June 23, 2020

Once limited to workouts and errands, athleisure becomes a workwear staple

The pandemic has been a boon to athleisure companies -- and now they're taking aim at your work wardrobe.

Your butt’s been parked on the sofa since March. But now that offices are reopening, it’s time to get your ass in gear. Which leaves us with a vital question: WTF WILL I WEAR?

You can have my sweatpants…

… when you yank them off my cold, dead booty.

Athleisure — clothes that are fit for workouts but are way nicer than your ratty old gym shorts — has been on the rise for years now. The market is projected to leap by $80.7B between 2020 and 2024.

The pandemic has been a boon to many athleisure companies — and some apparel businesses had to pivot to catch up.

“Part of this has been curating some of our most comfortable, casual items into a loungewear page,” Sarah LaFleur, CEO and founder of M.M. LaFleur, a luxury brand that caters to professional women, told us.

An example of LaFleur’s pivot: The company changed how it talked about a pair of pants called the Colbys. LaFleur originally marketed them as travel-friendly, but sales increased 8x when they were renamed the “Colby Jogger.”

Athleisure is getting a glow up

In the Before Times, a solid work ensemble could take us from meetings to meetups at the hottest watering hole. These days, we might hit up a socially distanced vinyasa class before heading home. A few brands nailing the After Times aesthetic:

  • As Wired reported, Uniqlo expanded its AIRism undies line — made with moisture-wicking, quick-dry, stank-controlling and antibacterial fabric — to include tank tops, T-shirts, and hoodies.
  • Banana Republic makes men’s suits using “Smart-Weight Performance” fabric.
  • Epoque Evolution’s versatile pieces are made with Econyl, a 100% regenerated nylon textile made from old carpets and fishnets.

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