Part 3 of this guidebook series will address these following broad topics:
- Introduction to Athleisure
- Ladies’ Fashion
- Men’s Fashion
All good? Let’s get this fashion adventure started!
Introduction to Athleisure
2016 has been one long rollercoaster ride and if there’s anything that can get us excited, it is knowing that it is okay to have a wardrobe made up mostly of activewear, all thanks to the latest trend: athleisure. Blurring the line between sports and casual apparel, athleisure has whipped the fashion world into form in polyester and spandex.
Fashion titans everywhere from street to high-end are filling up their racks with geometrical-prints-adorned tights, cut-out-lycra tops, and even tennis dresses which can easily double as cocktail costumes. The formidable success of activewear lines, such as Nike, Lululemon Athletica and Under Armour, has sparked a string of high-profile collaborations from designer Alexander Wang’s collection for H&M to pop queen Beyonce’s partnership with Topshop, Ivy Park. Spandex is the new black.
How has it Impacted Fashion for Runners?
For one, gone are the days when we had to rummage in a warehouse-like building to find a cute pair of sneakers or to cram in a few known brand-name stores to stock up on our running gears. Nowadays, every apparel store is likely to carry an active line, which means more options, in terms of price and style for runners. Also, with more designs to choose, we can express our swag and train in style. The mirrored wall in the gym doesn’t look so intimidating now, would it?
With brands racing with one another to be the fashion champ of the year, there will be more new materials and cutting-edge technology in our sportswear that we can try. Over the years, we have been treated to avant-garde creations from smartshirts that can measure heart rate and exercise intensity to fabrics that help to regulate body temperature and muscle contractions. We are also more likely to purchase the clothing at a cheaper price too.
Granted that by the time these collections hit our shore, the price would be sky high due to the transports and what not, but it’s likely to be lower than in would have been in the past. Experts have noted that the price of sportswear have fallen consistently from 2015 amidst growing market saturation as more and more brands introduce activewear line.
Evolution from ‘Old-School’ attire for Ladies
Functionality was one alien word for female runners from the early 1900s until the 1940s. Breaking a sweat was considered unbecoming of a woman in such a period. Thus, not expecting to move a hair out of place while exercising, women wear knee-length skirts and kitten heels to do sports. Yes, the kind of outfits most of us now would wear for a Sunday brunch at a hipster café in Tiong Bahru.
The 1964 Tokyo Olympic female runners, however, would not look out-of-place in today’s track with their shorts and sleeveless running attires. Although not as form-fitting and peppered with high-tech features as today, the workout clothes in this period has improved vastly from the previous decades. British sprinter Ann Packer also helped to popularise ultra-light shoes in the Olympic. Decked in Adidas Kangaroo leather sneakers, which weighed just 80 grams, she broke the world record in the 800-metre event, thus beginning the rise to fame-and the long, long reign- of ultra-light footwear.
From then on, thankfully, female workout clothes have become more practical and not to forget stylish. The 70s saw the popularisation of tracksuits a la Glee’s Sue Sylvester. And with the boom of boutique fitness classes in the 2000s, we have come to an era when it is perfectly acceptable to wear our gym clothes to a Saturday night out – that’s right, the athleisure trend.
If you are just starting on this trend or thinking to expand your wardrobe, here are some things you cannot miss.
Long Sleeve Tops
While wearing running tanks can make us look like we are running to an aerobic appointment, long sleeve tops are more versatile and laid back. The less flashy cut also emphasizes its casual, street vibe. Not to mention that it is more workplace friendly than loose yoga tops or sleeveless training tops.
But elegance is not the only thing it can bring to the table. Long sleeve tops can be a great investment for those who love to run early in the morning or late at night when the temperature is lower. Most long sleeve tops these days are made from light thermal fabric that can keep us warm without making us bulk like a snowman. Globetrotters and altitude runners are also going to appreciate this item.
Image Credits: Puma
Bras do not have to be anybody’s secret anymore (looking at you, Victoria). There are enough funky designs and cuts to go around for everyone these days that we can wear sports bras as a fashion statement confidently. There are bras glossed with geometric patterns or mesh that could stand out on their own for the bold. Those who look out for something less flashy can opt for intricate cut-out designs on the back or sides to be paired with muscle tank or backless top.
