Previously fashion used to be an exclusive thing, made to appear extravagant, lavish & uber appealing, but come today, fashion is not just the demand of the ultra-rich or incredibly stylish, it’s a phenomenon that pervades every sphere of our lives. We are a more conscious generation who wants to look good where it be. Category clothing has gone under the same transformation and the most prominent among this category has been the tremendous growth of gym/fitness clothing, or more popularly known as athleisure.

Athleisure took the world by storm. It’s defined as comfortable, stylish clothing that can be used for exercise and be worn casually as well. We didn’t think that yoga pants could make it to Vogue but they have. Consumers have responded to Athleisure so positively that it has prompted designers and big fashion brands to release their own Athleisure lines. Brands such as Lululemon Athletica are spearheading the movement and consumers are loving it!

Millennials have emerged as the most health conscious generation so it’s no surprise that they make up the majority of Athleisure sales. Although Athleisure is thought of as clothes primarily for women, 40% of Athleisure consumers are men; women do spend significantly more on athleisure products – hundreds and thousands of dollars’ worth. You see, Athleisure doesn’t come cheap, an average cost of branded yoga pants from one of the major Athleisure outlets can cost between $75-$100 dollars.

Are women actually wearing all these Athleisure outfits that they buy? Turns out they aren’t – but what is it that’s keeping them hooked?

Athleisure is comfortable

The biggest reason behind the growth of Athleisure is the fact that these outfits are incredibly comfortable. Maybe we just desperately needed to get out of our skinny jeans and needed to slip into something breathable and lets us move freely, which could by why we’ve accepted Athleisure with so much veracity. The comfort and practicality of Athleisure cannot be matched with those of our favorite jeans – combine that with some cute styles and you have outfits that you don’t want to take off.

Pressure to stay fit

pressure to stay fit

Psychologists and sociologists have delved into the matter and come up with their own answers that can explain why women continue to invest in Athleisure.

Over the years there has been a shift in what is considered the ideal body for women. Earlier, thin bodies were considered perfect for women – this has now changed. Today, it’s not just to do with how slender you are, it’s to do with how toned you are. Michelle Obama’s toned arms made headlines for a reason. Celebrities are posting videos and photos of themselves working out on social media for the same reason. There’s an evident shift in attitude when it comes to fitness and health. Those that do adopt healthy lifestyles are generally deemed as successful individuals, who’re making good choices in life. Being fit is ‘trendy’ at the moment, which explains the emergence of popular diets (gluten-free, organic, veganism etc) and the diversity in the types of workouts people can choose to do.

Women are expected to be fit, just a thin body won’t cut it. Due to this pressure to stay fit, women are drawn to Athleisure for what it represents. Whether or not they stay fit or not, just being in the clothes makes them feel like they are fit. Because women assume that they will be perceived as more attractive if they project themselves as someone who stays fit, they buy athleisure outfits.

Your clothes reflect your lifestyle therefore being in workout gear suggests that you are someone that looks after their health. Through Athleisure you are letting people know that you’re healthy. You could be a lazy person but that’s not what people see.

Enclothed Cognition

enclothed cognition

The term “enclothed cognition” was coined in 2012 by scientists who found that clothes had the ability to influence your psychological processes. In their studies it was revealed that people who put on white coats they believed belonged to doctors, would pay more attention than those who believed they were wearing white coats belonging to a painter.

This phenomenon was then tested with different types of clothing and it was found that wearing proper gym attire enhanced your performance at the gym. Further research showed that our physical experiences is what affected our thought processes – leading to what scientists are calling “embodied cognition”. Dr. Galinsky, who is leading studies on embodied cognition explains that our brain responds to physical experiences and putting on types of clothes counts as an experience.

When we slip into specific clothes, we are more inclined to take up the role of whatever the clothes represent; wearing the correct attire for the gym leads to you performing better as well. In the past gym clothes just symbolized the hours we spent at the gym but now they signify a lifestyle that most people idolize. Buying and wearing Athleisure, helps us embody a fitness enthusiast which in turn leads to us performing better during our workouts. Slipping into Athleisure causes us to take pride in our workouts and as a result we’re motivated and willing to push ourselves harder.

Fully committing to workouts is still a struggle for most people therefore the boost in motivation they get from athleisure outfits can make them much more productive.

It’s Fashionable

With Athleisure making its way onto top fashion magazines and to the ramps of all Fashion Weeks, there is no denying that Athleisure is fashionable and ladies do not want to miss out! If funky yoga pants and stylish sports bras is all you see around you then you’re going to want to get in on the trend.

Even though Athleisure fulfills the purpose of regular gym clothes, it has become a fashion statement today. It’s no longer just known for just its functionality which is why its target audience extends beyond just those who are passionate about working out, to those who wish to be comfortable and stylish at the same time.

The wealth factor

Because Athleisure is quite expensive, branded Athleisure clothing have become a bit of ‘status symbol’ representing that you are wealthy and can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on it. It’s the equivalent to spending on higher-end brands.

Today Athleisure may not be purchased for its primary function but it has secured its position as a category in the fashion industry and more importantly, in the fitness world.

Athleisure will enhance your performance during your workouts and keep you comfortable when you’re out of the gym as well.

Author Bio: Judy Robinson

Judy Robinson is an enthusiastic blogger who spends her entire day writing quality blogs. She is a passionate reader and loves to share quality content prevalent on the web with her friends and followers. Her forte is Fashion, Fitness, and Lifestyle, keeping a keen eye on latest trends in those industries. Currently, she is associated with a Florida based women clothing store Sophie and Trey for their blog operations. For more updates follow her on Twitter @judyrobinson

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