Performance clothing is no longer just for athletes. In fact, travel about just anywhere in town and you’re bound to see men and women of all ages wearing this comfortable and casual attire meant for athletic and everyday use.
Indeed, staples like soft leggings and cozy zip-up sweaters are popular with avid yogis and not-so-avid yogis alike. And it's no wonder why: Athleisure is comfortable. Sure, everyone who wears it can attest to its level of comfort, but how did stretchy pants, soft minimalist tops and sneakers come to dominate the American fashion market and our closets?
Here's the scoop on why athletic wear has become an everyday norm.
It’s Just Plain Comfortable to Wear
Deirdre Clemente, a fashion historian at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, has an idea of how athleisure came to dominate everyday fashion. Clemente says it’s a combination of three trends.
The first of these trends is the technological improvements to the synthetic fibers used to make certain types of athletic clothing. These tech improvements have allowed for the materials of athletic apparel like spandex to be more flexible, washable and durable than other types of clothing.
The second trend relates to our modern obsession around healthy appearances. And finally, the last trend accounts for the overall decline of formality in American fashion. Just take a look around your workplace and note how many of your co-workers are wearing sneakers. The number is probably a lot higher than you might have thought.
And Polo shirts? At one time the Polo shirt was called a tennis shirt. Now, Polo shirts are a staple of office fashion and are often made from fabrics used in sports apparel. Combine these three trends together and you get the rise of athleisure, according to Clemente.
It’s Made of High-Tech Performance Fabrics
The U.S. Rubber Co., began producing shoes with rubber soles way back in 1892. Since then, clothing and shoe manufacturers have made leaps and bounds. In fact, with its ability to take your fitness and comfort to the next level, today's high-tech athletic apparel is more advanced than ever before. Sport-specific clothing is also a big factor. Take trail running, for example.
Decades ago most sports clothing could all fit under one umbrella. Today, athletic clothing is more sport-specific. Clothing designed for trail running includes high-tech features and fabrics that offer waterproof and breathable construction and training shoes with grip traction, designed exclusively for slippery and uneven surfaces. It's like how soccer cleats are designed exclusively for soccer, not baseball or football.
It’s for Everyday Wear ” in the Gym and at Home
Athleisure has become a popular choice for many reasons. That’s because athleisure clothing isn’t just a single-purpose item like those fancy dress shoes you have tucked away at the top of your closet for special occasions.
Clothing that falls under the umbrella of athleisure offers multi-purpose uses and can be worn day-to-day for a series of different activities, whether it's a morning workout, a quick trip to the grocery store or simply lounging at home after a long day at work.
Because athleisure works for so many different lifestyles, it’s no wonder why it’s an obvious choice for so many people. After all, it’s even in the name ” and that’s what it’s all about.
Athleisure Offers Numerous Benefits
Athleisure isn't new; it's just been rebranded in recent years. Just take a look in your closet and there's a good chance you’ll find more than a few items that fall under the athleisure umbrella, whether you run trails or run to the grocery store.