Fit chic: Gym clothes became fashionable

Nov 26 2013, 12:35 IST
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Workout clothes for women, once relegated to the back of the closet, are moving to the front of the fashion scene. (Thinkstock) Workout clothes for women, once relegated to the back of the closet, are moving to the front of the fashion scene. (Thinkstock)
SummaryWorkout clothes for women are moving to the front of the fashion scene.

she noticed the trend at the New York Fashion week in September as more people were choosing shoes like the neon Nike Free Flyknit over designer pumps. Greenberg herself paired a “Gold's Gym'' t-shirt and Adidas Samba sneakers with a two-piece bejeweled suit _ something she wouldn't have done a couple years ago.

“It is almost cooler to be comfortable and athletic and feel like yourself than to be overly glam,'' Greenberg says.

Fitness chic also sends a message to others that you are living a healthy lifestyle, says Noreen Naroo, senior creative director for apparel at fitness brand Under Armour. Recently, Naroo did a mile run at her daughter's elementary school with leggings, a sports bra, t-shirt and sneakers. She changed from her sneakers into boots to go to work.

“This is exactly what women are doing _ running between work and play,'' Naroo says.

Nike says that's one reason its women's business has added $1 billion in revenue since fiscal 2010 to reach $4 billion in fiscal 2013. It's been fueled in part by demand for fashionable workout gear like its leggings with compression technology that is made to be flattering. Another hit has been its ``tights of the moment,'' limited edition running tights with geometric or neon prints.

And to capitalize on the popularity of classes like Barre and Pilates in which people usually go barefoot, Nike says it created a lightweight foot wrap called the Studio Wrap which helps with hygiene and slippage, but also looks stylish. ``Women don't want to compromise performance or style,'' says Heidi O'Neill, Nike's vice president and general manager of women's training.

CrossFit, a high intensity group training program, also has inspired fitness chic with brightly colored knee-high socks, colorful tanks and accessories like headbands and compression arm bands. ``We're seeing fitness become a fashion look,'' said Chris Froio, vice president of fitness and training at Reebok, which sponsors the CrossFit Games.

Danielle Duffy, 31, wears CrossFit t-shirts and sparkly silver headbands or customized pink-and-purple Reebok shoes both in the gym and out hanging out with pals.

“Sometimes we'll dress up in normal clothing ... but mostly we're the sweaty girls in CrossFit clothes hanging out in a bar,'' says Duffy, who lives in Washington, D.C. “We own it and we're going to be those people.''

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