Designer athleisure arrived a while ago, but its stamp of no return has only been reaffirmed in the year of confinement. As the old saying goes, if you can’t beat them join them. While we all want to eagerly push past the pandemic horror, there is a new normal in fashion trends that gained exponential popularity in its wake and is here to stay. So, if you are one of those classic fashion police who would think wearing your oversized T shirt is a faux pas, you may want to tweak your metrics and play catch up. The sight of dolled up women trotting around in flowing taffetas and georgettes in the fashion capitals of Milan, Paris, New York or London are sights of yore!

The New Normal

With the world learning and acclimatizing to the new normal in work and social spheres, convenience and comfort have made unabated strides in fashion. We have made it through a year working from the couch of our homes, stripped of the need to dress our Sunday’s best, where the need to grab something from the shop downtown meant running across in your basic comfort clothing in time for a zoom call meeting. Even if that meant wearing your sweat pants draped with your flashy sling bag! For those off digital platforms wondering what on earth we are talking about and those that haven’t updated their vocabulary, go nowhere. Here is all you need to know.

What is Athleisure Wear?

So what really is athleisure wear and what catapulted this rage to take the world by storm? Like a math problem that needs to be broken down, let’s break this too. Ath – meaning athletic or sporty and leisure translating to something casual and comfy. Yes! It’s just as simple as that. The Cambridge dictionary explains it as “ A style of clothing that is comfortable and suitable for doing sports, but also fashionable and attractive enough to wear for other activities”.Athletic designer wear has also caught on with the emerging design studios and boutiques.

Trendsetters can now give you exhaustive catalogues ranging from luxury, work wear, business casuals and even trendy wear that you can even wear for a perfect airport look. Fitness enthusiasts are a growing population and one that cannot be ignored. Retailers have jumped into this bandwagon making a commercial success of all things synonymous to combining functionality with fashion. So those style renegades wanting to kill by their look of breezy and easy, don’t give up your favourite sweat pants and cross back bras just yet. You can thank Kim Kardashian later and maybe gain some inspiration too.

Back to basics: Bend them like Beckham

Do you remember that Live In jeans advertisements back in the days, showing us this Greek God rising out of a washing machine wearing his denims with a tagline that said, too comfortable to get out of? Athleisure trends have taken it quite literally and decided to get down to bare basics – pairing your sports bra with comfortable sweatpants or biker shorts to run an errand to the nearest coffeeshop, is not bizarre anymore. But why does this work and what really propelled this trend further to 2021 ?
The spell of confinement and lockdowns ushered in virtual everything’s. From parties to work; interviews to concerts. Attending interviews virtually, translated to wearing a smart top over running shorts to balance the top look. vs bottom look. Not having to compromise being relaxed through a nerve wracking few moments of question and answer was the silver lining.

Digital and Technology Footprints

Instagrammers went berserk sharing a sneak of their home routines of board games and everyday chores with their comfort clothing. The phrase, I can’t be caught dead in these pants is so overrated.With the outpouring of celebrity trends visible to the world of Instagrammers, retailers and fashion houses have upped their game not missing the opportune moment to stock up what seems to be selling like hot cakes. Technology advancements have also introduced better more sustainable fabric blurring the line of functionality and fashion merging them to create what is now second skin. Consumers looking to easily transition their roles and moods from work to leisure and wellness to casual fashion have an answer in athleisure fashion. It is no wonder then that the Athleisure sector has grown exponentially in the last few years, is forecasted to increase by 2026, it a staggering $250 billion (Heuritech.com)

Designer and boutique houses are exploring new and modern fabrics that offer more elasticity and functionality to contour those curves and stretch those muscles. Fabrics that are more breathable to the skin are more in demand making the transition from business to casual more functional. It is the day and age for elastic waistbands than buttons and belts. With the trends of athleisure here to stay, there are sub categories that are curated to meet your every state of being. Let’s explore some of those interesting athleisure trendsof 2021 and boy have we some!

