8 ways to make the athleisure trend work for you PLUS the best athleisure brands

It’s now acceptable to hit the supermarket, brunch or even work in gym kit. Alice Hayes, a stylish fitness PR, reveals 8 easy tips on how to wear the athleisure trend taking off this year

One thing I’ve noticed, especially at this time of year, is more and more people going about their day in gym kit. Typically, this is because of the annual reminder of New Year’s resolutions making everyone feel like they need to live in the gym. But now, since ‘athleisure’ has become more of an accepted style, people will be in gym kit whether they are out walking the dog, meeting someone for coffee, doing the shopping or if you’re like me where you don’t need to conform to a ‘work uniform’, you will find me in gym kit 90% of the week (I work in PR, specifically health, fitness and lifestyle, so I often find myself heading to a last minute class or gym session).

Athleisure is more about function and comfort rather than being too lazy to change out of your gym kit

Today, it is totally acceptable to wear your gym leggings or pair of trainers all day, everyday. A number of high fashion brands have jumped onto the trend whilst the more ‘technical’ sports brands have also introduced a more adaptable style with more and more brands blurring the lines of what gym kit typically looks like. Now, it’s a fully fledged trend everyone is trying to recreate. But for me, athleisure is more about function and comfort rather than being too lazy to change out of your gym kit after a class – it’s easy and comfortable and means I can pop to a last minute class if I want to in the afternoon. Plus, every time I buy something new, it gives me the motivation to get into the gym.

Here are my top tips on how to make it work for you:

1. Be prepared to invest

You don’t want your leggings to be see through

If you’re at the gym, chances are you’ll be bending down and doing some obscure moves – you don’t want your leggings to be see through so ensure the fabrics are of high quality or at least made from performance fabrics. Here performance is key and nowadays, your gym kit needs to do more than just make you look good – gym kit will typically be made from performance fabrics designed to be quick-drying and odor resistant, perfect if you are out and about all day or fitting in a quick session before work/after lunch. I always opt for high waisted leggings to pair with a crop-top or bra (one will be patterned, whilst the other is more plain to even it out).

My favourite leggings at the moment are the Sweat Betty 7/8 Power leggings. Their leggings are made with an ultra-light, sweat licking fabric (Sensitive Polyamide Elastane) which also means they dry quickly whilst also being incredibly flattering. The fabric is supportive with compression elements which help support your bum and legs.

2. Keep the look simple

Don’t over complicate things – if you’re unsure about what to wear, you can’t go wrong with a neutral colour. Putting on a high waisted pair of black leggings is so simple, much like putting on a pair of jeans. I currently literally live in the Align tights by Lulu Lemon or the Power 7/8 tights by Sweaty Betty. The all black Align tights mean they literally go with everything and simple geometric print from Sweaty Betty adds a little extra to the outfit. You can throw on any jumper and coat with a pair of trainers and you’re good to go.

3. Style your kit for the event

If you’re looking to be wearing your workout kit whilst shopping or going to brunch, style your outfit to be appropriate to the event. Don’t think you can’t mix a classic sweatshirt with skirts or jeans – they help dress down your outfit. Also, today sweatshirts aren’t always the classic style with a logo on front – I have a number designed with satin sleeves and structured fronts.

Match a long jacket to smarten your look or to keep it casual, try a leather, denim or shearling jacket. The majority of the time I will always have a hat, whether that’s a beanie or a cap – you’re comfortable but still able to elevate your look.

8 easy steps to make the athleisure trend work for you, by healthista.com

Out with friends in – you guessed it – athleisure

4. Pick your trainers

Trainers have become more and more acceptable, even to wear to work

Certainly in the last couple of year, I’ve noticed that the ‘trainer’ is not to only be worn for sport. Both stylish and comfortable, trainers have become more and more acceptable, even to wear to work. You’ll instantly dress down your look and can help balance your outfit. Trainers can be worn whether you’re pairing them with a dress or skirt, or simply a pair of jeans. I have trainers I like to work out in, and a few pairs I wear casually at the weekend. My favourites are Ellesse Anzia trainers and Adidas Stan Smith Shoes. They both bring a really casual element to your look and are super comfortable. Being white means they literally go with anything and can be worn at any time of the year.

My ‘training’ trainers tend to be more technical – I have different pairs for different training purposes. Adidas Ultraboost All Terrain shoes for running, Nike Metcon’s for certain weight training.

8 easy steps to make the athleisure trend work for you, by healthista.com (5)

Nike Metcon trainers

5. Accessorize appropriately

Similar to the above, it will only take one piece to make your look more sporty – sunglasses, a bomber or simply a cap. The key is to keep is sleek and simple. During the week, I always have my Sweaty Betty rucksack to carry everything around in – it’s the perfect size to carry my lunch for the day,  a new change of clothes, and has a number of separate compartments which I can use for my gym kit after a workout. If you’re a bit of a yoga fan too, they have some adjustable straps to fit your roll-up mat too. My favourite cap is this New Era New York cap. 

8 easy steps to make the athleisure trend work for you, by healthista.com

My favourite cap

7. Keep your workout wear crisp and clean

Just because you workout in the clothes, it doesn’t mean you should treat them differently. Try keeping your clothes as new as possible to make your overall look smart. Clothes with stains and holes are never a good look, especially if you have to go to a last minute meeting.


8. Comfort first

Workout wear can in some instances be extremely colourful and graphic. I like to keep mine simple with dark colours with the occasional colour for the summer. Most importantly, you’ve got to feel comfortable. There’s no point investing in some ill-fitting leggings or tops if it only makes you feel self conscious – don’t follow the trends if it makes you feel uncomfortable.

My favourite pieces

  1. Sweaty Betty Infield Thermal Pull Over, £145

8 easy steps to make the athleisure trend work for you, by healthista.com

I love this jumper and looks like the perfect solution for when it’s cold – super cosy. It also doesn’t look like a typical sweatshirt and can make you look smarter if you’re just wearing some plain leggings.

2. Ellesse Long Sleeve T-Shirt With Sleeve Print, £30

These sort of tops are particularly useful when it’s not quite cold enough to wear a jumper. It’s like a classic staple.

3. Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity Run Leggings, £95

8 easy steps to make the athleisure trend work for you, by healthista.com

If these are anything like the other SB leggings I have, they are ridiculously comfortable. You can’t go wrong with black leggings and the splash of orange gives it the added touch. The ultra lightweight fabric means they’re perfect for all training needs – plus they sculpt your bum…


4. Zara Jogger Trousers, £12.99

8 easy steps to make the athleisure trend work for you, by healthista.com

These are so easy to throw on. They go with pretty much everything and add a bit of edge.

3. Lululemon Align Pant, £88

High-waisted leggings are my favourite and these fit so well and I find them really flattering.

Follow Alice on Instagram to get the look.

What are you favourite athleisure trends? We are obsessed with the looks – please share with us on Instagram @HealthistaTV! 


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