Back to Work & Good-Bye Athleisure Wear

For this week’s Fashion Unstitched, I want to approach the subject of maybe it being time, at least for when we’re dealing with going back to work, to say good-bye to athleisure wear. In fashion, trends come and go as culture and society changes and adapts. This is true during major events that affect society. We’ve seen this not only during war times, but also during recessions, depressions…and today, the world pandemic that has affected us all. Fashion responds to this. So it’s maybe time to not only get back to work but also say good-bye Athleisure Wear- finally!

A bit of history here from your favourite fashion teacher… Take for instance the reality of longer skirts worn in times of war and depression; In contrast, within a good, healthy economy, skirts rise up again. Another example comes to mind of during Great Depression and WW2, where there were fabric restrictions- so what did people do? They got creative and designed their own clothes- using the flour and rice cotton sacks as material to create dresses- and that was the style!

Women using flower print sacs to create their own dresses.
The 40’s…
The 60’s and the mini skirt.

Another example of what was happening during the restrictions of WW2, where women could not buy pantyhose to wear due to the scarcity of nylon- so they got creative and drew lines in back of their legs to look like they were wearing some! Through hard times people need a diversion.

Women drawing lines on their legs.

Now let’s look at how the Pandemic has influenced our fashion trends- especially in terms of working at home. For almost two years our work situation switched from on the road to the office- to at home, on the computer. Our clothing needed to be smart from waist up only, and even at that, we tailored down. The trend has been loose comfy wear. Meaning creativity found mainly in terms of sweats and leggings- and that’s all you could shop for!

The big question for the industry has been- will we keep on going the way of athleisure wear…or are structured clothes coming back?

Cutting up that sweatshirt to give it more style!

There seems to be an even split on this. The real question should be: Are people ready for something vibrant and new? Personally, I need a bit of Umph back into my life. Finally seeing people again in person, I need clothes for real life- clothes that pep up my mood, more than any sweats could ever do for me. The trend to want to live life fully again is surely trickling in; Remember not too long ago, the Met Gala, with its Gilded Glamor theme? I’m on that page.

And if we refer back to history…the story is that fun and glam is what people really want after they’ve been through difficult times. Right after WW2 and all its shortages and restrictions, Dior came out with a banging splurge with his New Look. This type of dress, cut on the bias, needed an excessive amount of fabric to produce. But it was a sensation- and women couldn’t get enough of this trend. Opulence and ultra femininity were back.

Dior’s opulent New Look- which took several meters of fabric to create!

I know we love comfort, and that’s an addiction in itself- so it’s kind of hard to go back to a more structured sense of style. But it need not be so! With the right fabrics and designs, we can still feel comfortable but look chic- it need not be athleisure wear. A flowy, silk dress that’s button down can offer both chicness and freedom of movement.

My animal print dress styled without a belt.

Silk is a breathable flowy fabric; button down is useful for loosening the collar- or get more leg room simply by undoing the last button. Bottom line is that the slouchy sweats look has done its time. You can have style and comfort, and feel glam without being in athleisure all day long. Been there done that- move on!

And- heels are back! No need for sky high platforms, a square, or kitty heel can also elevate any look. Ditch the sneakers! We’re coming back strong, and we wanna look good, whether it’s at the office or at home in front of the computer. We’re on a Dior wave-length; He was onto something very real. So for me, I say let’s get back to work and so long lounge wear!

Back to work is serious business, but Fashion and style don’t have to be.

Watch me have some fashion fun styling up my silk animal print dress, in this short clip.

So, as we go back to Work should we say good-bye to Athleisure Wear and bring back the fun and glam? What do you think?

Fashion Unstitched is a series where I take you through bits of fashion history, fibres and textiles, guest interviews, industry talk, fashion events, sustainability, museums, reviews…If it’s fashionable- I’m covering it!! Suggestions, and collaborations are welcome. Send me an email. Thanks for reading.

12 thoughts on “Back to Work & Good-Bye Athleisure Wear

Add yours

  1. I am so ready to see people dress up again. There is something about it that just lifts your spirits. It can still be comfortable even if it isn’t athleisure wear.

  2. I agree 100%! I think, even before the pandemic, we were on this course of casual wear. When I first started teaching, we were expected to wear professional clothing. Then, it became business casual. By the time I retired, every Friday was jeans day, and teachers looked for any excuse to wear jeans. My grandchildren’s school has teachers in leggings! I just think we need to dress up more on the whole! I am just about the only one at our church who wears a dress to services on Saturday nights. As I am retired, it’s also one of the few times when I feel like I can really dress up! Thanks for a wonderful read, Lucy!

    1. Oh Marsha we are on the same page! I long for those days when every outing was a dress up opportunity. Sadly, it’s becoming very basic, unless we make an effort. Thanks!

  3. Beautiful outfit, Lucy! And I so appreciate the brief history lesson. I remember my dad talking about his grandmother making clothing from feedsacks. It’s amazing how pretty those feed sack prints were! I agree about changing up the attire since the pandemic restrictions are lifted. Since I am retired, I do like comfortable pieces, but I want them to be pretty also. My lounge wear has typically been old t-shirts and leggings. I’ve been changing that.


Leave a Reply

Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: