Athleisure - Here to Stay

The most comfortable trend menswear has ever had

Words by Peter Minkoff

Illustrations by Zack Huffman

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For a brief moment there, athleisure seemed like a fleeting trend, a fad that, just as any other trend will soon be one foot out the door. Judging not only by the collections seen on both FA and SS runways during Fashion Weeks across the globe, but also by influencer and ‘regular’ people tendencies, it’s safe to say that athleisure is out of the trendy woods. It has come out the other side, positioning itself as a lifestyle rather than a fad. The question that remains, and one that we’ll be answering today is – why are so many people drawn to the athleisure to such an extent that it no longer runs the risk of being passé? 

Change of lifestyle, change of clothes 

One of the main factors contributing to the rise and staying power of the trend is the mindset of the people rocking it. We are now living in an age in which healthy living, regular exercising and balanced diet seem like the most important things. The people fostering such a lifestyle want their clothes to mirror their choices, and show to the world who they are. People have been expressing their personalities through their fashion choices for centuries, so this should come as no surprise. As long as our pursuit of wellness and self-care stays strong, so will athleisure. More than that, a little term, known as enclothed cognition, which describes the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer's psychological processes goes to show that what we wear has a major impact on our success in the desired field. What that means is, simply, wearing workout or workout-adjacent clothing can increase our motivation to stay healthy and active and push to be persistent in our wellness goals. 

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The best of both worlds 

Even though great accent has been placed on health and fitness in recent years, we are still living in a fast-paced world in which people aren’t left with plenty of time to slip out of one role and take on another one. This is where athleisure fills or bridges the gap. Workout clothes had a reputation for being, well, ugly but serving their purpose. Now the tides have turned – the fabrics and cuts have become more refined and sophisticated, and now collections of gym wear clothing, successfully serve dual or even multiple purposes. Thanks to high-end designers such as Stella McCartney and Louis Vuitton who are collaborating with some of the most well-known sports brands, as well as Fendi, Chloé and Hermès who have put out their own signature capsule collections, gym wear has left the gym and has paved its way into brunches, offices and even evening drinks. Even fast fashion retailers have acknowledged its potential, and are also jumping on board, making athleisure a 44$ billion industry in the US alone. People aim for functionality, and now with the additional perk of being presentable as well, there is absolutely nothing not to love about the trend. 

Ath-lesiure icons

  Zayn Malik

Zayn Malik

  Kayne West

Kayne West

  Drake

Drake

Blurred lines 

Sooner or later the pressed shirts and the smart clothes will cease to be the official uniform in the workplace. Sure, some of the more conservative work environments such as large corporations - banks and businesses alike are still fostering a strict business dress code, but we’re forgetting one important thing – they don’t represent the entire office world. With startup businesses and businesses ran by millennials (who are one of the major fans and nurturers of athleisure), the dress code lines are being blurred as we speak. As time goes by, ‘strict’ corporations will also loosen up, perhaps even without noticing it, and we have talented designers to thank for that. High-end designers have begun creating athleisure inspired collections so amazing that you would never even think they didn’t belong in the office, or anywhere else for that matter. 

The celebrity stamp of approval

With a large number of Instagram-supermodels being the most vocal advocates and ambassadors of athleisure, it’s easy to be tempted to join in on the fun. These models aren’t only known for their choice of profession, but thanks to social media platforms, now we have full insight into their daily eating and exercise regimen, and we want some of that action. To say that influencers don’t have an impact on our decisions would mean living in denial, and as we adopt the good parts of their lifestyle, we’re also inclined to adopt the clothes that come with it. We too want to hit the gym and then head out to brunch without so much as a change of clothes. 

Given all the evidence, it’s safe to assume that athleisure will most certainly stand the test of time. It may go through a certain amount of transformation, as everything else in fashion does, but as long as we remain focused on comfort, functionality and health, it will be there every step of the way.