The question of our generation: To buy or not to buy new active wear?

Barbara Wilson
Mon 14 Aug

Yesterday, was the very popular annual City to Surf event; an event that was first run in 1971 with 2,000 competitions, yet now attracts over 80,000 participants every year. On a picturesque and warm winters day, we saw competitive runners, walkers, mums and bubs in prams, Paralympians and many other social groups start this event through staggered starts.

It commences in Hyde Park in Sydney’s CBD and finishes at Bondi Beach. It’s iconic, part of Sydney’s culture and definitely our fitness culture. Steve Monoghetti the only man to win this event four times, other winners include Robert de Castella, Kerryn McCann and Heather Turland.

A 14-kilometre road course labelled as a ‘fun run’ but also ‘a race!’ The anticipation is bewildering, the lead-up nerve racking, the atmosphere was electric! Competitive runners and community participants raring to go!

But what got me writing this article was the fashion behind the event. The number of people I knew who purchased new attire for the event was outstanding. They were not sponsored athletes at the front of the pack; although I am sure they had new attire too! They were mums, dads, gym friends, city workers, colleagues, mates and family members. It made me think they should run a separate segment called ‘fashion of city2surf’ similar to ‘fashion on the field.’



Some of these participants run every year - because it’s fun, some want to beat last years’ time, some are pushing the baby pram, some meet friends that they have not seen since last years event and some are giving it a go for the first time!

But the majority of these competitors were wearing newly minted attire or their personal favourites. Yes, and proudly showcased the new visor, tights, shorts, singlet, top, shoes, socks, sunnies, hair ties and even the sunscreen on social media! I loved it! The motivation, all the tough slog that went into preparing for this famous event, the exhilaration, the elation, the eagerness, intensity and emotion was being displayed with these new clothes.

I noted compression tights and arm warmers were a massive hit this year.

What was interesting were the positive affirmations and questions to these new outfits by social media friends. Comments and questions abounded like, ‘I love those floral tights’ or ‘where did you get that awesome top from? It was a combustion of energy that became a continued promotion of those very outfits.

It got me thinking - should we all be wearing gratifying and delightful attire to exercise? What do you think? Some may say, ‘you sweat, you smell after a session and it’s too expensive.’ So true, I understand. But, a trendy, smart piece of fitness attire gives you positivity! Its bright, it’s new, it says look at me!

If the answer is still no, then why did all those peeps purchase new attire for this monumental event? You may not have even been seen by anyone as you climbed heart break hill or stopped to catch your breath or were recovering from that stitch that would not go away. But, you looked great! You felt great! It inspired you! So why not buy some new exercise gear? It will remind you of the day you ran, walked, pushed, staggered, vomited, stopped and laughed in the City to Surf event.

Wearing new gym, exercise, running, yoga, sports gear makes you feel good just like exercise does. It motivates you, making you want to head out, show off and work out! Exercise becomes easier when you're excited to buy a new outfit, lay it out, pick up accessories to go with it. Who doesn’t like a new pair of Nikes? Not me, I love them. I have multiple pairs in all different colours and shades that match my gym and exercise wear when I head to the gym to instruct or train in.

If you haven’t heard it’s called ‘active wear’ now and the business is booming. People wear it to drop kids off at school, shop in it, meet friends for a casual lunch and exercise in it too. It has become a phenomenon and options are endless.



Personally, it makes me feel good and judging from the social media pics uploaded this weekend I say our City to Surf fun runners and competitors did too. You may not have won but you sure looked good whilst doing it.  It inspired you and I am sure it will become a social fixture to your exercise routine.

Whether you’re for or against the consumption of more gym attire, you must admit it does have an overall impact on your mental state and it might just give you that little extra push to start training. And isn’t that the end goal? Being fitter and feeling better?

Congratulations to Harry Summers and Celia Sullohern for winning this year's event and to all those peeps who purchased new active wear for this great Sydney event. You looked hot!


Photo credit: Salty Dingo