All about Athleisure Style And How to Wear It?

  • Athleisure combines the words athletic + leisure and refers to practical sportswear that can be worn during non-sports daily activities;
  • Nowadays, athleisure generates over $ 350 billion / year ($ 44 billion in the US alone) or 24% of global clothing sales;
  • There are three variations in materials: synthetic (made of petroleum products), semi-synthetic (modal, tensel, viscose) and natural (hemp, bamboo, cotton, wool, etc.);
  • It is perceived as the fashion essence of the 21st century, embraced by many celebrities (Gigi Hadid, Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian), but also part of the life of the average person.

How did this style come to be?

In fact, this is a phenomenon that has become increasingly prevalent in fashion over the last 20-30 years, but for which the world has been preparing for the last 100 years. In order for this to happen, a few factors had to take place:

  • Women in trousers. In the beginning of last century women were gradually allowed to reduce the layers of skirts they wore and eventually to wear trousers (initially during sporting events). Nowadays, both men and women can wear all kinds of sports models without this being considered strange, but some time ago it was not like that. Trousers were a reserved item for men’s wardrobe. One of the first designers to create women’s sportswear was Gabrielle Chanel. Over the years, women in tennis, swimming and other sports have gained the courage to wear pants, bermudas and others.
  • The birth of nylon – in 1940s – 1950s thanks to the numerous innovations in the textile sector during this period, as well as manufacturing techniques refined during World War II, nylon became a popular fabric for designers. Some of the first items made of polyester were waterproof and windproof outerwear, gloves, swimwear. A lot of designers of this era were inspired to actively use polyester as their base material.
  • Television, active advertising campaigns and the sexual revolution from the late 1960s to the 1980s have made sports more popular for practicing out of the house for the average person, thus making sportswear highly popular. Tracksuit was created. During those years, Antonio Lopez`s fashion illustrations created a whole new concept for sports outfits. Without the direction of his ideas and designs, the fashion world of activewear would probably never look the way we know it now. Sport is seen as sexy. Because of this perception during the 90s, sports items have been actively involved in many videos where clothes are more sporty and, accordingly, sexier.

What Is Athleisure And How Do We Wear It?

What materials are used to create athleisure clothes?

1.Synthetic (recycled and raw material) – nylon, acrylic, polyester, polyamide and others;

We can see women of different body types wearing sports outfits from this most popular faber and this fact has two valid reasons:

  • First of all, the material is made of fabric very close to that of bodyshape lingerie. And what does bodyshape do for our bodies? It reduces the size (up to 3 sizes sometimes), it evens out the surface of the skin and if we have cellulite, it remains invisible to others.
  • In addition, sportswear often has a beautiful design that helps to sculpt the desired body structure – for example, more lifted buttocks. Many brands make from such fabrics not only tights/yoga pants, but also tops.

This “magical” fabric makes a lot of people love sportswear and wear it away from sports activities.

However you should know that synthetic fibers have some drawbacks – makes it difficult for the skin to breathe, causes more sweating last but not least it can be toxic.

2. Semi-synthetic – modal, tensel, viscose;

They are all made of cellulose which has the benefits of the synthetic fibers as well as the once that the natural fabrics have. 

Sounds like the best solution but some of the designs are impossible with this material. You will find them mostly for t-shirts. Yoga pants made of semi-synthetic usually are not thick enough to be worn on the street but they are great for yoga practice or at home.

3. Natural – hemp, bamboo, cotton, wool.

Hemp is really popular because it is antibacterial, has a natural UV factor and dries relatively quickly! 

If you are an organic lifestyle lover those are the fabrics you should look for. They will give you comfort, they will allow your skin to breath and they will guarantee you less sweating.

The negative side of these natural fabrics is that they can’t keep the most vibrant colors for a very long time so you will probably find them in more natural hues. It also takes more time to dry them out.

Athleisure as a sign of high status in society?

Imagine two mothers walking their children to the school bus early in the morning. One is wearing an office outfit because perhaps she will need to go to work immediately after, and the other one is wearing activewear, but not because she did or is about to workout, but because she may not have to leave the house and go to work at all. Often the implication of this is that the second lady doesn`t need to dress more elegantly because she is financially secured and can afford to dress as she wants.

In the United States and Canada, this style has been a part of women’s daily lives for a long time, and such conclusions are not made so often, but it has definitely had its period of influence. You can see women in yoga pants everywhere and in any combination. You can definitely say that yoga pants have become an irreplaceable part of the modern lady’s clothing in and out of the gym.

This trend reminds of the trend with or without sun tan. Years ago, not having a hint of tan was a sign of high society, aristocracy, because only workers on the field had no way of sun protection and always had dark skin that aged faster. Whereas now, it is believed that if you are tan, you probably have the opportunity to rest, travel and to enjoy more leisure hours.

The impact on this style is very similar.

How To Wear Athleisure?

Oftentimes, this style of clothing seems to be perfectly suited for fitness, but if we pay close attention, we will notice that in fact it almost always  contains at least one element that would not be quite suitable for training. I.e. a complete sports outfit for the gym is a separate outfit from the one in which we recreated the sports-casual athleisure.

Here are some professional tips for how to build the perfect athleisure look that you should definitely consider:

  • Jacket and sports Items – combine sportswear with an office jacket for a good mood. For instance: a sport crop top with tights that can even show under a skirt, bermudas or a dress. In case the dress code allows it, we can replace the jacket with a bomber jacket. Experiment with different fabrics and textures;
  • Sport shoes – they can be simple one-color sneakers or runners with emblems and many colors. In a sea of ​​different shoe styles and designs, you can certainly find at least one pair that goes with just about any combination – usually white;
  • Add swimwear – One of the uniquely good combinations for this style is the adding of swimwear under the Boyfriend or Mom Jeans. Often, they can be multicolored and very fun;
  • Biker shorts – we can wear them with a crop top or an oversize jacket and add ugly daddy`s  shoes;
  • Accessories –multi-level necklaces, chains, sports belts with prints, hoop earrings, baseball hat. Additions generally should be of a simpler form and without many decorations in order to fit into the bold look;
  • The sports bra on display – oh yes! We can now show that comfortable item that we otherwise wear only in the gym (top trend for spring summer 2020). High waist jeans, a sports bra and a shirt with ends tied at the front. With this bra, we can vary a lot in combinations and add it under a dress, under a leather jacket, under a jacket – so that it is visible. I assure you that it sits well on all kinds of body types;
  • Sequins – we can add them as whole surfaces and although it sounds bold, it would look perfectly appropriate. For example, a T-shirt covered with sequins, which has a number and resembles a football T-shirt, combined with tights or a denim skirt;
  • Heels – perhaps many of you will say they don’t belong here when we talk about sports vision, but the truth is that they would fit perfectly with wide jeans folded to the ankle, sports T-shirt and a raincoat, for example.

What Is Athleisure And How Do We Wear It?

Meet the author

Hi, I’m Tia!

A Barcelona-based international fashion stylist, designer & image expert with over 20 years of professional experience in the fashion field. I work with individuals and businesses both online and in person helping them create their best image, making them feel confident in the world.

I believe personal style is a powerful asset we can all have no matter the social status, age, experience, culture, lifestyle and body type. It all comes down to having the right guidance and support. By changing our clothes we can influence the way we perform at any given moment.

Read more here …

Styling for Individuals
Styling for Businesses