The trends that start on the runways trickle down to the gym, too, and here’s how you can wear them.
It used to be that when it was time to go for a run, you could throw on an old T-shirt. But now athleticwear has come a long, long way, and you’ll probably think twice before wearing a free tank top to Spin class. What you wear to work out in isn’t just about the performance of the piece—you’re also making a style statement.
“Trends often flow both ways: trickling down from the runways to the streets, or originating in the streets and inspiring the runways,” says Catherine Burkey, performance apparel designer for ’47. “Athleisure was built on an enormous market opportunity based on the way people were actually dressing. It was noticed, and the industry started to capitalize on it and expand on the natural trend.”
The athleisure trend really does mean that athleticwear can be worn anywhere. “Once consumers see certain athleisure trends on the runway, they begin to incorporate those trends into their own day-to-day routines, like going to the gym,” says Madelyn Ulrich, senior designer for Yummie. “High fashion designers are now partnering with sporty brands, creating that mixture of high-end athleisurewear.”
No style inspiration is off-limits
With the mingling of sport and street style, nothing is off-limits when it comes to where designers will look for inspiration. “Product designers in general are always looking at what is happening in all industries,” Burkey says. “So for example, if mesh and lace are showing up on the runways or bonded seams are really popular, all this can be adapted for performance or athletic silhouettes. Often, macro trends are reinterpreted to fit a specific industry. For example, ‘exposed construction’ is a large thing happening right now, but it looks very different in high-end eveningwear versus athletic apparel. At ’47, we draw inspiration from a whole range of sources, from high fashion and streetwear to market research.”
Burkey says the team does a deep dive on what people are wearing to the gym, to work out outside, what new fitness crazes are happening, and overall trends in the marketing place. She adds, “We also draw inspiration from non-fashion sources; art and literature and our own brand history all play their part in our conception and design processes.”
Meanwhile, at Yummie, the designers continue to put a fresh spin on a tried-and-true trend that’s still going strong: leggings. “They are one of the biggest trends for fall and the biggest staple in our fall collection,” Ulrich says. “Leggings are so versatile—you can wear them to the gym and then dress them up with a cute top at night. Bomber jackets and sporty jackets in general have also become a major nighttime staple.”
This season, the ’47 design team is homing in on new zones. “For our most recent collections, one thing we’ve focused on is the female back as a place of interest,” Burkey says. “In either exposing it or printing graphics there, we’ve made it a place of importance where it was formerly a dead space. In both genders, branded and marketed trims, specifically Jacquard elastic, are making their way onto waistbands, back straps and as accents on a sweatshirt.”
So what should women invest in to update their workout wardrobe this fall? Ulrich is into three key pieces: “Bodysuits are ideal layering pieces, but they also work perfectly styled simply with jeans or a skirt,” she says. “Of course, sneakers are an athleisurewear staple, but they have also become a big fashion statement. And oversized clothing has become a big trend and can be worn with leggings, particularly oversized sweatshirts and shirts.”
Ready-to-wear palettes also have made their way beyond the runway. Think olive, burgundy and berry against metallics. Camo patterns, more colorblocking and matching sets are trending as well. Crop tops are a great way to freshen up your closet outside of sweat sessions and can be worn to the gym and the club.
Trends for guys
Subtle prints, leaner fits and shorter inseams—and the muscle tank—will show up for men. Also, we’re starting to see shorter shorts. “Men often have such great legs, and it’s time we see them,” Burkey says. “I think an above-the-knee workout short for men looks really fresh and has the added benefit of highlighting all the work put in at the gym!”
No matter how you decide to switch up your style for fall, it’s always about balancing the sporty and the chic. “Styling is really key for taking an athletic look from the gym to the coffee shop; the shoes and the accessories should not look too athletic—unless that’s the style you’re going for,” Burkey says. “In the cooler months, throwing on a nice sweater over your workout leggings can be an easy transition.”
Taking a workout look beyond can call for a little more finessing. But when in doubt, a new sneaker can make a killer statement while still being sporty and stylish. After all, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Photo credit: catwalkphotos, Adobe Stock; BCFC, Thinkstock; Ryan McVay, Thinkstock