Depending on where we all reside and whatever laws are in place in our areas for the current pandemic, many of us are reinventing the way we stay active to stay in shape while our gyms are closed. Personally, I am already a runner alongside my gym activities, but I found myself hitting the pavement more often than ever. Thankfully I live in an area where it’s fairly easy to avoid people and stay six feet apart, so that isn’t a problem. But I digress…I know several people have picked up running for the first time in order to stay sane during these tough times! Finding the right shoes can be difficult if you aren’t sure what you are doing, but I prefer going with basic, lightweight, no-fluff options for the best performance. My trusty Asics are nearing their retirement age, and I’ve been keeping my eyes out for the next pair. Enter Allbirds, a sustainable footwear brand that I just discovered, that offers earth-friendly running shoes without all the bells and whistles.
I know I’ve been posting a lot more about activewear than jeans lately (I mean, my last post featured said subject)…and I’ll admit, the current state of affairs might have something to do with it. Staying home for longer amounts of time means I’m grabbing for more comfortable apparel in my closet, and as surprisingly comfy as many of the jeans I’ve written about in the past are, my leggings have never shined brighter. I honestly just wore a pair of jeans for the first time in months last week! Anyway, it’s interesting watching the market change, as well as our styling preferences. I’m sure many of us might also be investing more in gym clothes for our home workouts since now we have more time to take care of ourselves. American Eagle is one brand that is constantly on it when it comes to industry trends, so it’s no surprise they have been churning out a ton of cute activewear, or athleisure (if you’re doing less gym and more lounging or running errands in your gym clothes), under their sister brand Aerie.
It’s definitely been more of a challenge these days to stay fit while sheltering in place. I’m definitely a gym rat, so it’s affected me a whole lot, but I’ve gotten creative with weights at home and HIIT sessions with Insanity. During my days at the gym pre-COVID, I was lucky to build up my own kind of motivation to keep up my game based on…well, feeling on top of my game, but it definitely wouldn’t have been the same without proper activewear. In the beginning, I didn’t care about workout style…I was grabbing anything cheap I could find at Ross. However, over time, once I established my routine and momentum, I also built up my favorite, higher-end wardrobe. This wasn’t just for style, but also comfort, ease of movement, sweat management…and just for the fun factor. It really can be motivating and confidence-building to break a sweat with a little attention to your workout style and some fun new pieces!
I know, you’re probably all sick and tired of hearing about activewear. After all, it’s proven to be a fairly trendy—and thus lucrative—business, so it seems there are new companies popping up every day trying to cash in on the trend. However, H&M isn’t quite new to activewear. I bought some of theirs way back in 2006 once on a trip to London, when I realized that yes, I still had the urge to go on jogs even though I was on sort of a vacation…so I went shopping for the cheapest workout clothes I could find. I still wear those items today, and am surprised how long they’ve held up. Over the years I’ve moved to purchasing from tried and true active brands like Puma, Lolé, and Under Armor, but I’m still always curious what brands that don’t cater primarily to the activewear market come up with in that department. H&M isn’t completely new to sustainability, so it’s no surprise that on December 28th of last year, they released a collection of eco-friendly activewear!
Here we go again…more dark fashion awesomeness…totally my kind of thing. As a fitness fanatic, I definitely love that side of the activewear/athleisure industry, as fitness kind of gives an extra bit of badassery to edgier apparel, if you ask me. It also makes this kind of style a lot easier to wear around on a regular basis, since activewear is meant to move with you and stay comfortable, and even wick moisture if you’re wearing it on a hot day. This also makes them prime items to wear out when I’m DJing or attending a late night party! I’m not really into wearing gym clothing on a regular basis, but sometimes, I can make an exception—if it doesn’t exactly look like it’s meant to be in a gym.
