Scroll down for the 8 biggest activewear trends of S/S ’18.
THE MATCHING SET
Shopbop’s fashion director Caroline Maguire says this is one of the biggest trends for the retailer across the board. “A matching print or varsity stripe is the key to looking effortless while still being put together,” she explains. It’s a trend upscale fitness boutique owner Jennifer Bandier believes will grow beyond sports bras and leggings this season. “We see a lot of customers opting for matched sweat sets, which they wear lounging, as well as to their favorite gym class,” she says.
PUNCHY PRINTS AND EMBELLISHMENTS
“We expect summer 2018 to be all about bright hues and fun patterns,” Bandier says, adding that women can plan to see tie-dye, tropical, and animal prints aplenty. “Embellishment and beautifully intricate prints” will give pieces a fashion-forward flavor, adds Stephanie Dardenne, director of merchandising for Carbon38. She cites “runway-inspired floral prints” as a particular standout.
METALLIC AND SHEER FABRICS
While sheer first boomed in the summer of 2014, according to Bandier, brands are re-thinking their approach via unique cutouts, perforated fabrics, and lacing. Aside from translucent accents, she also says metallics, specifically rose gold, are in demand right now. Dardenne agrees: “It’s a big trend, whether there is lurex woven into an exposed sporty elastic or an all-over metallic legging,” she says. “These are just the beginning.”
PASTELS AND PRIMARY COLORS
Varsity-style stripes and saturated hues are carrying over from fall, and Maguire says red, ultraviolet, and teal are on the docket for spring and summer. And the 2018 update to 2017’s ever-popular neutral trend? Expect to spot sorbet shades. “We’re seeing a rise in a pastel palette, with blush hues, dusty blues, and beautiful lavender,” Dardenne explains. “The eye is starting to gravitate toward color and these pastels are becoming the new neutral.”
THE CROPPED SPORTS BRA
Brands are evolving this *it* silhouette for 2018. They’re pushing the look forward with intricate back details, embroidery, mesh paneling, and lace-up accents, says Dardenne. Related: The high-neck bra will be a runaway hit. “It offers support but also can be done in a fashionable way with beautiful laces and ornate fabrications,” she says. Bandier adds: “These bras are so popular because of the versatility,” citing how they can transition from gym to everyday life seamlessly.
This one is hardly a shocker: High-waisted leggings aren’t going anywhere. Over the last year more activewear brands have added high-rise fits to their collections, Dardenne says. And at Bandier boutiques, they’re the most-popular silhouette. “The leggings provide support while holding you in so you feel more free to be bold with your top choice,” Bandier says. “They can be worn as conservative, or not, as you want, making it an option for a variety of women.”
For the activewear enthusiast craving a more fashion-forward look, ruffles are next, according to Dardenne. “Ruffles are a trend that we’ve seen from brands like Zimmermann, Johanna Ortiz, and Caroline Constas, and it’s finally making its way to active.” She notes Carbon38 will stock its own brand, as well as styles from other vendors.
THE TRANSITIONAL PIECE
Bandier says that since people are mixing and matching casual pieces with their ready-to-wear wardrobes, designers are coming out with sweatshirts, sneakers, and other types of active clothing and accessories that cater to this aesthetic. The third piece is at the crux of this trend, according to her. And for Maguire, the ultimate example is the anorak jacket—a runway trend championed by Isabel Marant, among others—which she says is a “perfect jacket for everyday wear throughout the year.”
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