There’s a new look for spring and it’s a hybrid of fashion and activewear (sporty fashion? fashionable activewear?) and it is officially everywhere. It started with sporty looks all over the runways for Spring Fashion Week, continued with active/fashion hybrid looks at retail stores and entire “sporty” sections on traditional women’s websites like J. Crew – which include traditional activewear items like yoga pants paired with classic pieces like blazers. Even Nordstrom has gotten into the act: check out this recent email from Nordstrom which features fashion items that walk the line between active and fashion. A recent visit to Intermix featured windows that highlighted sporty/fashion crossover looks and fabrications that are typically seen on activewear (like mesh) sprinkled throughout contemporary brands (see image below).
But it’s not just women’s apparel brands that have started to blur the lines between active and fashion. Traditional activewear retailers have gotten into the act as well. Recently, Lululemon launched its &Go line that features activewear that doubles as street clothes, with some early success. Adidas is also seeing strong results not only with the resurgence of Stan Smith footwear styles (particularly during Fashion Week), but also its Stella McCartney collaboration.
None of this should be surprising as activewear has gotten more and more ubiquitous over the last five years (see this post for more details). From teens to moms, women have been wearing their activewear for more than just working out or going to the gym. The new twist that for spring is that these hybrid looks are not quite for working out and not quite dressy, but a blend of both, which means they can be worn really almost all the time. And that means that women can choose to shop a traditional apparel retailer to buy their spring looks or they can choose an activewear brand, making competition for spring wardrobe dollars even more intense.
While this spring’s fusion of fashion and activewear is a seasonal trend, we’ll be watching to see if women embrace it – which could have implications for the way women dress not just this spring, but in the seasons beyond.