At this point, you’re probably more than familiar with athleisure. Blurring the lines between fitness and fashion, it’s a sought-after style aesthetic that is often preferred over a designer lewk—especially if you’re one to rock gym clothes 60…80…okay, 90 percent of the time.
Athleticism has been prominent on runways for the last few seasons. Riffing on sport in a way that reads at once cool and elevated, activewear pieces like sneakers, sweatshirts, and leggings are at the forefront—but with a sartorial spin. (See Stella McCartney, Chloé, Tibi, Versace, Valentino, and Paco Rabanne as prime examples.)
So, how do you execute this directional athleisure vibe? Ahead, a few fashion insiders share their take. With their advice, you’ll be able to give your workout clothes a fashion-forward spin for occasions when you’re doing more than feeling the burn.
Keep reading for styling tips from some professionally fashionable women.
Caroline Maguire, fashion director of Shopbop
“I love the whole tech-leisure look—the cardio-to-coffee-talk look,” Maguire says. “It’s effortless and super easy to pull off with the right pieces.” Here are the items she’s coveting this season: “A baseball hat. I’m all about baseball hats for this season. I have switched out my beanies in favor of them. A hoodie, track jacket, or crew sweatshirt. This is something that you throw on while you’re running to your workout, taking off, and then popping back on when you’re headed to brunch.”
Lauren Caruso, editorial director of Bandier
“I think one of the mistakes a lot of women make when adopting the athleisure trend is that they instantly try to feminize it, like pairing sneakers exclusively with dresses, or track suits with heels. While those are both great combinations, I don’t think that’s necessarily the key to pulling athleisure off, especially if your style isn’t inherently super-feminine.
“Instead, don’t be afraid to wear a chunky sneaker with equally chunky ribbed socks. Or try pairing a hoodie with wide-leg pants for an exaggerated, albeit traditionally unflattering, silhouette. Just find that one thing that makes the outfit feel grounded in your own personal style. Right now for me, that means topping it off with a blazer.” Three key pieces Caruso recommends: “Wide-legs are great, but I love a cropped flare, and this one by DLC boasts both a technical performance fabric and an O-ring detail. I appreciate its split personality. An orthopedic sneaker is the only sneaker. The clunkiness of Nike’s Huarache silhouette means anyone wearing it can’t take themselves too seriously. I mean, look at it!” [And] the tracer drawstring on this super-soft hoodie from Wesley makes it a standout in my embarrassingly large collection of black hoodies. I like to style it with something equally oversized and boxy for a look that barely skims my body.”
Rachael Wang, stylist and brand consultant
“I think the best way to transform gym clothes into a chic outfit is to add non-gym clothes and accessories for contrast. For example, pair a crew neck sweatshirt with a silky bias-cut skirt, swishy warmup pants with heels, or sneakers with a pantsuit.” One pairing to try: the Fila Santo pant, $60, with Neous Masdevallia mules, $630.
Meg He and Nina Faulhaber, co-founders of ADAY
“I’m into modern shapes and textures reinvented to be workout and technical,” He says. “Our wide-legged trousers and soft fuzzy bodysuit are great for this. Also, layer textures and brights with black, so a pair of chunky statement sneakers against a dark outfit (for work or otherwise). I have a bright pink foil jacket from adidas by Stella McCartney that I love pairing against office-like shift dresses.”
“I’m all about layering and staple colors to go from a workout vibe to classic cool,” Faulhaber says. “I love to pair leggings with oversized shirts, chunky sweaters, scarves, and long coats. I chose simple colors that beautifully mesh with each other like midnight blue, white, and sand. Lately, I’ve been accessorizing with a pretty shoulder bag and a pair of big golden earrings to give the whole outfit an fun edge.” Try ADAY’s Something Borrowed shirt, $125, with Petite Studio Aspen coat, $298.