September is a bit of a middling month.
The weather hasn’t quite changed and we’re finally getting back to our normal workout routine after too many three-day weekends this summer, so it feels like the perfect time to invest in a few new workout pieces for a little encouragement to throw some sweat sessions on the calendar. The latest fall and winter athleisure trends won’t just inspire you to hit the gym—they’ll work overtime to help you look and feel good at the office, when going out, and on your rest days. Read on for our favorite trends in athletic wear to keep your eye out for next season.
From bra tops to mock turtleneck dresses, high neckline silhouettes are gaining popularity in active wear. According to Denise Lee, the founder and CEO of the edgy New York label Alala, “Women with larger chests love the bras with a high neck because you’re not spilling out when you jump and run, and you don’t feel like you’re revealing too much when you’re bending over in yoga class. Plus, the higher cut is more supportive.”
These are not the all-pink velour Juicy Couture sweatsuits of the early aughts. Think more chic, figure-flattering bra and legging combos that look pulled-together and less matchy-matchy reality TV star. Brands like Outdoor Voices and Alala make pieces that work perfectly when worn together but elevate any outfit when worn separately. Bonus: These sets are great for layering (more on that later!).
The use of more technical fabrics has been trending for a while—think 2XU’s compression tights that help with muscle fatigue or Lululemon’s silverescent anti-stink fabric. And consumers are paying more attention to the weight and feel of fabric when they’re shopping for new gear. Plain old Lycra or Spandex just doesn’t cut it anymore! Shoppers want fabrics that are high-performing, flattering, and can be worn from spin class to drinks with friends.
Brands like ADAY, 10 Crosby by Derek Lam, Mara Hoffman, Kit and Ace, and Nike are playing with interesting fabrics and prints that are moisture-wicking and comfortable, but still fashionable. “At ADAY, we use technology to create fabrics that are silk or leather-like and are restocking our next-gen cashmere accessories this fall,” said Jessica Lok, product designer at the low-key high-quality technical clothing brand.
Colder temps call for more clothing, but that doesn’t mean you need to put away your favorite crop tops or that bulky, shapeless jackets are in your near future. Hold on the crop tops, “They’re not going anywhere! It’s such a flattering shape, and they look cute and a little sexy when worn under a mesh shirt or with an open, drapey jacket,” says Lee. Even parkas, vests, and leggings will have a second life when paired with long dresses or slinky tops.
“I feel like there are two types of active wear out there,” says Lok. “One more suited to the gym and what comes right before, which is visually bolder, and one more for the everyday life, which is more minimal.” Investing in a few more minimalistic pieces makes it easier to layer, and this winter we’ll see less bright, neon-colored workout gear and more muted tones for better versatility.
Schilling out big bucks for a cute pair of designer leggings only to have them stretch or bag out while you’re trying to workout is less than ideal. You’re paying for quality and fashionability. That’s why this season, functionality is a primary focus for designers. At Alala, ultra-warm sherpa jackets and neoprene blazers are front and center in the lookbook—perfect for New Yorkers schlepping from the studio to the boardroom. And ADAY is releasing a technical-tailored capsule complete with a button down shirt and trousers.
Want more fitness fashion? Check out the five new active wear collections you’ve got to shop before they sell out!