In the simplest terms, this trend is all about the philosophy that activewear shouldn’t be limited to working out or playing sports. Modern athletic clothing is comfortable, functional and stylish. So why not wear it all day long? This simple idea is the essence of athleisure. How did all this happen? Pretty organically, actually. Some say the trend gained momentum as more women began wearing yoga pants and tank tops outside the yoga studio. Others believe the trend emerged simply because people decided they could wear the same outfit they wear to the gym for running errands around town.
Another important facet of athleisure wear is dressing up your athletic apparel to create a look that bridges the gap between sporty-casual and urban. Creating the right look takes a balance of fashion and function. As with any style, there are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when creating an athleisure wardrobe, but first it’s important to understand the foundational elements.
Creating a well-rounded athleisure wear wardrobe takes some thought, but don’t be intimidated. Variety and creativity are what really make this trend shine. To help get you started, consider choosing a few of the following staples.
Sports bras provide excellent support and minimal coverage in a lightweight package. Choose a mixture of colors and styles to add variety. Strappy back sports bras are currently a hot trend.
Leggings provide a sleek, form-fitting and comfortable fit with full lower body coverage. Choose from an array of colors and materials to express your personal style. Leggings also come in both full-length and capri-length cuts.
Yoga pants are full-length tights or leggings with a slight flair in the lower leg. Some are designed to provide a more relaxed fit. Others are form-fitting. Regardless of the cut, yoga pants always provide plenty of stretch for freedom of movement, making them ideal for yoga, Pilates or a night out at the dance club.
Fitted T-shirts are designed to provide a modern fit that works well with the athleisure look. Avoid baggy, loose-fitting T-shirts.
Sweatpants are a staple for guys, but choose wisely. The best sweatpants for this style have a more tailored, fitted look compared to old-school sweatpants. High-quality sweats and athleisure pants are also more resistant to unsightly pilling compared to bargain sweatpants.
Track pants can be subbed in for sweatpants or joggers. Just avoid wearing a matching track suit. Unless you’re a famous hip-hop artist from the 1980s, leave the matching suits to the track-and-field competitions.
For Men and Women
Tank tops are a quintessential layering piece for both men and women. A tank top is an ideal base layer for building a great-looking summer outfit. Tanks can be snug or relaxed, but shouldn’t be too baggy.
Athletic tops and T-shirts should feature lightweight, breathable fabrics. When shopping for T-shirts, look for fitted shirts that provide a snug, contemporary fit.
Joggers are the ultimate athleisure pants. Available in both full-length and capri-length, joggers are designed to offer a slightly more relaxed fit compared to leggings and also have elastic cuffs that let you show off your favorite footwear.
Hoodies make perfect layering pieces for chilly weather and work well with the athleisure look. Zip-up hoodies are ideal, although the right pullover hoodie can also work. Sleeveless hoodies are a hot trend for the ladies, and a cowl-neck hoodie is also a nice upgrade.
Jackets that work well with athleisure wear vary, depending on personal taste. From a lightweight blazer to a classic denim jacket, there are a lot of great outerwear options. A modern, black leather jacket is always a stylish choice with the right outfit.
Athleisure Shoes and Accessories
Trainers are athletic shoes designed for cross training and general athletics. These shoes are great for hitting the gym, wearing around town or just kicking back at home. The best trainers tend to be a little more understated compared to running shoes or basketball shoes. It’s hard to go wrong with Adidas Superstars.
Sandals are a bit trickier, but can certainly work if you choose the right pair. Sporty slip-on sandals or “slide sandals” from brands like Nike and Adidas are a good way to go for a more casual look. Women’s sandals with a raised or wedge heel are ideal for creating a more dressed-up look.
Hats can be as simple as a low-profile headband or a beanie for winter. If you do wear a hat, keep it relatively understated.
Bags are a simple matter of personal preference, but a classic messenger bag is always a versatile choice. Avoid oversized purses and really over-the-top bags with tons of bling.
1. Don’t wear dirty or beat-up sneakers.
This will diminish your polished look. Keep your trainers fresh and your outfit will shine.
2. Don’t wear anything oversized.
Baggy, oversized athletic apparel tends to look messy and frumpy. Your activewear should fit appropriately to give you a modern, urban style.
3. Avoid too many bright colors.
This style already demands attention, so don’t go too crazy with vivid, over-the-top colors. Some bright colors are good, but too much will clash.
4. Don’t overdo the jewelry.
Your outfit should already make a pretty bold statement, so it’s important to keep jewelry and accessories fairly subtle.
5. Dress accordingly for an event.
Headed to the office? Throw on a blazer and a nice pair of shoes to dress up the look. Night out with friends after work? Switch it up with a hoodie or leather jacket.
6. Keep up with the trends.
This style is constantly evolving. Keep your eye out for new variations to stay on-trend.
There are many different ways to do athleisure clothing. Experimentation is highly encouraged, within boundaries. Keep the previous dos and don’ts in mind when shopping for apparel and have fun creating your wardrobe.
Outfits for Her
Believe it or not, you can build a wide range of looks with just a handful of versatile pieces. For these outfits, a sporty top and leggings create the foundation. For cooler weather, add a hoodie. You can also layer a pair of joggers over the leggings (or just swap them out). To create a stylish, casual look, toss on a lightweight zip jacket and accessories. To dress things up a bit, heels or boots complete the look. With a few simple changes, these two outfits can easily transition from gym to errands to a night out on the town.
Outfits for Him
Layering is an essential tool for men’s athleisure. For these outfits, a fitted T-shirt with joggers or track pants creates the foundation. Add a zip top or button-up shirt for a go-anywhere casual look. For cooler weather, toss on a jean jacket or hoodie. For a dressier outfit, a nice blazer is always a great choice. Just be sure to coordinate your colors and fabric patterns to avoid clashing.