Sportswear vs. Activewear – what’s the difference?

Sportswear vs. activewear – what’s the difference?

We’ve all heard and used the terms sportswear and activewear, but how do we navigate between the two and what are their key differences?

Let’s find out below.


Sportswear and Activewear defined:

Oxford Dictionary defines sportswear as ‘clothes worn for sport or for casual outdoor use’ and activewear as ‘casual, comfortable clothing suitable for sport or exercise’.

Here at YANA, we like to think that sportswear is clothing designed for specific sports, whereas activewear are clothes designed for you to wear when you are keeping active. 

When we say active, we don’t just mean exercising, we mean being active in life, in work, in your community, an active lifestyle, mindset and being socially involved; clothing that suits the multifunctionality surrounding life, your daily schedule and activities planned.

What would you consider activewear pieces of clothing?

YANA Active wear was designed with multifunctionality in mind. The idea of heading to a yoga class, followed by a coffee with friends and a trip to the shops; or working from home all day in comfortable activewear, heading to pick the children up from school and then attending a high intensity gym class. All of YANA’s activewear is designed with functionality, comfort and sustainability in mind, to make going about your day’s tasks effortless.

YANA Active

Why wear activewear over other clothing?


Activewear is designed to be put to the test, the fabrics used are often lightweight and breathable, making them highly durable. The level of elasticity in activewear fabrics helps to retain their shape and elasticity which makes them perfect for frequent and daily use. 


One of the main properties of activewear clothing is that is allows for movement and therefore the materials used should allow your body to move and stretch however you need to.  


Activewear has increased in popularity over the past ten years and traditional fashion garments (such as jeans) have been replaced with garments such as leggings and other stretch-wear garments, mainly due to their comfort but also due to fashion styles changing. Many people use activewear in their everyday wardrobe – it’s become a fashion staple in wardrobes around the world.  


Activewear garments are usually made from moisture-wicking & breathable fabrics which allows for moisture to be drawn to the exterior of the fabric (when you’re being active) and then makes it easier to evaporate.

YANA Active

What fabrics are activewear garments usually made from?

There are two main types of fibres: Synthetic and Natural.

Synthetic fibres are man-made textile fibres and Natural fibres come from nature!

Examples of Synthetic Fibres:

  • Polyester – stretchy, sweat-wicking and smooth on the skin
  • Nylon – long-lasting fibre with a low moisture absorbency allowing it to be fast drying
  • Lycra – often used in underwear, dancewear, swimwear and activewear, it’s super stretchy and can be mixed with other synthetics to provide support where required.

Examples of Natural Fibres:

  • Cotton – soft and durable, but also absorbent. Cotton is often blended with other fibres to reduce the level of absorbency (you wouldn’t want to work out in a full cotton outfit as it would be soaking by the time you had finished!).
  • Bamboo – very soft and anti-microbial. Bamboo grows extremely quickly, making it a sustainable, natural product.
  • Wool – breathable and offers moisture protection, also great for regulating body heat.


Which pieces of activewear are a ‘must-have’?

Squat proof leggings – these are a must. YANA™ was founded by women who know how frustrating it is to find a great looking pair of leggings only later to realise they are see-through. That’s why all of our leggings use fabrics that are squat proof to allow you to get on with your day without showing the world your underwear!

YANA Active

Sweat/moisture-wicking garments: wearing garments with these properties may help you to work out more efficiently as your body is able to cool down and not be weighed down by sweat.

Supportive bra/crop top: According to the NHS, Breast Cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK and 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime and according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation 4 out of 5 women are wearing the wrong size bra. Your breasts can move up and down by up to 8.5cm during exercise so it’s important to have the right support and the right bra to protect your breasts. Read more on this topic in our ‘Your Bra Holds More Than You Know' blog.

YANA Active


How do I choose the activewear that is right for me?

When it comes to choosing activewear, it all comes down to personal preference. Some women prefer long leggings, others prefer ¾’s or shorts, some women prefer crossover bras and others prefer racer-back. It is entirely your choice and only you will know what feels right. Here’s a few helpful tips for you to consider before buying:

Try activewear on:

If at all possible, try the activewear on, see how it feels against your skin, how it sits on your body – jump around a little, do you feel supported? At YANA, we're always here to help, if you purchase activewear from us and it's not the right fit, you can exchange it and we will exchange garments or refund if they are not right for you! 

Does it make you feel good?

Are the activewear garments comfortable? If they’re not, you’re wearing the wrong ones! Don’t be afraid to navigate between sizes to get the garment that feels right for you; different brands often have slightly different sizes. And most important, do the clothes make you feel empowered? Do they make you feel like you could smash a workout, without worrying about what you’re wearing?

Do you trust the brand you’re buying from?

It’s well known that the fashion industry has had a catastrophic impact on the environment due to fast-fashion garments filling up landfills and causing pollution in our oceans, so do you trust the brand you’re buying from? Do they tell you where they manufacture their activewear? Do they use sustainable or natural materials? Are the garments high-quality and durable? Do they do more to support you as a customer, for instance provide you educational and interesting content? Do they support local charities and their local community? There’s a lot for you as a consumer to consider when purchasing products that go beyond what you wear.



A few final thoughts

Activewear pieces that look good and feel good, will help you to feel empowered. Remember when you were younger, and you used to get a new shoes and you couldn’t wait to get to school to show them off? Activewear is the same, it should make you feel so confident and empowered that you can’t wait to show the world your favourite pieces!  Hopefully our blog piece has helped answer some key questions around activewear, but if you have any other questions or comments, please leave them in the comment box below.


See you next time, Everyday Warriors!


Love, YANA x






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