Workout Dresses Are Your Sleeper Summer Wardrobe Hit — Here’s Why

·5 min read

If 2020 taught us anything, it's that fitness clothes are suitable for much more than working up a sweat. (Raise your hand if you too lived in leggings last year.) One such article of clothing that deserves an extra-special shoutout is the famed workout dress. Equal parts form and function, the easy, breezy one-piece allows you to live your best Sporty Spice fantasy while also being practical enough to actually exercise in.

While workout dresses are nothing new, brands like Outdoor Voices and Girlfriend Collective have done a lot to make the garment a sudden must-have for those of us who don't play tennis. The new crop of workout dresses combines performance-focused design with on-trend silhouettes and cuts. (After all, no pants and soft, stretchy fabric? What's not to love?) Ahead, scope out the best barely-there styles to live in this summer and beyond.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

<h2>Best Overall<br></h2><br><h3>Outdoor Voices Exercise Dress<br></h3><br>A modern classic reimagined in various prints and colors, OV's sleek, body-skimming Exercise Dress has won over a legion of fans thanks to its light-as-air feel and built-in shorts.<br><br><strong>What They're Saying:</strong> "This dress is THE BEST! I ordered it not knowing if I’d ever wear it, but I literally can’t stop wearing it. The straps are comfortable, the built-in spandex and sports bra aren’t too tight, and the material is super soft. I want this dress in every color!"<br><br><strong>Outdoor Voices</strong> The Exercise Dress, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.outdoorvoices.com%2Fproducts%2Fw-The-Exercise-Dress%3Fvariant%3D39382720151630" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Outdoor Voices" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Outdoor Voices</a>

Best Overall


Outdoor Voices Exercise Dress


A modern classic reimagined in various prints and colors, OV's sleek, body-skimming Exercise Dress has won over a legion of fans thanks to its light-as-air feel and built-in shorts.

What They're Saying: "This dress is THE BEST! I ordered it not knowing if I’d ever wear it, but I literally can’t stop wearing it. The straps are comfortable, the built-in spandex and sports bra aren’t too tight, and the material is super soft. I want this dress in every color!"

Outdoor Voices The Exercise Dress, $, available at Outdoor Voices
<h2>Best Sustainable<br></h2><br><h3>Girlfriend Collective Sea Glass Undress<br></h3><br>This eco-option is made with 90% recycled plastic bottles (RPET) and 10% spandex — and features some of the most stylish colorways we've seen in a minute. (No wonder it's nearly sold out!)<br><br><strong>What They're Saying:</strong> "This has become my go-to summer dress. It’s perfect for date nights or running around town. I love to pair it with a denim jacket and sneakers. It is so comfortable and the Float material is great at absorbing sweat on hot days."<br><br><strong>Girlfriend Collective</strong> Sea Glass Undress, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.girlfriend.com%2Fcollections%2Funitards-dresses%2Fproducts%2Fsea-glass-undress%3Fvariant%3D39281862770751" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Girlfriend Collective" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Girlfriend Collective</a>

Best Sustainable


Girlfriend Collective Sea Glass Undress


This eco-option is made with 90% recycled plastic bottles (RPET) and 10% spandex — and features some of the most stylish colorways we've seen in a minute. (No wonder it's nearly sold out!)

What They're Saying: "This has become my go-to summer dress. It’s perfect for date nights or running around town. I love to pair it with a denim jacket and sneakers. It is so comfortable and the Float material is great at absorbing sweat on hot days."

