Just what is Athleisure?


Athleisure is currently a massive “thing” in the trends industry,which you may or may not (if you have any sense) be familiar with. It basically means clothes that you might usually wear for exercise, re-interperated for everyday wear – or in simple terms “comfy” clothes.

I was a little cynical at first as it seemed like a fashion industry term for clothes that one might wear at home at the weekend, which of course it is, except that now you are allowed to wear them to work and be both comfortable and fashionable. Which, when you get to our age can only be a good thing.

According to expert Athleisure is set to take over from denim in sales terms and with Beyonce set to launch an Athleisure range in collaboration with Top Shop in the Autumn, you are going to hear a lot more about this gym to street trend in the future.

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So just what do you need to think about when attempting this look? Well not leggings thats for sure, they are a big no no in absolutely every situation – well maybe not when you have flu and are shuffling around in a pair of slippers, eating toast and mainlining Heinz tomato soup – but they are definitely not what Athleisure is all about.

The trouser of choice should either soft, draped and wide ( see above) or in formal fabric with sports detailing. Whistles have the perfect pair – which I am reliably told by my son (who works there part time) are very popular. They are basically crepe track pants, which are comfortable but smart – therefore work on every level.

Cosy sweaters and statements sweats are also an essential piece here and should be in a fashionable shape – sorry, but the old bobbly jumper and stained sweat in the bottom of your wardrobe will simply not do.

Head to toe jersey and knit dressing in tonal colours, teamed with sports footwear also works to create a softer more sophisticated look – but remember proportion and layering are key, think Diane Keaton in Somethings Gotta Give, not Waynetta Slob in Harry Enfield and Chums.

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Another essential component of this look is a pair of old school trainers, preferably Adidas, Stan Smiths to be precise. They should be white with minimal detail and be as clean and box fresh as possible.

Converse and Vans are also semi ok, but to be totally on point, Adidas are the label of choice.


Neutral colours are key, with denim or green flash being the only hint of colour, as this look is neat and clean. Ripped or frayed jeans are allowed but not in a grunge way. Think LA based lifestyle blogger who eats avocado on toast for breakfast and Instagrams pics of her perfect life. This look is all about aspiration – aspiring to go to the gym, eat vegan food and wear cashmere 24/7.

Failing that, as after all who really can be bothered with all that perfect lifestyle nonsense. Just wear comfy clothes and enjoy the fact that while other less knowledgable folk may not realise, jogging bottoms for the office are the future.


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  • Liz Shedden says:

    I think this is a very ‘Whitstable ‘ look too – today I am wearing …. Black wide leg relaxed (ha!) dungarees and a white with black stripe Breton T … Lets hope this look lasts – I love it!

  • michele says:

    Across the pond in the USA this has been going on for years and years. In fact, I would say that “Americans” used to be put down for looking like this when we came to Europe. So now its acceptable to look relaxed in your clothes; Any sneaker will do, and usually here the Van’s are a surfer look but converse will work too. I just wear my black and purple acsics running shoes with my sweats and leggings.

  • Juliette says:

    Phew Jane, just for a moment there, I thought you were going all serious on us – but thankfully, no #fashionsmashion it is – though I do confess, I have invested in a pair of Navy Stan Smiths, and they go with…..everything.

  • Sarah says:

    As someone who works from home (with breaks for a walk or cycle) and loves to be comfy, this makes me very happy.

  • sue evans says:

    Go for the comfort factor ! It’s a revelation. ……… Jane, can we get smocks in there somewhere or is that a big no-no ? Just asking ……

  • Alison says:

    This is absolutely the best fashion trend ever! I’ve been waiting for it all my life – although thinking about it, it’s pretty similar to how I used to dress when I was a teenager (not saying when that was) – used to live in plimsols and patched jeans with a sloppy jumper. Now it’s all grown up and cool – yay!

  • Jane says:

    Comfy is cool is definitely the way to go

    J x

  • steffi says:

    I’m sorry to be a spoilsport or something along the lines of, but I have been nurturing and sporting the Athleisure look since back in the day (1990 onwards to be exact) and was very much influenced by my then employer (Katharine Hamnett). It was and still is my go-to look and I am ever so slightly miffed that it is now a “thing”. Just saying. X

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