in shelf bra and thick enough straps that crossover in the back to hold your gals in place whether you're working out or not. The keyhole cut-out might not lay totally flat on those with larger cup sizes, but it's a unique design element that makes this dress stand apart from others. This dress doesn't feature any shorts underneath it either, which makes it a bit more versatile — basically, you can wear it to brunch without feeling like you're heading to the gym afterward. (Not to mention, it does make it easier to go to the bathroom, too.) We only wish it came in more colors.

Price at time of publish: $138

Sizes Available: 0-14 | Number of Colors: 4 | Fabric: Nylon, lycra elastane

Best High Neck

Athleta Conscious Dress

Athleta Conscious Dress


What We Love: With a wide size range and supportive bra built in, this will look flattering on all sorts of body types.

What We Don't Love: The pockets don't hold that much nor lay flat.

Lots of the dresses on this list have a scoop neck, so for anyone looking for something a bit different, try this high-neck version from Athleta, which comes in three vibrant, tropical shades, like this kelly green, and a neutral black. We love that the buttery soft material not only wicks sweat away but also dries quickly after every workout. And for anyone aiming to wear it in the heat, it has a UPF 50+ rating, too. It has a touch of compression to support your breasts and gently hug your midsection as well, even without built-in shorts.

We appreciate that Athleta gave us some pockets (not many of these dresses have that), but they aren't very deep — and if they do have things in them, they don't lay flat. We think that's easy to look past, though, because of how many other redeeming qualities it has.

Price at time of publish: $89

Sizes Available: XS-3X | Number of Colors: 4 | Fabric: Nylon, lycra

Best for Pockets

Summersalt The Do-It-All Active Dress

The Do-It-All Active Dress

What We Love: The extra deep pockets can hold your phone, keys, and a few tennis balls all at once.

What We Don't Love: The bike shorts are sold separately.

If the Athleta dress left you wanting some deeper pockets, might we introduce you to this option from Summersalt? It has two large pockets on the front of the skirt for your phone, keys, wallet, and whatever else you might need to throw in there — maybe a few tennis balls, too, for good measure. We appreciate the high neckline that cuts into a racerback, too, because it not only looks flattering, but it's practical — it allows for a shelf bra to hold everything together, and for anyone with larger breasts (or just worried about additional coverage), it comes with removable cups for more support. For how sporty this dress is, we wish it would come with shorts built in since you'll probably wear this more on the court than the streets anyways. Even though they're sold separately, the biker shorts made from the same material do match the colors, though, which we think sweetens the deal just a touch.

Price at time of publish: $115

Sizes Available: 2-22 | Number of Colors: 2 | Fabric: Recycled polyester, elastane

Best For Golf

William Murray Murray Classic Polo Dress

William Murray Murray Classic Polo Dress

William Murray Golf

What We Love: Both sides have a discreet zippered pocket. Score!

What We Don't Love: If we had to change anything, we would expand the color range.

Bill Murray's namesake brand aims to infuse a little fun into an otherwise stuffy sport. Each item in the collection had to pass golf's strict dress code as well as the "could I nap in this?" test. We are happy to report this dress passes with flying colors. The breathable fabric skims the body without sticking to it, but our favorite part is the sneaky side pockets - perfect for stray tees or extra balls. Though the hem hits above the knee, it lacks shorts, so make sure to pack those before swinging your driver.

Not planning on hitting the range this summer? No problem. Wear it with some white sneakers and a crew neck sweater for a casual, preppy look.

Price at time of publish: $95

Sizes Available: XS-XXL | Number of Colors: 3 | Fabric: Polyester, spandex

What to Keep In Mind


As a rule, activewear is meant to be comfortable. New York-based stylist, Audree Lopez suggests selecting pieces with proper stretch. "Most exercise dresses have a mix of Spandex, Lycra, elastane, nylon, polyester, and cotton. This stretchy fabric is key so you can move around easily. It's not super restricting but it's supportive."


While flexible fabrics guarantee a comfortable fit, they also require a little more care when washing. Many elastic fabrics are unable to tolerate hot water, so make sure to rinse them on cool. Sweat and body oils build up on the inside of your workout wear, so remember to turn your pieces inside out before throwing in the machine. This means that they should also skip the dryer. Instead, opt for hang drying these pieces. Pro tip: for extra stinky garments, soak the items in one part white distilled vinegar and four parts water for half an hour before washing. This will break down some stench causing oils.

Your Questions, Answered

How should I style an exercise dress?

Exercise dresses are made for more than just working out. Stylist Gordon loves workout dresses for their versatility. "They mix athletic wear with day-to-day style, and they are so easy to dress up or down." Fellow Wishi stylist, Adriana Ramirez-Gonzalez agrees. For a minimal vibe, she suggests adding a white linen button-down and a sleek pair of sandals. If boho energy is more your speed, she recommends an embroidered poncho and platforms. Most importantly, remember the power of accessories. "Add a fun workout bag, scrunchie, or hat. Now, you can buy sweat-resistant jewelry, so you don't have to worry about ruining any of your pieces during exercise!" says stylist Lopez. "These little changes add up to transform the feel of the garment."

What fabric should I look for?

The most important part of any garment is the material. When shopping for exercise dresses, look for fabrics with extra stretch. The most common are spandex, lycra, and elastane. These fabrics can stretch beyond their size and snap back to normal. Think of each of the small fibers like mini rubber bands. Most stretch fabrics nowadays have 4 way stretch, meaning they expand both lengthwise and crosswise for an even more comfortable fit.

Why Shop With Us

Anneke Knot is a full-time fashion and beauty freelance writer. Before freelancing, she wrote for Real Simple and Health magazines. Now, she writes about beauty and fashion for multiple publications. In order to find the best exercise dresses, she interviewed stylists Adriana Ramirez-Gonzalez, Audree Lopez, and Kate Gordon for tips on what to look for (and their favorites) and tested a few herself.

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