FYI: Your Gym Gear Is High Fashion Now

  • Fashion
    FYI: Your Gym Gear Is High Fashion Now

Source: Ben O'Sullivan on Unsplash

Whether you’re exercising your thumb on the treadmill that is Instagram, flicking the pages of your favourite fashion bible, or trawling through bookmarked blogs, you’ve probably noticed one trend in particular inching it’s way closer to the epicenter of sartorial focus; sportswear as everyday wear. No, I’m not talking about wearing head-to-toe gym gear while grabbing a coffee (a large cappuccino with soy milk, ta!) to achieve that “just been to Yogalates” look without actually having set foot inside a gym. I’m referring to the combination of sports pieces and those that could be found on a designer runway or in the office. Think sneakers under a ball gown, a velvet blouse with gym shorts, tailored trousers and your local team’s jersey. The result? Absurd yet appealing outfits, ones that strike an intriguing high-low balance.

Perhaps the high-class athleisure trend got its foot in the door (pun intended) with our collective embrace of “ugly” sneakers. Often dubbed “dad shoes”, ugly sneakers are nothing new and are an easy way to dip your toes into the world of adding sports pieces to regular outfits before fully taking the plunge. They generally add height without the difficulty or pain of navigating heels, and the ease of movement is a natural confidence booster.

Source: Instagram @aylin_koenig

Bike shorts are a more divisive component of this trend. But! Bike shorts can make a great basic piece for a #lewk that challenges the norm. After all, they’re basically a current spin on the classic black legging. Bella Hadid epitomized the trend of combining comfy sports wear with high-end pieces when she paired her bike shorts with a sophisticated houndstooth coat andtiny sunglasses, another style staple of the year. Ever the envelope-pusher, Rihanna gave bike shorts the tick of approval with her Fenty Puma by Rihanna Spring 2018 ready-to-wear collection which saw garments your dad might wear on a Sunday morning cycle assume their rightful place on the runway.

Source: Instagram @songofstyle

A natural evolution from bike shorts, gym shorts have now become an acceptable, fashion-forward option despite being a flashback to high school P.E. They’re a looser, more flowy alternative, adding another level of comfort to a trend focused on just that. While most of the bike shorts we see incorporated into successful exercise-meets-everyday looks are black or grey, gym shorts allow for a little more expression.

Source: Instagram @oursecondskin

With gym-ready shoes and shorts – not to mention fanny packs and sweatpants – becoming wardrobe stables, it was only a matter of time before sports tops would worm their way into the mix. In a recent streetstyle snap, Tokyo Fashion featured a 17-year-old student wearing Ralph Lauren loafers, Balenciaga cropped pants, a Commes de Garcons belt – and a 2002 Irish soccer jersey. Bizzarre, sure, but somehow it works. It’s the element of surprise, the unironic playfulness, and the sweet payoff of a worthy risk.

Source: Instagram @tokyofashion

For something that, on paper, feels so wrong, pairing work out pieces with traditional ensemble elements feels oh-so-right. Suddenly, high fashion becomes more accessible, more versatile (day to night, anyone?), and a helluva lot more comfortable. And who could complain about that?


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