As life gets busier, faster-paced, and more hectic, more and more people find themselves reaching for the comfiest, most functional clothes in their wardrobes. As comfort and wearability become top priorities in most people’s clothing choices, the fashion world has likewise followed suit. These days, it’s commonplace to see celebrities, models, and other high-profile individuals ditch their high heels and fancy jewelry in favor of sneakers, yoga pants, and windbreaker jackets.
The trend of mixing activewear with more upscale clothing that’s been on the rise in recent years is widely known as athleisure. Though some fashion purists might raise eyebrows at the idea of wearing exercise clothing outside of the gym, many more people have embraced the style for its practicality. Some even assert that dressing in athleisure encourages them to pursue a healthier, more active lifestyle—and still look great in the process.
Are you new to athleisure and curious about how to rock this booming trend? Then you’ll be happy to know that athleisure is meant to be low-maintenance, relaxed, and casual by design. As a result, the “rules” for putting together athleisure outfits are relatively simple and easy for anyone to pull off. To start with, the following fashion tips should help you out:
Comfort Is Key
If you’re the sort of person who loves living in comfy hoodies and leggings for women, then you’ve already got the most fundamental principle of athleisure down pat. Above all else, athleisure outfits need to be comfortable and easy to move in. They’re meant to feel good on your body, no matter where you go or what you do throughout the day. And the best part is that athleisure pieces don’t sacrifice fashion for function, so you’ll still look stylish and put-together even though they require little to no effort to put together.
Athleisure is versatile enough to wear almost anywhere, from the gym to the office to lunch out with your best friends. Common staples of the style include sneakers, caps, crop tops, joggers, and any clothing made of breathable, soft materials.
Mix Activewear and Ready-to-Wear Pieces
Athleisure ensembles incorporate a blend of exercise clothing and ready-to-wear fashion items, and this mixing and matching is the very thing that elevates the style above just dressing in regular gym gear from head to toe. Think about how you might integrate the activewear you own with your regular wardrobe pieces. For instance, you might dress up a pair of slouchy joggers by pairing them with heels and a leather jacket. On the flipside, a pair of white sneakers and a baseball cap could be just the thing to bring your favorite little black dress down to earth. The trick is to invest in high-quality items and coordinate them thoughtfully for a well-balanced look.
Consider the Occasion
As much as we celebrate the rise of athleisure and the emphasis it places on comfortable and wearable clothing, it’s just as important to recognize that athleisure outfits will shine the most on occasions where they’re appropriate. The same is true for pretty much any kind of style, so it will always be valuable to keep the occasion in mind when determining what to wear.
Because athleisure is for the most part a casual style, you probably won’t want to wear it to formal affairs like weddings, job interviews, or corporate events. However, it’s an ideal fashion choice for more relaxed occasions, such as casual lunches or ordinary days at the office. As a general rule, incorporating more athletic pieces is fine for informal events, while dressier occasions call for more ready-to-wear pieces.
Pair Form-Fitting Pieces with Loose Ones
Wearing athleisure well is all about maintaining the delicate balance of fashion and function. In keeping with this theme, one popular trick for styling athleisure outfits involves wearing fitted bottoms with looser tops, or vice versa. A body-hugging crop top or sports bra, for example, will look great with baggy cargo pants or sweatpants, while a big T-shirt will balance out a pair of skin-tight leggings nicely. These combinations work so well together because loose and breezy pieces help keep things casual, while more form-fitting pieces help elevate a look.
Keep Your Color Palette Simple
While it’s not uncommon for exercise clothes to feature loud colors or bold prints, you generally don’t want to go overboard with those. Remember, one of the reasons people love athleisure so much is the minimalist, easygoing vibe it gives off—an effect that simpler color palettes help achieve. Build your outfit around tones like black, gray, white, and navy blue. Feel free to incorporate one or two pops of color, as these will stand out all the more brightly against a mostly neutral ensemble.
Don’t Skip the Accessories
Just because athleisure keeps it casual doesn’t mean there’s no room to show off your personality with some well-chosen accessories. If you’re putting together an extra-sporty outfit, a cute cap or a pair of aviator sunglasses are the perfect finishing touches. On the other hand, donning some simple jewelry like hoop earrings or a chain necklace can soften up your activewear and introduce a more feminine vibe to your overall look.
At the end of the day, athleisure’s continuing popularity proves that there’s no need to choose between comfort and style. It’s more than possible to achieve the perfect balance between the two by investing in stylish, versatile pieces for your wardrobe.