What is Athleisure & How to Find Your Athleisure Style

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It’s official. The greatest thing since leggings has happened to the fashion world. Do you remember the days of having to wear jeans or a business casual outfit everyday just to look acceptable and presentable in public? Well, those days are long over.

Athleisure, a style that typically prioritizes athletic wear or gym attire in everyday street style looks, made it a fashion statement to take your favorite athletic look outside of the gym. Plus size athleisure has been worn by every off-duty model and some of our favorite plus size fashionistas.

When it comes to embracing the athleisure trend, there are two types of people; one says, “Gym attire outside of my favorite yoga class? No way.” The other says, “Who said wearing sweatpants in public was not a fashion statement?”

No matter what camp you are in, we’ve got you covered with a little bit of background information on the athleisure trend, as well as some tips to make the trend fit your life and style. 

Are you ready to make your life a whole lot more comfortable? Let’s dive in! 

So What is Athleisure?

While the word athleisure was officially added to the dictionary in 2016, the trend has been around for a while. In the 1980s, people began to wear athletic clothing more often, which often blurred into their everyday looks. In the 2000s, tracksuits became extremely popular, which boosted the style’s profile. And then, as leggings rose to prominence as a better and more acceptable alternative to wearing jeans, this paved a way for more casual, athletic attire to be worn for multiple occasions. Once the trend hit the high fashion runways, brands like Dior, Chanel, Yeezy and other major fashion houses cemented the style as a staple among today’s top trends. While some of the most common athleisure looks you may see on a daily basis are tracksuits, the style has also evolved to mix in other garments that add a touch of class and chicness. For example, sweatpants joggers paired with strappy heels or a head to toe gym look topped off with a leather jacket. 

commit to be fit tank top

Now that you know more about the trend, let’s explore some style tips to help you make the trend your own and also elevate it to boost your confidence. There are so many styles from Chic Soul’s plus size boutique that will pair well with your next athleisure look. From fashionable sports bras to curve-hugging yoga pants and structured pieces to elevate your style and boost self confidence. 

Your Go-To Gym Look

Whether you do yoga frequently or haven’t seen a gym in months, every girl has their favorite pair of go-to activewear that they can turn to on their days off or a hectic schedule that has you running errands, etc. Since we are all about creating outfits that enhance your confidence, let’s set aside the baggy sweats or the T-shirts that are a little bit on the dingy side. Think of an athletic look that makes you feel sharp and sleek. These outfits could be a matching set or a pairing of your favorite T-shirt or hoodie and yoga pants. If nothing comes to mind, maybe it’s time to stock up on athleisure items that can help you pull off the style. When shopping, keep an eye out for these staples. 

  • Yoga Pants or Joggers–Every girl loves a good pair of yoga pants because they are extremely flattering and comfortable. On the opposite end, sweatpants could be too bulky or baggy. However, joggers are a sleeker, better fitting version of the sweatpant, and they are wildly popular when it comes to the athleisure trend. Find bottoms that fit you well and can be paired with anything. 
  • Neutral tops–Whether you’re a T-shirt or hoodie kind of girl, the tops you’ll wear when styling an athleisure look need to pair well with just about everything. That’s because, oftentimes, there is a lot of layering that happens when you elevate a gym look. Prioritize hoodies and tops that are neutral or black. That doesn’t mean that you can’t keep cute plus size graphic tees on hand to add emphasis to your new athleisure looks. 
  • Non-Athletic Sneakers and Other Must Have Shoes–Sneakers—of all styles—are definitely having a huge moment right now, but when we talk about dressing up an athleisure look into a chic statement, we recommend investing in non athletic sneakers that are simple and can transform your gym look to street style in a matter of seconds. Another pair of shoes that may not immediately be an obvious choice to pair with athletic attire is a pair of simple strappy heels. These can dress up joggers with the snap of a finger. This look is commonly seen on celebrities and influencers, and may take some extra confidence to pull off. So if you’re an athleisure expert, this may be one way to up your game, but if you’re just starting to explore the trend, we’ll take baby steps for now.
  • Overcoats and Jackets–Jackets and coats are single-handedly the easiest way to completely change a style in one simple step. For the athleisure style, jackets do the heavy lifting of elevating an outfit and taking it beyond yoga class. From plus size windbreakers and leather moto jackets to duster pea coats, you’ll need these heavy hitters in your wardrobe. 

