Why Can’t We Stop Talking About Athleisure?

The athleisure trend lives on, which is why we are still talking about it

In the realm of men’s style and fashion trends, athleisure has been unique in that it hasn’t adhered to the “here today, gone tomorrow” ethos of most trends. It’s still very much a thing. And it’s still very much a thing that is being discussed.

In fact, just last week I was asked for a quote on the topic for an article in the Wall Street Journal. Of the many questions I was asked and opinions I gave, only a small soundbite made it to print.

Because I know it’s a topic that has greatly interested HSS readers in the past, I’m publishing my complete answers to George Epadminodas’s questions below.

Let’s discuss.

George Epaminodas: Athleisure was meant to free men from the drudgery of tailored, uptight clothes – did it do that for you?

Brian Sacawa: I understand the reactive nature of the athleisure trend, but I don’t find it to be a positive development for men’s style. Society has finally given the average guy a green light to take an active interest in developing his personal style and curating a respectable wardrobe.

And as a result, men – “regular guys” – are dressing better than they have in years. Athleisure, at least when talked about in a dressed-up context, is sending that guy a huge cultural mixed message. Are we saying that it’s okay to look like a slob now?

Why do people like it and why has it caught on to such a degree? Beyond the comfort aspect, it’s because it’s easy. Putting together a suit and tie or sport coat and trousers outfit is a skill that takes practice.

There are so many variables and possibilities when it comes to classic men’s fashion. What type of collar, pattern, pocket square and tie combination, or shoes should you wear?

To the men’s style enthusiast, the almost infinite range of choice is what excites him. To the guy who only wears a suit when he goes to a wedding or funeral, it’s overwhelming.

GE: I read your hilarious post about athleisure – what is your aversion to the look? So I presume you never embraced the dressy sweatpant? Do you believe the trend is played out now?

BS: The term “dressy sweatpants” is so oxymoronic. There’s nothing dressy about them no matter how they’re tailored or styled. And although I prefer a more classic style of dress, I’m definitely not ultra-conservative and am open to more modern developments and updates to both tailored clothing and casualwear. But to me, dressy sweatpants just look plain sloppy.

Having said that, I’ve seen plenty of guys who wear the look well. But they’re younger, have more of a streetwise style and sensibility and are much more open to appropriating fashion’s latest developments into their personal style.

Listen, fashion is cyclical and the dressy sweatpants trend, like all trends, is going to pass. But for me, it can’t happen soon enough.

GE: A trickle down effect of athleisure is that tailored clothes are becoming more comfortable. Have you noticed this? Are you wearing anything that fits the bill?

BS: Right now we’re seeing a lot of “travel suits” on the market. These are cut from comfortable, generally wrinkle-resistant fabrics and have an unlined jacket. They’re perfect for the man on the go who needs to look good – maybe he has to run right to a meeting after a long flight – but wants to be comfortable.

I really like this development in tailored clothing because it promotes the idea that wearing a suit doesn’t have to be constricting or uncomfortable.

GE: Would you be more inclined to embrace tailored looks that had stealth comfort built into them?

BS: The travel suit is a great development. I’m looking forward to getting into one myself. But I think it’s wrong to suggest that tailored clothing is inherently uncomfortable. If a suit is tailored properly it should be comfortable.

Thoughts on the continuing athleisure trend? Chime in below.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style

Featured image via @clothsurgeon

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