Is the COVID-19 pandemic the death knell for pantsuits and stilettos?
The outbreak of COVID-19 and the ensuing stay-at-home orders have pushed elegant and sophisticated clothing to the backs of our wardrobes.
While wearing a mask is seriously disrupting many of our beauty routines, the outbreak of COVID-19 and the ensuing stay-at-home orders have pushed elegant and sophisticated clothing to the backs of our wardrobes. Pantsuits, ties and stilettos are among the first victims of this unannounced revolution, which has ushered in the enduring return of athleisure, a fashion that is deeply symbolic of the change wrought by the coronavirus.
No, athleisure and sportswear are not dead, quite the contrary in fact. Just a few months after influential voices announced the imminent demise of these fashions, the lockdown and a growing number of athleisure collections have demonstrated that comfortable, practical and feel-good functional clothing is not only back, it is also here to stay. And it's not just a way of dressing, but also the expression of a desire for a lifestyle identified with well-being.
Remote working is partly responsible
Why bother with a fussy wardrobe at a time when companies are actively encouraging remote working? The health crisis has clearly led to a change in attitude to working from home, and at the same time disrupted consumer habits. It seems obvious that those who no longer leave the house for the office are not likely to sit down at their desks in suits and ties, and certainly won't be wearing high heels.
All the surveys on the subject conducted during or just after the lockdown have highlighted this trend. A case in point is a report by the fashion search engine Stylight published in March, which noted a marked increase in searches and clicks for athleisure and activewear clothing that is comfortable to wear at home and also ideal for working out. And it appears that fashion followers are unwilling to sacrifice either of these. If a choice has to be made, comfort and sports are now priorities that are more important than chic and elegant looks.
Even leggings are making a comeback
Now is the time to get back to nature, to basics and classics, and a healthier and greener lifestyle. Stay-at-home measures, which are still having a major impact in a wide range of areas including real estate, tourism, and mobility, have also up-ended assumptions about what to wear. In particular among the fashion fans, who are no longer content to be in the vanguard for every new trend, but now also want to highlight their desire to be healthy and green, and are eager to embrace any movement that can bring them greater serenity and well-being. Athleisure satisfies all of these criteria.
As a result, laid-back looks are more than ever in style, with plenty of loose-fitting T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies worn over bras and sports bras. The trend has even gone one step further and brought back leggings. The form-fitting exercise-wear garments, which were until recently off-radar for the fashion world, have now become key wardrobe pieces for such well-known models as Kaia Gerber, Josephine Skriver and Izabel Goulart.
Last but not least, there has been a major increase in the number of athleisure collections by celebrities, who rarely miss a beat when it comes to investment opportunities. To name but a few, Gwyneth Paltrow, Delilah Belle and Amelia Gray Hamlin, and Demi Lovato have all launched their own athleisure collections. All in all, the trend for activewear now appears to be unstoppable. So prepare to swap your heels and tweeds for leggings, crop tops and sneakers. Even if it's not your preferred look, you'll surely feel more comfortable.