What is Athleisure & How Do I Wear It?

Athleisure is a trend born from the need to be comfortable throughout all the hustle and bustle—but most of us aren’t quite ready to give up style for comfort. It comes to the rescue by giving us the best of both worlds. In a way, it’s a reflection of changing times.

Athleisure represents an increased focus on health combined with schedules that keep on getting busier—plus, a relaxed dress code as more people start to eschew formal attire in favor of go-anywhere, do-anything styles. It means comfy-cozy clothes that offer the performance you need at the gym, the style you want when you’re going out to lunch, and the comfort you crave when it’s time to kick back and relax.

Now you know why athleisure is so popular—but how do you pull the look off? Follow the tips below to create practical, fashionable, comfortable outfits.

Wearing Athleisure: Do This

  • Do balance your sporty pieces with items from your regular wardrobe—like pairing leggings with a stylish tunic or sweater.
  • Do let your creativity run wild. Sunglasses, jewelry, a great purse, hats, scarves, and other accessories are all great ways to elevate an easy athleisure look into something more.
  • Do keep an eye on seasonal activewear trends. Keeping up with the latest colors, designs, and fabrics keeps you trendy rather than looking like you just came from the gym.
  • Do make sure that you dress for the occasion. While athleisure is a fun and comfortable style, it’s perhaps not the best idea for a job interview, a wedding, or a seriously formal event. You can totally wear it to more casual outings and parties, though.

Wearing Athleisure: Don’t Do This

  • Don’t go too far with bright colors and wild prints. A little color goes a long way, but too much can be…well, too much!
  • Don’t just throw on whatever you’d usually wear to work out. It’s about looking fresh and comfortable, not about looking like you’ve just finished an intense CrossFit session.
  • Don’t forget to mix your own sense of style into your athleisure look by adding accessories and wardrobe pieces that bring out your personality.
  • Don’t forget to mix fabrics. You can totally wear things like leather or denim with other pieces that feature high-performance fabrics.

How to Wear Athleisure

By now, you’ve got some ideas, but to put together a whole look, you’ll need to know the secrets. First among them? The shoes. Low-top sneakers—usually canvas, not high-tech basketball shoes, for example—are the hallmark of most athleisure looks. Start there, and build up. For a full athleisure look, go for leggings, a sports bra, and a sports top to complete the outfit.

When you want to mix it up a little is when things get more complicated. Choose one element—besides the shoes—to add something sporty to your look. If you go with sporty leggings, try pairing them with something stylish up top, like a sweater or a bomber jacket. You can also go long with tops or tie a shirt around your waist to add in a little street style.

Another option is to focus on the top. Lots of athleisure tops feature straps, cutouts, patterns, and other stylish elements that you can easily pair with a skirt, slacks, or your favorite pair of skinny jeans.

From there, it’s a matter of accessorizing to complete the look—jewelry, belts, scarves, sunglasses, bags, hats, and more. You know the drill. Pick accessories that complement the outfit and that speak to your own personal style.

Now that you know the basics, here’s one final tip: Athleisure is meant to be as easy and breezy as the name suggests. Don’t overthink it and don’t overcomplicate your wardrobe. Choose a few basics to get started, and most importantly, have fun with this style.

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