Since pulling on my first pair of shiny leggings, I’ve been praying to the athleisure gods to keep the comfortable fashion look in style forever—and it appears my prayers have been answered.
A recent Quartz article officially declared that the cozy clothing moment is far from being over—and industry insiders are quick to second that assessment. (Cue sigh of relief.)
“It’s just representative of this notion of comfort being the driving force in what consumers want and how they’re picking their clothing,” said Emma McClendon, an assistant curator at the Museum at FIT and author of Denim: Fashion’s Frontier, in an interview earlier this year. She goes on to explain that it’s hardly a flash-in-the-pan look; in fact, it’s been a trend for nearly a century. “Arguably we’ve been kind of in a trajectory towards comfort since the start of the 20th century.”
“Arguably we’ve been kind of in a trajectory towards comfort since the start of the 20th century.”
If anything, athleisure is expanding its reach these days: Lingerie companies are starting to channel the laid-back vibes of sports bras; denim brands are marketing themselves based on stretch and relaxation; and workleisure is officially a thing, with hi-tech fabrics, machine-washable specs, and sweat-friendly properties popping up in offices on the reg now.
As for those doubters who think there are too many options out there? In the words of Cher Horowitz: as if!
“The sports market is far from saturated,” Katie Smith, a senior analyst at retail technology company Edited, recently told Digiday. “In fact, it’s ideally positioned to win big thanks to fundamental shifts in consumer lifestyle.” Plus, the statisticians at Morgan Stanley confirm that global activewear sales are on the up-and-up.
So the moral of the story? No matter what kind of clothes consumers are shopping for the future, expect them to be comfortable, technical, and functional. In other words: Your leggings are safe, ladies.
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