Fashionably fit: Go beyond basic black

Cycle stylishly in this Nike Dri-FIT seamless top Cycle stylishly in this Nike Dri-FIT seamless top (with built-in bra), $58, and Dri-FIT capris, $80, both at The Shop at Equinox (Great Neck, Woodbury, Roslyn and Manhattan); Sidi Moon cycling shoes, $199.99, at Jeff's Bicycles NYC (Manhattan); and SofSole socks, $7.99/six pairs, at Modell's Sporting Goods Stores. Photo Credit: Barbara Alper

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OK, ladies. Step away from the black exercise pants.

This spring, workout wear isn't just functional -- it's taken a fashion-forward turn, with daring prints, intricate details and look-at-me shades -- even in pants. Bold hues are huge, says Marissa Stephenson, fitness editor at Self magazine. Neons, jewel tones, coral and yellow are just some of the top shades for fitted jackets, tops, sports bras and, yes, even pants.

Wearing a color on bottom can be intimidating, especially for ladies who prefer the slimming power of black. But, Stephenson says, it's all about choosing the most forgiving shade and flattering cut. Her pick? A bright-blue capri that hits just below the knee.

"The colors and patterns are so new and fresh I'm almost giddy," says Karyn Riale, director of retail buying for The Shop @ Equinox, which sells its stylish wares in Woodbury, Great Neck, Roslyn and Manhattan.

With prints, anything goes, from hot-pink leopard that adidas by Stella McCartney created, to bright tribal prints from Nike, to splatter-paint, florals and zigzags.

"To see companies like Nike that are taking risks with patterns and colors, it makes the experience more fun," said celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson, whose clients include Gwyneth Paltrow.

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For women who won't stray from black, pops of color and detail add pizzazz, such as pants with a print waistband (lululemon athletica has several) or a bright stripe down the side. Perforated detailing on tops is also in, as are texturized prints, such as a black-on-black animal print, Stephenson says. Even neon socks and underwear can add pop, adds Amanda Casgar, area community manager for lululemon.

Look good, feel good

A new workout wardrobe doesn't just make you look good -- it makes you feel good, too.

Celebrity trainer Tracy Anderson says that taking care in what you put on can increase motivation.

"Any time you're making a conscious decision to do something, you're connecting more to the experience," says Anderson, who has studios in Manhattan and Water Mill.

One move to avoid? Buying constricting, suction-cup-style pieces in the hopes of looking thinner while hitting the gym. "If you're doing a workout properly, these kinds of constricting fabrics can cut off your ability to perform well."

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Better, she says, to simply "do your workout well."

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