I love sweatpants. Really, really love them. I actually kind of think it’s unfair that we ever have to wear real pants. Pants squeeze, pull, create muffin tops where there were none (or at least where we didn’t know we had them). But sweatpants. Sweatpants are forgiving. They love you no matter how much you ate or drank last night and bonus: you can sleep in them!
But I do exist in reality, so I know that my dream of living out the rest of my days in sweats is an impossibility. Or is it? It seems that over the past few months an entirely new category of clothing has emerged, and with it, the promise of an almost sweatpants-like existence. That’s right, I ’m talking about athleisure*: the perfect marriage of athletic wear and high fashion. Not sweatpants necessarily, but not lululemon either. This is super cool, cutting edge leggings, joggers, sweatshirts, cozy jackets – clothing you can wear to workout, but you can also wear to brunch and not feel like a borderline bag lady. Here, our favorite retailers in this brave new world.
We’ve written about Bandier before, but it’s impossible to talk about Athleisure without mentioning Jennifer Bandier’s incredible empire. Five stores (two in NYC, two on Long Island and one in Dallas) plus an incredible website and online magazine, Bandier makes the very idea of workout clothing so aspirational you might even be tricked into hitting the gym. Try the Koral Moto Legging ($135) for the perfect gym meets world look.
This is what happens when two former dancers get together and decide to enter the world of athletic wear. Long on awesome leggings (we’re loving Mara Hoffman’s Long Leggings $136 for spring ), there’s also a Locker Room where some of the world’ s greatest trainers share their secrets (check out what Simone De la Rue has to say – she’s a dear friend of ours) as well as a section dedicated to finding the perfect outfit for any sport.
“Curated Luxury Activewear” is the tagline of this retail store in the swank Brentwood section of Los Angeles. With over 35 brands, they ship worldwide and have same day delivery in LA (sport-a-porter, maybe?). Our personal fave is the Alala Fractal Raglan Tee ($100) which has a loose fit that pairs perfectly with leggings and cute thumb holes that make it super cozy.
*Just because I think it’s hilarious that Athleisure is also a thing on Wikipedia:
Athleisure is a trend in fashion in which clothing designed for athletic workouts at a gymnasium, sometimes termed active wear, is worn outside of the gym to go to the office or shopping or other social occasions. Athleisure outfits are "yoga pants, tights and leggings" that "look like athletic wear" characterized as "fashionable, dressed up sweats and exercise clothing." The idea is that "gym clothes are making their way out of the gym and becoming a larger part of people's everyday wardrobes.” By some accounts, the athleisure trend grew out of women wearing yoga pants. Another account suggests that the trend came about because people could wear them for multiple occasions without having to change, which meant greater convenience, since people did not have to carry an extra gym outfit on the way to the office, for example. Reports in USA Today and in the Wall Street Journal describe the athleisure market as growing, displacing typical workwear styles, and cutting in to sales of jeans, with a market size in 2014 as $35 billion, representing an 8% increase from the previous year. While the trend was started by women, men are increasingly turning to athleisure wear as well. For men's fashion, athleisure wear began with luxury sweatpants and then moved to the upper torso region with "dressy/sporty versions of men’s blazers, varsity jackets, pea coats and sweaters.”