Although activewear was a trend even before people started working from home, the more relaxed setting has led people to increasingly prefer comfortable and multifunctional clothing. These days, you can’t go to a grocery store, mall, or casual restaurant without seeing multiple people dressed in activewear going about their daily business, be it food shopping, wandering in and out of stores, or dining out with friends. Long gone are the days when outings required you to dress up. Read on for some of the reasons that activewear is so popular in 2021.
There’s no denying that activewear is comfortable to wear. For example, whether they are mostly polyester or a cotton/polyester blend, women's yoga pants usually also contain spandex. The spandex allows the fabric to expand while retaining its shape as the wearer moves instead of stretching and becoming baggy. Anyone who has ever sat down while wearing baggy workout pants knows how uncomfortable that can be.
Also, activewear pants are usually pulled on, so when you are sitting down, there’s no zipper, button, or snap cutting into your waist. In addition, activewear contains moisture-wicking abilities that help get rid of sweat while minimizing odors—making it super easy to go from the gym to the coffee shop without worrying about showering first.
Another factor contributing to the popularity of activewear is its versatility. Activewear is adaptable to numerous occasions in addition to the above-mentioned gym-to-coffee-shop scenario. Consider that staple of many women’s closets, leggings. Pretty much everyone owns at least one pair, usually black. Throw on a T-shirt or tank, add sneakers and athletic socks, and you’re ready to work out. Trade your sneakers for a pair of embellished flip-flops, and you’re ready to run errands on your way home from the gym.
However, leggings’ versatility doesn’t end there. With the right accessories—for example, women's tunic tops, a necklace or two and some bangles, and boots in the heel height of your choice—your activewear leggings will take you to the office and then out to dinner after work with your bestie.
Another useful piece of activewear is the skort. Skort's a portmanteau of skirt and shorts, and that’s exactly what a skort is: a skirt with attached shorts underneath. Skorts have an interesting history, but nowadays, we tend to think of them as the traditional female athletic garb for various sports. The combination of skirts and shorts allows women to jog, run, stretch, and even dive for the ball without worrying about exposing their underwear. Skorts serve the same purpose for women who prefer their skirts on the shorter side (although skorts come in varying lengths) but don’t want to worry about flashing someone when they reach for something on a lower shelf in a store. Pair a skort with a polo shirt or a short-sleeve, button-down camp shirt for a crisp, clean look. Add a pair of pearl earrings or simple gold or silver studs and a pair of loafers for a classic business casual outfit.
Another reason activewear is so popular is that it’s easy to clean. Unlike professional business suits, silk or linen dresses, or men’s ties, which usually have to be dry-cleaned, activewear can be cared for in the comfort of your own home. Just throw your garments in the washing machine and dryer per the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. As such, activewear is less expensive to maintain; plus, you won’t have to make a last-minute dash to the dry cleaner to pick up your garments. Properly cared for, your activewear will last for years, which is a good thing because—let’s face it—black leggings aren’t going away anytime soon.
Once upon a time, activewear was pretty much limited to baggy, gray, or navy sweatpants and sweatshirts, with the occasional graphic added to the sweatshirt for interest. Unless you were a barely awake college student stumbling to an early morning class, sweats were to be seen at the gym, and that was about it. These days, activewear styles have expanded to reflect general clothing trends. Thus, you can find cold shoulder active tops, leggings with cut-outs or mesh inserts, and coordinated, mix-and-match separates. Fabric patterns also echo what’s popular in the fashion world. Animal prints are in, as are ditsy and tie-dye designs. Camouflage prints remain trendy as well. Stripes? Polka dots? Plaids? If a pattern is found in “regular” fashion, odds are it’s available in activewear as well.
From celebrities to “just us folks,” people have embraced activewear as everyday wear. Activewear’s comfort, versatility, usefulness, ease of care, and stylishness make activewear garments the go-to option for myriad people. There’s no end in sight when it comes to the popularity of activewear.