GIRL TALK

Athleisure

Athleisure, what is it?  Technically speaking, athleisure is the mixing of athletic wear into leisurely every day wear. It’s the mixing of functional apparel (sport/exercise clothing) into one’s everyday life.  But in reality, athleisure is restricted to casual wear.  Even when you wear athleisurely apparel outside the studio or gym it still is identified as gym wear. It still screams “I just came from the gym” or “I’m wearing yoga clothes”.  Grocery shopping, having coffee with your girlfriends, or a casual lunch date, all are perfectly acceptable places for athleisure clothing  This fits the bill for many women.

athleisure

Why Has Athleisure Taken Off?

Activewear, which is the apparel category encompassed by athleisure, is comfort wear.  When I say comfort wear, I mean clothing that feels good. Over a decade ago, casual Friday signaled the beginning of a movement away from constricting, more formal clothes.  The tech industry jump started this trend even further when companies like Google allowed any type of apparel to be worn to work.  It was all about comfort and non conformity.

Are Jeans Athleisure?

You may ask, aren’t jeans part of the athleisure movement?  It’s just the exact opposite. Jeans, despite being casual, are tight, constricting, non-stretchable clothing that are frankly uncomfortable.  It is this search for comfort that has Levi quaking in its boots (or should I say jeans?)  Denim is reported to have dropped 16% in sales last year.  While activewear grew 7 times faster than general apparel.  Retail analysts have moved away from calling this a trend.  Instead they are calling it a cultural shift.  Trends come and go quickly.  Cultural shifts last for years only to be replaced by another cultural shift. Denim companies are trying to deal with this shift by incorporating spandex into their jeans. I’m not sure just adding spandex will win back women. I wonder if the denim industry has a spandex zipper up their sleeves?

What’s Next For Athleisure?

So what’s next for athleisure?  Certainly it is popular with women.  The versatility and comfort bode well for its continued growth with women.  Athleisure is even beginning to take hold with men.  Please help us if the styling of men’s activewear follows Speedo’s designs!  But what’s even more exciting is a small number of start ups that are focused on providing women with activewear that doesn’t scream “I just came from yoga”.  Instead of only looking appropriate in the grocery store or coffee shop, these brands are mixing classic runway styling elements into functional activewear.  This changes up the game even further.  Now women have the choice to wear this “runway athleisure” as fashion. So work, the bistro, and an evening date can be added to the mix.  Adding heels and jewelry crosses over this high performance studio gear to anything the woman wants it to be.  This versatility is the convenience that women are looking for.  Driving designs in athleisure from yoga wear to classy fashion is the next phase.  There are many ways of making this crossover possible.  Design is one way but incorporating catwalk quality trims and zippers along with high performance fabrics with the hand feel of fashion is yet another.

Runway Style

Runway Style

So ladies, welcome to this cultural shift.  Embrace the comfort.  Don’t say “Oh, I’m too old for that”.  You are not.  You are ageless.

If you’d like to learn more about athleisure follow these links:

http://www.instyle.com/news/now-you-know-just-how-far-should-you-take-athleisure-trend
http://www.wsj.com/articles/are-you-going-to-the-gym-or-do-you-just-dress-that-way-1430847310

Juetta West
Turn It On and Look Fab!

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