Athleisure is huge. Celebs such as Selena Gomez and Gigi Hadid have taken to the streets rocking the look, but can the average gal pull off activewear as the new ready-to-wear? ARETHA LOH tries it out.
From top: Gigi Hadid, Selena Gomez, Rita Ora and Taylor Swift rocking the trend.
To say there’s been hype over athleisure, or fashionable workout gear, in the past year or so is an understatement; the trend has exploded. It girls Taylor Swift and Gigi Hadid regularly step out in yoga or jogger pants. Superstars Beyonce and Rihanna, too, have jumped on the athleisure bandwagon – the former cofounded activewear brand Ivy Park, while the latter collaborated with Puma for its new Fenty Puma line. While I can see how the likes of Martha Hunt and Karlie Kloss can pull off the trend with aplomb, I’m not so sure the “real women” – those who, like me, don’t quite boast supermodel measurements – can. Out of curiosity (and for the thrill of wearing designer sportswear for a week), I took up the challenge of wearing four athleisure outfits to very diff erent occasions. Some reactions weren’t surprising, some were embarrassing, and others, downright hilarious. To those of you wondering if you can rock this fashion fad like a pro, here’s what transpired...
“A 60-year-old gawped at me over his dim sum.”
MEETING THE FUTURE IN-LAWS
THE REACTION: I felt perfectly normal as I stood up to greet my fiance’s parents at our dim sum lunch date. They smiled warmly, without the slightest look of surprise at my sportierthan- usual look. I did get a quizzical look from a 60something man seated nearby, who paused, mid-bite, to stare at my kicks. After 20 seconds of fixating on my funky footwear, his eyes roved upward, scanning the rest of my outfit before returning to the fried dumplings on his plate. To someone his age, bodysuits probably look more at home at a circus troupe, and sneakers, on a basketball court. My fiance kept asking if I was about to get heatstroke, no thanks to my thick jacket, which was so warm it could’ve doubled as winterwear – how does anyone work out in this? That night, I Whatsapped my fiance to ask what his parents thought of my OOTD. The reply? “Nice and sweet.”
THE VERDICT: This was my favourite look of the lot, but I felt out of place in the high-tops – I’m more of a flip-flops and sandals girl.
“I looked like one of the X-men.”
THE REACTION: I thought I looked sharp – never mind that the sports jacket and figure-hugging leggings made me look like a member of the X-men. I’m in the creative industry, where anything goes in the dress code department, so no eyebrows were raised as I made my way to my desk – although two colleagues did ask if I had gone for a workout. What was unexpected was the lack of reaction from the four female corporate high- fliers I networked with over coff ee that afternoon. There wasn’t the slightest hint of disdain when I turned up at their office, a conservative multinational oil and gas company, hair slightly frazzled, looking like Storm or Rogue. While the women were all attired in sheath dresses and wore sensible court shoes, they paid no mind to my striped leggings as the conversation about women climbing the corporate ladder flowed. I bluntly asked them what they thought of my outfit at the end of the meeting, only to get a mere “it looks nice. You look all prepared for a run.”
THE VERDICT: Their cool reactions probably had to do with the fact that I work for a magazine. I wonder what they would have thought if I’d been their subordinate or boss!
“Sweat trickled down my back 20 minutes in.”
THE REACTION: “What. Are. You. Wearing?” summed up my friends’ responses when I arrived for our brunch date at Arteastiq cafe in a tracksuit. “This doesn’t even look right for the gym, much less Orchard Road,” one exclaimed. I couldn’t agree more. It felt ridiculous to be so covered up in hot and humid Singapore. Beads of sweat trickled down my back 20 minutes in. I realised that the outfit clearly wasn’t designed for pint-sized individuals like myself. My hands struggled to make it out of the sleeves – I had to keep tugging at them to free my hands so they could reach for the cookies in front of me. I noticed a young couple trailing me with their eyes every time I walked to the loo. The first time it happened, the woman leaned towards her beau and whispered something while fixing her gaze on my jacket; I could tell it wasn’t a compliment. I immediately changed back into my normal clothes, concluding experiment number three.
THE VERDICT: No. Just no.
“I swore I heard them whisper ‘disco ball’!”
THE REACTION: “You look like you’re in a spacesuit”, remarked girlfriend A, who was unable to contain her chuckles. “And what’s up with the ass-hugging pants?” We started the night by going for some Korean fried chicken and Bulgogi fries – a very bad move. I’d already eaten a bowl of laksa before heading out, and my tummy was peeking out from the top of my pants; I kept pulling them up to hide my paunch. I was supposed to be channelling the sexy vibes of Zendaya, but I felt more like Rebel Wilson in an ill-fitting outfit. The good news was that my tummy and tights were no longer issues by the time we hit the club. My blindingly shiny jacket was. I attracted stares from the patrons, and my girlfriends pointed out that I was the brightest person there and even belted out a few lines from a Rihanna hit (“Shine bright like a diamond!”). At the end of the night, when I walked past a group of men, slightly tipsy, I swore I heard them whisper “disco ball” and “twinkle twinkle little star”. Thankfully, a cab pulled up, ending this glittering, somewhat uncomfortable experience.
THE VERDICT: A cropped jacket and tight yoga pants are never a good idea if eating is involved. You have to do planks a month before so your outfit draws compliments like “Great abs!”, not criticisms like “Look at that flab!”.