How Athleisure Broke The Style Mainstream

Fashion for fitness lovers 💪

04/09/2017 19:55

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment that athleisure broke through. 

The child of athletic activities and downtime leisure (pretty yoga pants for a day shopping, box fresh trainers to the office, expensive hoodies over jeans) crept up on us throughout 2014. By the end of 2016 –  it was everywhere.

As a brilliant mix of comfort and wellness, the movement that was dismissed as a fad can take you from spin class to the pub, a dog walk to yoga in an instant – without losing style points on the way.

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The buzzy term for this trend was described by Vanessa Friedman, Style Editor of The New York Times as “an expression of contemporary identity telegraphed to the rest of the world via clothes.”

And it shows no signs of slowing down. Mintel states that “50 per cent of those who have bought sports clothing, footwear, equipment or accessories in the past 12 months did so for non-sports use, while Forbes has proclaimed that The Athleisure Trend is Here To Stay.

With this energetic change fuelling the rise of Canadian Lululemon, London based Sweaty Betty and Kate Hudson’s own Fabletics, never has there been any more choice for your workout (and inevitably day-to-day) lycra legging. Our current favourite is New York based Outdoor Voices, self described as ’Technical Apparel for Recreation.” With a 28 year old CEO, It ticks all the boxes, now they just need a UK store. 

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But while the speciality stores pop up, it is the celebrities and Instagrammers that are fuelling the movement. Focusing on their gym looks just as much as their red carpet attire, (a quick scroll through popular luxury gyms such as Dogpound or Equinox throw up some looks) the athletic-inspired takeover is real.

Puma has tapped Rihanna and recently launched a collection with The Weeknd, Reebok has Gigi Hadid and Kendrick Lamar, Nike has cult brand Sacai and FKA Twigs, Adidas has Stella McCartney, Alexander Wang, Pharrell and least we mention Yeezy. The expanding collaboration list continues, and shows no sign of slowing down.

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So just exactly how do you achieve this balanced look? We’ve consulted the looks of Instagram stars, from Adrianne Ho and Cat Meffan, for advice and guidance on how elevate your gym gear with an effortless ease.

As to how you can nail the look – we have some key pointers. 

Layering is key 

Be it a rain mac or bomber jacket, choose your outer layer wisely. To take this look from barre to brunch with a select outerwear option. If you have a sweatshirt or a thick knit, tie this crossbody for an on-trend appeal.

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Use accessories wisely

Build on your athletic base with bold accessories. Why not belt your outfit or team with graphic sunglasses? Layer on the accessories to take add some sass to your sweats.

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From office to evening 

Leandra Medine of Man Repeller excels at elevating this look. With neat tailoring and classic accessories - think a structured shoulder bag and round sunglasses.  Opt for muted greys, blues and neutrals for your athletic wear and pair with traditional checks, crisp whites or neat knitwear for a clever contrast. Bringing all  the gym comfort into your work without looking slack.

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