Fancy pants: Athletic wear to make gym rats jealousĀ 

"In the past few years, women's athletic clothes have gotten a lot more fashionable," said Raff Martino from Lucy, an active wear store at Old Orchard Mall in Skokie. "Women want to go from the gym to out and about, so they want clothes that can take them there. Women used to just wear their husband's T-shirts to the gym, but now it's like a fashion show, with the added benefit of increased performance."

Checking out the offerings on hand, that definitely is the case. Lucy is known for its top-quality athletic pants and most are suitable for all disciplines, from running to yoga to Pilates to general cardio, but "higher compression pants are best for more intense activities because they keep the muscles warm," Martino said.

Lucy's most popular style, the Hatha Power Pant, is designed as a yoga pant with a low waist and bootleg cut, but works for any activity. Other cross-sport options are the Power Cardio Pant and the Vital Pant, which has a slightly looser cut. All these styles can take you from the gym to your errands and your bum will look great all the while. Lucy offers these pants in short, medium, and tall lengths, so you can get a customized fit. If you're a dedicated runner, check out the Propel Run Tight, a heavy-compression pant that will keep your legs warm for outdoor runs. All these style are also available as crops, which are a good option for indoor workouts and wishful thinking for an early spring.

Another popular purveyor of the good-looking and longwearing active pants is Lululemon, with stores in Evanston and Northbrook. Its Wunder Under line of crops and pants are high-performance leggings. The fabric feels super durable. The Lululemon Groove Pant is a reversible pant that's great for yoga. With different paneling along the fold-over waistband, it can be worn four different ways - folded over for a lower rise or up for more compression and coverage. If the price point seems high, get a similar look with C9 by Champion line for under $20 at Target. Brightly colored tops are a great way to inject some sunshine into your workout, even on the dreariest of days.

Lucy's Quickest Long Sleeve Top is a great winter-to-spring running top: its flat seams and wicking technology will keep you dry and comfortable on your runs and the watermelon hue can't help but make you smile.

For indoor sports, this writer's two favorites were Lucy's Karma Racerback Tank and Lululemon's Athletic Deep V Tank. Tanks with a built-in bra minimize extra layers and straps that might lead to chafing, and both fit this bill. Because they're designed as performance wear, they offer enough support (up to C-D cups) for yoga or cardio and come with removable cups for full coverage. The Lucy tank features a sweetheart neckline, ruching down the bust and an open back to keep you cool; the Lululemon tank has a low-cut wrap front, but everything stays in place when you get moving. Both are available in an array of colors and patterns.

You can also find your dose of spring at Old Navy, whose active tanks for yoga come in a rainbow of colors. The Old Navy tanks only offer a shelf bra, so they're best suited for lower impact activities, or you may need to pair them with a bra of your choosing. Now that you know what to wear, get out there and get moving!