Athleisure. Please Stop.

18 Nov

We live in a casual age. Long gone are the days when men wore business suits to college classes and women wore pumps to the grocery store (except people that shop at Publix in Florida apparently–my cousin once told me it was the best place to find a date). That’s nothing to cry over–ugh, I can’t even imagine taking an exam in a blazer. When it comes to attire it’s hard to find that ever-shifting line of appropriate and not-appropriate, and I’m the first to admit it’s even more fun to push on it and see how far it will stretch.

But you guys. You guys.

Workout clothes are not clothes.

Is anybody with me on this? It’s an epidemic that’s sweeping across every demographic–millennial to boomer, women and men, black and white (although evidently not so much South Koreans, who have a reputation in the fashion world).

Please tell me you’ve seen this stupidly hilarious vid, which perfectly sums up how I feel about this trend.

I get it, you like to work out. And why should you have to change out of your sweaty, grody garments to get a coffee afterwards (snort)?

I actually have no problem with wearing cute yoga pants and sneaks to Starbucks…provided you actually are coming from yoga (or just rolled up on a Schwinn). But let’s be real, what percent of people walking around in Lulu are actually coming from or going to the gym? I’m laying money on NAH.

Hey, I am not immune to the siren song of compression wear. I’m guilty of wearing leggings as pants. But I usually wear them under a dress or a long top, and with jewelry and real shoes. And even then sometimes I have to pull that ish up all day like the worst pair of hose you ever bought from CVS.

I submit that dresses are actually the most comfortable thing in the world, but some of us have issues with sitting like this.

A couple months ago I was at the zoo and spotted this perfect specimen of a group. Every one of them gorgeous people, and every one of them dressed like they just finished a 10k. They had the cropped leggings, the high performance jackets, the neon cross-trainers with low profile socks. They also had perfect blowouts and a full face of makeup. I mean, what?

The dudes were in similar attire, only not as form fitting (ha). I didn’t sneak a photo because my  paparazzi skills are lacking, but I’m pretty sure baseball caps were involved.

It just seems like when you’re young and fit and hot is prime time not to wear clothing with elastic waistbands?

Not that it does anyone of any age or type any great favors. Not long ago I was at a boutique popup thing geared toward “normal” women (whatever that means, but ya know). The organizer was wearing your standard black yoga leggings and a kind of drapey tee. It was long, but not long enough–when she bent over I could totally see her undies through her pants (yellow with tiny flowers).

Maybe somebody can explain the attraction to me. Comfortable, got it. But what else? Do people just want to advertise the fact that they exercise (although many Athleisure enthusiasts don’t–it’s by definition “athletic apparel that can be worn in non-athletic settings”). Do we think it makes us look skinny? Is it sexy…are the dudes falling all over themselves to get someadis?

Gents, feel free to chime in here. Is this what you like to see on the ladies these days?

Speaking of guys: you are not exempt either–you’ve long been the poster children of overly cazh. But for whatever reason–perhaps because guys’ jeans are more comfortable, or maybe just because they stink more when they work out–dudes don’t tend to wear gym clothes to Target. Actually I sense there’s been a sweep of the pendulum in the opposite direction with menswear lately. I see a lot more guys interpreting casual as this

as opposed to this.

Thank God.

I know I probably sound fusty and #getoffmylawn. And yes, some might call hypocrisy as I used to wear sweatpants with PINK on the ass out in public. But it was usually to rehearsal or dance class (or possibly an 8 AM exam), not a date at the zoo. It’s just getting kinda ridic when designers are making serious bank on gym clothes and denim brands being pushed out of their market share by companies who make things that absorb sweat.

Not that I want to return to the days of Umbros and Champion Sweatpants. I’m all about looking adorable while working out. Look, I was the girl in 8th grade getting made fun of in PE for her coordinating chartreuse sweatshorts and spandex top. I just think we’re really missing out on the charm, creativity, and personality of a well-assembled outfit. Not to mention blurring the lines of unspoken social dress code almost beyond recognition.

At the office?!

Fashion is constantly evolving, and thinking about it and analyzing it is something I enjoy (which according to cultural mythology makes me a vapid snot–but that’s a whole other post). There’s probably a lot to be said sociologically and anthropologically about Athleisure. I’m just not sure I’m on board with what it’s saying. So I implore you: next time you’re headed to the movies, try putting on a pair of jeans. Just for kicks (HA).

All I know is, the day I see someone walking down the street in this is the day I know it’s all over.


Click on photos for source.

*There’s a lot of horror and darkness in the news this week. This lighthearted post is a tribute to the beautiful nation of France, which has more style and glamour in her little pinky than the rest of the world combined. J’taime, Paris. 


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