7 Steps to Curating the Perfect Gym Bag with EVERY Base Covered

I’d tried everything. The nylon totes un-precious enough to toss sweaty gear in, the fancy bags in sizes so huge you could fit a small to medium sized dog. And yet still, my efforts to leave the house with one bag, ready to take me from work to the gym and even back again, have failed me time and time again. Sure, it’s what one may call a princess problem–not pressing by any real standards, but the fact is, buying your eighth mini deodorant in a month is a pain. So, when I set out on my Detox Diaries adventure, I decided to create the perfect gym bag–one fit for, well a princess.

Here’s what it takes:

1. Amped up tech-cessories and hydration. I’m unaware of brand that makes a more perfect water bottle than S’well (and trust, I’ve tried many). A S’well bottle keeps your water cold for 24 hours, or your tea hot for 12. Not to mention the sleek design. I packed a mini in one of their new styles, Blanc Crocodile.

And I’m just a little obsessed with those Frends mini headphones with their mother-of-pearl design and white leather. Small enough for the gym, stylish enough for the streets.

2. The right undies. Because sweaty cotton is never chic. As we would only wear the best wicking-fabric leggings to spin in, I deemed undergarments step up to the same level, and while a few sportswear brands make “workout undies,” nothing is quite on the level of Dear Kates, a supercool by-women-for-women brand. Find the Hazel Sport Thong here.

dear kates

3. And socks. Because it’s the little things. As mentioned, I’d made Exhale’s Central Park South location my haven, so naturally I picked their special edition breast cancer month barre socks, with $2.00 from every purchase going to breast cancer research to “sock it to cancer!” 

dear kates eve lom.

In the spirit of giving back, I kept all my socks philanthropic thanks to Bombas, a sock company I recently discovered and fell in love with. Bombas works with a 1:1 model with nonprofit Hannah’s Socks to donate a pair for each pair purchased, because, little did I know, that “socks are the number one most requested clothing item at homeless shelters.” But they also pack a high-quality punch for fitness-snobs–special blister tabs, which I’ve learned the hard way are a necessity. Try their ankle socks, you won’t regret it. You can see my pink ones peeking out of my tote.

4. Someplace organized for those sweaty unmentionables. Curating a super gym bag is all about efficiency. Travel brand Flight 001 makes it easy with their gym gear bag. It looks like a simple pouch, until you unzip and discover a lightweight backpack with individual compartments for your sneaks and more.

closeup gbe

5. Your own personal glamsquad/dermatologist. (In a perfect pouch, of course.) Sweat can lead to skin imperfections which makes for a very unglamorous and unwanted side effect to your hard work kicking-ass at the barre, on the bike, or wherever (you do you). 

The first thing your power-pouch calls for is excellent skincare, always and forever one of my favorite categories. 

The first necessity is Jillian Wright’s new Breakout Blocker. Breakout Blocker helps to reduce redness and bacteria build up with probiotics, Chinese Herbs and tea tree oil. It’s light weight and absorbent so you don’t feel slick or overly greasy after a strenuous workout. It’s non-irritating and helps brighten your skin with plant-based brighteners.

exhale bag  eve lom travel

Eve Lom’s minis, sold in a travel set, are truly compact and make sure the sweat is washed away even in the least glamorous of locker rooms.

malin : mio

The nicest, freshest smelling (eucalyptus!) , and natural (no aluminum here) deodorant via apothecary-chic brand Malin + Goetz and Mio’s Workout Wonder cooling cream for aching muscles if you’ve pushed yourself extra hard–or just ’cause.

6. Emergency hair touchups via Drybar. I picked the appropriately named Detox dry shampoo in it’s mini form, and an adorable yellow mini-brush (for those times when your sweaty hair is really just unpresentable), but a fuller set (with shampoo + conditioner) can be found here.

7. And–pictured above–the best facial wipes in existence via Koh Gen Do for a luxe refresh or just a rush out the door & Tata Harper’s new lip/blush double for a very quick dab of color.

Did you get all that? When I was finally done collecting (I’d gotten very excited and stowed everything away until I was sure the collection was complete) I have to say, I was pretty self-satisfied. This collection truly covers all your bases. Go forth and sweat, pretty lil things.

Read more of the Detox Diaries here.

New Charity-Minded Sock Company Bombas Picks Up Where Warby Parker, TOMS Leave Off

As Scottish philosopher/economist Adam Smith explained more than two centuries ago, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest." This means that charity isn’t much of a factor in capitalism. It’s all about taking care of your needs by making the necessary trades of products, labor, and capital with others who are taking care of their needs. Why, then, have companies like TOMS shoes and Warby Parker eyewear succeeded when they give away half of what they make? Through their "one for one" programs, every pair of shoes or eyeglasses purchased results in a comparable pair of shoes or eyeglasses given to people in need around the world. And now there’s Bombas, a new sock company that’s following the same business model, sending a pair of socks to a person in need with every traditional purchase. What would Adam Smith think? 

I think he’d be cool with it, because the idea doesn’t really mitigate his theory of rational self interest. As any Econ 101 student can tell you, charity’s not a one-sided transaction. Whether you drop a quarter into a homeless person’s tin cup or a quarter-million to fund an inner-city art museum, you’re purchasing the warm feelings that go along with your benevolence. TOMS, Warby Parker, and now Bombas are using charity to differentiate themselves from the many other companies that do what they do. They sell shoes, eyeglasses, and socks, as well as the satisfaction that comes with knowing you’ve helped someone, somewhere. And they add a tangible element to the deal. While you wiggle your toes or scrunch your nose and admire your new purchase, it’s easy to imagine some poor kid doing the exact same thing, and probably feeling twice as happy about it. 

As for Bombas, the company is the brainchild of David Heath and Randy Goldberg who, along with their business partners, did a bit of research and discovered that socks were the number one most requested clothing item in homeless shelters. Armed with that knowledge, they designed a line of bumblebee-adorned socks (Bombas is derived from the Latin word for bumblebee) that are stylish, high-tech, and comfortable, and committed to the one pair purchased = one pair donated philosophy. (Scroll down to the video below for details.)

I’ll let the sock experts weigh in on their quality, which involves a honeycomb support system, seamless toe, and Y-stitched heel, among other 21st Century sock innovations. All I know is that they’re extremely comfortable, allowing me to complete a serious run in Prospect Park yesterday even though I was hung over. So, benevolence aside, they’re very good socks, and they don’t cost any more than other high-performance socks. You can get a starter pack of three pairs, plus three pairs donated, for $24. 

But is the charitable element a way to make Bombas stand out from its competitors? Well, yes, but it’s not just that. Heath and Goldberg do care about the less fortunate, and clearly enjoy being able to help in their way. And with backgrounds in some of the most successful tech companies New York has produced in the past decade, they could have taken more traditional career paths involving the standard dealmaking so many contend with every day to make a living. Instead, they sell socks, and they help poor people, and they use one to aid the other. Try as I might, I can’t find a problem with that. 

And so we’ve got a world of poor people wearing designer eyeglasses, high-performance socks, and stylish shoes. Anybody out there care to complete the ensemble? Underwear, pants, and shirt-makers, I’m looking at you. 

[Bombas Socks Official Site; More by Victor Ozols; Follow me on Twitter]