We usually choose our physical activity in relation with our psychological profile. And we usually choose our outfit in relation with our environment and mood.
Blame it on the push toward a more active lifestyle, or call it an extension of the fascination with fashion; either way, these days jogging suits are just as likely to be seen on a runway in New York as a treadmill in a less than average gym.
Workout clothes for women, once relegated to the back of the closet, are moving to the front of the fashion scene.
Yoga pants are the new jeans.
It's called activewear or should we call it athleticwear? sportswear? athleisure (athletic and leisure )? Whatever we call it, it promises a whole day's wear from a single outfit, taking women from spin class to the coffee shop to the office and then out for a cool evening.
It's like a new uniform.
This wear-anywhere sports-influenced clothing is the rare trend that escalated the fashion ladder all the way up from the mass market to the high end, instead of the other way around.
And the designers world made it stylish, with sneakers and sweatshirts seen on the runways in recent seasons at Alexander Wang, Chanel etc...
A big reason athleisure is available in most stores is that the clothes are comfortable. Brands at all price points have something to offer, from traditional athletic names to specialty chains to high fashion labels.
Much like denim before it, athleisure is increasingly being integrated into daily attire.
It's now become acceptable -- even chic -- to wear leggings to work under a dress, or out to dinner with a cardigan.
Like denim before it, activewear is also experiencing the kind of "luxurisation" trend. Few years back it was considered rare for anyone to pay a three digits bill for something as basic as a pair of jeans. Now, it became common to see fashion-savvy female consumers pay a mere 400$ for jeans... A similar trend is picking up pace in sportswear, which is reaching the luxury commodity status.
With more consumers adopting this trend, it's natural for many labels to create product that resonates with the consumers needs and demands.
A number of traditional ready-to-wear and accessories brands have added an activewear category to their collections.
Additionally, classic sports brands like Nike and Adidas are joining forces with luxury designers like Jeremy Scott, Mary Katrantzou, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Riccardo Tisci, Raf Simons, Opening Ceremony, Y-3, Sacai...
The global influence of street style has a lot to do with these collaborations. (May I remind you that fashion editors started adopting the classic Adidas Stan Smiths sneaker during Fashion Week following Céline designer Phobe Philo's endorsement). Few days back Beyoncé's launched her new line for Topshop, which will encompass clothing, footwear, and accessories across dance, fitness, and sports categories. It will have technical performance characteristics as well as an athleisure side and I believe these items need laundry wash not a vulgar machine wash at home!
I believe many designers are also inspired by what is worn on the streets all around the world. They know if they collaborate with these active brands they are sure to reach consumers that are familiar with the brands, and also introduce new consumers to their own brand.
So whether your genes carry or not the sport fever, there's a high pourcentage that you'll adopt this trend, and wear activewear both inside and outside of the gym at least for a while.
Now why is it suddenly socially acceptable to wear gym clothes 24/7? Not very long ago, it was considered quite a faux pas to be seen in your workout pants and sneakers outside the gym. It just wasn't chic. But, voilà, today you can go just about anywhere in your leggings. Forget about dressing up and sartorial codes. How did this happen?
It used to be so badly seen if you showed up to a fashion party without killer heels, you had to make excuses and feel the ugly one in flat heels. Now it's the opposite--everyone flaunts their fashionable sneakers all the time, day and night. Is it simply because fashion says it's finally acceptable? Hmmmm...I think Alexander Wang summed it up perfectly (he too had launched his sporty line for H&M few years back): "I live in gym clothes. When you go out on the street, it's the uniform now." He also admitted that he is not an athlete!
So long, dingy sweatpants, hello luxury leggings. We will always feel seriously stylishly fit wearing these leggings even after having few extra chocolate bites!