A lot of men assume that clothes that look good and clothes that are comfortable are two separate things with zero overlap. This would be the case if we only compare white-collar formalwear and the most basic joggers. But, the world of men’s fashion is a lot bigger than that, and there is a middle ground between aesthetics and comfort.
The prime example of this happy medium is Athleisure. It is the ultimate comfort clothing that also looks fantastic in almost any situation. Making it a permanent part of your fashion arsenal will elevate your style to the next level. Plus, the best part about Athleisure is that it is not for a once-a-year event. Instead, you’d benefit from this style almost every day.
What is Athleisure Anyway?
Simply speaking, athleisure is the mix between classy casualwear, athleticwear, and street style. It borrowed the breathable fabric and moisture-wicking from sportswear – the comfortable fit and floaty feel from the casualwear – and the effortless panache from the street style. Then it combined all of these elements to create a style that works for almost everyone in almost every situation.
Are you going grocery shopping? Hanging out with friends? Getting the emails sorted at the local coffee shop? Doing housework? Just relaxing at your home? All you need is one athleisure outfit for all of these scenarios.
The material of the clothing is just as important as design. Athleisure mainly consists of materials like polyester, nylon, spandex, rayon, or some blend of these four. These materials are soft, breathable, and durable. More importantly, they are easy to work with, so fashion designers can mold them into creative designs with tons of personality. You will also find similar materials in a lot of tech wear. But the difference is that tech wear prioritizes functionality over everything else, while athleisure strikes the perfect balance between aesthetics and practicality.
That being said, athleisure is not limited to these soft summer-focused materials. There is a large selection of winter outfits as well, like leather jackets. They are a bit restrictive when it comes to excessive movement, but any material that is stretchy enough to allow a full range of movement is not warm enough. So, you have to sacrifice a little dexterity if you want to stay warm while still rocking the sports luxe look.
Tones and Textures
Athleisure is very much focused on being comfortable and relaxed. This includes relaxation for the eyes. So, vibrant colors and sharp tones are a rare sight in athleisure clothing. The most dominant ones are definitely the gray tones. White and black are in a league of their own, closely followed by minimalist pastel colors.
Things change a bit when you’re talking about winter wear. Stuff like rider leather jackets and other leather goods are mainly black and brown. Though, you can also find blue and maroon leather stuff that goes well with pink and light blue outfits. Also, blue jeans are a safe bet though gray and black also work fine.
As for the texture of athleisure outfits, you’ll find a lot of soft stuff. Not smooth and shiny like silk, a bit relaxing and cozy. A great thing about athleisure clothing texture is that it does not bother you at all. You will even forget that something is touching your skin.
Get the Athleisure Look
Now that you have a better idea of what athleisure is, it’s time to look at its practical implementations. There are literally thousands of possible outfits in this style. Listing them all is way beyond the scope of this guide. So instead, here are the must-have items that perfectly exemplify what this style is all about, and you can use these to emulate this style in your unique way. Take a look!
Yes, you read that correctly. Sweatpants and joggers are not just for workout time. With a little bit of creativity, you can enjoy the full coziness of sweatpants while also looking presentable. Sure, you can just wear them under a matching sweatshirt and call it a day. But that would look way too bland and uninspired. What you can do instead is pair them with well-fitting printed t-shirts and some matching high-top sneakers. Also, make sure that the sweatpants aren’t too loose, as that would completely kill their aesthetics.
A basic sweatshirt? Fairly basic. A hooded sweatshirt? Now we’re talking. Even the plainest hoodies look a lot more interesting than t-shirts or plain sweatshirts. Pairing them with contrasting sweatpants is a quick way to achieve the athleisure look that is easy to pull off, looks decent, and is extremely comforting.
Hooded sweatshirts are great, but they also look a bit bulky and fluffy. What if you want something more well-fitted and sharp but still comfy? Well, look no further than the classic polo shirt. All you have to do is wear it over a pair of black jeans and under a black leather jacket. Just wearing it on its own over gray pants is also a fantastic option for summertime.
Both jeans and sweatpants work exceptionally well in athleisure style. However, they are sort of the extremes where sweatpants can be considered too relaxed and jeans as too stiff. The casual trouser is the perfect middle ground between the two. It has the structure of jeans while providing the freedom and feel of sweatpants. If you have to choose just one pair of pants for athleisure style, get a gray or charcoal casual pair of trousers.
