Sportswear is becoming increasingly popular in the modern age and some people's wardrobes are practically full of it. There is no denying the fact that sportswear has a massive impact on fashion and is coming close to becoming the most popular choice of clothing for people of all demographics. It's comfy, practical and stylish; what else could anyone want? Sportswear can be broken down into three categories: activewear, athleisure and gym wear.
Gym wear focuses on practical clothing that can withstand a heavy workout in the gym. Shirts and bottoms have to be made from moisture wicking materials to absorb sweat and footwear should be light and comfortable so it doesn't obstruct a leg workout. Here are some examples of common gym wear items:
Technical T-shirts - Made made from moisture wicking materials which absorb sweat and keep you dry while you train. Figure hugging, emphasising your body shape making it look great too.
Sports Bra and Leggings - Both made from materials that absorb sweat and offer maximum comfort while holding body in place.
Technical Socks - Socks designed for gym uses have extra padding to reduce the chance of blisters which can really hinder a workout and your motivation. They are made to absorb sweat to keep your feet dry.
Trainers - Trainers made for use in the gym are lightweight and comfy.
As it can be seen, gym wear has distinctive features which set it apart from other types of clothing; they are all practical, lightweight and comfy. Gym wear is normally made to be flattering, figure hugging and tight around the muscles, making it look great on body builders.
Activewear is a lot more casual than gym wear and can be used for a range of purposes, both inside and out of the gym. The most common types of activewear worn are tracksuits, which have come a long way from their humble beginnings as shell suits, as well as stylish trainers. This style of clothing is made to be more comfortable than formal wear and is very popular among teenagers from around the world.
When tracksuits were first worn they were associated with jogging but have received much popularity from the Hip Hop music scene and are now seen as a trendy urban outfit. It seems that activewear is being worn less in the gym now and more on the street, with the newer ranges being produced with style in mind rather then practicality. The term "trainers" is definitely losing it's original meaning as a shoe designed for sports and they are now regularly worn for casual purposes.
Companies that once manufactured goods solely for sports have begun to focus more on fashion and now make "sportswear", like shoes with wings and oversized t-shirts, that probably aren't really appropriate for any kind of sport at all. Nevertheless, wearing activewear casually is now a huge trend.
Puffer jackets are an example of clothing that was originally made for sports purposed but is now worn on catwalks. The puffer jacket has become more fashionable than sporty and is commonly worn in the Hip Hop fashion scene.
Athleisure is a new term that has been added to the English dictionary meaning "casual, comfortable clothing designed to be suitable both for exercise and everyday wear". The main difference between activewear and athleisure is that although activewear is sportswear worn for casual purposes, athleisure is a mix of sportswear, such as hooded sweatshirts, combined with other types of casual wear like jeans and denim jackets. This makes athleisure a hybrid of sportswear and casual wear ensuring that you stay comfortable and be extremely stylish at the same time.
Athleisure has been a growing trend since 2014 and it can be safely said that the craze is here to stay. Before athleisure became a trend, sports clothes were generally worn by people who were actually leading active lifestyles, now sports clothes are worn by people of all ages and body types.
In the UK, leggings have actually become more popular than jeans and the famous jeans company Levi's have a reported a massive drop in sales due to the athleisure trend, as well as approximately a loss of $2 billion in the last two decades due to sportswear in general.
This type isn't a category on its own but can be a range of different clothing items designed for specific sports like helmets for American football and shin pads for football. Specialised sportswear isn't really linked to fashion, as you wouldn't see someone walking in the street with a fencing helmet on, but is crucial for the sport it is designed for.