Blonde American woman wearing Neue Supply Co. neue essentials longline sports bra in black and leggings in black

Why do Americans wear athletic clothing everywhere?

The global fashion revolution that turned yoga pants, sports bras, and running shorts into everyday essentials.

It's a question people have been asking for years, ever since an upstart yoga design-and-fashion studio from Vancouver opened its doors in 1997. In just over two decades, Lululemon sparked a global fashion revolution we call "activewear," or "athleisure." The athletic apparel revolution has injected prodigious quantities of spandex into modern fashion and blurred the lines between yoga, spin class, sports, work attire, and ordinary street clothes.

So why is athletic clothing so popular? The answer isn't clear-cut. The answer isn't clear-cut. It’s no secret that activewear is comfortable, but that alone doesn’t explain a global fashion revolution with sustained success for more than 25 years. Some may point to the ubiquity of activewear as a symptom of a lifestyle shift toward fitness and wellness. The Atlantic suggests athleisure apparel has grown in popularity among Americans while participation in sports and gym memberships has declined. So, why are we always wearing workout clothes if we're not working out more?

Here's a closer look at the activewear trend and why it has taken over the fashion world.

Woman stretches in all-black sports bra

Activewear apparel fits and moves with your body.

Activewear's success is primarily due to its comfort, which stems from innovative designs, high-quality materials, and flattering cuts. Athletic apparel comes with moisture-wicking, stretchy materials that move with your body rather than constrict it. The fabrics are soft and flexible, and the clothes are designed to move with your body. It allows for a full range of movement and comfort, whether working out or just working.

Woman boards plane wearing Neue Supply Co. neue essentials leggings in black and black t-shirt with white shoes

Athletic apparel makes you look good.

Be honest, something about high-quality spandex makes a fit person's butt look terrific. The fitted cuts and trendy designs of athleisure wear show off your best assets, whether you're at the gym or running errands. And even if you don't consider yourself fit, the right athleisurewear can help you fake it 'til you make it.

Woman wearing mix of all-black yoga pants athletic sneakers and high-end gray sweater top

Athleisure apparel is the most versatile attire ever produced.

In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of Americans to work from home, inspiring an entire generation to replace business casual office attire with more comfortable t-shirts and leggings. When fashion or design inspires high-performance clothing, the result offers the ability to go from the gym to school to work and everywhere in between without changing clothes. In today's fast-paced world, athleisure wear eliminates that problem by offering clothing that is both comfortable and stylish enough to wear in multiple settings. Athleisure apparel is designed to be comfortable and functional, making it perfect for various activities inside and outside the gym.

American woman mixing athleisure apparel with street style in black running shorts and Nike sneakers with high-end top and accessories

What are some problems you find with athletic clothing?

The prominent problem people find with activewear is that they believe it's often too casual to wear in more formal settings, such as the office or a nice restaurant. Additionally, activewear can be pretty expensive, especially if you are looking for name-brand items.

However, activewear fashion and design influence is taking over formal attire, gym, and sportswear. With more people working from home than ever before, it's completely acceptable to wear athletic clothing from the gym to work because of its comfort and functionality. Brands are investing increasingly into high-quality materials and building hybrid products, including pants, leggings, jackets, and even button-down shirts for any occasion. It may feel like you're paying a premium, but many brands like Fabletics provide low-cost options for people who want to look good without spending a fortune.

Black woman wearing Neue Supply Co High-Rise Short in Black with high-end top and bright red jacket

How does activewear make you feel?

People often criticize others for being more concerned with looking fit than being fit. These people are missing the point – activewear is about living an active lifestyle and being comfortable at the same time. If you don't feel you've reached your peak fitness yet, that shouldn't stop you from wearing clothes that make you feel happy and confident. For instance, let's say you're a runner. Whether you're just starting out or training for your first half marathon, the most important consideration is that you find running shorts that actually make you want to go running. There are no barriers to entry when it comes to looking great and feeling well.

Blond woman sitting on stairs wearing all-black athletic wear on the street

What are the best brands for activewear?

Many athletic apparel companies also tap into the growing trend of consumers wanting to purchase brands that share their values. Athleticwear brands tend to share core values including a commitment to the community over competition, environmental sustainability, and social responsibility. Some of the most popular athleticwear brands include Lululemon and Nike because they share purpose and values with the community. At Neue Supply Co., the same innovation that inspires our products applies to how we do business. Our purpose is to help people live their best lifestyles by breaking down barriers and increasing access to fitness and wellness.


So, why do Americans wear athletic clothing everywhere? The answer is simple; it helps us live an active lifestyle and look good doing it. It's fashionable, comfortable, and practical. Casual and sporty styles have merged to create a new category known as athleisure. Expect to see more people rocking their yoga pants and sneakers in public. There are no barriers to entry other than your personal style. The next time you see someone out and about in their activewear, don’t criticize them - instead, give them a compliment! And if you’re looking for some new activewear for men or women, we recommend seeking out a brand with purpose and values beyond just making money. 

So what are you waiting for? With activewear that looks and feels as great as Neue Supply Co. essentials, who would want to wear anything else?
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