I always like to take a little time at the end of the year to look back at my purchases for the year and evaluate what’s really working for me. Thinking about what kind of purchases were the most valuable to me helps inform my future decisions. Not to mention, it’s just fun to look back.
Compared to previous years, I bought very little this year. Previously, many of my purchases have been stylistically motivated or based on a desire to try a new brand. This year, the vast of my purchases were needs-based with a particular function in mind where I felt I had a gap in my wardrobe that needed to be addressed. As my wardrobe has expanded and I’ve established more of my favorites, I’ve become significantly more choosy with my purchases. Fortunately, that meant I really liked basically all of my purchases this year. Still, I tried to narrow it down to the ones that were the most game changing.
With that in mind, my hall of fame this year is fairly abbreviated, since there was a smaller body of purchases to choose from. These are in no particular order.
By the way: a couple of these items were gifted to me, but I like these so much that I would have no problem paying for them out of my own pocket.
Alala siren tights
When I’m looking for a flattering pair of compressive, go-with-everything tights, these are what I’m always reaching for. After I chose this one for the list, I noticed that it’s what I wore for two of the other outfits in this post, which really just drives home the point of how frequently I like to wear them. I love the extra support they provide for running and lifting while still being plenty flexible and not constricting.
Lucas Hugh deco knit 1/3 zip
This top makes me feel like a million bucks. The fabric is incredibly comfortable, and the overall fit is so flattering. It looks different from most activewear out there, cleverly balancing an athletic, aggressive look with a sophisticated one. Also: I literally walked into a thorn bush while wearing this top and it escaped with just a couple minor snagged threads, no runs or tears. Considering how many thorns I had to pick off of me, I was impressed.
(more sizes via their UK site)
Feetures run socks
I have to be honest, spending $200 to completely revamp my sock wardrobe (to the tune of 20-something pairs) was probably better than almost any $200 purchase I spent on activewear this year. Bad socks are like bad underwear: it just has a way of making your whole experience uncomfortable. Whether you run or not, and whether you like Feetures or another brand, well-fitting socks are key. I can’t believe it took me this long to realize.
Athleta stronger hoodie
There’s something fantastic about a hoodie that both feels great and looks great. I’ve been wanting a hoodie that’s both flattering and ultra-comfortable, and Athleta checks all those boxes. Surprisingly, I get more compliments on this hoodie than just about anything else I wear.
I currently have two varieties of the stronger hoodie: the original version and the luxe stronger version. Both are fabulous and I wear them constantly. Bonus: the oatmeal color of the luxe version hides my dogs’ ever-present fur.
Caraa Sport bags
Ok I’m cheating a little bit here… I couldn’t choose between the studio bag and the dance bag for this list, so I’m lumping them together. I use my studio bag as my daily carry and a travel bag. It suits both purposes perfectly. Not to mention, I’m so glad I retired my older, more awkward bag. My dance bags (I have two colors) are one of my absolute favorites when I need a smaller bag for the gym or other outings. They are almost painfully adorable. As a bonus, both of these bags also work really well for my more petite proportions.
Tracksmith Brighton tank
This top was my top pick all summer long. It’s lightweight, crazy soft, and feels almost as good as wearing no shirt at all. Besides taking a beating on about 3847 runs this summer, I’ve taken it on multiple hikes with a backpack (aka top destroyer) and it hasn’t shown signs of pilling yet.