If you hopped in a time machine back to the ‘50s, you’d notice one thing: Everyone is dressed so uncomfortably. Suits, ties, dresses—did anybody care about how their clothes made them feel? Thankfully, times have changed, with the ‘90s sparking the streetwear trend thanks to iconic designs from companies like Reebok.
The trend has evolved, and it will only continue that way. Now, we live in the era of athleisure, where it’s commonplace to wear your performance clothes when you’re out and about. Although we may not look like we’re ready for a business meeting in the traditional sense, comfort and style have melded to produce wonderful results.
Let’s take a closer look at the athleisure trend, what it means, where it’s okay and where it’s not, along with some essential must-have pieces to pick up.
What Athleisure Is About
To put it simply, athleisure is about being comfy and mobile. It’s about putting the tight, stuffy dress pants and blue jeans back in the dresser and rocking athletic leggings instead. It’s about achieving a streamlined look that’s up and ready for anything. From the Pilates studio to brunch, athleisure can do it all while you keep your cool and feel effortlessly comfortable.
In today’s culture, we’re busier than ever and our hectic schedules require more flexibility, sometimes literally in the fabrics we wear. Think about modern jeans compared to the old-school versions, for example: there’s an added stretch that makes wearing them much more comfortable. However, athleisure doesn’t include jeans, instead, the typical athleisure wardrobe often includes athletic leggings, performance shirts, gym shorts, tights, sleek running shoes, joggers, sports bras and more.
Where you wear your athleisure outfits really depends on your lifestyle. If you work at a law firm, leggings probably aren’t appropriate. But if you work at a hip startup, you might see the CEO conducting meetings in a comfortable pair of joggers. It’s the age we live in, and you might be surprised just how far the athleisure trend can go in terms of wearability and where you can rock it.
How NOT to Do Athleisure
There’s a fine line between wearing streamlined, comfortable performance gear and wearing ratty old gym clothes. While there’s nothing wrong with stepping out of the house in your high school team T-shirt, athleisure shouldn’t be an excuse to not care about your style. While athleisure is agile and comfortable, there are some clear dos and don’ts to the trend.
Among the chief no-nos of the trend is wearing clothes that should strictly live in the weight room. That means they have holes in them, you’ve spilled a pre-workout shake or two on them, or the sweat stains are certifiably permanent. They’re totally fine for working out, but don’t belong at brunch. To add to that, you typically don’t want to wear your athleisure right from the gym to out and about either. From sweat and stink to chalk stains from your last dead-lift, athleisure isn’t to be confused with the grunge look. That said, if you’re heading to the grocery store in your athletic leggings after a round of yoga nidra, you’ll be just fine.
Athleisure clothes should be stylish and modern too. Workout and active-wear have advanced over the last few decades and there’s a certain sleek, streamlined aesthetic to the athleisure trend. Thankfully, companies like Reebok offer tons of performance gear that are both stylish and comfortable and are an advancement of the gym clothes of old. They innovate with new fabrics to keep you cool and dry, and don’t look out of place in the world outside of the weight room. With their clean cuts and flattering designs, they complement your lifestyle and tell people that you like to move and can for sure beat their mile time.
Must-Have Athleisure Essentials
Now that we’ve discussed the dos, the don’ts and the reasons why athleisure is the way to go, let’s look at the essentials to pick up, along with some tips to style them, so you look as chic as possible.
Leggings and Tights
For the ladies, leggings and tights provide unlimited support and flexibility while in the gym. You can squat, lunge, jump, run, or anything that requires limitless flexibility. They’re insanely comfortable too, not to mention flattering with a streamlined aesthetic that doesn’t really look out of place anywhere.
For your best bet on the versatility front, black athletic leggings go with almost anything, from white sneakers to even being worn under a dress during the colder months. If you’re planning on working out in your leggings, look for ones made with moisture-wicking material and that are highly breathable, that way you’ll keep your cool from the gym to the grocery store.
For the guys and women who prefer long pants when out and about, joggers are a must-have. Especially if you’re a sneaker-head who always keeps their new kicks looking fresh, you’ll love the ribbed cuffs that stay right at ankle height so you can show off your shoes.
Joggers come in a variety of materials, from the more spandex type to warm and fuzzy fleece. The choice is yours and depends on the climate where you live, but you should have a few in your collection. Again, you can go stealth with a black pair, or mix it up with gray, blue, or a tri-blend fabric.
Shirts and Tanks
You won’t see any button-downs in the gym, so you won’t see it in an athleisure fit either. Although there are ways to mix and match different pieces, for a truly comfortable, no-nonsense, streamlined look, you’ll want some performance tops. Whether that’s a sweat-wicking T-shirt or a tank top for the summer days, the choice is yours.
The top is also where people tend to get the most colorful depending on their style preferences. Maybe you’re a strictly all-black kind of person, or maybe you prefer brighter colors like teal or peach. It’s up to you. Also, if you’re a big fan of a brand, your top is a great opportunity to rep the Reebok logo too!
For the colder months, you’ll want outerwear that fits the rest of an outfit. Just like it would look silly to wear a hoodie over a suit, it looks out of place to rock a pea coat with a performance T-shirt. For outerwear, it’s best to stick with something light, yet warm enough for all of your errands.
Think hoodies and light jackets featuring innovative fabric that, while being thin and light, provides superior insulation to keep you warm during all of your fall, winter and early spring adventures.
The sky’s the limit in the accessories department, with most athleisure accessories focused on function over fashion. Because of this, the accessories you choose to add to all of your active looks will depend on your unique needs. Common accessory items you’ll find in this category include backpacks, fanny packs, beanies, hats, caps, gloves (both for lifting and staying warm), socks and more.
Finally, footwear is perhaps the biggest and most extensive component of any athleisure wearer’s wardrobe. You have so many choices, with many brands, models and colors to choose from. Stick with what you know and love, and choose footwear that’s dedicated to your sport. You’ll want to stay comfortable, so avoid wearing your weightlifting shoes out and about and consider sticking to running-based shoes since they are often more flexible and walkable.
You have plenty of choices and the form and function dichotomy comes into play. While some shoes are great for running, they’re not the most fashionable. On the other hand, some shoes could definitely fall into the running category, but they’re definitely more show ponies than workhorses. Keep that in mind and use your footwear as a way to express yourself with all of your athleisure ‘fits.
Is Athleisure Right for You?
So, is the athleisure aesthetic right for you? Only you can be the judge of that since you know your lifestyle better than anyone else. If your days are spent in board meetings and your weekends are spent at galas, probably not. But if your days are more flexible, and you work in an environment that promotes casual ‘fits and comfort, you should give it a shot by all means.
Just like any fashion style and trend, the athleisure trend is sure to change in the future. But with its growing popularity, it’s clear that it likely won’t disappear at this point, but will continue picking up steam.
For decades, Reebok has produced footwear and athletic apparel for professional and everyday athletes who move, inspire and innovate. Reebok offers apparel and footwear for a variety of sports and activities, from running to weight lifting to yoga, and with Reebok workout clothes for women and men, you can move and perform at your highest potential.
Among their many selections, Reebok is known for their innovative CrossFitNano series along with their timeless classic designs. Make Reebok your top choice for all of your athletic apparel needs, with everything from sports bras to athletic leggings, gym shorts, hats, performance shirts and more.