Athleisure – All you need to know about this trend

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It’s not your imagination – athleisure is everywhere. It’s in the gym, of course, but it’s also in the office, on the streets, and sitting around your Thanksgiving table. 

Wait, athleisure? What the heck is athleisure, you may be asking. 

Athleisure is, admittedly, difficult to put a finger on. Some would describe it as “wearing yoga pats in public.” Others might describe it as a sportswear/business attire hybrid. Whatever you call it, athleisure is changing the way Americans (and those in other countries, too!) dress. 

If you’re thinking of checking out this new – and insanely comfortable – trend, there are a few things you need to know. Follow these tips and tricks for sporting (pun intended).

Athleisure: A Short Overview

Athleisure may be somewhat undefinable, but we can tear the word apart to get a better idea. Athleisure is the words athletic and leisure, squished together like a Dido/Eminem mashup. 

You know what athletic clothes are. It’s what you wear to the gym, out for a jog or when you lift weights. They’re usually pretty form fitting, though some people might like to don a pair of sweats or a track suit while they sweat. 

Leisure clothes are a bit more broad. Your idea of leisure may be, well, athletic clothes. Or it may be a flowy skirt or a pair of cargo pants. No matter your personal style, your leisure clothes aren’t appropriate for a black tie event, and they may not even be appropriate for a first date. 

It’s because the definitions of both “athletic” and “leisure” are so varied from person to person that athleisure itself is a whole melting pot of styles. So, before you slip on your sweats and head to work, read on to get a better feel for what actually qualifies as athleisure.  

Athleisure is (sorta) work friendly

Think of athleisure as a universal, everyday “dress down Friday.” You wouldn’t necessarily wear a pair of spandex to work, right? I mean, unless you’re a personal trainer. 

More and more, this trend is considered workplace-friendly. Think of athleisure as professional, yet comfortable. Sporty yet you still look like you took more than three minutes to get dressed in the morning. 

Let’s assume for a moment that you work an office job. How do you bring athleisure to work with you?

Women, dress up a pair of leggings. Those funky leggings you have with Van Gogh’s Starry Night printed across them are totally fine. Wear a chunky pair of sandals or some slouchy boots. And, for heaven’s sake – make sure your top covers your rear. 

Men, you can wear athleisure to work, too. Slim-fit or tapered joggers with a (sparkling clean) pair of kicks is the perfect way to stay comfy all day while you look professional, too. You can even toss on a fresh, comfy sweatshirt. Just avoid huge logos and graphic prints as best you can. 

Athleisure is not your dirty gym clothes

For goodness sake, people, keep your gym clothes and your work clothes separate. In the same way you wouldn’t wear a Hugo Boss suit to the gym, you shouldn’t wear a ratted and stained white tee to work. 

Your new athleisure style is comfy enough to wear as you work out. But don’t. If you’ve been hitting the gym for a while, you know that after time, your shirts and pants develop a … scent. Your white shirts will yellow around the neck and the armpits. And, because you’re washing them frequently, the fabrics will start to pill. 

No one wants to see that at work. Keep your wardrobes separate – one for work and one for working out. Your boss will thank you, as will everyone within ten feet of you. 

The athleisure formula is simple

This trend is so diverse, it’s nearly impossible to tell you the exact equation that creates a perfect athleisure outfit. But there’s a formula you can follow to make your life a bit simpler. 

Athleisure = 1 part comfort + 1 part presentability + 1 part “I don’t care what they say”

Of course, you’re going to have to care what your boss says, and it’s probably a given that you’ll have to care what your girlfriend or your wife thinks. But you can pretty much sum up athleisure using the old “are leggings really pants?” argument. 

Yes. Leggings are pants. And so are yoga pants and sweatpants. Tennis skirts are skirts (albeit not the most modest of options). You get the idea. Athleisure is not giving a hoot about what others say about your interpretation of “clothing.”

On the subject of modesty, it’s certainly a consideration. You probably won’t want to wear Lycra yoga shorts to work. You likely won’t even want to wear a sports bra to Starbucks. Use your common sense, as with anything, and you’ll be just fine. (And comfortable.)

Keep athleisure flattering

When you shop for clothes, whether they be jeans, shoes, a skirt, a dress or a business suit, there are a few factors you keep in mind. 

  • Comfort
  • Fit
  • Affordability
  • The way the clothes make you look
  • The way clothes make you feel

If you’re making the switch to an athleisure wardrobe, you’ll consider exactly those same things. 

Your clothes should be comfortable. They should be in your price range (no $300 sweatpants if it’s not in your budget). They should make you feel comfortable, confident and poised. And, of course, you want them to be flattering to your body shape. 

 But if you don’t feel confident in athleisure, the look won’t work for you. Women, try a pair of Spanx if you wear your athleisure to the office more than to the gym. And men and women both can try a sauna shaper under clothes. Try a sauna shaper shirt or belt for the most flattering fit. 

No matter what style you choose, it’s most important that your clothes make you feel your best. That’s true whether you’re wearing a blazer or a hoodie to work. Once you get your personal style down, enjoy wearing your new, comfortable clothes! You’re going to love this trend!

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