When Beyoncé opened her music video for "711" wearing a K-A-L-E-emblazoned sweatshirt and regulation kneepads, it affirmed one thing: the athleisure trend is at the height of its popularity. While athletic wear has crept in and out of fashion for quite some time, the newly-minted athleisure trend — love it or hate it — is a true game-changer for how we approach day-to-day dress.
To further explore the après sport lifestyle, we looked to Chase Rosen, the brains (and enviable brawn!) behind Athleisurely, a New York City-based blog that offers tips and inspiration for making a seamless transition from gym-to-office-to-wherever-else-your-trainers-take-you. Rosen not only convinced us that you can strike a perfect middle ground between style and leisure, but echoed our unwavering enthusiasm for Queen Bey and shared her picks for this season's best chic sportswear. Trust us, you'll be living in high-octane spandex and It-sneakers in no time.
Marie Claire: How do you describe 'athleisure'?
Chase Rosen: Athleisure is the crossroads where fitness meets fashion, and streetwear meets gym wear. It's a lifestyle that celebrates healthy living and proves style and comfort are not mutually exclusive. You focus on finding pieces that can easily segue from studio to street, as well as living your life in clothes that allow you to be active and stylish.
MC: When do you believe the athleisure trend began?
CR: Athleisure has been around for decades, but its really hitting its stride right now. Olivia Newton John's iconic leg warmers in her "Lets Get Physical" music video was athleisure, and so was Zack Morris' neon windbreakers in the halls of Bayside High. Today, more and more luxury brands are designing athletic-inspired apparel — Vera Wang, Urban Outfitters, Cynthia Rowley and Stella McCartney to name a few. Also, in the last few years "trendy" boutique workout classes like spin and barre have become more popular than ever, and that in itself contributes to the notion of working out being stylish and trend oriented.
MC: What'd you think of Beyoncé's athleisure threads in her '711' video?
CR: Queen B can do no wrong! It's funny, I feel like she's always been a fan of the athleisure trend — from wearing body suits on stage to wedge sneakers on the street. She's always on the move and always dressed to move, I can relate! I am obsessed with this video and song and officially on the hunt for a chic pair of kneepads.
MC: How did your style grow into athleisure?
CR: It was incidental. I made a career change and transitioned from the corporate world to the fitness space. There was much less of a focus on business casual apparel, and everyone would wear gym clothes to work. I always loved street wear but it wasn't until I worked in the industry that I set out to find brands that were reinventing the boring, almost see-through yoga pants and ugly, unflattering performance tops. With my blog Athleisurely, I am on a mission to find the best of the best sweatpants, spandex, sneakers, snapbacks and more that you can wear from workout to work, or work to workout.
MC: What are the athleisure staples?
CR: The athleisure staples totally vary based on your personal style. To me, the ultimate staple is an awesome pair of sneakers. I think any outfit can become #AthleisurelyApproved if you throw on a pair of fun sneaks. Sneakers are a cool way to reflect your personality and mood, and there's so much diversity and creativity in sneaker design. It could be a vintage style like Adidas Stan Smiths, or a bit more modern like Nike Sky High sneaker wedges, but adding any interesting sneaker can easily transform an entire outfit.
MC: Who are your athleisure style icons?
CR: I like to think of myself and my daily routines as my style inspiration. One thing to note about about athleisure is that not all pieces that fall into the category are good for working out. I try to mix it up with some performance pieces with an awesome printed sweatshirt or hat. The New York fashion scene and what people are wearing also inspires me daily: I love seeing girls rocking a jogger pant with heels or guys wearing sneakers with a suit -- athleisure is all about incorporating a bit of street style into high style. I also get a ton of inspiration from the up and coming brands that create stylish athleisure pieces like Michi, Lucas Hugh, Koral, Heroine Sport, Zara Terez and Alala.
MC: Why should young women be embracing the athleisure lifestyle?
CR: I think the core of living Athleisurely is not just looking good, but also feeling great. Active people with active lifestyles want to actively look his or her very best, and that's where athleisure comes in. Whether it's a pair of leggings that were designed to wick sweat but also have some funky cut-outs and sheer panels, or a cute vest with leather pieces you can throw over a long sleeve, the athleisure lifestyle is all about finding pieces that work for you before a good sweat, during a good sweat, and after a good sweat.
MC: Can you tell us more about your blog's vision?
CR: With Athleisurely, I have set out on a mission to inspire people to look good, feel great and listen well. With every post, I provide my readers with the whole package: An #AthleisurelyApproved outfit to help readers look good, a health tip, product or practice to help readers feel great and a song I'm currently loving that I hope inspires my readers to listen well. I'm excited to continue to share the Athleisurely lifestyle as I fully believe the athleisure trend is here to stay.
Shop a few of Chase's favorite athleisure-inspired picks, below, and head to athleisurely.nyc for all her stylish looks.
Nike Pro Hyperwarm Engineered Print, $80; store.nike.com.
Zoe Karssen Le Freak Racer Back Tank, $69.35; zoekarssen.com.
Koral Activewear Lustrous Leggings, $92; shopbop.com.
Vans & Madewell Classic Sk8-Hi High-Tops in Wool, $80; madewell.com.