What started out as a simple overpriced yoga top at Lululemon in 1998 has morphed into an entire era of fitness fashion. How else can you explain sneakers on the Dior runway and the stampedes of women sporting Athleta? Those compression pants and runner vests are everywhere, and not going anywhere anytime soon. Whether going to an afternoon cycling class or grabbing a quick bottle of two-buck chuck at Trader Joe’s, there’s no doubt activewear is taking over. Here are the five things you need to know about the rise of fitness fashion.
1. Brands Want You to Wear Their Clothes All Day Long
Companies such as Lululemon (yes, the company whose founder and chairman ignited a firestorm of controversy when he said some women’s bodies simply “don’t work” in yoga pants) want you to show off those stylish running pants at the gym, out with your friends, and even work. Yes, work. In fact, these brands are actually designing their clothes to do just that. Lululemon and Tory Burch have developed activewear lines that are meant for both inside and outside the gym.
2. There’s a Psychological Relationship Between Fitness & Fashion
A 2012 study conducted by Northwestern Researchers Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky found that the clothing we wear does in fact influence our behavior. Clothing that bridges the gap between activewear and streetwear means you’ll wear it more often—and by doing so, you might actually end up going to that afternoon hot yoga class, even though Saturday is your devoted hangover day. While Adam agrees more research is needed, it certainly can’t hurt to wear your yoga pants more often.
3. Technology is Taking Over Activewear
Fashion isn’t the only industry merging with fitness—the tech industry is just starting to get its hand into the mix. From Tory Burch’s collection for Fitbit to Ralph Lauren’s Polo Tech Shirt that can actually send biometric data straight to your iPhone, tech companies are partnering with fashion designers to bring consumers the ultimate hybrid. Who says your new bracelet can’t be hot off the runway and count your daily steps?
4. Fitness Classes are the New Happy Hour
Fitness classes are taking over the typical booze-filled afternoons (okay, maybe not every afternoon), so what better place to make use of your holiday bonus by flaunting your new Lucas Hugh paragon leggings? Besides, when did drinking become synonymous with socializing? Okay, college, but since tucking is the new drinking, why not dress up and try out a barre class with a friend? Besides, you can always hit the (juice) bar after class.
5. Not Going Away Anytime Soon
With all the luxury fitness brands and our favorite streetwear retailers rolling up their sleeves and taking a run at fitness fashion, the trend is not likely to fizzle anytime soon. The activewear market grew 7 percent from 2013 to 2014 while the general apparel market grew only 1 percent. With the ever-increasing market, get comfy (literally) because this trend is going to be around for awhile.
Just not that into it? Karl Lagerfeld, creative director for Chanel, once said that “trendy is the last stage before tacky.” So no worries, this too shall pass. Eventually.