Athleisure: Are We Still Doing This?

One of my good friends asked me the other day if dressing like you’re about to go to the gym but really you’re going to brunch is still a thing and I really didn’t have an answer. Dress has become so casual in the USA™ that wearing a simple pair of chinos and a jacket is considered very dressy in a lot of places; certainly so here in the deep south of Louisiana. I told her no one would probably look at her twice if she headed  out in leggings and a hoodie for bottomless mimosas, but that I didn’t much care for the look as a part of everyday wear if you weren’t going to be doing some strenuous physical activity. Then she explained why she was interested in the trend: she wants to go to the gym after work but hates changing into her gear beforehand. For her it’s largely an inconvenience to do it at work or at the gym and she’s not that crazy about the way designated clothes for working out look; but what about those athleisure joints? Can you really lift weights in your jeggings?

To which I say, “Maybe?”. So I’ve been perusing some offerings specifically marketed as athleisure wear and I have some questions:

1. Are these not mostly the same t-shirts and track pants we’ve been wearing to the gym and on the street for at least the last four generations?

2. Do I blame 2001 Juicy Couture velour track suits for this? (They are definitely culprits.)

I think Balenciaga has had brilliant designs over the years this not included. Image from Nordstrom.

3. What makes a $695 Balenciaga sneaker better for training than some $80 New Balance?

Art as fashion? I suppose you can make a case. But is this Athleisure? Alexander Wang cashmere tie waist sweatshirt has been sold out for a hot minute now. Retailed for $550. Image from Nordstrom.

4. Mr. Wang does my sweatshirt really need four sleeves?
     4.a  Who wears cashmere to the gym?


Tully Lou wants $160 for these limited edition leggings. Plus side is they give part of their profits to charity. How much; they don’t explicitly say. Image from Tully Lou.

5. Do athletes have anything to do with this? Leather look panels in my leggings seem a little impractical even if they give me fabulous Fifth Element vibes. The designer of these is a yoga instructor…still.


6. Do brands know the difference between athletic wear and athletic inspired wear? I think the industry is getting a little madlib on how they’re categorizing these clothes.

Working out in your jeggings probably isn’t the best idea, but twirling around town in leather and mesh ones sounds delightful. This notion of going from the gym to happy hour is cute but…I’m assuming people doing this aren’t taking a shower to then turn around and put on the same sweaty clothes they just high intensity interval trained in. Surely people aren’t doing that. They aren’t doing that, right? I think for now work out clothes will be work out clothes and work clothes will be work clothes unless of course you work in a gym. My advice? Wear a leotard or bodysuit under your office wear and pull a Clark Kent when you get to wherever you’re going to get your reps in. Your gym bag will be a bit lighter. If you really need to be social afterwards maybe everyone can meet up at a smoothie bar. Do we still do smoothie bars?

Header Image | Black Jiracheap


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