2016 has been the year of active wear, rising in popularity to the point where athleisure has now secured it’s spot in the dictionary.
A poll by Verdict retail completed in February 2016 found that:
- 53.7% of consumers purchased activewear over the last 12 months, with the highest penetration among 25 to 44 years age group.
- 43.3% of consumers prefer to wear activewear over other clothing.
Athleisure is defined as casual clothing designed to be worn for both exercising and for general use, and this is exactly what makes it so popular, it’s a fashion trend that easy to adopt and there’s something for almost every body type. The wide appeal of activewear has spread across consumers because they can manipulate one trend for almost every situation, from grabbing coffee, to training in a gym, grocery shopping and even at work in the office.
It is becoming more and more acceptable to wear your gym apparel for both physical activities and social events, particularly since retailers have invested in making ranges far more fashionable and trend-led. Just a few years ago I remember saving my eldest, tattiest T shirts for gym sessions. If I spilled dinner down a top, it would then go into the gym pile - after all, I was only going to sweat in it anyway, but nowadays I wouldn’t dream of it, what would people think!
The past year has seen a significant rise not only in the popularity of gym wear, but of fitness wearables, from heart rate trackers to watches which measure your water intake. There’s been a shift of focus since the 2012 Olympics and the gym is only one part of the overall picture of health and fitness we’re striving for. Fitness clothing is designed to be worn outside of the gym, as we strive for a healthy lifestyle which continues away from barbells and treadmills and runs into our everyday lives.
This prioritising of health and fitness has spread into the office as well, offering a more relaxed dress code which allows for lunchtime workouts, or a quick dash from work to the gym for an evening workout.
We’re more conscious of the dangers of sitting, being constantly reminded that we’re not doing enough to move, and so it’s become more popular to dress so we’re ready to be active when the opportunity arrives.
Are Gym Outfits The New Trainers?
There was a time, where you wore trainers if you were training, or a laborer. Today, with fewer jobs requiring men to be suited and booted and the catwalks full of relaxed tailoring and sportswear, trainers are more popular than ever, from casual converse to Adidas Yeezy’s. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t own at least one pair of trainers. Are gym outfits heading the same way? It’s becoming more and more acceptable to be seen in your gym gear outside of the gym, so perhaps our activewear will become the new trainers.
The rise of activewear has been accompanied by a rise in fitness technology, with gadgets developed to monitor everything from your sleep to your water intake. Due to this constant consciousness of our physical state, we’re more likely to worry about wearing fitness wear which enables us to be more active throughout the day. One in 6 consumers currently wears wearable technology.The UK market for activewear is predicted to rise over the next 5 years to surpass 8 billion, according to new research by Key Note.
Not all activewear is made the same. Some feature more high-tech sweat-wicking and odour blocking technology, while others are more basic and directed towards fashion. Some are a combination of the two! Training in the wrong apparel can really affect your workout, so it's important to get it right. Sundried have put together our top 10 tips for buying men's activewear.
1. Know Your Size
Men’s activewear sizes may differ from your regular clothing or suit size. You demand a lot more from your activewear than you do from your working wardrobe, so you may need some extra leeway when it comes to sizing, providing the space to pull, push and twist in any way your training takes you.
2. Choose Function First
Whilst low cut stringers may show off maximum muscle, are they practical during training? Not always. Activewear should be functional, cut with designs and shapes which flatter your form and move with you during training. This also goes hand in hand with sizing. While a tight T-shirt may show off a muscular physique, it may also restrict your range of motion. Always try your activewear on and check you can function freely in it before buying a size too small.
3. Make Sure Your Activewear is Sport-Specific
The rise in the popularity of athleisure has seen the merging of fashion and fitness, encouraging more people to adopt a more active lifestyle, which is a fantastic thing to see. However, cheap fashion brands are releasing clothings ranges which they term as ‘activewear’ which actually lack any technical or sports function. They’re cut in the right shapes, but with little to no sport support. Opt for companies which focus solely on activewear which use trialled and tested technical fabrics to create silhouettes which are designed with a sports specific focus to enhance performance, not to just look good or stay on trend.
4. Wear Layers
Wearing extra layers to burn more calories is a myth, but what wearing extra layers will actually do is help to provide you with extra variety, so you remain as comfortable as possible throughout your exercise. The purpose of wearing layers is so that in colder weather you can keep warm and drop layers as you heat up and visa versa as the weather gets warmer. Keeping your body at a comfortable temperature will enable you to perform for longer. Why not try layering our Roteck leggings under the Sundried Furgler Short.
5. Read Reviews
If a product is good, somebody will want to shout about it. Search for reviews before making a new activewear purchase. If you train on a daily basis, this is a big investment and you need to be confident in what you’re wearing. You can read reviews for Sundried's products on Amazon.
6. Know How Your Activewear is Made
At Sundried we support ethical production. If the price of clothing is so cheap it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Somewhere down the line, someone else will be paying the price. We believe in transparent production, partnering with The Low Carbon Innovation Fund with well-supported staff throughout our supply chain and a charitable donation to Water for Kids with every purchase.
7. Make it Stylish
If your activewear and daywear merge seamlessly, you can fit activity in at any given moment. Our activewear is designed for “all day active” and is stylish and smart enough to be worn as daywear, but functional for fitness performance.
8. Find the Right Fabrics
Cotton may be comfortable when it’s dry, but not so much when it’s wet. Cotton absorbs moisture, making it heavy and prone to chafing, which can restrict your training. Technical fabrics are advanced to prevent snags, wick sweat, and allow skin to breathe. Our new range features 100% recycled materials such as reused coffee grounds, which contain natural odour blocking technology and superior swear-wicking capabilities.
9. Have a Wardrobe for all Weather
Find men’s activewear which will suit all weather conditions. Unfortunately, here in the UK we’re not blessed with perfect weather conditions, so make sure your activewear wardrobe is technically savvy enough to cope. Opt for water resistant fabrics and layer with wind breakers. Summer seasons will require shorts, if the weather treats us!
10. Follow the Care Instructions
Simply following your activewear care instructions will help them last longer and do their job better. Depending on how much you train, when treated correctly your activewear can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Harsh chemicals and boiling water can damage your activewear, diminishing the breathability and wicking abilities of your garments, so always avoid mixing these in with your washing. We suggest washing activewear separately of your other washing to extend its lifespan. Do not overly agitate or stretch the pieces and never wring your activewear, as it will pull and stretch the fabrics natural grain and design.
Up to 80% of the impact of a t-shirt occurs after purchase. The water, chemical toxicity, energy use and emissions from washing and drying your clothing all contribute to your eco footprint. Throughout our marketing, our products, wash care labels and our site, we encourage and remind you to Wash Cool, Sun Dry.