Athleisure Has Shown Normcore the Door

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but there has been a steady rise in trends that justify wearing sweatpants as acceptable non-workout attire.

As someone who has spent a fair amount of time in them, I’m fucking thrilled.

Okay, so we’re not talking the old-school Russell-like elastic waist “mom sweats” favored by tourists shuffling through airports sporting neck pillows the size of toilet seat covers. Or those god-awful Juicy-Couture-across-the-ass velvety hoodie-suits that end in a pair of Uggs. Ugh.

No. We’re talking sleek, moisture wicking, body sticking, sometimes shimmery and always stretchy tops and bottoms that go from yoga or pilates or the Barre to brunch and the bank and back. Scratch that. Most times these workout ensembles do no working out at all, which was never the point anyway. Which is why this trend has been aptly dubbed “Athleisure.”

And it’s showing “Normcore” the door, last season’s excuse to lumber about looking like George Costanza.

A recent Wall Street Journal piece’s title said it all:

“Are You Going to the Gym, or Do You Just Dress That Way?”

Clearly, this trend is not due to the overwhelming amount of activity taking place. Quite the opposite. The total number of sedentary adults has risen 18% since 2007, according to the Physical Activity Council.

My business partner, a guy, has been stocking up on LuluLemon (against my rants and ribbing – read my anti-LuluLemon post here) like a Doomsday Prepper. My collection of leggings and lycra has taken over my shoe closet. It’s gotten to the point where zipping up jeans is far too labor intensive.

I’ve become too comfortable being so comfortable. I have embraced Athleisure before it was a thing. But how that it is a thing, I need to take it to the hoop and push it as far as I can. Who’s with me? Race you to the couch.

edgy Athleisue looks

1. Joshua Sanders big bow sneakers, Avenue 32. 2. Under Armour Tote, Lord & Taylor. 3. D-Ring Sports bra, TopShop. 4. Marc By Marc Jacobs sweatshirt, Net-A-Porter. 5. Fendi baseball cap with fur pom pom, Luisaviaroma.  6. Striped leggings, Salt Gypsy, Matches.

2 Responses


    I don’t know, Paula. I’m saddened by this. Mostly because I love boots and fabulous coats, neither of which are exactly compatible with athleisure. It’s not to say that I don’t wear the stuff–I do. Quick trip to the farmers market or the grocery store. Lounging at home. Cooking. But I can’t say that I love this trend. Maybe it’s because to me, it’s not how the clothes LOOK on you, but rather how they make you FEEL that is the problem for me. I feel comfortable, certainly, but not I don’t feel powerful or dynamic in them. Of course, I don’t feel powerful or dynamic in summer fashions, so I am really, really, REALLY looking forward to fall and fall fashions!

    BTW, my athleisure is from Target.

    1. Paula

      Hi Petra:

      I completely understand what you’re saying. How we FEEL in our clothing is everything. Oddly enough, my forms of “Athleisure” have at times made me feel better than the most luscious fur or tweed pencil skirt. Maybe because I do yoga and it makes me feel so wonderful, and I am often roaming around in my yoga wear — I feel so good. And because I spend so much time in that garb, I’ve built a whole look around it: My “Solow” leggings, knees cut out, and layered tanks and tees from OAK or Organic, and 90% I wear a fur jacket, and prada gladiators or Celine furkenstocks. And for tennis, I love to wear vintage adidas shiny sweatpants, slouchy like trousers, and top with a more tailored rick owens jacket.
      Having said all of that, I cannot wait for fall fashions. My favorite time of the year. xoxoxo

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