Athleisure is all about combining comfort, style, and performance. We’re not talking about ratty old sweatpants. We’re talking about sporty, yet fashionable clothing that’s suitable for a variety of situations. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to wear athleisure. This can lead to some embarrassing faux pas. Here are six things you need to know to get the most out of your athleisure wear.
- Athleisure is as Old as Fashion
Okay, we might be exaggerating. Fashion has been around since the first hunter-gatherer threw on a loincloth. But athleisure has been around for longer than you think. Indeed, we can date it back to the early 1890s and the invention of rubber-soled shoes.
This invention might seem trivial, but it allowed people to make lightweight shoes with flexible, but durable soles. These were first used for tennis, which is why we sometimes call sneakers “tennis shoes”. From there, other inventions like sweatsuits quickly followed.
- Athleisure is More Popular Than Ever
Not long ago, athleisure was limited to athletes, and sometimes to suburban dads enjoying a summer barbecue. But with the growing popularity of gyms and workout routines, athleisure has grown in popularity.
This isn’t just a matter of fashion. It’s also a matter of fabric type and comfort. For example, before the 1930s, workout clothes were all made of cotton. They were flexible, but not terribly breathable. Since the invention of synthetic fabrics, cotton/polyester blends have become the norm. This allows for both flexibility and breathability.
- There’s a Time and Place For Everything
Athleisure may be getting more and more socially acceptable, but that doesn’t mean you can wear it anywhere you please. For example, most offices frown on people showing up in workout shorts and a tee shirt. Similarly, you want to dress up for weddings and other formal occasions.
But in the right time and place, some athleisure wear can keep you comfortable and still looking sharp. Go to a date at a casual restaurant, see a movie, or go for a walk in the park, and you’ll fit right in.
- The Right Fabric is Everything
One thing we mentioned already is that the invention of synthetic fabric spurred the adoption of athleisure wear. Under most circumstances, the ideal fabric is going to be a cotton/polyester blend. These fabrics are soft, flexible, and breathable, all of which are ideal for working out. If you need even more flexibility, consider investing in some spandex as well.
One often-overlooked fabric is wool. This isn’t ideal for hot, sweaty days. But on cooler days, it can be just what you need. Not only is it soft and flexible, but it will also keep you warm even if it gets wet.
- Make Sure Your Tops and Bottoms Match
Athleisure bottoms can run the gamut from sweatpants to shorts to chinos. Similarly, tops can be tee shirts, sleeveless tees, or even hoodies. The key point here is to make sure they match. In general a light top should go with a dark bottom, or vice-versa. This creates an attractive contrast that you can combine with most accessories.
- Athleisure Isn’t Just For Hot Weather
Unless you live in Southern California, the US has seasonal weather patterns. As a result, you don’t want to limit yourself to warm-weather athleisure outfits. Grab a hoodie or two for more versatility. You can even incorporate a lightweight zippered sweater for even colder weather. This way, you can enjoy athleisure comfort all year round.
There’s so much athleisure clothing on the market that there’s no excuse for limiting yourself to one look. If money is an issue, start with a basic wardrobe, and add an item here or there as needed. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of options to mix and match.