by Matt Weik
We see trends come and go. However, athleisure seems to be steadily growing – for now at least. But, it raises the question as to have we become more lax as a society and more accepting of “casual wear?”
Trendy or Trashy?
The athleisure market has exploded over the last several years and grew to $83 billion in 2016 and valued at $270 billion if you include footwear. Estimates are that the market will continue to grow by 30 percent by the year 2020. Personally, I think the trend will slowly start dying off, but only time will tell. With all trends, they are hot for a couple years, then start to fizzle out.
Athleticwear was once only thought about as functional apparel and something to wear when exercising. Now, more and more brands are trying to make it stylish. They are hopeful that as health and fitness continues to grow across the globe, more people will look for athleisurewear to wear in the office and around town. Athleisure isn’t just clothing, it is more of a lifestyle to those who wear it. It is a way for them to show the world that they are into fitness and sports while staying up on current style and apparel trends.
Many people have jumped on board with the trend, yet many are confused as to what its purpose really is. I can understand why people would want to wear it in a casual environment, but it truly looks trashy in the workplace.
Athleisure in the workplace
It seems like years ago we had the baggy trend where everyone was wearing baggy sweatpants, sweatshirts, and loungewear. Then all of a sudden everything slimmed down and joggers came back in style. Now, we have khaki pants that are created as joggers. In my opinion, this is extremely unprofessional. The workplace is for business casual at the lowest denominator. The workplace is where you need to dress professional, not trendy. I couldn’t imagine sitting across the table from someone in jogger khakis and trying to take them seriously. If you want to work a deal, dress the part and look like a business professional.
Suit and tie, jeans or chinos with a button down, are much better and more appropriate than anything found in the athleisure market. What’s even more surprising is the price tag that people are willing to pay for these items. To get yourself a wardrobe for work (or even the gym or for leisure), you’ll need to take out a small loan or take out a second mortgage.
Athleisure in the gym
I can see somewhat of a point where people will want to wear athleisure in the gym. It’s an upgrade to the normal sweatpants and t-shirt. Yet, as mentioned above, these articles of clothing are not cheap. I might be the minority here, but I’m not going to wear anything to the gym that costs anywhere near what athleisurewear costs. When I go to the gym, I’m intending on getting sweaty and gross. I don’t need a $100+ pair of joggers that will have swamp-ass by the time I’m done working out. In addition, athleisure shirts are at a minimum around $40. Anyone who works out with any intensity will know you can easily ruin a shirt from sweat when worn regularly.
Again, I might be odd man out with this, but I’m not going to the gym to have people look at me and think I’m “stylish” or “hip.” I’m there to toss around some weights, work up a good sweat, and get out of there. I’m not there to look nice or use the gym as Match.com. When I see people all decked out in athleisurewear, it reminds me of the women who get all dolled up like they are going out for the night just to hop on a treadmill for an hour. There’s no reason to put on make-up, do your hair, and wear nice clothing to the gym.
Have you ever seen the sweatpants of someone who is serious about deadlifting? Not only do they have holes in their pants, but some walk around with bloodstains on them. I guess what I’m getting at is why spend the money on something that you could potentially ruin due to sweat stains or get destroyed/ripped?
Around town and at home
Athleisure is great for around town. I can totally understand why people wear it to the grocery store, the mall, the movies, wherever – it’s incredibly comfortable and a little classier than heading out in your old sweats. It allows you to look fashionable, comfortable, yet show people you are into fitness without looking like a bum.
Another great place to wear athleisure is around the house. Due to the functionality, you can do anything and everything around the house in your athleisurewear. The clothing is stretchy, flexible, breathable, and overall pretty comfy.
Big brands such as Nike, Under Armour, Rebook, and Adidas seem to be trying to catch up to brands who specifically design and sell athleisurewear. Some of the brands that are taking over the athleisure market are Gym Shark, LVFT, and Alphalete Athletics.
What are your thoughts on athleisure? Do you think it’s hip or do you hate it? Let us know in the comments if you wear athleisure and if so, how do you wear it? To work? To the gym? Around town/lounge?