6 Nov 2018

An Ode to Athleisure


Athleisure, is that even a word?

In the last decade, athleisure has taken the world by storm. Its growing popularity has shocked and captivated and what we once understood as clothing only suitable for activewear has firmly made its mark in the fashion industry and the mass market.

Gone are the days that we packed our gym wear into our bags and made our way to workout classes in dresses and heels. Instead, we are wearing our athleisure to the gym, from the gym, and oftentimes all during the day.

Sound familiar?

After reading various articles and reports about the somewhat new phenomenon, I can say that this is definitely not the case for a lot of women. It seems as though athleisure is something we either love or hate or just don’t really wear unless it is for the actual purpose.


Vicki says, “I see people around me wearing it every day and all day. Some women absolutely love athleisure. When walking to yoga, I always wear a parka coat depending on the day, over the top of my exercise gear; in summer it’s a trench. My preference is not to be seen in my workout clothes.”

I love athleisure and find it hard not to wear it every day. It’s versatile and its incorporated into as many outfits as possible. There have been many times I’ve been to the gym in the morning and have stayed in my workout clothes for the rest of the day. Gym wear is so sophisticated lately that no one even looks twice. My go-to is athleisure outfit is leggings worn with a chunky knitted sweater and trainers. Pop on some lipstick and it’s the perfect weekday outfit.

Amy our Graphic Designer says, “For me, athleisure is something I’d only wear at home or to the gym. I can’t imagine going shopping or to the cinema in it as I wouldn’t feel made up enough. My wardrobe is mostly smart casual rather than mostly casual. Dressing up is something I love, so I’d feel really underdressed in athleisure. A lot of my job roles have required working remotely where I haven’t had to dress up, so when I go out, I like to make an effort.”

Whether you love it, hate it, or wear it sometimes, athleisure isn’t going anywhere and there are probably a lot of us with ‘athleisure’ items in our wardrobes without even realising it. Perhaps it is far from a trend?

Has athleisure always existed but not seen in the light that we view it today?

Remember those pair of cashmere joggers we loved recently? Athleisure.

Those Nike trainers we adore paired with our latest trouser crush? Athleisure.

Athleisure is about comfort and mobility and seeing where casual wear can work as active wear.

I’ve made a permanent spot in my wardrobe for athleisure without realising, maybe we all have?

Athleisure, The Way To Wear It

the upside jogger pants  ||  madewell turtleneck  ||  velvet faux-fur jacket  ||  jane post long velvet parka  ||  nike flyknit champagne sneaker

images, wenn, icíar j. carrasco, t by alexander wang, michael clarke, matthew sprout, annemarieke van drimmelen, outdoor voices, victoria adamson 

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In This Post:



Taste of France

Do you remember the movie “Working Girl,” with Melanie Griffith in her bulky white trainers (with white socks) walking to the ferry? And when I moved to NYC myself, the last thing I wanted was to be caught in athletic shoes, unless I was running. I had some cool loafers for my commute and a drawer full of heels in my desk (though the heels were modest by today’s standards–stilettos were just as unclassy as trainers then).
On recent days out in Montpellier and Toulouse, I didn’t see a single woman in heels. Not all were in trainers, though many were. Lots of boots. But nobody teetered along on their tippy toes. And I think that is progress.
As for other athleisure, it’s a question of sloppiness. If you can look neat and put-together while wearing it, then good for you. It depends on the piece and the overall outfit. And the attitude.

Antoinette Thomas

There seem to be no limits on who, where, or what ‘leggings’ women wear in public in Atlanta. If men wore this tight, genital revealing clothing they would be arrested for indecent exposure. What is the possible reason for wearing this type of clothes in public? Exhibition? Laziness? It can be repulsive.


I love it. It’s freedom to move around. I feel safe when I am by myself not worrying about my clothes or tottering on heels. I wear trainers but mostly I mix i.e. my Chanel ballet flats with my athleisure. Works for me.

Sandra Sallin

Mea culpa. This goes back many years when my children were in Grammar school. We used to wake up early grab breakfast and start carpooling. What would I wear? Sweat pants and a sweatshirt. Oh, not in grey like an athlete but in sherbet colors. I never thought about it. It was before Yoga and Lululemon. It was soft , toasty and comfortable. I never thought about it. Because after carpool I’d walk into my studio and start painting. Years later one of my children’s friends said “You know Mrs. Sallin, I never saw you in anything other than sweat clothes.”

Marsha Scott

My daughter, who absolutely walks to the beat of her own drummer, told me, “Mother, how can you wear JOGGING pants out to dinner?” Yes, there’s a good & bad. The tights/leggings worn as outerwear shock me beyond belief. Unless one is Gisele Bundchen I think that is completely hideous. Shoes? I’ve graduated from high high heels, and must be comfortable and elegant. Elegant is not tottering while there’s a pained look on your face :)’s


I don’t like tight yoga pants without a long top. It’s far too revealing and not a good look on most women. Unless you have slim legs and a perky butt leave it at the gym.
I occasionally wear leggings with boots, a tunic top and coat. It’s easy and comfortable. But, mostly
I wear jeans. It doesn’t take any longer to dress, and with the stretch in today’s jeans just as comfortable.
As for those chunky, clunky trainers – No! There are lots of runners that are more streamlined and much better looking. I wear black Nike’s when touring for the comfort – saving my feet for heels in the evening. But, at home it’s just as easy to pop on a pair of oxfords or booties with gel inserts.
Personally, I think it’s sloppy, lazy dressing. Just because it’s a trend doesn’t mean we as mature women need to adopt it. Pick and choose what suits your style and sensibility!

