With so many celebrities, as well as us mere mortals, taking athleisure and active wear away from the gym and into the streets, to say that the athleisure trend has taken over and is surely reaching its peak would almost seem like an understatement. Yoga pants have become a completely acceptable and integral part of street wear, along with other parts of work out gear such as workout tops, trainers, and duffle bags. There could be several reasons as to why this trend is gaining so much momentum, and we are here to shed some light to the matter.
Models, such as Miranda Kerr have had people obsessed with living healthy, what with all her crazy yoga poses and her healthy smoothies. Whether we like it or not, celebrity influence on our lifestyle decisions and habits is perhaps even larger than we wish to admit it, and when they take on a trend, we follow suit that is why they are called trendsetters in the first place. Models and actresses who claim to never work out in order to maintain their figures are a thing of the past, with many of the most famous women in the world stepping out for a post-workout brunch still wearing their gym gear. Now it has become not only a badge of health, but also an outfit choice in itself. Gigi and Bella Hadid are not only famous for their intense workout regimens but also for the nonchalance with which they take athleisure to the streets. Given that this is not just an outfit, but a genuine reflection of their lifestyle, people cannot help but follow, as it also pushes them to be more active.
Active wear is definitely not what it used to be. Instead of overly-vibrant, almost ugly garments, we have been witnesses to a shift that now means that most quality gym outfits are not only practical for the gym, but also almost unbelievably stylish – stylish enough to take to the streets. Inspired by these brands, other designers, luxury ones in fact, are following in their footsteps and creating their own lines and versions of athleisure wear. They have recognized its potential in terms of popularity and subsequent lucrativeness, and are jumping on the athleisure bandwagon.
Australians have always been famous for their healthy lifestyle choices, and according to a marketing study, Aussies love our athleisure wear and the Gen Xs (those born in the 70s and early 80s) are its biggest fans. Reportedly, three-quarters of athleisure buyers do regular exercise which makes them 29 per cent more likely than the average Aussie to do so. There is a good reason behind it too. The phenomenon enclothed cognition is a term used to describe to describe the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes. It is an extension of the “embodied cognition” school of psychology which says our bodies influence our brains as much as our brains influence our bodies. According to it, Physically wearing a white lab coat, believing it is a doctor’s increases your attention, while wearing the same coat, believing it is a painter’s – will not. The same principle applies to active and athleisure wear. A ton of research has been conducted on the subject, and one in particular, conducted at Northwestern University showed that we are far more motivated to hit the gym or take to the streets and start running if we have the proper gear that is not only comfortable, but aesthetically pleasing. Researcher Hajo Adam says: “It’s all about the symbolic meaning that you associate with a particular item of clothing. I think it would make sense that when you wear athletic clothing, you become more active and more likely to go to the gym and work out.” And, if you take your stylish gear to a café afterwards, well, so be it.
The workout wear of the past was all about practicality, but little focus was placed on its level of stylishness. As Forbes states, one of the reasons for the massive popularity of the athleisure trend is that it filled a gap in the market place, and the workout clothes designead now can be worn to the gym, as well as everywhere else. Furthermore, as per a Harris poll, 72% of millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences, rather than material things. As athleisure clothing is typically worn for an experience, more often an outdoor experience, such as working out or hiking, they are more likely to spend their money on it. As it is a reflection of a lifestyle shift, rather than just another trend (like a particular pattern or cut de jour) it is highly unlikely to disappear anytime soon.
Guest Post by Luke Douglas