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Your Guide to Athleisure Style: 5 Outfit Ideas

Your Guide to Athleisure Style: 5 Outfit Ideas Athleisure style has evolved from its celebrity-gym-run origins into an aesthetic adopted by designers around the world. A combination of the words...

Your Guide to Athleisure Style: 5 Outfit Ideas

Athleisure style has evolved from its celebrity-gym-run origins into an aesthetic adopted by designers around the world. A combination of the words "athletic" and "leisure," its palette is matte leggings, sports-bras-as-tops, and the classic tracksuit silhouette.

Athleisure is also an attitude, its gym-ready look conferring free time and a propensity for buying spin classes in bulk. Like any other fashion attitude (prep, glam, punk) you can contrast and subvert it for infinite style possibilities. Here's your all-purpose guide to incorporating athleisure into your wardrobe in new and trendsetting ways.

What Is Athleisure Style?

Athleisure clothing slots right in the middle of something you can wear to the gym and to a fancy brunch. In less formal workplaces, it can even double as workwear. Even though athleisure is usually associated with LA starlets and the 2020s, the term actually originated in 1979 to describe a personal style that broadcasted an interest in fitness.

Modern athleisure typically sticks to basic colors such as black, gray and beige. The silhouettes also fall in line with modern trends, with crop tops and high-waisted pants ruling the roost. 

One defining feature of athleisure is smooth lines and luxe stretch fabrics, rather than looser gym wear items like classic basketball shorts or sports jerseys. If this is sounding a little basic, don't worry. We have all kinds of tips and tricks to make this style your own.

What Is the Difference Between Activewear and Athleisure?

All athleisure is activewear, but not all activewear is athleisure. An oversized band tee or hoodie is perfectly good activewear that doesn't quite hit the style note athleisure aspires to. Activewear is all about comfort and range of motion, while athleisure must also take into account current fashion trends to appear thoroughly put together.

Black Fishnet Layering Piece Layering Pieces Kate Hewko

How Can You Make Athleisure Style More Interesting?

The basic high-waisted yoga pant and sports bra combination is not the end-all and be-all of athleisure. Here are fun and current ways to push the athleisure aesthetic further.

Borrow From Different Eras

Every decade has had its own activewear trends, from the neon tones of the 1980s to the 1970s baggy track jacket. Combine these staples with period-appropriate footwear and accessories to create a throwback athleisure look.

Play With Oversized Silhouettes

Mixing the tight cuts of many athleisure items with one oversized item is a fast pass to interesting streetwear. Katie Holmes paired an oversized button-up shirt with her coral pink athleisure shorts and running shoes. Her fabulously messy top knot bun is the finishing touch that keeps the look casual.

Choose an Out-There Color Scheme

Since athleisure style usually sticks to neutrals, contrasting multiple bold colors is an easy way to stand out. Instead of opting for the all-white running shoe, choose an interesting multicolor option and use those same bold tones for the rest of your athleisure wardrobe.

Incorporate Contrasting Accessories

Just because you're rocking an athleisure outfit doesn't mean you have to stick to athleisure accessories. Try swapping out a gym bag for a sleek and eye-catching beaded tote, or add your favorite chunky jewelry.

Metallic Zebra Print Sweat Set Kate Hewko

Working It Out With 5 Athleisure Outfits

Get some style inspiration for the gym and beyond with these athleisure outfit ideas.

1. Pastel Dream

For better or worse, many women's athletic items through the years have come in dainty shades of pastel. Turn this into outfit inspiration by blending millennial pink, lavender, light blue and more into a softer take on athleisure.

To coordinate pastels, either stay monochromatic and incorporate shades of light gray or try to match the temperature of each pastel piece. Cool pastels such as lavender are best for colder skin tones, while warmer yellow or orange pastels can be a standout choice for gold-tone skin.

2. Make It a Bodysuit

A romper or bodysuit is a modern update to the athleisure silhouette that's perfect for spanning dress codes. Keep a set of statement jewelry in your bag to switch up your look after the gym, or add a metallic belt. For a more casual take on this look, tie a sweatshirt or jacket around the waist to further define the jumpsuit's silhouette.

3. Switch Up Your Sweatshirts

The sweatshirt is to athleisure style as the blazer is to business casual — A staple that can be worn and reinvented in many different ways. You can editor-drape a large sweatshirt over your shoulders, like Lucy Hale. For even more versatility, tie it around an outfit's waist as an accent, or wear a big sweatshirt as its own mini dress. To send your athleisure look into true surrealist territory, you can even do all three at once.

4. Flare Up Your Separates

Flared pants and dresses are sweeping back into style after a decade of form-fitting silhouettes. A flared sweatpant is a comfortable way to stand out with athleisure. A dramatic tulle sleeve on a classic hoodie also adds some major style points simply by defying the predictable. Pair it with sneakers and an embellished baseball cap for a new, high-femme take on athleisure.

5. Sweater Minus the Sweat

One challenge in styling athleisure outfits is that many of the textures tend to blend together. Matte, opaque, high-end stretch fabric tends to dominate this style. Incorporating knitwear can keep the casual vibes and cozy aesthetics while adding some visual interest.

An oversized sweater and comfy cotton bike shorts can make going to the gym on a chilly day much more bearable. You can also add a chunky knit cardigan to the fundamental crop-top-and-leggings outfit for a hit of fashionable texture. Finally, knit accessories such as gloves or scarves can tie an athleisure outfit together.

Drawstring Contrast Panel Trouser Pants Kate Hewko

Where Can You Find Everything You Need To Enhance an Athleisure Style Moment?

Athleisure style is a fashion staple that may reinvent itself over the decades but never really goes away. At Kate Hewko, we believe that this style statement is for all ages. Fashion-forward leggings and hoodies shouldn't set you back four figures, either. Browse our top picks to stay ahead of the trends and find interesting fashion additions to all of your athleisure outfits.

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