Fitness Wear is Redefining Casual

By Brooke Bordelon

photo from

photo from

A toned Highland Park housewife breezes into Central Market clothed in head-to-toe Lululemon, her bleach blonde ponytail swishing behind her. A sorority girl sits in class at Southern Methodist University, bouncing her colorful Nike-clad foot up and down with impatience. Two teenagers delight in the arrival of their queso at Taco Diner, their slim figures squeezed into neon-colored workout tops.

Nowadays, it seems everywhere you look you are bound to see a woman dressed in some sort of fitness wear, whether or not she intends to actually hit the gym. However, the days of slouchy shorts and “Dad’s old tee” are long gone. In recent years, high-end, fashionable workout gear has burst onto the scene and successfully broken free from the confines of the gym.

An influx of better quality and more stylish sports wear into mainstream life is redefining casual wear as we know it.  With sleeker, minimalist styles, it’s no wonder that fitness clothing is becoming the new normal. It’s easier than ever to look put together without putting too much thought into one’s outfit.

“I definitely notice it’s a trend at SMU,” says senior Zara Walsh.  “I always look at girls and think, wow they look really cool or good, and they’re wearing workout clothes.”

In 2011, CNNmoney named Lululemon — the maker of stylish yoga and workout gear — the sixth fastest growing company in the nation, rocketing up 10  spots from where it  appeared on the previous year’s list.  If this is any indicator, the fitness wear trend is showing no signs of slowing down.

Maud Beelman, deputy managing editor for investigative projects and enterprise at the Dallas Morning News, teaches Communication Law at SMU.  She says she has noticed that many of her students sport (no pun intended) Nike shorts and Luluemon tops.

“I don’t think there is anything wrong with a student coming into class wearing fitness wear,” she says.

Beelman notes that it’s not just the younger generation hopping on the fitness wear bandwagon. Recently back from a beach vacation, she recalls how fitness wear was the clothing of choice amongst her comrades.

“We were just lounging around the house,” she says. “We weren’t hiking a mountain or forging a stream but we were all dressed in this super high-tech wicking sport wear or we were in our yoga pants and yoga tops.”

Caroline Montgomery, an employee at Dallas’ Lululemon store, thinks it’s great that women have incorporated more workout gear into their casual wardrobes. She feels that having stylish workout clothes is an excellent incentive for women to embrace healthier lifestyles.

“To have a brand like Lululemon that is stylish and on trend is a catalyst to the fitness movement,” she says, “just because women who are living active lifestyles can workout and look great at the same time.”

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