Athleisure wear through the decades
Mar 17, 2021 | by Becky Oeltjenbruns
I think it’s fair to say that during this pandemic we’ve all trended toward comfort. Whether that be comfort food, comfort clothing, or comfort shows – these touch points have served a vital role throughout these crazy times. As much as I love a beautifully composed vintage (or vintage-inspired) look, sweatpants have been the center of my fashion universe for the past twelve months.
Clothes that move with you – rather than constrain you – are a relatively modern invention. In the early 1900s physical fitness for women was largely perceived as a menace to society. If a woman dared to break a sweat, it was often thanks to the layers upon layers of clothes (instead of sheer athleticism alone). Everything from undergarments to shoes discouraged women from free movement. Playing tennis meant donning your corset and heeled boots. (This was one of the reasons why Keds shoes were such a revelation!) For the women who lived through the global pandemic in 1918, comfort couldn’t be found in fashion.
Whatever your take is on the athleisure movement, it’s definitely having a moment thanks to 2020. Ever since the invention of Lycra in the 1940s, textiles have evolved to be more flexible. Even though the only flexibility we might be experiencing these days is walking to the kitchen in between Zoom calls, I thought it’d be fun to take a spin through althleisure wear through the decades. Put on your favorite comfy clothes and join me on a photo tour. Tell me about your favorite looks in the comments…