What are you wearing right now?
If you're an American woman between the ages of 25-50, there is a good chance it's something that falls into the newest fashion category: athleisure. Whether it's a pair of technical yoga leggings from cult brand Lululemon or a styled nylon jacket from APC + Outdoor Voices, wearing clothing that references outdoor adventures has become an everyday option for anyone who's work doesn't demand strict professional attire or a uniform. In fact, it has been argued that yoga pants are the uniform of the millennial.
Wikipedia defines athleisure as a trend in fashion in which clothing designed for workouts and other athletic activities is worn in other settings, such as during work, trips to school, or other casual or social occasions. Athleisure outfits "look like athletic wear" and are characterized as "fashionable, dressed up sweats and exercise clothing" The idea is that gym clothes are supposedly making their way out of the gym and becoming a larger part of people's everyday wardrobes.
Much of the trend has been attributed to culture's growing interest in health and well-being. According to an article published by Morgan Stanley, sports participation is growing among high school age athletes, and an overall interest in "athletic lifestyles" amongst all ages is a huge draw for sportswear that can "go both ways."
Part of the appeal of this apparel trend is that it is accessible at a variety of prices, ranging from the reasonable pieces you'll find at places like Target, Old Navy, and H & M to indulgently upscale designs from historic fashion houses like Chanel. Additionally, if you are in need of athleisure that can pass the boardroom test...well, we've got that, too.
A personal favorite of mine is Kit and Ace, a concept store born from the industry giant Lululemon's success. They specialize in "technical cashmere" pieces that can be thrown in the washing machine for easy care, but have high-style silhouettes that can work in a professional environment. Here is a link to a great piece on the brand by the New Yorker .
For local readers here in New Orleans, check out the new TASC location on Magazine Street --not coincidentally located in the spot formerly occupied by Kit and Ace. My personal favorite for impulsive purchases is Azby's , owned by Kerry Bruno, who is my hero as a business woman + mother + athlete, and has a great eye for current trends and classic staples. Every year I treat myself to one Azby's total impulse purchase. Last year's was made literally on the way to Jazzfest, and was a fun Rebecca Taylor top that I have worn with equal success at the fairgrounds and also at a very fancy baby shower -- granted, I changed bottoms. (I don't think any trend will ever meld Jazzfest shorts and luncheon-appropriate skirts.)
Our personal tie in here at Studio Amanda Talley is our burgeoning collection of tennis and golf-wear. Our tailors have diligently been deconstructing our own favorite pieces and rebuilding them to our fabric specifications. Although we can't provide you with a work-appropriate lycra blazer (yet), we do have some cute options to sport after a match. (Pardon my iPhone photography. Professional images coming soon! -- in the meantime you can read up on Azby's, TASC, AND Studio Amanda Talley and enjoy professional shots at The Scout Guide New Orleans blog!)
Still skeptical? Visit your local Lululemon, plunk down your Am/Ex and try it out on your next casual Friday. If the experience of having your entire body snugly held in place by incredibly soft and durable synthetics whilst looking au courant doesn't sway you, nothing will.