Once upon not such a long time, the only excuse to be seen in sportswear was heading to the gym or heading from the gym. Then, suddenly, as if from thin air, not only did leggings, yoga pants with sports bras and hoodies become a perfectly acceptable choice of everyday attire, but they have also been taken to a whole other level. Luxury brands started jumping on board, creating their own sportswear (re-named) athleisure wear lines, and even existing sportswear brands stepped up their game to make their designs and color palettes more appealing and real-life appropriate. Suddenly, these clothing items became as chic as any other ‘dressy’ piece you can find out there, if not chicer in some ways.
The question that remains is – why did this shift in perspective occur and why has it taken the fashion industry by a storm? Those are mysteries that we’ll be uncovering here.
One of the absolute biggest reasons athleisure not only appeared, but seems to have immense staying power is the fact that people have experienced a shift in lifestyle. Busy moms with a full-time career and a full-time parenting job don’t have the time to exercise and then head home for a quick change before running out to complete errands or meet friends for a quick bite.
There was a gap in the fashion market, and athleisure filled that gap with flying colors. That is the entire point – versatility and functionality. We want to dress in a way that will allow for a smooth transition from gym to brunch, office to drinks, play dates to errands, and these new designs allow us not only to feel comfortable but super-chic at the same time.
There is another reason this isn’t just another fad but a timeless fashion trend – wellness. People have become increasingly aware of the importance of staying active, not only at the gym but on the streets as well, and the rise of the trend stems from this pursuit of fitness and healthy lifestyle.
Everything Meghan Markle has worn for the past two months has sold out in a matter of hours, which prompted the phrase the ‘Markle effect’. The same goes for the popularity of athleisure. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are highly influenced by the choices our favorite celebrities make.
Once Bella Hadid was spotted rocking classic sporty attire consisting of Nike Air Max sneakers, chic leggings and a sports bra time and time again – thus becoming the athleisure queen – we were more than tempted to follow suit. This is particularly due to the fact that once a celebrity is rocking something deemed ‘gym only’ in the middle of New York and London, we come to realize that – if the likes of her can do it, so can we, so we jump on the bandwagon.
The people demanded sleeker, more fashionable designs to be incorporated into what was formerly known as active-wear, and the industry listened. Not only did household brands such as Adidas, Nike, Reebok and others step up their game to make our active lives real and office-life appropriate, but luxury brands saw an opportunity to attract these new audiences by dabbing into creating athleisure lines.
Then came Rihanna with her Fenty x Puma collaboration, Beyoncé creating a clothing line called Ivy Park, and other celebrities like Hilary Swank and Kate Hudson came with their versions of the trend’s pieces as well. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the color palettes that have been implemented in the latest lines are incredibly gorgeous, the cuts chic and flattering and the patterns so gorgeous that they’ll make you want to hit the gym and flaunt them around town afterwards.
Once the trend proved to have a timeless quality to it, people started making it their own. This resulted in endless outfit choices, each better than the other. You have a romantic night out – a gorgeous runway-worthy dress will blend so well with a pair of sneakers that it will make you wonder why you ever suffered in heels before. A casual stroll in your favorite designer dress (complete with a Chanel-logo belt) and killer eyewear paired up with your very conspicuous purple shoes – don’t mind if we do. Business casual – straight leg jeans a white shirt and a plaid blazer with a sleek pair of Adidas originals – more than acceptable.
The lines are blurred, and the trend allows us to wear it alone or mix and match it with other trends as we see fit and accommodating to our needs. A busy mom, a career goal-getter, a health fanatic and a gorgeous date – you can know be all these things with a few key athleisure pieces that will allow for endless outfits combos.
Make no mistake, Athleisure is the new black, and it’s here to make our lives more comfortable, stylish and effortless.