What we wear to work out has come a long way from the days of shapeless, grey sweat pants and baggy t-shirts, when making yourself sweat intentionally was seen as a fringe hobby. Now, an active lifestyle is a part of most of our lives - if only aspirationally! - and our options have never been better. Activewear has been featuring regularly at fashion week, particularly in New York where going to trendy gym classes and jogging in Central Park - and looking good doing it - are as common as queuing for brunch. And the fashion filters down through the high street.
Designer collaborations with sporting giants, such as Adidas by Stella McCartney (below, Spring/Summer 2014) offer a high fashion approach to sportswear, and some go further to blur the lines between what one wears on the street and what one wears on the machines, such as the heavily sports-influenced outfits DKNY showed for this spring, as seen above.
And if I'm not mistaken, I'm pretty sure you burn a few calories simply by wearing your workout clothes! Kidding aside, there may be actually some truth to this idea (well, you do have to move). New innovations in fabric technology are constantly evolving, not only to make the wearer more comfortable during exercise, but to maximise the effectiveness of your workout. Zaggora's Hotwear, made with their Thermofit fabric, was tested at two universities. Research showed that the use of a Zaggora top and bottom during exercise, at an appropriate level of intensity and while remaining well hydrated, may help to increase the rate of calorie burn.
Couturier Anne Valérie Hash showed a look in Paris a few days ago that appears to accommodate some serious action off the runway, in shades of blue, the big hue for fall. The pieces could be worn separately to tone down the sporty look a bit with jeans and a light knit sweater:
And VPL is known for activewear looks that incorporate pieces that work in and out of the gym, making them a part of your regular wardrobe. Their puffy pullover, sweatshirt and wrap cardigan are similar to what's offered in the regular women's collections:
Personally, I love that we don't have to compromise on our workout kit. Of course we don't always need to present as perfection - I can't tell you what I wear around the house to lift weights because it wouldn't be decent - but for a run or heading out to a session, I find it motivating to put on clothes that feel and look good, and do that extra bit for us.