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What’s the hottest athleisure trend this season? Black velvet if you please


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Photo: Beyond Yoga

If you were a kid in the ’90s who participated in dance or gymnastics, the idea of wearing velvet in varied scenarios—to stretch, to sweat, and then to network TV-and-chillout on the couch, afterwards—may not be a new one. The fancy fabric was ubiquitous back then and, like most trends of the era, it’s resurfacing right now.

“Velvet is having such a moment,” says Beyond Yoga CEO and co-founder, Michelle Wahler, whose company is launching a crushed-velvet sports bra-and-leggings set on November 28. “It’s all over the runways, and of course it’s the perfect seasonal item to upgrade your winter athleisure look.” Stylist Jasmine Caccamo is likewise smitten with the trend. “What I love about velvet activewear is its versatility. It can add a bit of flair to your street style.”

“What I love about velvet activewear is its versatility. It can add a bit of flair to your street style.”

Beyond Yoga isn’t the first or only fitness fashion company to bet on this trend. Alala, too, is dipping in, with a collection of velvet-accented tights and hoodies, which founder Denise Lee says have been some of their most-popular pieces this season. “I think velvet looks really fresh,” she says of the company’s decision to utilize the fabric. “It also gives beautiful texture to the color black, which elevates the pieces in which we’ve used it.” No Ka’Oi, Ultracor, and Adidas also have on-point options, among others. 

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Still, form is one thing—these new styles have it in spades—yet function is another. While you probably feel pretty confident about how comfy it is to veg out in velvet, it’s natural to question how the fabric performs in an intense sweat sesh. “We made sure to choose a very short pile with a wicking back, so you can still work out in it—for our Vamp tights, we used a velvet quality that is used mainly for dance costumes and gymnast leotards, so we know it performs,” assures Lee.

“Unlike the velvet you may remember, this material has a four way stretch, breathes, and is perfect for the yoga mat or just brunch.”

Wahler adds that there have also been major upgrades made to the material since it first came on the scene way back when. “In recent years, new fabrications have allowed it to be used in so many unexpected and different ways,” she says. “We were very excited to push boundaries and use it in activewear. Unlike the velvet you may remember, this material has a four way stretch, breathes, and is perfect for the yoga mat or just brunch.”

With respect to the latter, Caccamo offers some advice: “For an easy, everyday look, pair a velvet zip-up hoodie with your favorite graphic tee and leather leggings,” she says. “This adds texture to your look by mixing fabrics. For something a little more trendy, wear your skinny velvet track pants with a great silk button down and basic pump. By doing this, you’ll add elements of both surprise and athleisure to your look.”

Be it styled in this manner for the street or more simply for the studio, this trend may be worth cozying up to as temps dip. Plus, when it’s combined with a dash of ’90s-nostalgic velvet, reminiscent of your earliest activewear, your next child’s pose could take on a whole new meaning, too.

While you’re updating your activewear wardrobe, find out what a “third piece” is and why you should add a velvet—or metallic—version to your closet stat. 

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