Athleisure can be characterized as trendy yet practical workout gear that has an upscale edge. Who remembers the black and white striped sneakers that we begged our parents for even though they kind of looked like clown shoes? They are now among the most popular footwear among millennials with dozens of new styles and collaborations being introduced each season. Brands like Adidas and Puma have seen a huge resurgence of exposure thanks to this trend and have been able to expand their lines to include not only shoes but joggers, sweatshirts, sports bras, hats and more. Even newer brands like Yeezy are striving to emulate the epitome of workout chic. There’s no doubt that such a high-end and highly coveted collection such as Mr. West’s was a huge factor in driving the athleisure movement.
Aside from being undeniably unique, wearing an outfit that exhibits both confidence and convenience such as that of athleisure is representative of the current decade we’re living in. Whereas the past decade valued showy and downright confusing ensembles (peep Lady Gaga wearing a dress made out of raw beef at the MTV Video Music Video Awards circa 2010), society is now concerned with feasibility and accessibility in all aspects of life. Stepping out in sneakers and fitted striped joggers is definitely more functional than, say, a six-inch heel with a scarf disguised as a top.
The current trend also promotes body confidence and body acceptance in a way that the past decade had failed to do. Tiny tube tops and daisy dukes, worn only by actresses and models, it seemed, characterized the early 2000’s. Those kinds of styles were reserved for people of a specific size, and left “regular” sized people with limited high-fashion options. Fortunately, our current decade has seen a huge rise of body positivity, specifically in the world of fashion, and athleisure encourages both staying active and staying fashion forward. It’s important to realize what a huge deal this is in an industry that has such strict standards, and it’s amazing to see moves finally being made toward inclusivity. So go through the storage closet, dig up those old striped sneakers, and put ‘em on, because it doesn’t look like athleisure is going anywhere anytime soon.
Hannah Jacobs, newfound wellness enthusiast, is spending her summer trying a variety of fitness & wellness firsts. She will return every Wednesday to share her experiences and insights.