Few fashion trends have stood the test of time quite like athleisure. You may recall the rise of the beloved yoga pant throughout the 2010s. And now, so many more styles blending athletic and loungewear influences are permeating our wardrobes (read: biker shorts you can wear with blazers, sports bras with denim, and leggings and sneakers you can’t actually do burpees in.)
While the past few years of lockdowns are to blame for the boom in cozy-cute options, “the trend continues today (even after people have been vaccinated),” says Torrid CEO Liz Muñoz. In fact, according to Technavio, the overall athleisure wear market has an expected growth of over $80 billion by 2024.
Why the lasting hype? Athleisure’s hybrid nature blurs the line when moving through spaces in your home, office, and gym, which makes creating a one-and-done outfit for the day pretty darn convenient. “An exceptional athleisure collection delivers it all—fit, quality, comfort, and style,” explains Universal Standard Chief Design Officer Ramon Martin. “A great legging or form-fitting bodysuit is just as essential in your wardrobe as a classic tee or everyday jeans.” Enough said.
Thankfully, there are numerous labels that are hitting it out of the park in this department. Below, we listed 26 of our favorite athleisure brands and answered more of your most pressing questions about the trend, including how to style pieces for any and all occasions.
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Best for Exercise Dresses
The Exercise Dress
Best Yoga Athleisure Brand
Ready to Rulu High-Rise Jogger
Best Trendy Athleisure Brand
Aces Tennis Skirt
Best Elevated Athleisure Brand
Best Plus Size Athleisure Brand
Performance Core Crop Leggings
Best Forward-Thinking Athleisure Brand
Hijab 2.0 Nike Pro
Most Iconic Athleisure Brand
Adicolor Classics Firebird Primeblue Track Jacket
Best Adaptive Athleisure Brand
Multifunctional Women’s 3/4 Sleeve Adaptive Top
Best Classic Athleisure Brand
Cropped Cut-off Hoodie
Best for Ultra-Comfy Leggings
Real Me High Waisted Ruched Legging
Best Colorful Athleisure Brand
Go Far Fleece
Most Versatile Athleisure Brand
Getaway Sleeveless Romper
Best Celebrity Athleisure Brand
High-Waisted PureLuxe Maternity
Best for Casual-Cool Sets
Get Ready Set
Best Sport Athleisure Brand
Best Gender-Neutral Athleisure Brand
Standards Fleece Crewneck Sweatshirt
Another Iconic Athleisure Brand
Reebok x Cardi B
Most Stylish Athleisure Brand
Mid Impact Bra
Best Eco-Friendly Athleisure Brand
Honey Compressive High-Rise Legging
Made for Women of Color
Ansa Top – Citron
Another Great Adaptive Athleisure Brand
Game Changer Seamless Back Yoga Pant
Best for Basics
Halo Essential Hoodie
Another Great Inclusive Athleisure Brand
Prism Scoop Bralette – Night Sky Rainbow
Best Durable Athleisure Brand
Trekkie North Crop 23″ Jogger
Another Great Plus Size Athleisure Brand
Best for Edgy, Graphic Prints
brand: Boys Lie
Love Is Blind Sweatpants
What does athleisure mean?
The term “athleisure” was originally coined in 1979 to describe garments and shoes designed for those who want to appear athletic. Fast forward to current times, and Merriam-Webster defines the term as “casual clothing—like yoga pants, sweatpants, and hoodies—that are designed to be worn both for exercising and for doing (almost) everything else.” Plenty of today’s athleisure styles are cross-functional, but keep in mind some offerings still aren’t actually made with performance benefits.
The trend arguably took flight in the 2010s as brands like Lululemon, Nike, and Adidas churned out sleek activewear pieces that shoppers began sporting both in and out of the gym. Now, athleisure remains hotter than ever, with a growing number of brands entering the market to meet consumer demands.
How do I style athleisure?
On warmer fall days, Martin suggests pairing a short bodysuit with a sweater or button-down, sneakers, and folded socks, adding that the top layers “can be tied around the neck or waist if it gets too hot.” During colder months, he advises a go-to look of leggings, a puffer jacket, and a statement beanie for a sleek yet playful winter outfit.
And with “tons of premium athleisure options available these days, it’s easy to achieve a polished look that’s work-appropriate,” Martin says. The key to nailing business-casual is creating visual interest with your outfit, he explains. For example, consider styling a sophisticated pair of leggings with a tunic and tailored coat. “The looser fit and length of the tunic will create a beautiful silhouette, and the tailored coat will act as an important layering piece,” he shares.
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