Athleisure is the name for the new direction in men’s style.
There has been an evolution in fashion trends where players from all kinds of sports, from the physical like basketball to the tactical and games of strategy, are making a fashion statement.
This trend has had a major influence on what has become men’s street-wear. From Dwayne Wade to David Beckham, athletes are evolving into style icons and are inspiring urban style.
Men on the sidelines are coming to the frontcourt in soccer jerseys, baseball shirt warm-up suits and basketball gear and track pants, making loud statements.
And fashion houses worldwide are taking note. In the fall/winter 2017-2018, Bondi Bay surfers appeared on the catwalk of Louis Vuitton in cycling shorts.
At Berluti, elasticated jogging trousers graced the catwalk while Lanvin showcased hi-tech mountaineering attire.
Over the last 10 years, the traditional look at play is being gradually replaced with comfortable but no less sharp athletic-inspired attire.
After a week at the office in a razor-sharp, well-fitting suit, today’s fashion-conscious man wants something more comfortable than jeans that don’t look as if you are making a quick dash to the convenience store to pick up some chips and beer.
Tracksuits and the eyebrow-raising super-wide ski-pants from the top fashion houses are running off the catwalk and into the street — or perhaps the street is running onto the catwalk.
The lines are blurred.
Who would have imagined that padded pants that referenced both the mountaineering trend and anti-freeze fleece would be sought-after fashion, with such competitors as Prada, Balmain and Valentino racing unexpectedly into the sportswear race?
Traditionally, brands like Adidas, Nike and Umoro have been at the forefront of coveted athletic wear.
And as the rule of supply and demand goes, added to the fact that men buy clothes less often than women, fashion-conscious men should not be too surprised if they have to pay more.
The ordinary track pants that were prerequisite wear while mowing the lawn or playing softball in the park have gone from the mundane to style essential number one.
However, not the saggy, baggy kind — they’ve had an upgrade to resemble dress pants with eye-catching side stripes.
Dressed up with attractive footwear like a nice boot or a pair of oxfords topped by a smart, slim-fit shirt, it is now acceptable out on a date or a trip to the bar.
Trainers can work, but be smart about it; you want to look fashionable, not as if you are going for a jog through the neighbourhood.
The dress jean for casual outings is being overtaken by the side-striped pant.
This progressive approach also satisfies the trendsetter looking for the throwback look, but please avoid the hideous velour tracksuit popularized in the 2000s.
So, an unlikely player in the apparel market has emerged and called athleisure.
Recognizing the trend, esteemed fashion houses have elevated the track pants and other comfort trends.
Men are taking themselves less seriously but are not sacrificing their look at the altar of overly casual dress and are willing to spend a few extra dollars to make the statement.
Comfort and high fashion have crashed head-on and athleisure is coming to the mainstream.