How To Buy: Athleisure

by Olivia Cox August 14

When I was in the Army, I could spend weeks at a time wearing only uniform and gym kit. Days were long and standards predictably high, so re-wearing smelly kit was an absolute non-starter. Which is how my absolutely HUGE collection of gym kit / athleisure started.

Fast forward ten years and my life is now in some ways completely different to the girl marching through RMA Sandhurst. For starters, I get a blow-dry twice a week at Neville, and spent this morning editing a make-up tutorial with my MUA Candice. But then, there’s also a load of similarities. Like my inability to get anywhere later than ‘five minutes before the five minutes before’, and my insasiable love of gym kit.

Full disclosure: I am not always intending to work out when I put on a pair of well-wicking leggings. Admittedly I do work out at least 5 days out of 7 – so on a practical level I reach for my #athleisure on a very regular basis. But beyond that, it’s also my go-to. Gym kit is my safe place – I wear it to meetings, I wear it to chill, I’ve even recently worn it on what turned out (kind of embaressingly) to be quite a nice first date. So the majority of post work-out clothes I carry to change into will probably be fresh gym kit.

You’re probably realising my point here – I love athleisure. Of course, not all athleisure is created equal – there are definately some that’re better suited to certain activities (like a post-Barry’s shake, for example). Here’s some of my favourite pieces of kit.

My absolute favourite EVER leggings are Wunder Under by Lululemon. They are like a second skin – super lightweight and flexible.  Lululemon pieces are originally inspired by yoga apparel (aka the pieces you can actually wear to brunch after a class), but each have dedicated tehnical elements. Which means they have all the function and also all of the design.

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Olivia Cox, asics, run the tube, fitness blogger,
Olivia Cox, asics, run the tube, fitness blogger,I was first introduced to Asics as a running shoe brand when I was training for selection into the British Army. Since then, I rarely run in anything else – I did the London Marathon in 3hr40 and finished without a single blister, hot spot or rogue toenail (ew). They’ve recently upped their kit game, too and are now strong competitors in Athleisure.
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New Balance started off as a functional trainers brand over 100 years ago, and continues to support athletes from the pros to first time fun-runners. Their athleisure game has shot up this year, and whilst the emphasis remains on performance, they are now key competitors in the style sphere – exhibit a: cool collaborations with brands like J. Crew.
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Gibson Girl is one of the newer brands to capture the athleisure market. The key message at the core of the brand is that we can look effing great and still be little gym ninjas. Which is sort of the moto I live by.
Gibson Girl pieces are highly engineered, hi-tech fabrics with 4-way stretch and recovery properties. They’re also designed to be a flattering fit, which is super important to me – I find I can work out harder if I feel the part and feel confident in what I’m wearing.
For history buffs amongst you, you’ll know that the original “Gibson Girls” were the “It” girls of the late 19th century. Illustrated in the pages of Vogue and Harpers Bazaar, there was an emergence of athletic women newly empowered to enter the workplace as an equal to man.
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I’ve been a fan of Varley since I was first introduced to a pair of hi-tech, marble print leggings back in my Marie Claire days. The L.A. slash London means all the best bits of our cosmopolitan elegance and LaLa’s active lifestyle merge to form maybe the most insta-friendly activewear yet. At the moment I’m obsessed with their cute take on camo print and graphic waistbands.

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Pink Soda is an in-house brand by JD Sport. The focus is affordable athleisure, and collections are updated regularly. They are super hot on layering – leggings and sports bras for the workout, then zip-ups, tees and trackies for the walk home.

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