best of brand

The Strategist Guide to Shopping at Girlfriend Collective

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Anyone who has shopped at a retailer with few physical storefronts knows it can be hard to figure out where to begin. There are lots of options that all seem as worthy as the next, but the reality is that products from any given brand are not all created equal. When you shop as regularly as we do, you learn that many brands just do some things better than they do other things. Girlfriend Collective, with its size-inclusive athleisure sets and the leggings we’ve been obsessed with for years, is one of those brands. Its expansive inventory needs to be carefully picked through to find gems like nursing bras, unitards, and one-shoulder bikini tops. Here, we’ve compiled all of the products from Girlfriend Collective that our writers and editors — plus the personal trainers, breast-cancer survivors, and other cool people they’ve interviewed — have recommended on the Strategist.


Girlfriend Collective launched with a headline-grabbing strategy: free leggings for the cost of shipping. Six years later, the brand is a bona fide player in the athleisure space, and the leggings that started it all continue to win over fans. The comfortable fabric and light compression make them a favorite of personal trainer Tally Rye, who recommends them for studio classes. And Luster author Raven Leilani highlights their eye-catching factor: “There’s no compliment better than a compliment from another woman, and whenever I wear [these] I get the most compliments from other women.”

As a breast-cancer survivor who has undergone a mastectomy and rounds of chemotherapy and immunotherapy, health-care entrepreneur Hil Moss says that while fashion wasn’t a top concern, the right clothing (like these leggings) made the process just a bit easier. “A good pair can make all the difference,” Moss says of wearing these bottoms to lounge at home, to get chemo infusions, and during post-surgery workouts. “And I like the leggings from Girlfriend Collective because they are … insanely comfortable. I have multiple pairs in different colors — that’s how much I love them.”

Photo: retailer

GC’s maternity line has found many fans, among them developer Caláh Jones, who recommends these “easy to throw on” leggings made from recycled fishing nets. You can choose from two different inseam lengths (23.75 or 28.5 inches) to get the perfect fit.

Size inclusivity is a major pillar of GC’s mission, with offerings that begin at XXS and run through 6XL. Brand consultant and entrepreneur Megan Ixim says that “color and functionality” are strengths of the brand’s plus-size athleisure. She suggests these high-rise bike shorts, which come in 12 more colors beyond the black shown. Ixim likes to style them with the brand’s Paloma Bra (mentioned below) for “the perfect combination of cool and sophisticated.”

Photo: retailer

Photographer and style expert Marielle Elizabeth recommends this pair of bike shorts in the brand’s lightweight, quick-drying Float fabric. “The high waist means I never need to pull them up, and the length is perfect for under tunics or paired with loose tank tops,” she says, adding that, while they are cute on their own, they “work double duty as thigh-chafing protection under dresses on hot, sticky summer days.”


When it comes to favorite workout tops, model and writer Lydia Okello recommends this halter-neck bra with crisscross straps. Okello appreciates the no-brainer quality of this bra, saying, “It’s easy to toss a sweatshirt over.” The cut offers full coverage, a high neck, and ideal support for yoga and Pilates workouts.

Sometimes, putting on a sports bra has nothing to do with working out and everything to do with being comfortable. For Leilani, this U-neck racerback is her go-to for “long walks, often from Brooklyn into Manhattan.”

This bra is designed to accommodate shifting cup sizes, which makes it a comfortable choice for women who are breastfeeding, pregnant, or just like to have a bra that will adapt to the typical fluctuations that many of us experience month to month. At eight months pregnant, Jones says this bra still conforms to her body when little else fits correctly. Note that the sizing runs XXS to 6XL.

Photo: retailer

Rachel Warren, the founding instructor at Forward Space, loves this bra for medium-impact workouts like biking or boxing. She says “it features a super-low back and a minimal design” that looks good both in and outside the studio.

If you’ve been struggling to find a bra that supports large breasts comfortably, contributor Brodie Lancaster, a freelance writer who wears an F-cup, recommends this one that straddles the line between bra and bralette. “The Paloma stays put, is structural, and feels like it’s really supporting my chest without compromising comfort,” Lancaster writes in her guide to the best work-from-home bras. “If anything, it encourages me to sit up straighter, for which my osteopath is grateful.”

The long-sleeve tee is one of those basics that is difficult to get right, but the versatility of GC’s version will make it a wardrobe staple. The drapey fit makes it equally suitable to wear on its own with leggings or as part of a non-athleisure look. For example, Sade Mims, founder of jewelry and accessory line EDAS, pairs hers “with a denim jean or a skirt and cardigan.”


Photo: retailer

Most of GC’s collection uses fabrics made from recycled water bottles, which would otherwise go into landfills. This unitard is no exception, and it’s a favorite of social-media manager and activist Kara Smith, who calls it “flattering and functional.” Smith says the formfitting silhouette is equally suitable to wear on “a casual day and to work out.”

Strategist writer Dominique Pariso describes this unitard as “Tour de France meets beginner ballet class.” Pariso was such a fan of the regular-length unitard (mentioned above) that she jumped on the opportunity to purchase its shorter “summer sister” and was not disappointed. The abbreviated version has the same compressive fabric but thicker straps and a low-cut back.


“Rather sophisticated” is how Pariso describes this two-piece bathing suit, whose supersoft material has a UPF rating of 50-plus. Pariso says, “Even though the suit comes in more vibrant colors, the muted beige I tried is surprisingly wearable.”

After testing this one-piece in her parents’ hot tub for a few weeks, Pariso says it lives up to “the quality I’ve come to expect from the brand.” The suit offers substantial support while retaining a sleek look thanks to a stylish scoop back and thick straps. As with the bikini above, the fabric has UPF 50-plus.


Every time you run a load of laundry, tiny pieces of fabric shed by clothing enter and pollute the water stream. To reduce the negative impact of wash cycles, GC offers a washing-machine filter that captures microfibers. It may seem odd for a workoutwear line to offer a technical appliance, but sustainability is a core principle of GC. (Keep in mind that you need to purchase additional parts to install it.)

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The Strategist Guide to Shopping at Girlfriend Collective