The importance of wearing and investing in good sports bras cannot be stressed more: support. The last thing we want is to let the ‘girls’ doing burpees all by themselves while we are training in a gym or running on track. The standard pullover sports bras are best if you want to avoid chafing as there are fewer seams on them. Those with underwire and back fastener are great if you need more support, but be careful of the wire poking or hooks digging into the skin during more intense training.
Image Credit: Rumixfeelgood
Image Credit: WeHeartIt
Who says female runners must be the one wearing the pants all the time. Runners can look both tough and feminine with running skirts. It is not the most common apparel choice among runners, but hey, why not be a trendsetter, you are sure to stick out among the crowd. For those days you want to channel your inner wonder woman, running skirt is an obvious choice.
Not just helping us to look good to and fro running events, running skirts can prevent chafing that is especially prevalent among long distance runners. They also allow for greater movement as there will be less friction between the legs as compared to shorts. Don’t get too bogged down by all the naysayers who claim that runners in skirts are not serious athletes. Professional trail runners and marathon runners have professed their love for running skirts.
Image Credits: Under Armour
Here comes a classic basic for runners and trainers: leggings. Slip one on and voila your look turns casual and sporty. Also, thanks to runway favourites such as Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, wearing sports leggings everywhere from getting your coffee to shopping to boxing class has become de rigueur. Spots leggings seems to be getting the cred that jeans have attained. They are the hot item in fashion look-books.
Wearing leggings while running would give our skin the protection it needs, considering that runners don’t usually heed the weather or temperature before hitting the pavement. The skin-tight design also helps to give runners an edge by improving blood circulation that could delay the onset of fatigue and by reducing wind resistance, though slightly.
Image Credit: Nike
Image Credit: moveyourframe.com
Alright, now that we are done with ladies’ fashion, let us move on to making some nice fashion statements for the guys.
Evolution from ‘Old-School’ attire for Men
Remember when Olympic athletes wore long shorts and sleeved, collared shirts during races? Me neither. I wouldn’t say the attire was all the rage at the time, but it was the typical running attire when the Olympics just began in 1890s. Since then, running attire has evolved (greatly, I’d say), changing with the times as we grew less conservative and things like aerodynamics, comfort and functionality came into the picture.
Of course, we wouldn’t wear the latest high-tech tracksuits for Olympians on our everyday run, but every day running wear has its fashion trends too. From running in khakis and boots to cushioned running shoes and comfy FBTs, let’s take a look at the latest fashion trends for men below.
Sweatshirts are worn by practically everyone, not just runners. Great for keeping warm, soft and comfortable, a range of characters sport sweatshirts as part of their personas. The tired mom running errands at the grocery store, the school student wearing their school logo emblazoned across the chest, and of course, the huffing jogger in the park. Sweatshirts can be part of a fashion statement, especially those with quirky designs printed on them, and can also be simply something worn for its practicality and warmth, giving the image of simple comfort and nothing else.
Practicality wise, it may be a little warm to wear a sweatshirt for a run in sunny Singapore, but you can always wear it over a singlet on the way to your training route and keep it on for warming up. This is especially so if you are running early in the morning before the sun comes up. An added plus for sweatshirts is that as it increases your body temperature, your body will burn more calories trying to maintain body temperature. For hard-core runners on a quest to zap those fats, this is a great function. However, do monitor yourself lest the weather gets too warm.
There are a wide range of sweatshirts available on the market, but do keep in mind that you’re wearing them to run, so materials like cotton might not be the best idea. Here are some of the sweatshirts being sold by major sporting brands, and a sample of the quirky designs I was talking about.
