On Trend: Athleisure?



What is athleisure?

More than just a passing trend, clothing made from technical materials are becoming ubiquitous as guys are expecting their clothing to meet the needs of an active lifestyle. Athleisure is the name given to this clothing category and it falls right between leisure (casual) and athletic wear. While many have mocked the term, athleisure, as an uninspired mashup possibly coined by some Manhattan style "expert", the name accurately describes the category. Athleisure clothing consists of suits, t-shirts, pants, sweatshirts, shoes, socks, and etc. which have odor reducing fabrics that are breathable, moisture (sweat) wicking, stretchable and waterproof. These features allow you to pursue an active lifestyle and maintain your wardrobe in a way that doesn't require multiple changes of clothing. For example, you can wear athleisure clothing to yoga then head into the office or wear joggers with a jacket and head to a movie or brunch.



Popularity

Mintel’s Men’s Clothing U.S. 2016 report found that 80% of 25- to 34-year-old men had purchased athletic clothing worn both in and out of the gym. Active, fashion-conscious men are driving the trend of dressing up without dressing up. Designers have noticed this shift and are creating collections that reflect consumer needs. This trend is here to stay for awhile. Designers are evaluating their collections to ensure they are catering to this market and providing products that are stylish and functional. While some menswear purists turn their noses up at this trend, it can't be denied.



Athleisure clothing features

As menswear continues to experience increased sales growth, all categories have to evaluate their offerings and market their products to the consumer. Some brands have been able to deftly incorporate style and function into their pieces. When you think of athletic wear, images of baggy sweats typically come to mind. Not so with athleisure clothing, pieces are tailored, slim-fitting and structured. Check with your favorite designer and chances are they carry an athleisure line. In some cases, athleisure clothing enables you to incorporate your technology devices by making your devices wearable with the use of special pockets and cutouts. Some of the clothing includes super-light denim, merino wool that maintains it's shape, or subtle mesh panels for breathability. Other blended fabrics are prevalent in this category as well.

As a result of the popularity of athleisure clothing, athletic clothing has gotten an upgrade as well. Basketball shorts are more tailored, tank tops are cut closer to the body, sneakers are lighter and stripped down. In addition to the leading athletic brands, a whole new crop of athleisure brands have popped up to meet this growing demand.


Final thoughts

Whether or not this trend is a reflection of the growing overlap between work and personal lives, the athleisure category is here to stay. If you decide athleisure is for you, start with the basics then explore other pieces of clothing to find your sweet spot. What are your thoughts about athleisure clothing? Do you plan to purchase any athleisure clothing? If you have, what do you like about athleisure clothing? Let me know in the comments below and as always, stay stylish friends...


Brand recommendations

Below are some of the brands I like that offer athletic/athleisure clothing:

Lululemon: www.lululemon.com

Rhone: www.rhone.com

Gap: www.gap.com

Ministry of Supply: www.ministryofsupply.com

Adidas: www.adidas.com

Lands End Sport: www.landsendsport.com



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