The Rise of Athleisure: What’s About to Happen

Credit: Miranda Wipperfurth

By guest contributor Peter Minkoff

Was there ever a month that we haven’t honored athleisure, at least with a mention? No, no there wasn’t – and there’s a good reason for that. Unlike plenty of trends we’ve witnessed come and go faster than we’ve even realized they were happening, athleisure’s specific trend-durability and the crowd’s obsession with its apparent transformative character is precisely what makes it actively stand out and last. And it may be this fascination with athleisure’s chameleon nature as much as its comfortable, prompt utility and easiness of wear what’s additionally keeping the trend alive: from Fleek-Fit outfits to typical Kardashian leggings + oversized faux fur combos, athleisure maneuvers are the way to get a class A outfit in just a few minutes. Who knew the future of fashion is in pretend-fitness?

So, what’s exactly hyping in the athleisure realm these days?

Credit Force Majeure

Bodybuilding. Yes, you’ve read it right. Bodybuilding clothing variations combined with athleisure vibes is the ultimate fashion hit, and we’re still not sure what to think of it. Is the whole thing a little too much? Maybe. Are things getting way pretentious? Probably. Will we embrace it despite being reluctant about it? Most definitely. But that’s the thing with athleisure – even when you hate it or don’t understand it, you grow to adore it. It’s that simple.

Still, say what you will but the athleisure-bodybuilding elements we’re seeing out there are pretty fabulous. There’s a very Kanyesque edge to the vibe, oozing a spicy mixture of attitude and comfort: the footwear is spectacular, especially the sleek style bodybuilding shoes that come in an ultra modern cut and a lot of comforts attached. We are seeing them on everyone who’s anyone (both men and women), and it’s kind of exciting that you can get them at a reasonable price. Exaggerated in pattern or color, these shoes make for a statement footwear element.

And the rest of athleisure?

Credit: Sawyer Bengtson

Athleisure, as we’ve known and loved it, is still on the pedestal and we don’t see that changing. Naturally, the trend’s evolving with the needs of its buyers so we’re seeing a lot of new shapes introduced in athleisure movement along with a number of fresh and thrilling, even flirtatious, patterns.

These days the combination of flattering styles and technical fabrics is paramount. Silhouette-sculpting designs paired with sports fabrics are the latest favorite hit, with women everywhere pairing their Pradas with their vest tops and sports bras. Mesh panel trims, cross-strap detailing, must-have hoods and pockets got into the role of athleisure top essentials while bottoms focus on either darker colors (predominantly black) or extravagant, eye-catching patterns usually optimized with quick-wicking fabrics. Jackets, as we’ve seen them, are statements in their own, almost always oversized and decorated with meaningful, thought-provoking or fun appliqués evocative of the ‘90s, or sporting artsy elements like movie-inspired symbols, music symbols and other. Oversized camouflage jackets work well, too. As individual pieces – these styles do not combine. Joined together in a single athleisure outfit? They work perfectly.

The athleisure-fitness-chic fashion triangle

Credit: Parker Mauk

While athleisure does hold working out as the primary base of its vibe altogether, to look athleisure – you usually just have to act like it. You know this, we know this and even Kendall Jenner and Gigi know it. Looking busy in the world that’s judging you by how busy you are (and how good you look being busy), athleisure poses as the ultimate salvation straw: on lazy days, when you can’t even spell “gym” correctly let alone go to one, grab those gym shoes, put your leggings on and style the outfit up with a rich, unusual sweater. If someone asks – you’ve just finished your workout sessions, burned that-and-that-many-calories and are now rushing off to a meeting. Wow, brava for you! Hey, it’s okay – your secret’s safe with us (we’ve done it, too).

Athleisure makeup & hair

Credit: Brooke Cagle

An absolutely paradoxical element of athleisure fashion that’s supposed to stand for a life too-busy-to-make-it-all-happen is the picture-perfect hair and makeup that go with the outfits. A now-popular wavy bob and impeccable “natural” makeup with thick eyelashes and emphasized nude lips seem to be the top choices of athleisure ladies and their busy lives. The huge shades (sunnies) play a role when the makeup’s not as great or not done at all; plus, they add an element of chic to the outfit. The thing is, athleisure makeup and hair are such that we know you weren’t working out – but we still pretend we believe you did. And we love it. Yes, the whole athleisure pretense of it; we love it maybe even more than we love kale.

 Peter is a men’s fashion writer at Twisted Male Mag, living between Brisbane and London. Besides writing he worked as a menswear fashion stylist for many fashion events around UK & Europe. Follow Peter on Twitter for more tips.
Adrielyn Christi

Senior US Fashion Editor and PR for Trend Prive Magazine. Finding the latest and greatest in fashion and to have the ability to share it with the world is truly my passion.