For most of us, buying sportswear involves trying on too many items of clothing that look nice but perhaps don't suit our bodies, or else we struggle to find the perfect fit for a particular style of exercise.
Whether it's a top that doesn't ride up or running shorts with pockets, buying sportswear can be more challenging than regular clothes.
Lorna Jane, an Australian brand that until recently had only expanded to the US, has arrived in Dubai.
The brand prides itself on its client relationships, finding the clothes, styles, colours and fit to suit any body and for any exercise - even for simple, casual wear.
Kerrie Alder, the brand's founder, says the aim is to appeal to local women, bringing that feeling of personal shopping to help encourage them to become more active while wearing clothes that suit them.
"I like to get an idea of my client and see what they like wearing, the colours, the styles, what kinds of sport they do," she says. "What a lot of the local women haven't experienced is that when you wear good workout wear, you look good and feel better so you work out harder. The philosophy of the brand is 'move, nourish, believe' and we just want to encourage women to move, even if that means you take a coffee and walk around Safa Park."
The brand ambassador Derryn Brown, a fitness model and athlete who trains many local women including members of the royal family, has seen how the right clothes can inspire women. "You see that difference in their training. They almost feel they can do more difficult things because they're feeling more confident."
Dr Caren Diehl, Dubai's first licensed sports psychologist, based at the Up and Running clinic in Dubai, says well-fitting clothes immediately instil confidence: "Clothes invade the body and brain, putting the wearer into a different psychological state."
She says if a person is confident and happy, performance will improve. "If you wear a gym outfit that you feel attractive and confident in, you are more likely to go to the gym and work out a lot harder."
Brown agrees: "Gone are the days of wearing oversized T-shirts with holes in [them]. I used to do that but certain clothes can make it look like you've lost 10 kilos."
Tried and tested
For me, shopping for sportswear is usually a headache. I try on about 50 items only to walk away with about three. It's a hot and frustrating job but one that must be done fairly regularly when you work out a lot.
I have never been into a shop where I have received such one-on-one attention. I was quizzed about what exercise I do, which colours I usually wear and what items and styles I prefer.
Lorna Jane's range has something for everyone, whether it's neon colours or "please don't look at me" blacks and greys, clothes that cover you in the right places or those that highlight bodies that deserve to be shown off. If you do yoga or Pilates, there are tops and bottoms with no zips or toggles at the back to ensure that when you lay on your back, nothing digs in. Other tops for high-intensity cardiovascular training have toggles at the side to ensure that nothing flies up.
My favourite has to be the flattering core support leggings, which do a fabulous job of holding everything in just where we ladies need it.
The fabrics are beautiful and bright. I've been donning the casual wear all the time, too. One long-sleeved jumper dress is so versatile that one night I wore it out with high heels while on another, I popped it over a pair of jeans.
Lorna Jane is located in J3 Mall on Al Wasl Road in Dubai. For more information, call 04 388 3006 or visit www.lornajane.com.au