Athletic, at leisure

Athletic, at leisure

A billion-dollar industry is being created on a new attire trend. And according to market
analysts, this market is expected to grow worldwide by at least 50 per cent by the year 2020. The key players are the likes of Nike, Gap, Lululemon Athletica Inc, Under Armour, Adidas, Reebok, Hackett, Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss and Dolce & Gabbana, among many others following suit. The trend we’re talking about is ‘athleisure wear.’

This is a new funky word for comfort wear for both men and women. Athleisure is a vague but new concept for high-end or uber-stylish gym or sportswear, which doubles up as leisure wear or lounge wear. It is a new phenomenon and subscribes to a more relaxed form of fashion, which is luxurious but also comfortable – like yoga pants, velour tracksuits, cashmere sweatshirts, trendy sneakers and the like. But they come with a subtle hint of luxury and style. They are worn for various casual and semi-formal outings and designers are creating looks and collections around this trend.

If at any point in time you happen to be passing through the airports of Mumbai, New Delhi or Kolkata, you may come across the likes of Shah Rukh Khan, the father and son duo of Bachchans, Hrithik Roshan, Ranbir Kapoor, John Abraham, Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Malaika Arora Khan and many others attired in athleisure wear, as they walk non-chalantly in and out of airports. Many a time, even for press meets and semi-formal meetings, the preferred attire is the new athleisure wear making these celebrities look comfortable and relaxed even in the hot, humid and sultry weather of the metros. Jeans and denims, which have been ruling the casual style quotients for decades, are taking a backseat.

“This trend grabs a lot of attention. I can carry this athletic wear to my world beyond the gym. I go in favour of athleisure for a casual coffee or the movies. I feel comfortable and these clothes don’t make one look too casual as they retain the chic factor,” says Delhi-based stylist Sonal Jindal of Medusa.

Adaptability
There are many attires which can make for the athleisure wear, but the most popular ones are the yoga pants and running jackets. The soft comfort of the yoga pants or leggings are the top priority. Most of these pants are in a light, neutral tone and paired with smart sports bras. A long-sleeved T-shirt enhances the look. Add to this a smart pair of footwear to complete the cool look. You can hit the gym and saunter out to meet your friends for lunch or coffee, without needing to change. To give a slight fashionably ‘lunchy’ look, add a slight touch of lipstick or kajal and you are set for a stylishly comfortable look.

You should invest in a good running jacket. You can just never go wrong with a sporty running jacket. Add a cool touch to your casual look with a pair of vibrant sunnies and an eye-popping tone for your ear-phones. Quirky sneakers add the perfect finishing touches to this look. And with this attire you can go shopping, catch a matinee show with friends or have a cool drink at your favourite restaurant.

Or else, how about a dual-toned tank-top over a pair of well-fitted capris along with a cool wristband and cycling shoes? It will totally set the tone for your day. Simply throw on a black-striped jacket and sling on a leather duffle bag to arrive at work in style! However, if your office insists on formal wear, then of course this style is a big no.

Nagpur-based women’s wear designer Shruti Sancheti admits that the new trend isn’t all encompassing. “Although they are comfortable and stylish, they are certainly no substitutes for formal or party wear. They tend to look a bit too casual. But since fitness and active lifestyles are the order of the day, it is a subgenre of fashion which has gained a lot of popularity and is here to stay,” she says.

Revisiting fashion
Although it is now that this trend has a name, many of the Hollywood celebrities have been flaunting this trend over years. In fact, as collegians in the 80s, we too unknowingly flaunted this elegance when we borrowed our brother’s or father’s large T-shirts to sport that casual, grungy, laid-back look. Way back in 1996, Sharon Stone must have been the first celebrity to wear a GAP black outsized T-shirt with a Valentino skirt for the Oscars award ceremony.

Nakul Bajaj, CEO of Darveys.com, admits that there is an increasing number of new customers who are opting for these clothes. “We do have clientele who like to splurge on luxury sportswear even on weekdays. And since the trend is picking up at great speed, we are definitely trying to get maximum essentials online from our partner boutiques – embracing all types, variety, brands and fabrics for both men and women,” he says.

But one needs to be cautious while opting for these attires. Not everybody can sport it for all do’s. Designer Jannat Mehra of J by Jannat, explains, “This new trend isn’t for everyone. Besides being apt for certain sizes, it also just suits people of certain age groups. It’s a trend that offers comfort for sure; but to be able to carry it off, it’s important to have an athletic and fit body.’’ Do we see dudes and divas make a beeline for the gym
already?

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