Get Ready to See Activewear’s Softer Side in 2018

Photo: Outdoor Voices

There’s a stylish shift happening in fitness fashion: Pretty neutrals that sidestep “dress like an athlete” black Spandex are going to need some space in your closet. Activewear companies are increasingly focused on softer hues, like nudes, blush pinks, seafoams, and pale greys—often in looser, lifestyle silhouettes that are inspired by downtime in meditation or nature versus deadlifts at the gym.

Harbingers of the trend, like Outdoor Voices, Live The Process, Lululemon’s collab with Taryn Toomey, and Athleta’s Restore Collection, suggest that the hottest looks will be the ones that make you look great and feel cool...calm, and collected. "We launched Restore this year to underline the power of mindfulness, and the need for women to give themselves the permission to pause," said Sarah Carlson, Athleta’s VP of Design, who’ll be continuing to build on the collection’s success into 2018.

"Customers are more open to wearing whites, nudes, and pastels. I expect to see a lot more of this trend." —Jennifer Bandier

"Customers are more open to wearing whites, nudes, and pastels. I expect to see a lot more of this trend," says Jennifer Bandier, citing brands like Koral and Varley, which she retails at her five Bandier "active fashion" stores. Stephanie Dardenne, director of merchandising at super-stylish activewear juggernaut Carbon 38, confirms similar: “Although black is still the most popular color choice, our buy into neutrals has doubled.”

Fabrics and styles are also getting cozier. With super-soft sustainable modal and cottons, like with Athleta’s "semi-fitted" joggers and wide-neck tees. Drapey sweatshirts from Alala and Monrow embrace a comfy hygge sensibility (not a high-intensity training one). Even major athletic outfitters —think: Reebok and Nike—are debuting looser silhouettes and subdued hues for spring and summer 2018. These “softer-side” pieces are becoming the new, relaxed basics of athleisure.

What else is going to be huge next year? We've picked 18 for '18—check out all of our Wellness Trend predictions here

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