With high fashion designers setting their sights on sportswear in recent years, you’ll be delighted to know your favourite sweats can now be worn away from the gym! Dubbed athleisure wear, this is a trend that is all about feeling comfortable and showing off your toned physique.
With the athleisure market worth around $35 billion last year according to recent reports, and athletic apparel now making up approximately 17 per cent of the entire American clothing market, it looks like this is a trend that’s here to stay.
Sporty tees, running leggings, basketball shorts and, of course, sports sneakers, have all left the locker room and are now re-positioned as must-have fashion items. But how exactly, do you pull off this trend and look stylish in sportswear? Here is our ultimate guide:
Embrace the Sweatshirt
One of the core elements of the athleisure wear look, and the easiest way to introduce the trend to your wardrobe is the sweatshirt.
Sweatshirts are one of the most versatile pieces you can have in your wardrobe; dress them up with a button up oxford shirt underneath or dress them down with a colour coordinating tee.
Sweatshirts are an incredibly popular casual wear piece with fashionistas and celebrities alike. Fashion-forward celebrities such as David Beckham, Zayn Malik and Ryan Reynolds regularly incorporate them into their off-duty style.
The key to picking out the right sweatshirt is to choose something simple: leave the bold colours and patterns on the shelf and instead look for something in shades of grey marl, blue and black.
To add interest to your sweater look for eye-catching details, such as two tone panels and textural changes. Slogans and embossed lettering are also a great way to add interest and will lend your sweater a retro Americana feel.
Choose a crew neck sweater with a close-fitting round neckline to achieve immediate sports feel. For a subtle take on the trend, this can be worn with jeans, or you can fully commit to the athleisure look and pair with sweat pants or (if you’re feeling really brave) running tights and basketball shorts.
No matter what you choose to pair it with, a sportswear inspired sweater will be at the heart of almost every athleisure wear inspired outfit you put together. Here are some of our favourites to help make getting this look right feel effortless:
Adding sports-inspired accessories, such as a backpack or baseball cap is a great way to add additional, practical nods to the trend. These are pieces that would coordinate perfectly with a sports-inspired crew neck sweater.
Choose Your Brands Wisely
When it comes to creating the right athleisure look, choosing the right brands is essential. Luckily, your favourite sportswear brands are making this easy! As the athleisure trend has expanded, traditional sports brands such as Nike and Adidas have opened up their archives, relaunching retro-inspired heritage pieces that have a practical but fashion forward feel.
These pieces make a great base for any athleisure inspired outfit and can be easily elevated by mixing them with the right designer ready-to-wear pieces.The key to pulling off this look successfully is to mix up your brands, rather than wear your favourite sportswear brand from head to toe.
Whilst athleisure wear has been popping up on the runway for several seasons now, no designer has championed the trend more stylishly and consistently than Alexander Wang.
Combining the athleisure wear aesthetic with a darker and urbaner edge, wearing Wang is the perfect way to wear athleisure wear in a fashion-forward way.
The Alexander Wang style features dark colours and an urban feel, meaning it’s perfect for pairing with grey tailored sweatpants and your favourite sneakers. Picking the right Wang piece will make achieving the perfect athleisure wear aesthetic seem like child’s play!
Here are some of our favourite pieces to introduce this look into your wardrobe. Combine with traditional sportswear brands to create the perfect athleisure look:
Pick Tailored Joggers
Not all jogging bottoms and sweat pants are created equal, and if you want yours to show off your fashion credentials then they have to be tailored. Your joggers should either be tapered towards your ankles and tailored at the top or extremely tight all over.
Miles away from the baggy sweat pants of yesteryear, these pants are all about showing off your physique, creating a great silhouette and, what’s more, they’re incredibly comfortable!
Look for lightweight pants made from performance fabrics: extra fashion points are awarded for styles which feature mesh panels, points of textural interest, and ankle cuffs.
Styling your tailored joggers is essential; and they should always be dressed up and not down if you want to achieve a high fashion aesthetic. This isn’t about wearing your sportswear to the office: it’s about combining sportswear with ready-to-wear to create a clean and minimalist aesthetic.
Pair them with a long-line button-down shirt and loopback cotton sweat-shirt, a bomber jacket with mesh panelling, or even a double breasted sports coat to really stand out from the crowd.
Adding fashion-forward outerwear, such as your favourite denim or leather jacket, is a great way to take your sweat pants from the gym to the street, and elevate them for any occasion.
Ask WWKD (What Would Kanye Do)
When it comes to the athleisure trend, no celebrity champions the style with quite the same dedication as Kanye West. Want to put the perfect athleisure wear outfit together but not sure where to start? Simply ask yourself WWKD (What Would Kanye Do).
Kanye loves athleisure so much he established his own line of clothing inspired by the trend! Kanye’s Yeezy brand is dedicated to creating stylish sportswear that you can wear in an urban street-style environment, and his pieces have been worn by celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Romeo Beckham, and Joe Jonas.
Adding some of Kanye’s Yeezy pieces into your wardrobe is a great way to give your look an instant athleisure wear update. Here are some of our favourite pieces that will help you make the transition with ease:
If you’d like to nod to the Yeezy brand but prefer your pieces to be a little more subtle and understated then why not invest in your feet instead? The Adidas Yeezy sneakers (a collaboration between the two brands) were dubbed the hottest commodities in fashion by the New York Daily News.
Comfortable and fashion-forward, it’s easy to see why people are desperate to get their hands on these coveted shoes.
Athleisure wear is a hot trend right now, and it isn’t going anywhere. Whether you commit fully to a head to toe look or dip your toe in the water by investing in new sneakers or a bomber jacket, the fact is that we will all be channelling this sports luxe look in one way or another.
The key to athleisure wear success is to combine your sportswear pieces with high fashion ready to wear pieces. By mixing the two genres successfully, you are showing off your fashion credentials and creating a look that is less gym and more gorgeous.