With the expansion of the athleisure market and the promotion of a more casual lifestyle, there’s never been a more perfect time to wear what makes you feel comfortable in your own skin. You dress up to boost confidence in an interview, so why not do the same at the gym? Or even the grocery store? Be empowered by the choices you make, even if it’s just buying a pair of leggings. .
It’s 9 a.m. on Saturday morning. You’ve already had your coffee, gotten dressed, and handled your morning to-dos at home, be it with your kids, pets, plants, or whatever else is depending on you to survive. You head to your morning workout, chipper as can be because that’s the kind of pleasant person you are. You work out, run a few errands, go to the grocery store, and then meet up with your girlfriends for a late brunch. Essentially you’re living your best life, in your best body, in the best athletic wear.
Maybe you wake up at noon, a bit hungover and just in time for brunch with the girls; you throw on your sneakers with some of your finest athleisure, and appear to be someone who has their shit together – meanwhile having done none of the chores mentioned in the scenario above. That, my friends, is the beauty of athleisure.
But first things first.
With the rising trend of athleisure amongst celebrities and even us commoners, the lines between the concept of athletic wear and athleisure are blurring. According to a Trendalytics market research report, athleisure is becoming more than just a term defining activewear–it’s a lifestyle movement. Seventy-three percent of consumers are prioritizing health and fitness, indicating a cultural shift in the way people are dressing, eating, and moving.
But where should we wear our fitness gear, and when should we tough it out in uncomfortable jeans? Where can we get the best bang for our buck when buying our work-out clothes, while still looking good enough to hit on that one personal trainer we’ve all been eyeing?
We spoke with 50 women from around the country regarding the matter, and here’s what they had to say.
Where to Shop?
While the Lululemons and Lucys of the world produce great clothing that somehow simultaneously feel like butter on your skin while also adding an extra layer of muscle to hold everything in the right place, athletic clothing can get pretty pricey. If you can afford it, keep doing what you’re doing; but If you’re on a tighter budget, you don’t have to choose whether you’re going to pay your credit card bill this month or buy a new outfit for Zumba class. Here are a few more affordable options that came recommended by our surveyed ladies.
These global off-price retailers came highly recommended by most of the women we spoke with. These stores carry designer clothing at prices that won’t harm your bank account. But the rapidly changing assortment of their merchandise can be a double-edged sword. On one hand there’s new fish in the sea every week (unlike the dating pool), but on the other hand, if you missed your chance to purchase those cute leggings you saw last time you were in the store, they are likely gone forever — RIP.
This notorious superstore was also a top contender. They provide a good mix of fashionable and practical clothing for fairly low prices. In fact, their most prominent line “C9” is actually just a specially made extension of the “Champion” brand. And of course you could never leave Target having purchased just one item, so don’t forget to grab toothpaste on your way out.
Along with carrying classic brands like Nike and Adidas, they also carry their original line: Zella. Their wide range of designer athletic apparel of various prices make them a popular destination. Whether you’re ready to splurge (and eat ramen noodles for dinner), or find something on the thriftier side, Nordstrom will provide. They also boast an offering of clothing catered to your workout of choice (high impact, yoga, running, barre, etc.).
The last time I went to Old Navy was probably to buy Bermuda shorts and a Tech Vest in middle school, so I was surprised to hear the chain store has a growing selection of athletic wear and athleisure that’s worth looking into. But beware: some of the clothing can be a bit thin and were clearly never intended for plyometric box jumps, while other items are incredibly supportive, securing all the jiggly bits for a power sequence of 25 burpees. Choose wisely, and don’t be afraid to try them on before purchase.
Where to Wear?
Where can we wear our fitness wear?
Should we wear them everywhere?
And wear them without a care?
Or maybe wear them nowhere,
And successfully avoid a glare.
Athletic wear poem by yours truly.
On a more serious note, the general consensus on the matter was pretty split. On one side of the ring, we had people saying, “I don’t condone athletic gear as regular clothes ever. It’s against my religion.” On the opposing team–the more popular side–we had women who wear their fitness apparel everywhere they deem socially acceptable. “I bought it and it’s comfortable. Why not wear it wherever I want?” Apparently athletic wear is even the unofficial uniform for going to the grocery store.
And according to our ladies, not only does wearing athletic apparel subconsciously encourage you to workout, but it also serves as a subtle persuasion to keep moving and remain productive throughout the day.