Workout Fashion Trends for the New Year

From the home to the gym, step into your New Year’s resolution in style Abigail Thorpe

The Pacific Northwest is the land of outdoor adventure, but when you aren’t hitting the slopes or paddle-boarding the waters, there’s plenty more to keep you active—whether it’s a morning yoga session, CrossFit or the good old gym. Wellness has increasingly become more of a lifestyle choice than a stand-alone event in our day-to-day lives, and as working out becomes a central part of our every day, so too do the clothes we do it in. Leggings aren’t just for the trail or the studio anymore, and our trainers don’t come off the moment we walk out the gym door.

According to Allied Market Research, the global activewear market is experiencing an annual 6.5 percent growth rate and expected to reach $547 million by 2024. Celebrities like Kate Hudson, Beyoncé and Khloé Kardashian have created fitness fashion empires of their own and taken to social media, promoting athletic wear as more of a statement piece and less an outfit reserved only for the gym.

Whether you’re on the mountain, in the yoga studio or out running errands this new year, here’s a quick trip down the 2020 runway of workout fashion trends.

Athleisure and Multifunctional - Workout clothing no longer fits only one specific need or occasion. Men and women alike are looking for pieces you can wear on your morning workout and out to run errands or meet friends for coffee. As lines between the workplace, home and social spaces become increasingly blurred, activewear has to fit many purposes—and look good doing it. The birth of athleisure—activewear you can be athletic in and wear for leisure—has caused the explosion of athletic-wear consumerism. Expect this trend to continue into the new year, with new design and tech innovation transforming the way we wear our workout clothing. Bold colors, sleek design and eye-catching details mean those leggings aren’t just meant for the studio—they’re making their way into everyday activities, and even occasionally an evening out.

Retro: Bold and Bright - Everything comes back around, and workout fashion is no exception to the rule. Expect 2020 athletic wear to run full force into the ‘90s trend that’s been spreading across the fashion industry. We’re talking bright neon colors, statement pieces like matching tracksuit ensembles and big bold logos. Rebirth of brands like Reebok, Champion and Fila are part of this flashback to the ‘90s, with original logos front and center—a fashion statement on and off the track. Despite the winter chill, midriff exposure continues to flaunt its face; don’t expect those crop tops to go anywhere.

Sustainable - It may be a flashback to a previous decade style-wise, but athletic wear is taking a forward-thinking step when it comes to sustainability. Traditionally, activewear incorporates a lot of nylon and spandex—materials that take a lot of energy to produce and don’t break down easily in their afterlife. Consumers are more aware of the products they purchase and increasingly look for a company’s sustainability practices—both in its material and waste use, and its approach to fair wage and labor practices. Brands like Patagonia and Athleta are responding in kind, offering new options for the environmentally and socially conscious consumer. Eighty percent of Patagonia’s snow collection is made with recycled fabrics; Athleta offers their “supersonic” leggings made of recycled nylon fabric; and Adidas' Ultraboost shoe features material made from recycled plastic found in beach and coastal communities.

Animal Print - Don’t hide your wild side—if it’s spotted or striped and looks like a wild animal, it’s runway approved. Animal print, like zebra and leopard, is hot in the fashion world this year, and athletic wear is living up to its hype as a wear-anywhere statement genre that keeps up with the times. Maybe, just maybe, those zebra print leggings will help you run a little faster.

Technologically Innovative - Pretty is as pretty does, but it needs to function well too. Multifunctionality is key to workout clothing these days, which means it needs to hold up as well at the gym as it does on the couch and seamlessly bridge the transition between performance and comfort. Athletic brands have increased their tech performance immensely over past years, and 2020 is all about innovation. Look for high-performance fabrics that keep you cool (or warm) and have sweat-wicking properties for comfort in and out of the gym. Ultra-sculpt leggings help to define muscle, while no-seam technology makes that transition from workout to hangout (literally) seamless. Running and training shoes are sleek and light—and pack more of a punch when it comes to comfort for your feet. And of course, don’t forget the actual inclusion of tech into your gear. Whether it’s hidden pockets for your phone or built-in tracking, workout fashion is all about making your life a little easier.

Body Positive - The activewear world is finally catching on that fit comes in all shapes and sizes. As athletic fashion grows in popularity, companies are trending toward a more inclusive, extensive offering that caters to all body types. Established brands like Nike are increasing their size offerings, while smaller labels like Good American or Girlfriend Collective are actively promoting fashion inclusivity and body positivity in their activewear, ensuring everyone a good fit in their fitness lifestyle.

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