You don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style — That's the message of athleisure. While slouching around in baggy and comfortable clothing has always been easy, the growth of sporty fashion-forward men’s clothiers like Willy California has injected a sophisticated and fashionable vibe into men’s weekend and apres-work wardrobes. No doubt about it, the athleisure trend is growing into a dominant force in the world of fashion. After all, who can argue with looking good and feeling good?
You may not realize that athleisure has been around for a long time in the fashion industry. It’s human nature to take something built for one purpose and use it for something else - and that’s where the roots of activewear originate. Rubber-soled shoes for tennis became comfortable shoes for walking and lounging. Short-sleeved collared shirts built for polo players became the uniform for suburban dads at 1950s back-yard barbecues. Sweatshirts built for hard workouts in the gym became comfortable tops for strolling around campus. All of these examples have led to today’s explosion of athleisure clothing.
We’ve come a long way from the utilitarian designs and fabrics our dads wore. Athleisure means much more now than just soaking up sweat when you’re at the gym or on the court. Modern fabrics and sports-inspired designs have led to new fashion staples that combine the best of sportswear and fashion trends. Athleisure today is clothing that’s practical, functional and stylish.
Athleisure outfits aren't for everywhere. Many offices still have formal dress codes, and social occasions like a wedding still call for a well-tailored suit. But on weekends and when the workday is done it’s time to slip into something more casual, comfortable and versatile. Going on a date, stepping out with boys, going to a game, or even just running your weekend errands — these are the times when athleisure is in its element.
Athleisure pieces are versatile and work great in combination with other athleisure wear articles, or in combination with conventional everyday wear clothing. To give yourself the most options, build a staple wardrobe of quality athleisure wear items you can pull out of your closet.
Start at the bottom with a selection of versatile pants and shorts. Athleisure bottoms fill the niche between jeans and more formal khakis and suit pants.
Match your pants with smart-looking athletic shoes like running shoes or light hikers. Pick a pair that match the occasion and activity. Well-cut sweatpants or track pants are a great choice when you’re running errands on a weekend morning or heading to the gym. Slip into some comfortable stretchy chinos when you’re looking to cut a more fashionable figure at the club or pub.
Tops are one of the building blocks of your athleisure wardrobe. They’re versatile and they mix and match well.
Wear technical tees as a base layer underneath a flannel shirt or a soft V-neck sweater on a cool day. Or combine them with a quarter-zip athleisure top when you’re heading out for a hike in the woods or a hike to the local coffee shop. And of course, you can wear a short or long sleeve tee with your favorite jeans, chinos or sweatpants.
It’s not always warm and sunny outside. Sometimes you need an extra layer on top.
One of the things separating quality athleisure workout clothes from inferior goods are the fabrics employed. Athleisure of lower quality will often rely on staple synthetic fabrics like nylon and polyester. There’s nothing wrong with these pioneering fabrics, but companies like Willy California that produce high-quality athleisure gym clothes take a lot of care in their fabric selections and choose from the best in natural and synthetic fabrics.
Here are a few fabrics and fabric combinations to keep an eye out for:
With the variety of athleisure offerings available to you, looking good and staying comfortable has never been easier. Take stock of your wardrobe and then start adding in some basic pieces to expand your look. Incorporate these new additions into your daily routine and pretty soon you’ll step out the door with a new look and a new attitude.