The problem with living in workout clothes is that after a while, every other piece of clothing you own starts to seem REALLY uncomfortable by comparison. Jeans? Even comfy pairs seem awful compared to leggings. Underwire bras? Forget about it. When it’s frowned upon for me to show up somewhere in my usual gym fare, I’m still constantly looking for ways to sneak my workout gear into my “normal” outfits.
Styles like these go a step further. They’re not actually made for working out, but they’re made out of the same luxe, athletic fabrics I love to wear. That means I get the stretchy goodness without getting the funny and/or judgmental stares. Another bonus: styles that blur the line between gym and street make shopping way easier for us sporty types. The fact that I can just buy all my “regular” clothes from the same places I get my activewear is way more convenient and a lot less overwhelming. Plus, it’s made my wardrobe more cohesive: getting dressed is easier when almost everything goes together. Honestly, I’ve almost completely stopped buying clothes from traditional fashion brands at this point for those reasons. These styles from Carbon38 are the latest additions to my “all of this is secretly workout clothes” wardrobe.
Disclosure: the dress and blazer were gifted to me from Carbon38 (the boots and bag came from my closet). All content and opinions are my own.
The gallium blazer from Carbon38’s in-house label is a stretchy, incredibly silky blend of polyester and spandex. The look of the fabric is quite polished; no one would ever guess it’s workout material. The fabric is substantial, not paper-thin, but because it’s a stretch blend it does not have the same structure of a traditional blazer. Mine is a size XS, but a smaller size also would’ve worked if it were available. I suggest taking your true size, or the smaller size if you’re in between.
There’s a zipper detail around the middle for an edgier twist on the basic blazer. You can actually zip the whole lower piece off for a cropped look. Because of the zipper detail, there isn’t a button closure.
My new marble Balsa bag happened to be an awesome addition to this outfit, since it kept the theme of (mostly) monochrome and sophisticated-meets-sporty. If you want to see more of this bag, I wrote a full post on it here.
The mold dress by Koral is a fitted, sexier style. I got a size XS and it’s quite fitted on me (I normally wear XXS/XS or street size 00/0). If you’re in doubt about which size to choose, or if you’d just like a little more room to breathe, I suggest sizing up.
The jacquard fabric is a textured knit (rather than printed) and is quite thick. Although it’s very form-fitting, the substantial nature of the fabric makes the dress pretty forgiving, unlike what you might be used to with its cotton counterparts. The mold dress is basically the sporty equivalent of a bandage dress.
The model on Carbon38’s website is 5’7″ and it’s quite short on her, but since I’m only 5’3″ I expected it to be longer on me when I got it. I was surprised to find that when I put it on, it ended up being about the same length on me as it is on the model. C38 notes that she’s wearing a size small versus my XS, so you might get a little extra length as you go up in size. The moral of the story, though, is that you should expect this dress to be quite short. Personally, I prefer to wear leggings underneath to make this decent for polite company.
The high neck helps to balance the short hem, and the racerback cut shows off the hard work you’ve been putting in on your back and shoulders. The cut also tends to emphasize the hips. If you want to downplay that area, this might not be the dress for you. But if you want to embrace and emphasize your curves, then go for it. Overall, if you want to look sporty, sexy, and strong all at once, this dress will be your jam.
By the way, Carbon38 just recently added the magnify dress by Koral, a similar style made of the same jacquard fabric. One key difference is that it appears to be a bit longer, making it a good alternative if you’re taller or just want a couple more inches of coverage.
Also: I just have to take a moment to gush over these boots. They’re Stuart Weitzman’s iconic highland boot, which every fashionista and their dog is pretty much obsessed with, myself included. The slim silhouette is perfect for petite ladies like me–it lengthens everything and works for my proportions. Because of my smaller legs, a lot of boots tend to make me look like a swashbuckler, but definitely not these.
Some people might say not to pair OTK boots with a high hemline. Some people also say that petite women shouldn’t wear OTK boots. On all counts, I have to disagree. :)
I’ve been a diehard OTK fan ever since they solidly came onto the fashion scene circa 2009. I fell in love with the highlands in particular this past fall (how they weren’t on my wishlist sooner, I don’t know) and was pining after them something fierce. I decided to try to assuage the obsession by trying a few pairs on. Thanks to my try-on session, my boyfriend decided he loved bordeaux on me and later got them for me as a birthday present. Since I wear a lot of neutrals, the deep wine shade is the perfect statement-making accent. Next on my wishlist: topo suede and nero leather. (I can dream, can’t I?)