Girlfriend Collective Sea Glass Undress, $, available at Girlfriend Collective
<h2>Best Compression</h2><br><h3>Outdoor Voices Athena Dress<br></h3><br>Inspired by the brand's fan-favorite <a href="https://www.outdoorvoices.com/products/w-Athena-Crop-Top?variant=32802259927118" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Athena Crop" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Athena Crop</a>, this <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2021/03/10390416/outdoor-voices-athena-dress-review" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:high-neck variation" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">high-neck variation</a> also featured OV's signature textured compression fabric for extra support.<br><br><strong>What They're Saying:</strong> "Buy this immediately. The fit is so flattering and the high neck gives great support! I actually prefer this over the OG OV dress. I am a pilot and it's my favorite attire to fly in! Someone asked me if I was going to play tennis after my flight to which I responded, 'No, don't you know you can do anything in a dress?'"<br><br><strong>Outdoor Voices</strong> Athena Dress, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.outdoorvoices.com%2Fproducts%2Fw-athena-dress%3Fvariant%3D39257645547598" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Outdoor Voices" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Outdoor Voices</a>

Best Compression


Outdoor Voices Athena Dress


Inspired by the brand's fan-favorite Athena Crop, this high-neck variation also featured OV's signature textured compression fabric for extra support.

What They're Saying: "Buy this immediately. The fit is so flattering and the high neck gives great support! I actually prefer this over the OG OV dress. I am a pilot and it's my favorite attire to fly in! Someone asked me if I was going to play tennis after my flight to which I responded, 'No, don't you know you can do anything in a dress?'"

Outdoor Voices Athena Dress, $, available at Outdoor Voices
<h2>Best Luxe<br></h2><br><h3>Lululemon Serene Stride Dress<br></h3><br>Lululemon's fit-and-flare number has hidden bike shorts — with pockets! — to hold small essentials while you keep busy (in the immortal words of Fergie) workin' on your fitness.<br><br><strong>What They're Saying:</strong> "Dual usage for running and as a cute casual dress. You can see the shorts below the skirt, but I don’t mind that, leaves less for others to imagine. The phone pocket is handy and the flouncy skirt covers any bulge from the phone. Material is nice and cool and kept me more comfortable on a four-mile run in hot summer weather. Never thought I’d buy a running dress but I really like it!"<br><br><strong>Lululemon</strong> Serene Stride Dress, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fshop.lululemon.com%2Fp%2Fskirts-and-dresses-dresses%2FSerene-Stride-Dress%2F_%2Fprod9370243%3Fcolor%3D0001" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Lululemon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Lululemon</a>

Best Luxe


Lululemon Serene Stride Dress


Lululemon's fit-and-flare number has hidden bike shorts — with pockets! — to hold small essentials while you keep busy (in the immortal words of Fergie) workin' on your fitness.

What They're Saying: "Dual usage for running and as a cute casual dress. You can see the shorts below the skirt, but I don’t mind that, leaves less for others to imagine. The phone pocket is handy and the flouncy skirt covers any bulge from the phone. Material is nice and cool and kept me more comfortable on a four-mile run in hot summer weather. Never thought I’d buy a running dress but I really like it!"

Lululemon Serene Stride Dress, $, available at Lululemon
<h2>Best For Errands<br></h2><br><h3>Nike Bliss Luxe Training Dress<br></h3><br>Featuring a wide scoop-neck and built-in bodysuit, this sweat-wicking dress is perfect for brunch, spin class, and your weekly Trader Joe's run.<br><br><strong>What They're Saying:</strong> "This is the perfect all-around dress for leisure, hiking, tennis, and more! It’s very comfy and light while being very flattering. I bought it in three colors, and even a couple of friends bought this dress after seeing mine!"<br><br><strong>Nike</strong> Bliss Luxe Training Dress, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nordstrom.com%2Fs%2Fnike-bliss-luxe-training-dress%2F5676530%3F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Nordstrom" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Nordstrom</a>

Best For Errands


Nike Bliss Luxe Training Dress


Featuring a wide scoop-neck and built-in bodysuit, this sweat-wicking dress is perfect for brunch, spin class, and your weekly Trader Joe's run.

What They're Saying: "This is the perfect all-around dress for leisure, hiking, tennis, and more! It’s very comfy and light while being very flattering. I bought it in three colors, and even a couple of friends bought this dress after seeing mine!"