As for styling these, you don’t have to do much. They go with almost anything from sweatshirts and t-shirts to leather jackets and button-ups. One thing that you can do to enhance their unique identity is to roll them up above your ankles. This will put emphasis on your footwear as well as the socks. You can then use this opportunity to add some personal flair to your outfit with fancy patterned socks.
Accessories and Footwear
All things considered, most athleisure outfits are pretty unremarkable. They look good but don’t leave much headroom for creativity and personalization. This is where you can use the power of accessories, as well as footwear, to make your outfit truly yours.
Footwear is, unfortunately, one of the most overlooked aspects of any style, and athleisure is no different. On the bright side, this gives you an opportunity to put some work into it and stand out from everyone else who’s rocking the same style.
For athleisure, the perfect choice is high-top sneakers, and nothing else even comes close. They allow you to walk, run, jump, keep your feet comfortable, all without looking too sporty. High-tops even pair flawlessly with clothes that aren’t a part of athleisure, so you can wear them fairly regularly.
If your outfits are more focused on stuff like sweatpants, casual trousers, and hooded sweatshirts, then a pair of white or black athletic shoes are also an acceptable option. Just stay away from shoes with vibrant colors and massive logos.
Accessories are a great way to customize and personalize your attire. Plus, there are so many different accessories to choose from that you can cycle between them depending on your outfit. Here are a few of the most prominent ones.
Beanies are one of the most popular hats in the world, and for a good reason. They are comfortable, protect your head from cold, and look extremely fancy. Including them in an athleisure style will give a sense of completeness and finality to the whole outfit.
There will be times when you have to take some stuff with you. But, carrying a regular luggage bag will clash with the vibe of an athleisure outfit. Standard backpacks are even worse of a matchup. Luckily, there are plenty of sport-looking bags you can choose from. Instead of being “luggage,” they become a part of the outfit seamlessly.
Wristwatches are one of those accessories that you can totally skip, and no one will notice. But, wearing one that compliments the rest of your attire will increase your style points by a lot. Sporty watches from brands like G-shock will work better than fancy ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
These are the most frequently asked questions regarding athleisure style and the components surrounding it.
Can I dress in athleisure style in my 40s?
Yes, you can. There is no upper or lower age limit for staying fit. So, there is no age limit for sports-inspired clothing. In fact, athleisure can be the perfect style for a lot of men over 40 because it will let them dress up without having to wear stuff they’re not comfortable with.
Is athleisure style in trend?
There is a massive global movement towards personal fitness and healthy living right now. Athleisure has become the premier fashion for folks interested in this movement, as well as folks that were already into the fitness sphere. With athleisure, they can comfortably show off their passion without looking like they just got out of the gym.
Can I wear athleisure clothes to work?
There is a lot of variety within this one style. So, whether you can wear athleisure to work depends on what you’re wearing exactly. For example, a polo shirt with casual trousers will be allowed in almost every workplace with a standard dress code. But it’ll be tough to convince your boss that hooded sweatshirts and sweatpants look professional.
Can I work out in athleisure?
Yes, you can. In fact, that is the very point of athleisure – workout outfits that are also fantastic for general use.
Do leather shoes count as athleisure?
No, they do not. Leather shoes are mainly formal/semi-formal. Certain leather designs like slip-on and loafers can be worn with smart and business casual as well. But they are not a part of athleisure.
What boosted the popularity of athleisure in 2020?
The boom in athleisure popularity in 2020 was caused by the pandemic and the resulting lockdown. Being completely stuck at home, people wanted to wear something that is comfortable, looks decent, and is good for workouts as well, and athleisure was the perfect fit.
Can I wear a crew-neck sweater as athleisure?
Yes, you absolutely can. Crew-neck sweaters are the perfect alternative or even an add-on to regular sweatshirts.
Dressing up in fancy outfits is a great way to enhance and customize your looks and communicate your creativity and personality to the people around you. Unfortunately, we often have to sacrifice our comfort to look good. Well, not anymore, thanks to the athleisure style. It allows you to stay comfortable, look well-put-together, all the while having a focus on fitness and personal well-being.