The wellness era we’re now living in—and dressing for—is shaking up a lot more than your leggings drawer. We’re talking about your top drawer. You know, the one with the (formerly) lacy things in it. Thanks to the athleisure trend, bras that are all about comfort and style have all but replaced the corset-type contraptions used for “support” that we used to consider standard in our daily attire.
Comfort is king—er, queen—when it comes to day-to-day dressing—your bra included.
In place of super-padded, demi-cup, lace-trimmed push-up bras there’s a huge move to breezy bralettes, bandeaus, and sporty cotton bras.
The psychology behind this shift in underthings? After getting comfortable—quite literally—living in your activewear, who wants to change into a heavily wired, booby trap of a bra for everyday life?
Answer: Almost no one, and undergarment companies are taking note.
While traditional lingerie brands like Victoria’s Secret scramble to find their next move among disappointing sales, a new category of bras and underwear is developing that’s been coined “leisurée” (athleisure meets lingerie).
“Today’s woman is busy and running around and there’s no expectation to wear a push-up bra or show off your chest,” explains Michelle Cordeiro Grant, founder of Lively, a cool undergarments brand with pieces intended for daily wear, which gave the new fashion category its name.
A new casual category of everyday bras and underwear is developing called “leisurée” (athleisure meets lingerie).
“A woman today is sexiest when she’s healthy, full of life, and active—and these active lingerie bras show that off in a subtle and sexy way,” says Grant, whose most popular piece is the Mesh Trim Bralette.
Although Lively coined the term, the brand isn’t alone in this cross between lingerie and athleisure—brands both big and small are majorly cashing in on this trend.
Old school behemoths like Calvin Klein are thriving with celeb-filled social ad campaigns—with the help of its logo-covered elastic undergarments, the brand outperformed revenue expectations for its first quarter with a 13 percent rise in sales.
Aerie, the intimates offshoot of American Eagle Outfitters, is seeing serious growth since its 2006 launch; sales are up an impressive 32 percent jump for the first quarter of 2016. And although Lively only debuted earlier this year, the brand sold to every state in the US within the first month.
When it comes to underthings, leisurée lends itself to an entirely new market of design. “Athleisure is becoming more than sports bras,” explains Pattie Ficorilli, the senior marketing manager for intimates at Invista (the parent company of Lycra fiber). “Intimate apparel brands have an extremely huge opportunity to develop these everyday leisure bras because they have the technical expertise to create great fitting and functional foundation garments that are meant to be seen.”
Wireless, cotton bras for everyday use are beating out demand for the push-up.
And flaunting the pieces is an idea not wasted on Instagrammers, who’ve been posting their cotton-meets-lycra-and-lace underwear selfies along with their smoothie bowls and tropical vacations. #Mycalvins (the hash tag for the majorly renewed Calvin Klein obsession) has close to half a million public posts.
While bras with supportive rigging may be necessary for certain cup sizes, some days at the office, and the treadmill or boot camp classes, the demand for all-day comfort is winning out as the next big thing in dressing. Such that you might find yourself contemplating, will you ever go back to the contraption formerly known as the underwire bra?
Scroll down to see just a few of the intimates brands that are disrupting the lingerie industry.
Aerie Mesh + Lace Bralette, $26.95
AdoreMe Ilona Bralette, $24.95 (for first set; subscription thereafter)
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