How to wear the athletic trend: 9 Style Panel for taking gym class to the streets

Athletic Trend Style Panel
Athletic Trend Style Panel

Some of the most on-trend styles can often be some of the most uncomfortable. We have spent many a night staggering home on sore feet from sky scraping heels or sitting in uncomfortably restricting body-con dresses. All in the name of fashion, right? So imagine our glee when the athletic trend, one synonymous with comfy yet fashionable kicks and sporty gear, was bigger than ever on the Spring 2014 runways—viva la trend sneaker!

Despite being one of the most comfortable and freeing trends, the athletic trend has some restrictions. With such a relaxed silhouette and casual aesthetic, you have to be sure to keep things boardroom appropriate and far away from the locker room: sweaty old gym leggings need not apply. Clean lines and a sleek minimalist silhouette as well as luxurious fabrics—think Marni’s bejewelled visors or Marc Jacobssilk gym shorts—make sporty cues translatable to all facets of life. Beyond the iconic raglan tee or sneakers, sporty riffs also exist in fabric being appropriated into typically girly or formal silhouettes. Just take a look at Tommy Hilfiger’s neoprene fit-and-flare dresses or Tom Ford’s billowing mesh tanks, both perfect for a night out on the town.

Question 93: How do you wear the athletic trend? Read the answers now! »

While things often look phenomenal on the runway, it’s a whole other matter when trying to apply the runway trends to our own lives. We turned to our trusty Style Panel to get their tips on how to wear the athletic trend in a way that’s fresh and stylish, so we don’t look like we just stepped out of the gym or too contrived. Jill Lanksy from The August Diaries and Kira Piran from Northern Style Exposure both show how to mix seemingly contrasting pieces into a cohesive yet utterly trendy way. Short Presents’ blogger, Kayla Short, toughens up a vintage gym tank but steers clear of costume territory thanks to some modern pieces. All of our style panellists look fresh and youthful, each of them looking totally relaxed and laid back. We think this casual approach to dressing just might be our favourite spring trend yet!


Athletic Trend Elodie Parthenay

Elodie Parthenay, 26
Montreal | Hello Elo

I have a soft spot for jogging pants, and I have to confess that I’d wear them all the time, but who wants to look like a slob? In order to make the look work even in the daytime (I guess I’m lucky to work in fashion and to be self-employed!), it’s crucial to show that you didn’t just stumble out of the door after a bad night, but that you actually spent time planning your outfit. So go ahead and play with textures, add something structured, and skip the sneakers – simple pumps will elevate your whole look.

Elodie is wearing: Jogging Pants, and Tweed Baseball Jacket, Smart Set. Leopard and Leather Biker Jacket, Asos. Sequined Sweater, H&M. Pumps, Aldo. Beanie, Starcow

Athletic Trend Nicole Wilson

Nicole Wilson, 29
Toronto | Dainty Girl

Sweatpants and heels? Yep, you saw correctly. With Team Canada cleaning up at the recent Olympic Games, I figured why not experiment with my favourite Roots Canada sweats and turn a few heads at the sports bar?

As cute and cuddly as casual sweats can be, we’ve seen and worn that look a bazillion times before (especially during the Polar Vortex). These sporty-chic skinny sweatpants inspired me to try something a little different. Perfectly cropped at the ankle and fitted – they’re practically BEGGING to be worn with heels! I loosely tucked in a basic tee and finished off the look with glam accessories and a slouchy toque. SO Canadian, eh?

Nicole is wearing: T-shirt and Sweatpants, Roots. Heels, Le Chateau. Clutch, Ela. Bracelets, Stella & Dot. Watch, Caravelle New York. Hat, Aldo

Athletic Trend Kira Paran

Kira Parn, 29
Edmonton | Northern Style Exposure

I’m loving the elevated athletic trend. The key to sporting this trend in a winning way, is pairing high and low items. I mixed a baseball cap and tee with luxurious Italian silk pants plus a blazer. I avoid looking like I’m going to the gym with this item mixing trick.

