Wondering exactly what athleisure wear is? You’re not alone. It’s a term that seems to mean something different depending on who you’re talking with, and it’s shifting regularly. One thing that is certain in the athleisure wear world is that it’s here to stay.
So, if you’ve decided it’s time to add a few pieces of plus size athleisure wear to your wardrobe, read on. There has never been a better time to find your perfect pieces. The outfit to the right is from Universal Standard.
Hot Off The Presses
Athleisure wear is hot! It’s also hot news. In a July 16, 2018 article in Drapers, Harriet Brown took a look at the latest trends for athleisure wear.
She discovered that manufacturers are listening to their customers. As a result, two of the most talked-about features in the industry today are seam-free and four-way stretch.
Camille Roegiers de Silva, the co-founder of Fashercise, a women’s activewear retailer in London, told Brown, “You can build in different areas of support” with four-way stretch, allowing greater movement.
She went on to say this type of clothing “is super-flattering, it offers compression. It’s a very cool look…” She also noted that it’s one of today’s most important looks.
The head of buying in the women’s wear division at ASOS, Celia Cuthbert agrees that seamless is huge. She went on to say that seamless garments “allows for the perfect balance of technical ability and fashion.” What this translates to is amazingly soft, comfortable bras, tops and pants.
Who Has A Different Opinion?
I’m glad you asked, and an April 18, 2018 Forbes article by Chip Wilson sheds some light on the question. Mr. Wilson is the founder and former CEO of Lululemon. Lululemon is a Canadian athletic apparel retailer.
Wilson believes that today’s athleisure is designed to look athletic, but is not designed to do the job an athlete requires from her clothing. He has a point. Brown notes in her article that “[s]treetwear’s influence on athleisure and active wear is increasingly resulting in the merging of fashion and function…”
For most of us, this merging won’t even be noticeable and likely be a plus.
The article in Drapers also points out that manufacturers are getting better and better at offering their lines in plus sizing. In particular, it points to three companies which are working hard to make their lines much more inclusive. That’s excellent news for style-conscious plus size women.
- The first on the list is Ivy Park. This brand was founded by Beyonce in a collaboration with Topshop. Ivy Park offers many of their pieces up to size XXL.
- Nike and ASOS are referred to as standout players by Emily Gordon-Smith of Stylus. Stylus is a research agency and Ms. Gordon-Smith is head of fashion there.
Mr. Wilson goes on to note that Lululemon was not only functional, but it was attractive enough to take a woman from training in the gym to activities outside the gym.
One feature of Lululemon that made this possible was the use of flat seams. Flat seams cut down on or eliminate skin irritation from active movement in a garment.
Today’s seam-free feature will accomplish the same goal, whether or not you exercise in your pieces.
If you’re one of the non-athletes Mr. Wilson mentions, you’re not going to mind that it’s what he refers to as “faux athletic gear.” You’re after a fashionable, fashion-forward look, and you are going to be thrilled with what you find on your next shopping trip.
If you are an athlete, and need true technical apparel, finding what you need may have gotten a bit more difficult.
Brands and Retailers You’ll Want To Check Out
While I am aware that Ivy Park only goes up to XXL, let’s hope that expanding the size range will occur in the near future, because you may end up loving it as much as I do.
That being said, I took a look at two pieces online: the Shadow Logo Leggings and the Shadow Logo Double Sleeve Hoodie.
The leggings are made of 89% viscose and 11% elastane. The hoodie is made of 89% cotton and 11% elastane.
Ivy Park is carried by several retailers in the US. One good retailer that carries this brand is Nordstrom.com. I know this company from experience and feel confident sending you to them for your Ivy Park items.
They have a Curves selection which features Reebok, South Beach and Puma. The site shows that they offer sizes up to US 26, and XXXL. ASOS also gives you the option of shopping on their US site. Shipping from the US site appears to be and amazing bargain, as low as $4.95 at the time of this writing.
You love their shoes. Get ready to love their plus size athleisure wear. Nike offers a full range of bras, tops, pants and tights, jackets and hoodies as well as shorts. They also offer a line of compression tanks, tops, capris, and tights.
Pricing is good and the quality is what you have come to expect from Nike. Of the three, Nike still has a strong, athletic vibe.
Rainbeau is a company that was mentioned early in the article. I have no personal experience with this brand, but their sizing is impressive, and I wanted to bring it to your attention. Most items seem to be available up to a US size 32.
You’re going to find a selection of bras, tops, bottoms, jackets and pullovers here. They come in solids and prints, and mixing and matching will be a breeze. Their prices seem fair, and they can be found at Rainbeau.com
What Are You Waiting For?
Whether you love the idea of a blending of fashion and function, or long for the good old days, you just can’t argue with comfort. With the expanding selection of truly exciting plus size athleisure wear, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
As one of the fastest-growing segments of the fashion industry, it promises to be around for many seasons to come. You can confidently add pieces to your wardrobe. Because of their gym to street flexibility, you’re going to find your athleisure pieces taking you most everywhere.
Let Us Know In The Comments Below!
I’d love to hear what you think of athleisure wear. Do you already have several pieces in your wardrobe? Or, are you just beginning to shop for your first pieces? Please take a moment and add your comments to the discussion below.