Take a second and think back to January of 2020. You are waking up in the morning and getting ready for school or work and picking out your clothes. Maybe it is a formal day that calls for slacks and a blazer, or maybe you are reaching for your favorite jeans and a nice blouse. Whatever the dress code, joggers, leggings and cropped hoodies probably did not come to mind.
But what are you wearing right now?
Athleisure boomed in the 2000s when socialites like Paris Hilton made tracksuits stylish. In recent years, athleisure brands like Lululemon and Athleta gained popularity, reigniting the trend.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced people to adopt a remote lifestyle, athleisure became a go-to trend once again. According to reporting from Sourcing Journal, the United States’ athleisure market was valued at $155.2 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $257.1 billion by 2026.
Sales of suits, dress shirts, dress pants and dresses were all down more than 50% from March through July of 2020 compared to that same period in 2019, according to reporting from CBS News. With a large chunk of the population working from home, the need for formal or even business casual attire has significantly decreased, making way for leggings, sweatshirts and running shoes.
Not only is remote work impacting the way consumers dress and the clothes they shop for, but it is also impacting general remote living. With gyms closed for several months at the beginning of the pandemic and some people still feeling uncomfortable leaving the house unless absolutely necessary, home workouts have been on the rise, and it is not advised to work out in dress pants.
While the pandemic will eventually come to pass, it seems athleisure may be here to stay. There will be lasting effects on people’s personal and work lives, as some companies are choosing to continue hiring remote employees, which inevitably affects how they will be dressing to clock in.
Fashion history tells us trends can change on a dime. Experts can forecast all they want but sometimes unexpected things, like a global pandemic, can throw those predictions for a massive loop. Who knows how long athleisure will bask in the spotlight or what trend will come next? For now, throw on a sherpa half-zip, a pair of high-rise leggings and enjoy it while it lasts.
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Hi, I’m Sara Crawford, a senior journalism student from Cleveland. I’m also the editor in chief of The Burr and the opinions editor for KentWired this semester. My staff and I are committed to bringing you interesting, humorous and hard-hitting stories that tap into current events, trends and the lives of those who have made a home in Kent, Ohio. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate.
Maria McGinnis is a senior journalism major with minors in advertising and psychology. She is currently editor-in-chief of A Magazine (@amagksu), features editor for The Kent Stater/KentWired and a blogger for The Burr. When she isn’t writing or working on school work, Maria loves to spend time with her family and friends, do yoga, bake and watch Netflix. She is currently rewatching “The Vampire Diaries” after finishing “Gossip Girl” during quarantine and would love some new streaming suggestions. Follow Maria on Instagram @maria.mae98 and on Twitter @MariaMcGinnis13.