Now that we have the foundation laid for athleisure, let’s explore some of the ways you could style your gym attire for certain occasions. 

neutral tops graphic

Brunch at 11

Say it’s Sunday, and you’re going to hit your favorite yoga or pilates class before you meet up with your girlfriends for brunch. Sure, you could pack a bag full of clothes to change into after your workout, but why carry around all that extra baggage when you can throw on a couple of pieces that will transform your look from gym to brunch. 

  • Add a Moto Jacket–Top off any gym outfit with a suede or faux leather moto jacket to instantly give the look an edgy feel. Faux leather moto jackets can really refresh and refine any outfit, and they also add that street style touch when paired with an athleisure look. 
  • Keep it Monochromatic–If your go-to gym look is all black or neutral, top off your look with a sleek duster pea coat. While the coat could match your gym look, it’s okay to go outside of the monochromatic color wheel for this addition. A duster pea coat will add a dramatic look to your gym outfit. 
  • Dramatic Accessories–Since you’re on the way to brunch, there is no shame in accessorizing with your yoga outfit. If you like to keep it simple, add some bold sunglasses to give you that incognito look celebrities pull off so well. If you’re one who likes to keep your looks fun and girly, top off the look with an oversized cardigan and a statement necklace. 

accessorize graphic

Gym-Inspired

Just because athleisure outfits usually incorporate athletic garments in some way, the trend certainly doesn’t mean that you have to be coming from a HIIT class to rock the style—or even be wearing anything that you would normally wear during a workout. Since Athleisure has been so widely embraced, many brands are making clothing that looks like it’s made for the gym, but wouldn’t actually be functional in a workout class. For example, some wide leg satin pants with a tuxedo stripe down the side—made to look like track pants—would totally fall in line with the athleisure trend, but heads may turn if you wear the flowy pants to hot yoga. Keep your eyes out for these garments that fall perfectly in line with athleisure wear. 

  • Track Pants–Any kind of pants that have one or more tuxedo stripes down the side scream athleisure. Wear these pants to work—yes, work—to the club or anywhere really. Elevate them with a strappy heel or pair them with fashion sneakers. 
  • The Cropped Top Look–Crop tops and plus size sports bras are a staple for athleisure style. Pair a cute sports bra with a half-zipped hoodie and some jeans for a laid back look. Or, style a minimalistic, chic crop top with sleek wide leg pants and a blazer for that boss babe vibe. 

crop top look graphic

Everyday Errands 

Do you ever have those days where you have to run errands, but you still want a really cute outfit that makes you feel confident so that you’re ready for whatever the day brings? An athleisure look will have you feeling comfortable and confident with its laid back, but chic style. Whether you apply the style advice found in our favorite brunch styles above or want to wear your favorite yoga pants, here are simple ways to master the athleisure look for a busy day. 

  • Where You Want Comfort–Since athleisure is often elevated with structured pieces, it’s important to determine where you want the most comfort so you can create an outfit that prioritizes style and contentment. If you want to wear comfy bottoms, top off your luck with a leather jacket. If you prefer something slouchy on top like plus size hoodies, opt for curve-hugging jeans on bottom with some athletic sneakers. 
  • Comfortable Alternatives–Do you have an ultra chic outfit that you would love to wear during the days where you’re running around, but they aren’t practical or comfortable enough to do so? Swap out your heels for some fashionable athletic sneakers or those slacks for a pair of chic joggers. By making these small style swaps, you’ve not only created an outfit that makes you feel more comfortable, but you’ve also mastered the athleisure look. 
  • The Power Accessory–Say you want to stay in athletic attire all day—whether it be baggy sweat pants or a slouchy hoodie—research shows that if you want to look good and feel even better, sunglasses can dramatically enhance your appearance and self esteem. Yes, even if you are wearing sweatpants. Sunglasses also make the perfect accessory for the athleisure trend because they instantly elevate any outfit. 

shoot your shot hoodie

Next time you’re looking to spice up your favorite athletic wear, keep these style tips in mind. But even if you want to simply wear your yoga fit outside of the gym without additional styling, just know that in terms of rocking athleisure, you’re doing great sweetie!


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