Kira is wearing: Blazer, James and Elizabeth. T-shirt and Baseball Cap, J.Crew. Silk Pant, J. Crew Collection. Bag, Louis Vuitton. Necklace, Stella & Dot. Loafer, Madewell

Athletic Trend Jacquelyn Son

Jacquelyn Son, 21
Vancouver, BC | Style Worthwhile

The athletic trends is one of my favourites for this season. It’s casual, yet chic. Plus, it’s also super comfortable! Here, I wore a pair of loose high-waisted pants with a cropped top for a sporty feel. My tip would be to remember balance in your outfit – if you’re going looser on bottom, wear something tighter on top. Or you could style a more monochrome outfit by wearing a matching athletic suit that’s loosely- fitted top to bottom.

Athletic Trend Leonie Markhorst

Leonie Markhorst, 26
Vancouver, BC | The Signature Bow

I’ll start off with a -somewhat, to me, embarrassing- confession: it has taken me a good year to purchase a pair of sneakers. Yup, now that I have taken the (sporty) plunge I am ok with admitting that I always felt I couldn’t pull off the look. While I do admire the chic athletic outfits on others, I like to stick to a more balanced look that still very much feels “me”. Cue: incorporate luxurious, albeit minimal, details that elevate the athleticism – in this case: sneakers. For the first spin in my New Balance’s I decided to pair them with leather pants and a velvet top. Slightly athletic, but still very me.

Leonie is wearing: Velvet Top, Cos. Leather Pants, BDG. 420 Sneakers, New Balance. Chain bag, Zara

Athletic Trend Lyndsey Forest

Lyndsey Forest, 23
Edmonton | Over My Styled Body

When you think of the athletic trend, bulky knits and over-sized coats don’t necessarily come to mind. But the trick to keeping this trend refreshing and warm during the winter months might be just that! The first step to making this look work is to pick an item that’s weather appropriate, like a baseball cap or a pair of leather joggers. I don’t know if a pair of short shorts would really cut it (although very cute) but kudos to you for trying! Once you have your piece it’s all about the layering. That way instead of just looking trendy you’re also throwing in a healthy dose of chic. And who doesn’t love looking trendy, chic, and athletic?! Perfect combination.

Lyndsey is wearing: Jogging Pants, Coat and Scarf, Zara. Clutch, Danier Leather. T-shirt, Aritzia. Sunglasses, Ray-Ban. Heels, Kate & Mel via Townshoes

Athletic Trend Jillian Lansky

Jill Lansky, 26
Vancouver | The August Diaries

The athletic trend is all about the details. You don’t want to look like you’ve actually just come from the gym, so go for pieces that are athletic inspired as opposed to wearing your running shoes and carrying around a tennis racket. Separates are the way to go with this trend: a white skirt, a racerback tank or slim sweatpants will make you look chic and sporty. Details like mesh fabric and zippers update basics to a sporty level.

I’m willing spring to come so I pulled out these gym shorts (note the pockets and drawstring details) and paired them with a V-neck tee and heels. I love the look of heels juxtaposing an athletic look. This is another way to keep the outfit from looking too gym-like.

Athletic Trend Kayla Short

Kayla Short, 26
Halifax | Short Presents

Ditch the basketballs, and leave the tennis rackets at home because this season you don’t need to be an athlete to sport some gear. With a plethora of mesh, jerseys, and track pants hitting the runways this season it’s all about kicking back with the elevated athletic look. I’m usually not one for being super sporty, I’m a dancer, so this is a boundary pushing trend for me, but I’m totally on board. The way I make it my own is by pairing this vintage mesh Nike tank (which I’m obsessed with) with some fancier pieces like heels and a big necklace, and bright bold lip.

Kayla is wearing: Vintage Mesh Tank, MakeNew Vintage. Jeans, Joe Fresh. Necklace, Olive + Piper. Leather Jacket, Winners. Shoes, Aldo. Clutch, Gap

Athletic Trend Becky Kung

Becky Kung, 30
Calgary | Velvet & Vino

The sporty vibe is right on the mark this season and my favorite way to experiment with this trend is with a pair of sneakers! The sneakers call for an unfussy outfit – an easy sweatshirt and tomboyish extras like a moto faux-leather legging.

Becky is wearing: Coat, Bershka. Sweatshirt, Old Navy. Leggings, 27 Boutique. Sneakers, Converse. Beanie, H&M