How Athleisure Became a Fashion Statement
As the care for our wellbeing and life-work balance increases, we see more people interested in clothes that are both fashionable and comfortable.
As a result, we get to see combinations that a few years back wouldn’t have been possible, such as leggings and high heels or elegant corsets and silk track pants.
Athleisure is a trend built on activewear and sportswear and pushes the idea of functionality and design in athletic apparel that one can wear in regular day-to-day settings (not just at the gym). Due to this trend, items such as leggings, jeggings, sneakers, and even accessories such as running sunglasses or fitness bands are acceptable in most settings.
Jane Fonda Set the Trend
According to archives, activewear started with Jane Fonda’s epic fitness videos, where leotards and legwarmers were the dress code. As the idea of exercise and aerobics became more and more popular, activewear became trendier and trendier. And it’s not just about the comfort and functionality of the clothes.
The trend was strongly associated with freedom of movement and expression since people were stepping out of limiting and strict clothes and stepping into a world of color and stretchy pants.
Nowadays, athleisure is the activewear of the Millenials and, as expected, older generations see it with skepticism.
Some are bothered by the fact that young people don’t wear proper office apparel anymore and that, wherever you look, you’re bound to see some yoga pants and a comfy t-shirt with a crazy message on it.
Still, if you set aside the nay-sayers, and take a look at this $105+ billion industry, you have the chance to understand just how big it is. Sports bras and printed leggings are now in every respectable brand’s offerings (Nike, Lululemon, Eres, and so on)! Even more, you can buy athleisure accessories and even makeup now.
And, if you take a closer look at the brand’s expression and marketing, you’ll see that athleisure is not about being lazy or practical. After all, you don’t wear your gym clothes on the street, even though at first sight there may not be much difference. Athleisure speaks of a healthy lifestyle and a less limiting environment.
Athleisure & the Pandemic
Yes, that pandemic. While we don’t intend to deny any of the negative effects of the COVID-19 lockdowns and forced work from home, it also had a positive side. While at home, people got more used to working from comfortable clothes and caring more about their own wellbeing.
Furthermore, as people exercise at home more or go on runs around the neighborhood, they focus more on what makes them feel good. So, it makes sense that clothes that allow them to feel as good and as free as gym apparel will be on the trend.
Additionally, athletes like Cristiano Ronaldo and Serena Williams (among other big influencer names) helped shift the general focus on living healthy and self-care. With their help, the fashion industry is more inclusive now (women of all shapes and sizes can find something they like) and has more innovative & functional designs.
At the end of the day, athleisure is a trend that makes the world of fashion more accessible to regular folks. After all, not everyone can afford to buy or even wear the high-end glittery designs that models wear on the catwalk. But it’s easy to step into a store and choose a sports bra and a pair of leggings that fit your shapes.
Fashion is slowly taking more steps towards inclusion and diversity, putting down the walls and inviting everyone to join in a beautiful and free world!