Is Athleisure Killing Street Style?
An intensely style-conscious Brooklyn woman was recently having a long overdue lunch with a friend who had been living for the past eight years in Berlin. The friend had moved back to New York, and she was aghast at a clear change in New York's street style:
"What is going on with all these yoga pants? What has happened to New York? Why is everyone wearing pajamas?"
Things become oddly contentious when yoga pants, athleisure, and leggings-as-pants are put under scrutiny. People get hostile over very laid-back pants. Some argue that criticizing or questioning athleisure is shaming women's time-saving, comfortable clothing choices. By contrast, some argue that athleisure is en vogue because we as a culture quietly praise the mom who takes care of everyone, and she wears yoga pants as her time-constrained badge of honor. Some argue that leggings-as-pants brings up an issue of young women and self-regard: does wearing stretchy pants really make us feel better about ourselves? Could it be argued that we tend to feel better when we put on clothes? Are leggings-as-pants a depressant?
Regardless of whether you see athleisure as politicized, it's difficult to deny: people are wearing multipurpose clothes (gym clothes, yoga clothes, shuttle the kids to the a.m. babysitter clothes) in a more all-day, all-purpose way. Extremely comfortable clothing, that doesn't limit your mobility, is en vogue, so of course everyone's into it.
At And We Evolve, we don't have a stake in this debate: we don't sell leggings, athletic gear, or athleisure. It's too intimate a category to sell #revolved. Instead, we encourage women to be intentional about how they show up in the world and how they want to feel, and both are heavily influenced by how one dresses. We celebrate women who see the sidewalk as their runway and who use their bodies as canvases for the art that is fashion. Street style is an important element of how a city--and, of course, a person--expresses the local flavor.
We also celebrate clothes that are super comfortable, and that allow you to do handstands whenever you feel like it. Dress the way you want to feel, and you pretty much can't go wrong.