The term “activewear” has been bandied around for years, and plenty of cynics have been waiting for the popularity of wearing leggings and lycra outside of the gym to implode. But it hasn’t. And we’ve got plenty of reason to believe this trend is going nowhere fast. According to one estimate there was US$270 billion spent on athleisure in 2016, and this massive number is estimated to grow by 30 percent by the year 2020. And no longer is athleisure just the domain of the big sportswear brands, these days every fashion brand is getting in on the action.
While lycra fashion has been around for decades (think 1980’s leotards), it wasn’t until sportswear brands began collaborating with luxury designers (think adidas and Stella McCartney) that wearing workout gear beyond the gym started gaining traction. Celebrities have also helped drive the evolution. Beyoncè established the Ivy Park line of activewear, and Kanye West collaborated with adidas to create the Yeezy. It is Reebok we can thank for leading the charge and leveraging celebrities to help take sportswear beyond the world of sports. Back in 2003 Reebok partnered with Jay Z for the S.Carter shoe, becoming the first brand to sign a non-sports athlete to a shoe deal. They have since gone on to team up with celebrities such as Gigi Hadid, Kendrick Lamar and Nina Dobrev.
So if athleisure is okay for celebs, is it okay for you? The answer is a resounding yes!
How to nail the perfect athleisure look
- Go for layers. Wear a loose tee over a tank or crop, tie a light sweater around your waist, or add a jacket or trench to instantly dress up your look.
- Don’t shy away from mixing athletic wear with other wardrobe staples. “A black blazer or black leather jacket,” is key says Nina Dobrev’s stylist Ilaria Urbinati. “You can throw it over your workout outfit to make it more styled or over a little dress at night to make it more girly.
- Make smart technology choices. There are plenty of innovative fabrics designed to be odour reducing, breathable, sweat-wicking etc. There are also various types of stretchability designed to improve comfort and be flattering.
- Always do an opacity test. When you get a new pair of leggings make sure that they truly are opaque, test them in daylight and under bright light… and always do a squat test too.
- Choose comfort on every level. Even if the fabric or cut is super comfortable, if you don’t feel comfortable wearing a piece then give it a miss. While we might not all feel at ease wearing some of the skimpier options, athleisure is a look we can all embrace. It’s amazing how tying a top or jacket around your waist can boost your confidence.
- Don’t forget to accessorize. A great pair of sunnies, a cap and statement handbag are perfect for completing the athleisure look.
Still not convinced you can rock the athletic look like a celeb? Find out some of Nina Dobrev’s favorite ways to style athletic wear.
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