San Francisco, CA

From San Francisco With Love: Athleisure Is Worldwide New Cool

Kristina Akhrarova

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Spring 2022 RTWPhoto byAcielle / StyleDuMonde

You've seen it on the streets, and now Athleisure is taking over the high-fashion runways—Hermes Included. I'm sure you've seen variants of the same style over the last year: ponytails and baseball caps, colorful Alo Yoga racerback crop shirts combined with matching Lululemon leggings and biker shorts, and 5" inseam gym shorts teamed with Arc'teryx. From San Francisco to the rest of the world, the Athleisure style has taken over everyday fashion! For at least the last ten years, athleisure has had a huge moment in the Bay Area. Comfort is essential for Silicon Valley tech nomads. Girls, on the other hand, can't image going on a first date without tightening their waists, hips, and legs—The Thing. The San Franciscan Thing!

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Gucci Resort 2024Photo byCarlo Scarpato / Gorunway.com

The other day, I was browsing new collections on Vogue Runway when I came across the Gucci Resort 2024, which had biker shorts over tweed coats and track zip-ups over evening dresses, invoking the Lululemon crowd. When I opened the other shows, it felt like I was dreaming: Marine Serre’s armaggeddon-ready utilitarian clothes, Mrs. Prada's Miu Miu show for fall 2023, Jonathan Anderson's Loewe long-johns. Meanwhile, Hermès discreetly released a yoga clothing collection. All of this appeared to be a fitness-obsessed American fad, or, more precisely, a San Francisco one that had extended internationally. It's partly due to the migration of fellow San Franciscans. The athleisureization of haute fashion has begun.

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Spring 2022 RTWPhoto byAcielle / StyleDuMonde

People may be perplexed about what to wear in the post-Covid age, merging Work From Home essentials with dress-to-impress trends, as San Franciscans have done for a decade. Nonetheless, the pandemic was the final nail in the coffin for blazers, ties, and pencil skirts as our sole work clothing options. This produced uncertainty about how and what to wear. To prevent awkward situations, several organizations have relaxed or eliminated dress codes completely, allowing employees to wear whatever they feel most comfortable with. People are loving their newfound freedom and flexibility as business casual has become the new standard. So, Gucci's Prince of Wales suit (double-breasted jacket and motorcycle shorts) now appears to be a plausible option.

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Spring 2022 RTWPhoto byAcielle / StyleDuMonde

On the other hand, Mrs. Prada's tongue-in-cheek approach to athleisure now appears more genuine. With zip hoodies in heather-gray knits or stiff leathers coupled with everyday tights, leggings, and occasionally nothing but underwear, Miu Miu underscored the pervasiveness of athleisure. The Miu Miu collection addressed the truth that lies underneath put-togetherness, especially for a generation that is less interested in feigning sophistication. Gen Z seems to care less about perfect tailoring and more about comfort. Mrs. Prada realizes that we all want luxury and comfort at the same time. After work, for example, the Miu Miu person goes to Pilates and, on the way home, slips on their loafers and walks home in workout clothes; their middle-part bun is now messed up from the exercises. This is how we dress: with messy hair, the wrong shoes, and a comfy hoodie to keep us warm. 

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Spring 2022 RTWPhoto byAcielle / StyleDuMonde

Karl Lagerfeld once said that sweatpants were a sign of defeat. However, that’s hardly the case now that our Lululemon sweatpants can be co-signed by Gucci or Balenciaga. With all of the cool girls going for high-fashion athleisure, maybe it's time to let go of the old-school's thoughts.

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Spring 2022 RTWPhoto byAcielle / StyleDuMonde

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