How To Dress Like You’re Going to the Gym at a Giant Division I Public University in the Midwest

In this week’s edition of “How to Dress Like…”, we consider the fashion sensibility of gym-goers at a giant, fancy gym at a Division I public university in the Midwest (which might bear some connection to the University of Iowa). I did my undergrad in New York City, where our gym was literally underground, and a second bachelors degree at the San Francisco Art Institute, which…did not have a gym, or even some sort of deal with, like, the YMCA. So going to a school with a deep, deep gym culture was totally new to me. I’m here for it, though — and I’m obsessed by the very rigid dress codes enacted there. Here’s what they’re wearing at the gym (TL;DR: more Lululemon than I ever would have thought, that stuff is expensive!!)

It all starts with the shorts! Here I am in my high-waisted leggings; there’s everybody else, in 4-inch Lululemon Align shorts — most often not in black, but in some other, often jewel-toned color. Also available in 6″, 8″ and 2″, but I would 90% of the people in these shorts are in the four-inch. Lululemon Align High-Rise Short 4″, $64

This Y-back bra is absolutely everywhere: lots of compression and lots of hold. (Weirdly enough I’m actually wearing one right now, though I much before the lighter support Like a Clouds.) Flow Y Bra, $48

I’m actually a big supporter of On Running shoes (I’m saving up for the tennis ones): They, too, are ubiquitous, and unlike Hokas, they don’t totally stick out in Paris as belonging to an American. (I’m working on a list of “how to spot an American in Europe” and Hokas are number one on that list.) On Running Cloudswifts, $149

The Everywhere bag was one of those things that took over while I was away, and then I came home and everyone was wearing these lumpy fanny bags (lol) across their chests. Ubiquity is not an indication of value, but these are certainly ubiquitous. Lululemon Everywhere bag, $38

I knew which brand of water bottle I wanted to include in this but blanked on the name, so I just googled “water bottle teenagers” and wouldn’t you know it, Hydro Flasks popped right up. The model I see most often is the 32-ounce. (“What’s wrong with Nalgenes?” the Xennial (me) screamed at the sky — I love this one with a hawk design from Bird Collective.) Hydro Flask 32-ounce water bottle, $44.95

There are innumerable brands of baggy shorts at play, but my personal favorite are these Aeries — basically, any fleecey short with some volume will do. Aerie Lumber Jack shorts, $34.95

Finally: One of the coolest things about being at a Big 10 school last year was — for the first time in my life — seeing male students wear a female player’s jersey: Caitlin Clark, y’all! She is legit. Caitlin Clark tee, $35

These feel very Yellowjackets to me — very ’90s sports teams. I’ve seen these from knee-high to mid-calf — I think I like mid-calf best, but I like the stripes on these the most of everything I saw. Urban Outfitters striped socks, $10

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Hi, I'm Diana. I've written about travel for The Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed, The Cut, Travel + Leisure, Outside, and lots of other places. This is my blog.