Image Credit: figuregroundprojects
Image Credit: kmagazinelovers
Ahh, hoodies. The signature garment of hip hop artists, cool kids and people who like to be prepared for the rain. Fashionable, and yet functional. Personally, I prefer a hoodie over bringing an umbrella around. True, it’s also often worn by actors portraying “suspicious characters” in security warning videos, but that’s beside the point here. First produced in the 1930s and marketed to labourers as a way for them to brave the freezing weather in upstate New York, hooded sweatshirts have now become mainstream and a common category of outerwear meant to keep one warm. While it may be a little warm for you to walk around Singapore wearing one with the hood up, it does help with looking like part of the ‘in crowd’, and can always be worn as a normal jacket with the hood down.
As mentioned, the hoodie can be an alternative to the umbrella since it does shelter your head, and considering that we’re in a tropical country with the occasional rainy day and blustering wind, nylon hoodies (basically windbreaker hoodies) can provide decent protection from the weather in case of unexpected showers. And, you can always wear it on the average day, not just when you’re going for a run! Multipurpose, and value for money? Yep.
There are tons of hoodies on the market, made of different materials. Now, you not only want to look good, you want it to be helpful to your workout too. Here are a few that fulfil both criterion.
Image Credit: polyvore
Image Credit: asos
Some of us may remember Kim Kardashian’s juicy couture velour tracksuits that went viral in early 2000s. Not very practical as sportswear, but she did make quite the fashion statement back then. Tracksuits have since then become less of a fashion trend, but track jackets remain popular on the streets as casual wear among youth who want to want to portray the image of an ‘active lifestyle’ but also look classy and well dressed. (With the beautiful flower prints on the Adidas track jackets, it isn’t too hard). They’re also seen on fashion catwalks, such as in Victoria Secret’s annual fashion show in the activewear segment. You might be wondering, what’s the difference between a jacket and sweatshirt? Jackets are typically worn as outerwear and are a little heavier while sweatshirts and hoodies can be worn underneath and still layered over with a jacket in colder countries.
Wearing a jacket to run may not be optimal in Singapore, but it does work as something to keep you warm when your muscles are still cold and stiff early in the morning. Also, you can wear it around as a part of your everyday outfit. It is still an accepted fashion accessory and is a very nice addition layered over a simple T-shirt. Pair them with some fresh sneakers or a nice pair of running shoes, and you’ll be all set to strut around town.
Editorial’s Pick Track jackets can have beautiful designs, and are the most easily converted to casual fashion among the three mentioned above. Here are some of the more eye-catching designs and how they can be styled.
Image Credit: macys
Image Credit: pinterest
Joggers, or sweatpants that are lighter and more breathable, have also worked its way from the home to the grocery store to the streets of Orchard road. While it might have seemed sloppy to be going around in simple sweatpants in the past, it is now common to see people partying it up or going to town in a simple pair of joggers, sweatpants or harem pants.
For that casual, fresh out of bed (but still ‘fresh’) look, a simple pair of joggers, and t-shirt and some running sneakers will take you around Singapore without you getting too many strange looks. For the students, this seems to have become acceptable lecture and class attire. Joggers themselves have evolved to make them more attractive on a person for everyday wear, and are now often tapered at the legs, showing off any sexy calves.
The main difference between sweatpants and joggers is that since joggers are originally meant for running, they’re lighter and don’t retain as much heat, while sweatpants are supposed to be comfortable home clothes that keep you cosy and warm. One perk of wearing joggers to run is that some materials for joggers can help draw moisture away from the skin to the outside, where it can evaporate faster and you’ll feel less icky.
Joggers are quite commonly found in stores, and many major fashion brands have started carrying them. There are many ways to wear joggers, and here are some of them!
Image Credit: theidleman
Image Credit: 99wtf
A Final Note
While it is good to look good (look good feel good, yeah?), remember that functionality is important as well. There’s also the problem of buying something that looks fantastic on the models and realizing you don’t look nearly as stunning as the airbrushed posters in shops (don’t worry, you are not alone on this). Know which colours suit you, remember to get the right size, and you’ll look like sex on those toned running legs!
Thank You for Reading
And that’s it for LIV3LY’s guidebook series! Thank you all for your constant support of LIV3LY. If you like this guidebook, do like or share it on social media!
Part 3 of LIV3LY’s guidebook series will not be possible without the efforts of LIV3LY’s editorial team, and more importantly, the support from the community, such as yourself.