It isn’t merely a convenience to have items in your wardrobe that can triple-up as active wear as well as day and nightwear.
What the past few years have taught us is that versatility will thrive, and there’s nothing more versatile than something you can feel comfortable sweating in, running errands in, or dining in.
It’s about being casual with the suggestion that you might pick up a tennis racket on your route home because, why not? Health is wealth.
Athletic wear for on and off the courts is a trend that’s going nowhere. Let’s find out how to make it work for you.
What Actually is Athleisure?
It’s possibly one of the broadest terms for a trend, especially as it combines accessories, clothing and shoes. It also encompasses all things that require a certain athleticism. This can be anything from ballet, yoga, running, rugby, tennis to aerobics (we saw a brief flash of leg warmers returning in 2022) and everything in between.
At its core, it’s something comfortable and flexible, in both senses, to be worn regardless of whether you’re getting a sweat on or not.
Sweatpants, especially grey sweatpants, has the internet swooning.
Long gone are the days of shame-filled sweatpant wearing. Now, we’re seeing an investment in material and styles. They’ve become chic, yet their comfort - their fundamental appeal - hasn’t been lost in the gentrification of it all.
Dion Lee and Thom Browne created sweatpants for the elite, proving that function and high-quality garments are a match made in convenience and style heaven.
Image taken from DionLee.com
Of course, these sweatpants we’re seeing on the A-listers have a certain je ne sais quoi.
They’re more structured. More like something you’d pair with a cute top without fear that anyone would question whether you meant to leave the house like that.
As mentioned above, leg warmers had a renaissance. Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner made a push for the ballet girl movement and the fashion that goes with it.
Now, ballet-core has been making waves in the past year, even bringing back the infamous ballet flats, which seemed to do nothing in terms of support for the feet, or elevation of an outfit. To some, they’re vomit-inducing, while others find them to represent quintessential ballet vibes: it’s truly a mixed bag.
So, what is it?
Ballet-core encapsulates the hyper-femme, alluding to the colors, fabrics and diminutive details of costumes you’d see in a ballet performance, as well as rehearsal outfits.
It’s a reimagining of all things ballet, so we’re seeing leggings, leg warmers, tulle, the aforementioned and afore-winced-at ballet flats. With functional, breathable materials, we’re seeing the performance aesthetic mesh with everyday life. It’s flattering, stylish and functional yet minimalist in its simplicity and typical color scheme.
A tonal color board allows the trend to be easily maneuvered into the everyday. It’s delicate and provides a base, or an entire outfit, to build upon with accessories. With this, then, ballet core is adaptable.
At the peak of the trend resurgence - before we even knew its full force - Molly Goddard created bold shapes with one of the most dainty fabrics: tulle. But now we’re seeing fashion houses like Missoni and Coperni incorporate subtle nods to the performance attire. Satin bodysuits, high knitted socks and cardigans, which need to be wrapped to reach top-tier ballet inference.
Missoni Pre Fall taken from Vogue
Fashion houses are playing around with this aesthetic and focusing on the integral details: femininity and performance.
It’s an aspect of athleisure that’s continuing its climb to greater heights, despite its flat footed friend, the ballet flat. Do we seem triggered? Maybe we are, but I suppose some trends, or aspects of, aren’t for everyone.
We believe it’s fair to say that sneakers have been a fan favorite for a long time. But, in recent years, they’ve become a staple item to be rejigged, revamped and branded. So much so that a sneaker collaboration is an impactful marketing scheme for many luxury houses. Providing an edge or a touch of luxe for the everyday shoe.
In 2022 alone, we saw collaborations such as: Teddy Santis x New Balance “Made in the USA”, Gucci x Adidas, Jacquemus x Nike and Supreme x Nike Air Max 98 TL. To name a few.
Most recently, Tiffany & Co has collaborated with Nike proving again that sneakers can be chic.
Balenciaga x Adidas triple S trainers taken from Balenciaga.com
That being said, the classic sneakers still remain high on the totem pole in terms of preference. With many famous faces donning a pair of retro Air Jordans, sometimes sticking to tradition works.
Under the athleisure umbrella, sneakers have been reworked in the fashion sphere to fit different looks, different scenes. From off-duty models to Balenciaga or Maison Margiela runway shows, they look good offside as much as onside.
The root of a sneaker is function. The ability to play a game of basketball, go for a run or play a competitive game is great - if you’re into that - but to just live in these shoes is something of a safety crutch. With new takes on a classic, refreshing its icon status, sneaker culture has been embedded into the everyday.
Sneakers are fashion’s favorite accessory. Regardless of their attachment to the sportswear ether, they aren't going anywhere.
“Is it just for the everyday, or can we get fancy with it?”
MiuMiu’s entire Spring 2023 ready-to-wear collection fell heavily in the realm of athletic sportswear. Despite the nuances of the brand, the material used was reminiscent of rain jackets one might wear to run outside - we say one here, as though we know people do go for a run, for fun? We’re not privy to the sort of emotions or impulsions to make us do that. But we’ve seen this material many times: nylon.
MiuMiu Spring 2023 taken from Vogue.com
It’s a material of movement, something that allows us to get through our day without restrictions or limitations.
It’s haute-couture’s foe: for the everyday but with an edge. Nylon pieces were used to wrap-around skirts, to create dimensions and shaping. It was used to construct ponchos, skirts and dresses.
The collection went on to confirm the vastness of this trend. The versatility. So, yes it’s for everyday wear but would anyone look twice if you wore MiuMiu’s latest collection to a fancy restaurant? We doubt it.
Other designers leaning into the trend are Tory Burch, creating pieces specifically for the sportswear arm of the brand: Tory Sports. Tennis-chic provides those who love to play the game with something that prioritises form and function.
By honing in on one specific sport, the brand is able to dominate a typically-simplistic vision of tennis apparel, and bring it to new heights. With a fitted silhouette and feminine cuts such as the pleated skirt, it proves that most pieces can be worn on and off the court.
V-neck tennis dress taken from ToryBurch.com
Gucci chose fine knitwear to push the sports agenda. Through uplifting and modernising sportswear, Gucci steered away from the prototypical fabrics interconnected with this domain of clothing.
Gucci Fall/Winter 2022/2023 taken from Vogue.com
Using fine cashmere and wool, rather than elastane, jersey or lycra, the look is distinctly more luxurious, yet more alluring in its comfort appeal.
The Final Say with HushHush
When it comes to the athleisure trend, it seems unmoveable. Much like us when we have on our carefully curated blend of materials in soft lines of sweatpants - making it ever so easy to say: “I could go out but I could also lie down and have a nap in these”.
Luxury brands are embracing this style aesthetic simply because it’s highly attainable. There’s a versatility to the theme, the style, the practice.
The clean lines, minimalist styling and sporty looks, paired with bold logos, seems to have its roots firmly in the ground. Not only is it a trend littered with different strokes of styling, fabrics and moods, it’s something many of us can work with.
It’s clear, now, to see that athleisure is neither gimmicky nor a novelty. its extensive coverage of all things, day to night, without restrictions by material means that it's for all, for every season.
At HushHush, you can find key pieces to add to your athleisure collection. From fine fabrics to functional textiles, there’s a style for everyone.