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The Evolution of Athleisure

by Alexandra Parren
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Athleisure activewear sportswear for women fitness clothing

The past few years have seen so much chatter about the ascendancy of the wellness movement and how sleek, chic activewear is being re-appropriated from the gym to our everyday wardrobes, that it's probably audible from space. Joking aside, while interest in fad elements like extreme diets and oil pulling are fading fast, all the signs indicate that we’re moving towards a ‘post-athleisure’ culture where health, well-being and activewear have become truly ingrained into our daily routines rather than being about making a fashion statement.  

In the search for a 360-degree approach to healthy living that includes fitness, diet and skincare, we’re examining every aspect of our lifestyle for ways to make it happier and healthier. For example, not only is there a huge rise in the demand for ‘non-toxic’ or ‘clean’ beauty products, but on Pinterest, saves for Tai Chi in 2017 were reportedly up 189 per cent, have increased by a staggering 251 per cent on gut health, and even searches for healthy coffee have risen 218 per cent on the service. There’s also a focus on strength and sculpting over dress size – Pinterest again highlighted a rise of over 400 per cent in searches for “strength training” last year, reflecting the move towards, say, alternating weight workouts with yoga classes as part of this positive, holistic approach.

One of the big predictions for the coming year is the nascent of classes like spin being streamed on-demand into own home – think of it as Netflix with a fitness subscription. Some smart services even allow you to be critiqued via webcam by the trainer leading the class. Also predicted is a return in popularity of martial arts like kickboxing, following on from the fresh appeal of combat sports like boxing to build muscle and stamina as well as focus the mind.

Add to this that in an age of information where we want to know everything about the activewear we’re buying – from how it performs to what it’s made from – style still plays a key role and it’s easy to see why ‘post-athleisure’ wear needs to blend functionality and fashion. Material made from sustainable sources like recycled plastic that offers performance qualities such as wicking to keep you dry teamed with contemporary, versatile designs in flattering cuts that sculpt and shape the body more effectively that ‘sucky-in underwear’ is shaping up to be the way ahead. And with that kind of exceptional activewear ready to be tapped, there’s never been a better time to let your outer wardrobe reflect your true inner wellness.

Caroline Brien is an award-winning beauty and lifestyle journalist who has written for titles from the Financial Times and Marie Claire to Sunday Telegraph Stella magazine and Psychologies.

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