Mary Ann Falciani

I think leisure wear belongs in the gym or at home. I think people who wear this type
of clothing in airports and in restaurants are just too lazy to put themselves together and present a polished
image. It reflects the attitude of society today. Sorry if this seems harsh.


too bad that most of the people are not proper dressed for the right occassion. Oldfashioned? Perhaps but I miss it


If ever there was a topic to get me on my high horse it is this! I started to write why I felt like this and in the end gave up because everything I wrote just seemed nasty. I remember years ago Karl Lagerfeld saying “sweatshirts are a sign of defeat” and I always thought that was so apt but it seems he has changed his mind too! One of his latest shows features models walking a ‘beach’ in leggings, bike shorts and gorgeous long line jkts. I almost had a panic attack – how could he? But there are times when we just have to admit defeat I guess, and from someone who was brought up in a strict extended family to shower and dress for dinner every night, I too have to admit to the cashmere joggers and cosy sweater now on those winter nights. Gym gear as fashion wear – never. Biker shorts and leggings for Chanel – sorry Karl, can’t get my head around this!


I think there are clothes that encourage one to stand, walk and sit in a elegant manner. Wearers of athletic-wear do not seem to fit into that category. I do not care to see athletic-wear unless the person is involved in something of an athletic nature. Most of the clothing it is not very appealing especially from the back.. There are so many comfortable and stylish clothes and shoes available, why not make an effort to look a little more put-together? Why wear shoes that make the feet look twice their size?


I am fit and this type of clothing is comfortable and I wear it at home and in my studio but I would no more wear it out shopping, etc than I would’ve worn sweats. I am frequently horrified by sightings of women who look like their leggings are sprayed on and way too revealing for public. I often find myself wondering how we got to this point. Sometimes it is appropriate to dress up a but.


I’ve actually been doing this for years without even knowing it was a fashion statement! This look is comfortable and during my “off time” from dressing up for my job, this is how I get around: sneakers, leggings and a parka!

Elizabeth Detrich

I don’t like gym or yoga pants unless they are at the gym. It’s too revealing a look on most women. Once I’m finished at the gym, it’s off to the shower – gyms are bastions of all sorts of nasty bacteria, a shower and change of clothes is a must!
If one must wear tights, I occasionally wear leggings with boots or ballet flats with a boxy cashmere top and statement jewelry piece such as a clunky necklace or large bangle bracelet. It’s easy and comfortable most importantly, put together
As for those chunky sneakers – I much prefer ballet flats or a great pair of oxfords or driving loafers.
Personally, I think wearing gym clothes about is sloppy and lazy dressing. Dressing well adds to my sense of dignity and demeanor! I’d prefer to dress my best.


Here in Southern California, athleisure wear is as common as avocados on your toast and has been for years. Everyone wears it throughout the day; to the yoga studio, running errands, getting together for lunch, taking in a movie, and even the office (I work at adidas-golf so we are single minded in our “Rocking the Brand”). We Californians are an active people with our endless summer weather so this is year-round apparel. “Trainers” are common and now Stan Smiths are seen everywhere. But is is the quintessential flip-flops or slippers, as they are known in Hawaii. All of my girlfriends have several pair in a rainbow of colors and we have our worn out pairs and “good” pairs. California is unique, putting it mildly.

Michelle à Détroit

If women want to wear trainers all day every day, with every outfit they own, it’s fine with me. I’m kind of over the whole issue. I will not wear sneakers with very dressy clothing, as I have spent years building a wardrobe of timeless shoes that I love. If that makes me off trend or uncool, so be it. I have a limited number of years on this earth, and I am not letting my beautiful shoes gather dust in favor of an intractable trend. I do wear sneakers often, but only with gym or very casual clothing and only in a streamlined style in , i.e. black leather or white canvas KEDS. With regard to clothing today, most women seem to want stretchy clothes now. You rarely see a woman on the street in a crisp blazer or any type of clothing that doesn’t stretch. I am so tired of seeing women’s derrières wobbling about in leggings. They don’t seem to care how they look. I don’t even wear leggings or spandex to the gym anymore. I’ve found slim fit sweats in different colors that I adore. 35 years ago, I worked for Calvin Klein. Every year, the design team would hire a fashion forecaster to predict what women would be wearing in the future I will never forget that the early 80’s, they predicted that Sometime after tye turn of the century, everyone would be wearing leggings or some variation of the catsuit. I thought it was outrageous at the time. Well, here we are.


I think athleisure wear can look chic and put together. It all depends on the fit and how you wear it.


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