New year, new clothes, fresh start, but those extra holiday party pounds hang on. It's the week resolutions will start to weaken without some serious steps to get in shape. Here's a step in the right direction: Go shopping and invest in some seriously stylish workout wear.
Not for you? You're the natural woman who wears baggy sweats and shorts proudly. You're the one who scoffs at the brigade of pert figures in their perky exercise togs. Get real. You know in your heart you'd be covered in stretch if you thought you could get away with it.
The new fibers stretch both ways -- yes they hug the body and reveal, but are powerful enough to shape, hold and lift. You know that firmer feeling you get from stockings with extra support, well think of that smoother, toned feeling all over, with the jiggle tamed as you hop to the exercise program. It's an illusion of fitness until the real body emerges.
The next best news is fabric texture. There is no rule that exercise wear has to be shiny, although metallics in shades of silver, gold and pewter are very hot. Power fibers can be disguised as suedes, velvets, laces and even wholesome cotton for the demure.
Think cover-ups; designers do. Budget lines at the discount hosiery outlets and famous label collections include oversize T-shirts and wrap tops to disguise a midsection. Try not to hide under that big top too long. We know what you're doing.
The midriff-baring, thigh-high thongs are still around for women who dare, but the stylishly sleek are going for more coverage. Exercise wear manufacturers are borrowing ideas from high-fashion runways and the slimming lines of the unitard can go to the gym or under a longer jacket.
And gym shops have fashion touches seen in dressier stores -- there are color blocks, contrast trims, lace inserts, earth colors and flower-power prints.
You can look cool in gray, bad in black or pretty in pink.
The right clothes will get you moving.
Try your exercise clothes out for size at home. Here are some of the fastest moving videos, according to store managers at Herman's Sporting Goods, Sam Goody Musicland and Blockbuster Video.
* TONETICS. Produced by Cosmopolitan, this aerobic workout is Adesigned to tone the stomach, thighs, hips, and to firm the bust. $12.99.
* AEROBICS LITE. Also a Cosmopolitan video, Lite features low impact, less strenuous aerobics led by supermodel Carol Alt. $12.99.
* CATHY SMITH'S WINNING WORKOUT. This workout, which promises, "12 weeks to a better body," features weight training as well as aerobics and a program for general toning. $14.99.
* JANE FONDA'S LOW IMPACT AEROBIC WORKOUT. This gentle Fonda program is designed to improve cardiovascular condition and increase flexibility. $32.99.
* CHER FITNESS. Cher shows how to reshape hips, buttocks and thighs with a step workout for body shaping and an aerobic workout to improve abdominal and back tone. $21.99.
* SWEATING TO THE OLDIES. Richard Simmons pep talks you through muscle toning. $21.99.