This Just In: Workout Gear as Good as Actual Workouts

Here's the truth: Sweat pants can be sweet pants.

I’ll admit it. Sometimes just putting on running shorts and a sports bra makes me feel as good as actually going to the gym. No really. I’ll congratulate myself for thinking about working out as if I’ve just surpassed my personal best pull-up record.

Recently, my neighbor knocked on my door and immediately apologized for “interrupting my yoga practice.” I was literally eating Nutella from the jar and trying to figure out Snapchat, but I was wearing Lululemon so her assumption seemed plausible. The fact that she thought I’d be casually vinyassa-ing midday made me feel the same superior zen as an actual class.

Turns out, this style of dress falls under the umbrella of “athleisure,” a newly minted industry term that will probably not be adopted by the masses, but helps the business types nail down their target demos and marketing yadda yadda. A recent New York Times article attempted to pry apart the semantic ambiguity of the word, which the writer points out encompasses a wide spectrum of use-cases, from yoga mom in neoprene pants to business-class model/actress traveling in her cashmere sweats.

Having spent a decade working in fashion, I’ve learned not to attach much to categories. Terminology will come and go. Today’s athleisure is yesterday’s sportswear—another term that has never made perfect sense. (You really gonna play tennis in that “sports jacket,” my man?) But whatever we choose to call it, it seems that the popularity of athletic wear is rising in direct proportion to the popularity of specialty workouts themselves. If you are not posting #fitspo #goals and geo-tagging your local cardio barre studio, you are not doing social media right. Fitness is not just for gym rats and meatheads anymore; it’s cool.

But if history has taught us anything, it’s that trends don’t last forever, and often snap back to an equal but opposite extreme. (Next up, corsetry?) So for now let’s all luxuriate in the fact that we can wear yoga pants to work, or anywhere for that matter, no Equinox membership required.