I Practically Live in This Viral Workout Dress That's Perfect for Everything From Long Runs to Long Weekends

I own three colors.

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Shape Certified Workout Dress
Courtesy of Outdoor Voices.

I’ll admit it, I was influenced. Marketers marketed, and between Instagram posts and advertisements, I found myself at Outdoor Voices ready to buy the brand’s viral Exercise Dress. Mind you, this was over four years ago, and I’ve since returned to the store on two other occasions to buy — yes — new colorways of the exact same dress.

In my mind, I was buying the dress for the aesthetic (sorry, Shape readers), a cute athletic look for days where my workout wasn’t anything more than a walk to the local coffee shop. But very quickly, I realized the Exercise Dress was more than just a weekend staple — though it was that too — as I slipped it on for everything from long runs and barre classes to tennis matches.

Outdoor Voices Exercise Dress Key Features

How I Tested: I have owned three Exercise Dresses over the last four years, wearing them for runs, long walks, barre classes, and tennis matches.

Perfect for: I love this dress for summer runs, where I want something super minimal to keep me cool, as well as recreational tennis matches, as it allows for easy movement while the pockets can hold tennis balls.

What you’ll love: The dress offers a touch of compression, giving it an ultra-flattering fit, is lightweight and fast-drying, and features built-in shorts that allow you to be active in it.

Keep in mind: The shorts are attached, so to go to the bathroom the dress — like a jumpsuit — has to come completely off (IMO, the only downside).

Shape Certified Workout Dress
Courtesy of Outdoor Voices.

Buy It: Outdoor Voices Exercise Dress, $100, outdoorvoices.com

Outdoor Voices Exercise Dress Review

You know something’s good when you go back for more. After wearing my first Exercise Dress thin — two years of almost-weekly wear caused the material around the straps to start coming undone — I went back to the store where I repurchased the same dress in a new color. And just a few months later, I grabbed a limited-edition pattern before it sold out, both of which are still in constant rotation.

This dress is made out of a super lightweight, quick-drying blend of spandex and nylon. It has enough stretch that you can comfortably pull it on while being compressive enough that my chest doesn’t feel unsupported even on runs. One of my favorite features is the built-in shorts, which feature pockets on both legs. In the past few years, the brand added “sticky grippers” to the inside of them to keep the shorts in place, even during high-impact movement.

I know some people might think running in a dress would look silly, but I love this pick for just that. It’s super breathable and airy, and the shorts stay in place while providing me a place to store both my phone and keys. Because I have larger thighs, I’m really not a fan of traditional running shorts, which often lean incredibly short, leaving me worried that I’m flashing passing cars. This provides coverage and a little extra length and reduces friction (and the accompanying discomfort) between the thighs.

But perhaps most importantly — and why I keep buying more — is that I’m obsessed with the versatility of this piece. While yes, it’s — as the name implies — designed for exercise, I can’t help but wear it well outside of athletic activities. This is something I put on all summer long, from weekend lunches to picnics to street festivals (and, admittedly, I’ve even worn it to bars). It’s an everyday, every activity essential. Trust me when I say, once you grab Outdoor Voices’ Exercise Dress, you may never want to wear traditional athletic apparel again.

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