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Post-Pandemic Fashion

How the COVID-19 pandemic solidified the athleisure style trend.

Fashion is a kind of art, and art is a reflection of the time we live in. The COVID-19 pandemic affected our lifestyle and forced us to re-evaluate our approach towards consuming goods in favor of more sustainable practices. Post pandemic fashion reflects this new approach too. Lockdowns, working from home, inability to travel or attend social events as well as unfavorable economic impact made us buy less and choose comfortable clothes that were more appropriate for the circumstances. As people realized they had nowhere to go, they adjusted their consumer behavior accordingly. Two years later, many continue to work from home or in a hybrid work environment so fewer work/dressy clothes are needed, and casual wear prevails.

There is a certain style of clothing that fits the new paradigm perfectly. Athleisure had been popular before 2020 as heathy living became a trend, and it gained even more popularity when the pandemic hit. As it turns out, the many hours/days we spent at home have taken a toll on personal fashion choices as today we reach more often for sweats and yoga pants instead of formal clothes or even jeans.

As you can guess from the name itself, athleisure as a style is a mix of casual clothes and the kind of clothes one would typically wear to work out. Despite the fact that designers showed athleisure inspired runway collections back in the 90s, this style became hugely popular when Karl Lagerfeld sent models in Chanel cult tweed jackets paired with white sneakers down the runway during the 2014-2015 fall/winter runway show.

So how do you wear athleisure and look stylish instead of looking drab? First and foremost, your clothes should be contemporary and neat, they should fit you well and be appropriate for the occasion. The importance of the latter cannot be overemphasized. While athleisure can be worn pretty much for any occasion these days, it is likely not appropriate to be worn to the office (unless your office’s dress code is VERY relaxed) or to a nice restaurant or a special event.

Here are a few ideas on how to create an athleisure look. In cooler weather, you probably already wear a puffer jacket and sneakers. The key is to wear these sporty pieces with contrasting items. Think sneakers with long dresses and comfy cardigans or sweaters as well as with pant suits and wool coats. Puffer jackets look good with skirts in general and pencil skirts in particular (and heels). Throw a trench or a coat over a pair of sweats or leggings or wear a hoodie with dress pants and sneakers. Combine a sweatshirt with a pair of leather pants for an even trendier athleisure look.

In warmer weather, wear bicycle shorts with a crop top and a shirt or a hoodie and round off your summer dresses with sneakers and baseball caps for a sporty vibe. Add a stylish handbag – and you will look comfy and expensive!

A number of celebrities wear athleisure flawlessly so you can turn to them for inspiration. The Hadid, Kardashian and Jenner sisters, Kaia Gerber and Hailey Bieber favor comfortable footwear and oversized clothes in their daily lives.

Designers planned a grand comeback for all things party this season. Spring/summer 2022 collections were awash in sequins, feathers, cutouts and bright colors. However, real life modified those plans as a geopolitical crisis flared up in Europe early in the year, with consequences such as rising inflation and soaring energy and food prices. If you are not feeling very celebratory but you already purchased party wear, you can incorporate a new style into your wardrobe – it is called sport chic.

Sport chic is similar to athleisure as it borrows heavily from athletic wear, but it mixes those pieces with very trendy, business or dressy elements. For example, instead of wearing your sequined skirt to a special even, pair it up with a hoodie for a more casual look. Or you can wear your sweatpants with a blazer and a pair of heels.

A celebrity that rocks sport chic outfits like no other is Rhianna. While her lifestyle is certainly different from the one many of us have, you can borrow some of her ideas and adapt them to fit your needs.

Here are a few ideas of what you can add to your wardrobe if you want to give either athleisure or sport chic a try. The good news is that you probably already have many of the same pieces in your wardrobe, although you may not have thought of throwing them together this way.


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