Why changing society’s perceptions of athleisure is a positive thing.
I want to feel comfortable. I don’t want to want to walk around my university campus, around the shops or down the street feeling like I’m being judged because of what I’m wearing.
Many girls have struggled to find something in their closets and have opted for the athleisure alternative. Choosing a comfortable and supportive sports bra over a wire-stabbing-boobie-jail that is the common bra; yoga pants over a sundress on a windy day; sandshoes over brand new shoes that will give you blisters after an hour.
Don’t get me wrong I love shopping, getting dressed up, putting on makeup, wearing high heels, but not for every occasion. For routine activities such as going to university where all we want is to be comfortable while studying, getting our groceries from the shopping centre, or even doing the fortnightly vacuum; we should not be expected to spend almost an hour doing our hair and makeup.
A couple of weeks ago I was running late for my first class of the semester. My bus was coming in 10 minutes and I still had to choose some clothes, iron them, fix my hair, and put on makeup. As most girls know, this is an almost impossible task. So I decided to throw my hair up into a ponytail and put on activewear. I know what you’re thinking, this Basic Bitch should have gotten ready the night before. But I was too engrossed in catching up on Game of Thrones.
The criticism around activewear is that ladies wear it to give others the impression that they are physically active people when seen doing mundane tasks. Yes, activewear may be a quick and comfortable alternative to everyday wear. But in reality, we women are just being our naturally-born multitasking economical selves.
With the fast-paced university lifestyle of juggling friends, sleep, family, eating, working out and studying (yes in that order); we want to squeeze as much as possible into a day. Activewear is one outfit that can to take us from, class, to lunch with friends, picking up groceries, doing our fortnightly vacuum, to even the gym. And you know what, we are saving time, money and the environment by only having one outfit to wash. #winning
This isn’t the only benefit to active wear. Since the 90’s trend of ‘white Nike sneakers’ or ‘Sneans’ is no longer fashionable (thankfully), we girls don’t have too many options for comfortable and supportive clothes. Until activewear. It’s widely known that sandshoes are far better for back support, posture and comfort than the everyday shoes. Leggings give more mobility than skinny jeans, skirts or dresses. Sports bras give more support and comfort than a regular bra. And by wearing activewear as everyday wear, women may feel more inclined to participate in physical activity when the opportunity presents itself.
This is hugely important as in 2012, statistics by the Australian Government found that 63% of adults and 25% of children were overweight or obese. This is because 90% of young Australians don’t move enough and nearly 70% of Australian adults are either sedentary or have low levels of physical activity. That is why the Australian Government has started a Girls Make Your Move campaign. This campaign is targeting young women age 12 – 19, as statistics have shown that the “fear being judged or ridiculed” is making them feel self-conscious about how they might look when exercising. The #girlsmove or #girlsmakeyourmove campaign is a great way is for young girls to use their social media and post photos of themselves getting out and doing at least one hour of physical exercise everyday. This is a very positive step as physical exercise is proven to help manage stress, alleviate depression and anxiety, strengthen self-esteem, enhance mood and boost mental alertness.
Even the University of South Australia has noticed the benefits of activewear, and has incorporated the new Activewear Wednesday into their Safety and Wellbeing guidelines for staff. It includes, wearing “comfortable and clean shoes, such as sneakers/trainers”, “Casual pants, slacks, cargo pants and yoga pants” and “Collared polo shirts or crew-neck sweaters and UniSA t-shirts, pullovers and hoodies”.
On top of this, activewear means not having to put on makeup, or fuss around with our hair. Which is far better for our skin, as makeup is known to lead to more breakouts, and we have more chances of putting sunscreen on or wearing a hat. Unless you’re one of those women, who wears makeup in activewear, then you do you girl!
Clothes are an expression of oneself and so is activewear. Brands such as Nike, Lorna Jane and Lululemon have all noticed this and are creating fashionable activewear for women. And now other brands such as Target, H&M and Topshop have all taken on the trend. Queensland designer, Lorna Jane Clarkson was one of the first designers to start making activewear for women. Twenty five years ago, Clarkson started up Lorna Jane after being fed up with the dull and unflattering selection of activewear options for women. Since then the activewear industry has boomed. According to Euromonitor, Australia’s activewear industry has experienced a 12% growth in the past five years, which is of significance as the total Australian apparel industry has only grown by 9% in the same time.
By changing this perception of athleisure, more women may feel comfortable wearing activewear and won’t be afraid to get out and do physical activity when the opportunity presents itself.