Since athleisure burst onto the scene, from celebrities to mums to office workers, the whole world has embraced the athleisure movement. Not just a trend, the rise of athleisure wear is a symbol of the cultural shift that has been happening since the global pandemic.
Once upon a time, we had clothes that we wore to work, clothes that we wore to work out, and clothes that we wore at the weekends to hang out with our friends. Nowadays, that’s all changed. Our busy lifestyles, WFH lifestyle, more health-conscious society, and increasing awareness of the perils of fast fashion have led us to want more from our clothes.
We no longer want to have three separate wardrobes, we want clothes that blur the lines between comfort and style. And athleisure apparel has done just that. Let’s take a trip back in time and see how our love for all things athleisure began.
The Beginning of Sports: What Did the First Olympians Wear?
Let’s go all the way back to around 2000 BC when the history of sports began. Back then, athletes in the Olympics competed in the nude.
The 18th Century: Sportswear is Born
Athletes competed in sports in their birthday suits right up until the 18th century. In the 18th century, knickerbockers became the sportswear of choice for baseball players who needed a uniform.
The 20th Century: Activewear, Sportswear, & Athleisure Soar in Popularity
By the 20th century, the days of playing sports in the buff were long gone and the rise of sportswear, activewear, and later athleisure wear began.
Sportswear was the first in line. Sportswear is functional in nature and designed with specific features to enhance performance. Originally designed to be worn for playing sports, fitness apparel brands began using cutting-edge technology to produce innovative sports clothes made from thermal, water-resistant, lightweight, or stretchy materials that moved with the body.
Next came activewear. Clothing brands realized that not only athletes play sports. As an increasing number of people began working out, activewear became the perfect apparel to transition from exercising to socializing. Activewear is clothing designed to be worn casually, for example after doing exercise or other outdoor activities. It mixes function with style and the garments are made from sustainable materials. Activewear includes garments like windbreakers, hoodies, yoga pants, and other apparel that can be worn as part of an active life but are not specifically designed for sports purposes.
The 1970’s: The Birth of Athleisure
What happens when you mix athletics and leisure? Athleisure. Athleisure outfits combine functional performance pieces such as yoga pants, women's leggings, and tank tops with stylish fashion pieces like jeans, blazers, and tailored garments.
The last decade has seen the mighty rise of athleisure, but the athleisure movement started in the seventies when working out became en vogue. As fitness routines increased in popularity, clothing brands jumped on the trend and started using materials like spandex and Lycra in their collections.
How did Athleisure Revolutionise the Fashion Industry?
The fashion industry is known for fleeting trends. So, how has athleisure remained so popular? The truth is that there are several reasons behind the continued popularity of athleisure. Let’s take a closer look.
Athleisure combines the latest innovations in performance wear with street style. Great athleisure products are made with lightweight materials that are breathable, weather-adaptive, stretchy, and waterproof. Some materials use innovative technology to reduce odors and sweat-wicking to keep your body cool and dry. It makes sense that people want to wear this type of clothing all the time and not just at the gym.
From our performance collection, Evolve, the Tempo High-waisted leggings perfectly combine comfort and classic style. Thanks to the innovative design and cutting-edge materials, these form-shaping leggings move with your body and give you a gorgeously smooth silhouette.
Sportswear and activewear met the demands of athletes and active people across the globe who needed apparel that moved with them and allowed them to work out in comfort. However, there was a clear divide between fitness clothes and fashion clothing. That’s where athleisure came in.
Cult celebrity following:
Celebrities simply love athleisurewear. Style icons like Beyoncé, Kendall Jenner, and Rihanna have been seen rocking ladies' athleisure street style all over town. With so many amazing athleisure outfits on display all over social media, it looks like athleisure is here to stay. After all, if it’s good enough for Beyoncé, it’s good enough for us!
Athleisure wear has overtaken denim in the popularity stakes. This is probably due to how comfortable it is. Now that athleisure apparel has the style factor, who wants to go back to wearing clothing with clunky buttons, zips, and uncomfortable seams? No thanks!
The global pandemic saw the majority of us turning our living rooms into our office/gym/social spaces. In the age of Zoom calls and teleworking, workwear has had a massive overhaul. Tailored suits and high heels have been replaced with comfortable athleisure garments that are both smart and comfortable.
Fashion trends come and go, but athleisure is a fashion movement that is here to stay. Athleisure apparel lives at the intersection between style and function. Smart enough to wear to the office and comfortable enough for your daily jog, athleisure combines the latest innovation in performance wear with the newest fashion trends for <<a closet that will take you from the yoga studio to the office>>.
Do you love athleisure street style? Tag @whitehorseactive on social media to show off your athleisure ‘fit of the day or share your style tips in the comments section below.