Looking Good In The Gym

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Looking Good In The Gym

Words by Mr Tom M Ford

29 January 2015

The MR PORTER team share their favourite work-out gear.

With a gym just an escalator ride away from our HQ, you might think that we would resemble a finely fettled machine – a staff made up exclusively of long-distance treadmillers and strongmen. This assertion isn’t entirely incorrect. A lot of us do love to keep trim, and make the short trip to GYMBOX every day – even if it means looking like a wanker in front of the new hot girl in the office, or smelling of last night’s expense-account fuelled debauchery next to the Head of Finance. In fact, one or two fitness fanatics have been known to sprint down the “up” escalator as part of a gruelling warm-up. Others, however, treat the gym like they would a visit to mum and dad’s: once a month is just fine.

However intense or laissez-faire your own relationship with fitness is, one can always aspire to do more. And one of the best ways to do that, we find, is by investing in some cool new kit. After all, there’s nothing like a guilt-inspiring financial outlay to get you off the sofa.

With this in mind, please check out what’s on our new season fitness list below.

“‘Vanity is the healthiest thing in life.’ So said Mr Karl Lagerfeld. He’s wrong, of course (think it’s still kale), but I take the point. I work out mainly so that I can still fit in all my tailored suits. To save time in the mornings, I have a gym bag ready to go – a Mulberry holdall that can squash in a locker – which contains my Nike running sneakers and Aēsop grooming kit. Given that I tend to bump into people I know in the gym I go to, all my gym kit is plain black so that it a) all coordinates; and b) doesn’t show up sweat patches. Please do not judge me.”

“I hate being caught going to/ returning from the gym – it spoils the illusion that you look the way you do without exerting any effort. Sunglasses are, therefore, an essential disguise in transit. This foldable pair from Ray-Ban has the added advantage of being easily stash-able in a good gym bag – like this Marc by Marc Jacobs holdall, which is perfect for transporting a rolled-up towel, as well as enabling you to stand it up on end to fit neatly in your locker. Just make sure you have a good padlock to keep it safe. And to combat that ‘healthy glow’ people tend to talk about post-exercise, which is often more like a ‘horrifying flush’, I use this gentle, refreshing and very green cleanser from Perricone MD.”

“I have nothing against exercise; I’d just prefer not to do it in an enclosed space with strangers. So, this jersey will help me get on my bike more – once I’ve fixed my puncture – and the Nike jacket will do for a run in this winter chill (while doubling up as the kind of thing you might wear to a rave off the M25 – if it was the 1990s. But that’s a different form of escapism entirely). The bag is perfect to put them both in – out of sight, out of mind.”

“I don’t go in for any hi-tech gear – a loose cotton tee from Sunspel is all I need to work out in. Cool, cooling and understated. After a heavy work-out, this grooming kit created especially for MR PORTER by Aēsop will work wonders to freshen me up. And for some much-needed comfort and warmth, slipping on a pair of James Perse sweatpants will also help me recover post work-out.”

“It can be tricky to find sportswear that doesn’t look a little too… ‘sporty’. Think: huge sponsor logos, garish colours and names that include one or more of the words ‘Blade’, ‘Stealth’ and ‘Hyper’. All these bells and whistles do is imply a degree of sporting prowess that I’m just not capable of backing up. That’s why I love Iffley Road. The brand’s named after the Oxford track at which Sir Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile more than six decades ago, and its unfussy sportswear seems to hark back to a time when men were men, and running was a case of putting one foot in front of the other and just bloody well getting on with it.”

“I like to go to the gym during my lunch break, so after all that exertion I need to have everything at my disposal to look and feel my best for the office. First off, a good pair of sweatpants – such as these from Acne Studios – is what I want to wear for my work-out, and this sweater is something I could keep on at my desk. A fragrance from my favourite grooming brand applies the finishing touches.”

“Cleanliness is next to godliness – so packing a fresh pair of briefs and socks is a must for the gym. I like high-intensity strength classes, which can involve lots of uncompromising movement, so these Derek Rose briefs will prevent any unsightly happenings mid-lunge, and the Falke ankle socks provide extra comfort and support in my Nikes. All this is irrelevant, however, if I can’t actually motivate myself. Feather light and fitting securely on the ear – B&O Play make the perfect headphones for music-filled core and cardio-based work-outs.”

Illustrations by Mr Joe McKendry