HR Strange But True

‘Athleisure’—Gym Clothes Now Workplace Approved

Get out your dress code; it may be time for an update. Clothing that used to be considered “gym clothes” and too casual for the workplace is now part of ‘athleisure’ business chic—think $195 sweatpants!

Like many trends, athleisure started on the left coast, according to an article on NPR’s Pop Culture website, and began when yoga outfits crossed over to the workplace. The “new sweatpants” are a prime example of jogger clothes making the jump. These garments that used to be loose and tied at the waist with a cord are now made of dressier, high-end material and can be “impeccably tailored”—so perfect to pair with a designer T-shirt (also athleisure acceptable), trendy cardigan—and baseball cap.

NPR says that the “athleisure” trend generated $35 billion in sales last year and has stores such as H&M and Urban Outfitters—and even Chanel—developing athleisure lines, and sales are expected to double in this year, according The Wall Street Journal article says one reason compelling the athleisure trend is convenience—workers don’t have to bring both work and gym clothes to the office.

Robin Ghivan, fashion critic for The Washington Post, told NPR that another reason for the popularity is that gym chic clothing makes workers feel comfortable and warm and cozy—“all the things we love about clothes.”

HRSBT says this clothing is like mindfulness for the body, making stressed out workers feel better. So get out your dress code restrictions and start revising—but please leave in tube tops and flip-flops!