All modern fashion is athleisure
November 7, 2018 7:24 AM Subscribe
The theme of the past century of Western fashion is this: We take clothes designed for activity, and we adapt them for inactivity. And that’s true beyond the world of sports. For decades, Levi Strauss jeans were worn mostly by men working in factories and farms; today, denim is for loungers. Wristwatches were pioneered in World War I to keep soldiers punctual; today, we embrace them as peacetime jewelry.Single link The Atlantic
Although the popularity of tennis has been declining for decades, today almost all of the best-selling shoes in America are sneakers. Like yoga pants, tennis shoes are sportswear that have transcended their sport.
Around the same time as the invention of the rubber sole, intramural sports took off at American universities, Clemente told me. That meant more young men playing tennis, golf, polo, and croquet. But lacking the means or inclination to fill their wardrobe with non-sports clothes, many of these men simply kept their athletic attire on for class. Athleisure dropped the prefix and became, simply, leisure.
Let’s look at a couple of specific examples beyond tennis shoes: sport coats, polo shirts, and shorts. For each item, the influence of athletics sticks out like a popped collar.
“Females who don track shorts and jerseys and run and jump in track meets are just wasting their time, and ours,” one Esquire columnist wrote in 1936. “They weren’t built for that sort of costume.” Nevertheless, in the past 80 years, shorts have gotten shorter and tighter, as advances in synthetic fibers have made them more elastic and more flexible.