Yes, you read the headline right. These days, instead of jeans, folks are turning to athleisure wear. You won’t find athleisure in the dictionary but you will see it in headlines and news stories. The definition, per InStyle magazine is, “…clothes that fit a somewhat broad category of being appropriate for either athletic or leisure pursuits, or both. We’re talking about anything from designer leggings of the Lululemon variety to cashmere sweats to layering pieces to absurdly fancy (and expensive) gym clothes.” I first spotted the term in a WSJ article: Yoga Poseurs: Athletic Gear Soars, Outpacing Sport Itself. Sales of athleisure wear are increasing, “even as Americans' rate of participating in most sports is in decline.”
It’s not that more folks are taking yoga; they just like the clothes. When I mentioned the article to my husband, he quickly assured me that he wasn’t giving up his jeans. And, I had to laugh when my boss said something about athleisure wear only being for finely tuned yoga bodies. I assured him that there were plenty of folks wearing the look whose bodies had never approached being finely tuned—far from it. I liken this trend to the spandex craze of the 80’s. Do you shudder, as I do, when you recall those spandex sightings at the grocery store and other inappropriate places?
Years ago, when I first started working out several mornings a week, I’d hesitantly stop by the grocery or drugstore on the way home and think, “I shouldn’t go in dressed like this.” I think I was scarred by those spandex days. Then I began to notice that many of the other shoppers were dressed just as I was. I attributed that to living in suburban Atlanta where so many of my neighbors were stay-at-home moms who worked out. Now, I see that we were all on the cutting edge. Since I work at home, the three days I work out in the morning, I not only start out in athleisure wear but also spend the rest of my day in that attire.
Still, I don’t put on my workout clothes unless I’m headed to work out. The closest I come is during the cooler months when I reach for leggings and a long top to wear in my home office and in front of the fireplace at night, or a dressier version to wear with boots as I head out the door. You can’t beat that outfit for comfort. In the warmer months, though, I still go for shorts.
Because so many folks are turning to athleisure wear, jean sales are dropping. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not giving up my jeans, though I haven’t put them on once this summer. I’m more likely to wear them to go shopping, out to lunch or dinner or to run errands when the temperatures are cooler. So with the temps starting to moderate here in Atlanta, I’m looking forward to wearing my JAG, NYDJ and Eddie Bauer jeans soon—except on those weekdays when I stay in my comfortable athleisure wear all day long.