I’ve started to see activewear a little like I see jeans…I just can’t have enough! The explosion of the “athleisure” trend a few years back brought us so many beautiful designs that crossed between gym and street life, and I just love shopping and collecting unique pieces! It probably helps that I’m very active myself, but that’s only part of the appeal to me. Zobha is one of the activewear brands that I follow, and I already own four items from them. It all started when I found an army green jacket on RueLaLa which really looks more like something to wear everyday than on an active endeavor, as well as a super comfortable black and white tunic (also from RueLaLa). Since then I acquired their Dakota Sleeveless Hoodie and Jett Wide Sleeveless Hoodie, both of which I used at the gym when it got a little chilly this past winter. Everything is of such amazing quality, and so well made and beautiful that it’s hard to want to sweat in it all! I wrote about Zobha a little over a year ago, and it’s definitely one of those brands that deserves a revisit here.
I think I’ve finally, officially, fallen for the athleisure trend. I’m a very active person as it is, so I have my decent little collection of gym clothing, but I really wasn’t ever into activewear as every day wear, per se. Over the years, as “athleisure” has taken a front seat in the style world, I’ve discovered several brands (like Zobha), that have made me drool. I like darker, edgier, more creative street-style elements, and there has been plenty of that on the market sold as activewear lately. I prefer outerwear rather than leggings and tops when it comes to everyday wear (as I still prefer saving those for the gym) but there have been a lot of awesome pieces out that are starting to pull me in that direction. Now, I just found the popular and trend-breaking denim brand Diesel has solidified their stake in the athleisure industry with Diesel X, and these pieces are hitting all of my tastes.
As obsessed as I am with denim, I’ve grown a huge soft spot for leggings. Just like jeans, they come in so many different fabrics, fits and designs, so it’s easy to want to start a huge collection! I usually wear leggings to the gym rather than all over the place, but once I find a pair with insane eye popping graphics, I am always, for some reason, too afraid to sweat in them! Typically those are reserved for music festivals, DJ gigs or other fun musical events for me. However, considering the quality and attention to detail that goes into these higher end leggings, they really are great for whatever you want to use them for. The battle between jeans or leggings seems to be ongoing, and I’ve never seen so many gorgeous, eye popping designs on performance leggings before! Just like most premium jeans, you pretty much have to expect to pay a little more for quality, 360 degree movement, comfort, fit and longevity, as long as you don’t mind taking a little extra care (avoid tumble drying)!
Even though denim and activewear have been butting heads lately, I can’t help but love both sides and some of the sustainable initiatives that brands from both ends are putting their efforts towards. I normally saw leggings (and most activewear) as something just for the gym or maybe a festival or two, but they are slowly starting to infiltrate my everyday life. Well, maybe more of the stuff you’d wear up top…but I’ve got a decent little legging collection going too! There are so many activewear lines out there now that cater to the exploding yoga movement or music festal goers, so now I am a little more picky when I choose which ones I care to support. What catches me the most though is some of these activewear brands do work hard to give back or at least to clean up their manufacturing processes, and the two that pop in my mind first when it comes to earth-friendly missions are Threads 4 Thought and Teeki. Both of these companies have one rad thing in common: all of the pieces they offer are constructed with recycled plastic bottles!
Kate Spade is one of those brands that I’ve had my eyes on for a long time now. I never owned anything from them until just recently, when I grabbed one of their Charlotte Street Alek crossbody bags at a special online secret sale! Although I’m not partial to girly items or a lot of pink, the brand has kept my attention with their sleek, clean and classy handbags. I’ve only glanced at Kate Spade apparel here and there, but this new collaboration with Beyond Yoga caught my eye. Beyond Yoga is a luxury athleisure brand designed to take wearers of all body types and sizes from studio to street. They also don’t photoshop their models to ensure you will find your new favorite, best-fitting piece. Another thing I like about the brand is that they take classic silhouettes and enhance them with their own unique details! I always have a fondness for taking items people normally see as simple (like jeans, for example), and making them extraordinary. Beyond Yoga’s philosophy of clean but bold makes them a perfect pair with Kate Spade to create a one of a kind athleisure collection!