  1. Sport Bras

    These come in various kinds and can go from simple to outlandish; asymmetrical to cross backs. Plenty of us would agree these made chores during the pandemic house arrest much more doable. So go reuse all those fancy sport bras or go explore the e commerce sites to add in a collection of patterns and fabrics. There are quite a few designs to choose from racer backs, cross backs, underwired or non-wired. Take your pick!

  1. Jumpsuits or Bodysuits
    This is not reserved for cat woman alone, anyone can feel empowered in these comfortable bodysuits that are a high fashion trend. The printed ones are a soaring fad and they come in animal prints to monotones but that’s not all. The fabrics have undergone tremendous advancements and the age-old notion of less lycra is also eroding and giving way to more elasticity, less seams. What’s more is that you add your favourite jacket or coat, grab your clutch and call in a cab for a girls night out without a sweat.

  1. High-waisted Leggings
    After dominating the fashion world over decades, denims are steadily and increasingly making a downward trend in fashion sales over the years. It’s a common sight to catch a glimpse of celebrities walking out of their gyms in the high waisted leggings or yoga pants heading straight for shopping and even teaming a blazer , jacket or stilettos for a dinner date. How convenient yet fashionable have these pants become that the experience is seamless , pun intended. They come in a range of fabrics , the more flexible the better, the more breathable higher the sales. From colours to prints, neons to monotones, there is something for everyone. Agility is the key – both to manufacturers and consumers.

  1. Luxury Sneakers
    From the girl next door to the celebrities and fashionistas, everyone wants to own more than just one of these. We have come a long way from depicting a Cinderella moment with silver studded stilettos. Popular demand doing the rounds are these live-in sneakers for your all day on the go avatar. Whether you wish to team up your Louis Vitton and Dior handbags with a comfortable pair of flats is really up to you.A string of celebrities from Kim Kardashion to Kendall Jenner are equalling functionality to fashion with oomph and style. Taking a cue from these emerging trends sophisticated luxury fashion houses from Luís Vitton to Chanel and Dior began foraying into activewear shoes. Luxury sneaker trends have catapulted into a commercial success making this a promising trend for the year ahead.

  1. Wellness Clothing
    Wellness is a privilege and one that has caught up across the globe. Living healthy in itself is proudly flaunted today and is a unanimous choice breaking barrier beyond just eating healthy. Wellness has raced beyond detox juices and wholesome salads. It has transitioned to fitness regimes and an awareness of sustainable fabrics that allow your body to breathe. The added requirement to sustain yourself all day long in the same piece of clothing with the daunting task of limited time has pushed designers to develop and research fabrics that inhibit the growth of microbes. Moisture wicking fabrics are increasingly produced to be in sync with the demand across athleisure sportswear.
  1. Biker shorts
    Yes, cute athleisure is a word and it is trending! Emulating your favourite fashionista going green and choosing to jog or run across to complete their errands is soon catching up. All this in your biker shorts and sporty bra is just a cherry on the cake. Luxury athleisure houses have added these must haves to their collection of activewear making them a hot favourite. Just team them up with designer sneakers and you can create your own spunk. Can you imagine being alone one weekend running a Netflix binge without these shorts for company? These biker Shorts are your perfect companion for your Netflix and chill binge watches too. Go grab some of these to your wardrobe this year, they don’t disappoint and your fashion police are sure to give you a ten on ten.

So, if the repercussions of the pandemic haven’t hit your budget and you wish to have it all, options are limitless in athleisure fashion. Oversized T shirts, lounge wear , hoodies and sweatpants are the new normal too, all you have to do is spend a good weekend ransacking your wardrobe and rearranging your old vs new fashion trends. Denims after all have had way too many glory days to feel bad. Recycle your brother’s oversized shirts and hoodies or reuse the things you pushed to the far end of your closet. The business suits, denims and your formal attire need to be laid to rest, for this year is about sustainable living. Right described by Glamour, athleisure this is more than just outfits, it’s a lifestyle.

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