Nike Bliss Luxe Training Dress, $, available at Nordstrom
<h2>Best Affordable<br></h2><br><h3>Old Navy Sleeveless PowerSoft Performance Racer-Back Swing Dress<br></h3><br>Camo print meets cool with this racerback A-line dress with extra stretch. (In other words, you won't want to take it off.)<br><br><strong>What They're Saying:</strong> "This doesn't have the built-in shorts like other brands' version of this dress, but I almost like that better for bathroom purposes. Probably will be purchasing a second one because I could wear this every day."<br><br><strong>Old Navy</strong> Sleeveless PowerSoft Performance Racer-Back Swing Dress, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Foldnavy.gap.com%2Fbrowse%2Fproduct.do%3Fpid%3D691779002%26pcid%3D999%26vid%3D1%23pdp-page-content" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Old Navy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Old Navy</a>

Best Affordable


Old Navy Sleeveless PowerSoft Performance Racer-Back Swing Dress


Camo print meets cool with this racerback A-line dress with extra stretch. (In other words, you won't want to take it off.)

What They're Saying: "This doesn't have the built-in shorts like other brands' version of this dress, but I almost like that better for bathroom purposes. Probably will be purchasing a second one because I could wear this every day."

Old Navy Sleeveless PowerSoft Performance Racer-Back Swing Dress, $, available at Old Navy
<h2>Best Comfort<br></h2><br><h3>Beyond Yoga Spacedye Move It Dress<br></h3><br>Beyond Yoga is known for its deliciously soft fabric choices, making this dress one of the most comfortable options for chic lounging.<br><br><strong>What They're Saying:</strong> "Absolutely in love with this! I plan to wear it all summer. Built-in bra, compression shorts, super soft fabric - so comfy and cute. What's not to love, it's like a romper and yoga pants had a baby. The only thing it's missing is pockets."<br><br><strong>Beyond Yoga</strong> Spacedye Move It Dress, $, available at <a href="https://go.skimresources.com/?id=30283X879131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbeyondyoga.com%2Fproducts%2Fspacedye-move-it-dress-nocturnal-navy-sd6141%3Fvariant%3D32567526424675" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Beyond Yoga" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Beyond Yoga</a>

Best Comfort


Beyond Yoga Spacedye Move It Dress


Beyond Yoga is known for its deliciously soft fabric choices, making this dress one of the most comfortable options for chic lounging.

What They're Saying: "Absolutely in love with this! I plan to wear it all summer. Built-in bra, compression shorts, super soft fabric - so comfy and cute. What's not to love, it's like a romper and yoga pants had a baby. The only thing it's missing is pockets."

Beyond Yoga Spacedye Move It Dress, $, available at Beyond Yoga
<h2>Best For Golfing</h2><br><h3>Baleaf Tennis Golf Dress UPF 50+ Sleeveless with Inner Shorts<br></h3><br>Hit the links in style with this golf-inspired dress, featuring a sporty half-zip and accent stripes.<br><br><strong>What They're Saying:</strong> "Very happy with this dress. The preppy details are adorable and it’s lightweight and breathable. The length was perfect on me, it fits above the knee without being too short. (I wear with or without shorts under). Can wear for sports or as a casual staple."<br><br><strong>Baleaf</strong> Tennis Golf Dress UPF 50+ Sleeveless with Inner Shorts, $, available at <a href="https://amzn.to/3itZPLs" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Amazon" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Amazon</a>

Best For Golfing


Baleaf Tennis Golf Dress UPF 50+ Sleeveless with Inner Shorts


Hit the links in style with this golf-inspired dress, featuring a sporty half-zip and accent stripes.

What They're Saying: "Very happy with this dress. The preppy details are adorable and it’s lightweight and breathable. The length was perfect on me, it fits above the knee without being too short. (I wear with or without shorts under). Can wear for sports or as a casual staple."

Baleaf Tennis Golf Dress UPF 50+ Sleeveless with Inner Shorts, $, available at Amazon

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