What is Athleisure?

Dressing formally and going to work on a hot day can be a challenge indeed. Suits aren't exactly the most practical thing to wear when the sun is out and having to bear the workday with a sweaty shirt can not only be quite a distraction to the wearer but quite disturbing to those around them too! It was only a matter of time before the athleisure trend really hit it off with the masses.

An Introduction to Athleisure

A combination of the words athletics and leisure, the official definition is “casual clothing designed to be worn both for exercising and for general use.” Athleisure is sportswear designed for, you guessed it, activities that don't have to be sporty at all!

Gym-wear can be extremely comfortable so it is only natural that people began wearing hoodies and joggers while "just chilling". Although activewear is normally made using more breathable and practical materials, athleisure isn't really about the function of the clothing, it's more about the style. It creates a fashion statement that says "yes, I do keep fit" or "I am an active person". A lot of people when talking about athleisure mention the functionality of the clothes and a load of business jargon that helps to sell it, but the simple reality lies in the fact that athleisure clothing is really comfortable and beats wearing jeans all day if that's for you, then athleisure is for you!

What is Athleisure?

Over the years, sportswear has had a massive impact on fashion, so much so that people have started wearing sports clothes for activities that aren’t even a bit sporty. This new term is called “athleisure”. The trend started when women started wearing yoga pants outside of the gym and on the street and all of a sudden people were pairing up leggings, windbreakers, and fancy trainers just to go and get breakfast from a café.

This became the new modern urban look and it doesn’t need to be mentioned that sportswear is extremely popular among teenagers and some of them literally live in tracksuits. In October 2014, Beyoncé, in partnership with Topshop started an athleisure range called Ivy Park and this most likely started off the ever-growing trend.

Athleisure has become a massive fashion statement and is taking over casual wear. The new idea of casual wear is comfortable clothes that look athletic and due to this, jeans sales have reduced recently. Levis has faced a $ 2 billion drop over the past few years as leggings sales have been increasing and people don’t want to wear jeans.

The increase in people wearing athleisure could also be due to it being promoted by celebrities. Many female actresses, TV presents, singers, and other people with celebrity status have started wearing activewear for day-to-day use. People like Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Kate Hudson have even started their own athleisure brands to promote this ever-growing trend. 

How it Came About

Here's how gym wear made it out of the gym and onto the street.

Due to the popularity of activewear being used for leisurely activities, designers are now putting more emphasis on the colour and style of the clothing to keep up with modern fashion trends.

Athleisure really became popular in 2014 when the famous singer Beyoncé released an athleisure range called Ivy Park and just like that, the trend was born. An interesting point to note is that activewear has a positive psychological impact on the brain, it makes people feel sporty, and sometimes that can be just enough to start leading an active lifestyle even if the individual wasn't working out before. If you have always had the New Year's resolution to start keeping fit, now you've got the kit to boost you to achieve those goals!

Funnily enough, nowadays you can even find people dressed looking like they are ready for a sports event, sitting munching burgers in a fast food joint! Hey, they are going to burn the calories off in the gym later so why not?

How to Wear Athleisure Properly

Wondering how to do it properly? It's not all about going out in a sports bra and leggings, you can combine jumpers with shorts for example, or sweatpants with a shirt. It's all about expressing yourself and feeling comfortable with yourself in what you are wearing. It's a great idea to mix up fashionable items of clothing like denim or leather jackets with some sporty clothes, a look that combines functionality and fashion. Aesthetics are as important as materials, so while keeping an eye on what's trending so you can get the best-looking outfit possible, at the same time make sure you dress according to the seasons with hoodies and sweaters in the winter and t-shirts in the summer.

The athleisure trend isn't only for women either, guys can benefit from this trend too. There is always a time for dressing formally but this shouldn't stop guys from dressing comfortably when they are just out with the lads or enjoying a day out. Try a bomber jacket and joggers or get a baseball cap and some stunning trainers. Individuality is key so look at your wardrobe and see what you can switch up to make it look sporty, you'll be surprised as the possibilities are endless. White trainers are also popular within the athleisure trend, for both men and women.

Athleisure is an ever-changing trend so it's important to keep an eye out for what's hot, the trend tends to evolve when a celebrity tries out something new. Imagine wearing boots with joggers, it's only athleisure that has made that combination possible and this is why the trend has become popular as there aren't any limits. If you've always wanted to pair fashionable clothing with athletic apparel, now's your chance to shine.

When To Wear It

Is there a time and a place for athleisure? The answer is yes, there is! Although it's cool to go out for a bite to eat wearing athletic clothing, it's not really appropriate to go to a job interview or a wedding in a pair of yoga pants, you would probably get a few odd looks.

However, even though it is good to know when and how to wear athleisure clothing (or more importantly when not to), it is still a great idea to invest in some high-quality athleisure apparel that will update your wardrobe with clothes that give you mobility, comfort and style all at the same time.

Athleisure for Men

Athleisure for men normally consists of a hoodie and some extra comfortable sweatpants. However, not just any tracksuit is considered athleisure, due to the trend; slim-fit joggers have become popular and people are very careful when it comes to purchasing these kinds of clothes. It can’t be too baggy as this will ruin the look but not too tight either as it will become uncomfortable.

Social Impact of Athleisure

Athleisure is not just a trend it’s a complete movement and it’s changing the way people think about relaxed clothing.  People want to show that they are sporty and that they look after their bodies. It doesn’t matter if they’re eating junk food in public because the athletic style shows people that they are going to burn it straight off anyway.

Commuting has never been so athletic and people are ditching smart clothes for a more athletic look. It leaves people looking quite busy as they work and go to the gym but they are relaxed while they do it. This new look isn’t just fashion but it also conveys individuality and freedom from clothing restrictions.  

Athleisure also plays a big role in gender equality. Only up until recently, women wore long dresses for sports such as tennis. It wasn’t acceptable for women to wear tight-fitting clothing however athleisure has changed this and everybody can wear whatever they feel like wearing. It’s based on individual comfort and this means different things for different people.