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Sure, it’s perfectly logical to opt for a pair of beat-up leggings and stained muscle tee from middle school P.E. days, but frankly, there’s something to be said about the power of a flattering and stylish activewear outfit and its ability to elevate the level of motivation required to actually get the workout done. Am I right? Obviously a spin class — or let’s face it — an at-home workout isn’t a fashion show, but if dressing up in an on-trend activewear get-up to break a sweat gets me going, why not put on some cute leggings and a matching top that lifts my backside and makes me feel cute while I’m at it?
While we don’t often think of activewear when forecasting fashion trends, 2020 was the year of athleisure, stretchy leggings, and all things comfort. Many of us are still practicing social distancing measures and working from home, which has propelled the activewear market to serve us some ~seriously~ fashion-y pieces that took the category to the next level. Barre to brunch has never held greater value.
Nowadays, activewear designs borrow the same print, cut, and design trends as regular apparel, and I am seriously here for this shift. While many of the fashion-forward performance leggings tend to fall under the luxury end of the spectrum, affordable brands are now beginning to follow suit. And, now that 2021 is underway, fresh activewear styles inspired by other current sartorial movements are still coming in hot, so we decided to give you the lowdown on all the best trends you’ll want to wear 24/7 — not just while you’re workin’ on your fitness.
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The good ’80s leotard look is back this year with fresh, modernized details that make the trend feel anything but dated. Onesies, unitards, rompers, or jumpsuits — call it whatever you want to call it, but one-piece activewear is officially back.
Ultracor Motion Lux Jumpsuit
Sleek and chic.
LNA Short Leopard Onesie
Get extra credit points for adding some animal print to the trend.
Girlfriend Collective Earth Bike Unitard
This chic unitard comes in the prettiest colorways.
Lingerie has long been a major influence when it comes to apparel trends in fashion, but this year it’s finally made its way to activewear. From corset-inspired seams to built-in bras and peek-a-boo lace-up fastenings, fitness attire has never been sexier.
WeWoreWhat Corset Unitard
Have I convinced you about the unitard trend yet?
Savage x Fenty by Rihanna Lace-Up Leggings
Whoa. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a sexier pair of leggings.
The Upside Bianca Top
The corset top trend has officially made its way to workout attire.
Yet another sartorial moment born from viral TikTok content, flare leggings/yoga pants are officially back — and these aren’t the less-than-flattering “jazz pants” from the aughts either. Emma Chamberlain would definitely approve of the picks below.
Year of Ours Flare Leggings
These super-flare yoga pants are the perfect brunch to barre staple.
New Look Flare Ribbed Leggings
TBH, I would wear these out—whether workout bound or not.
Free People Kick Start It Flare Leggings
These fitness flares are ridiculously flattering.
This year’s cut-out trend is less about showing off some skin in unexpected places, and more focussed on geometric lines derived from the runways. Think unusual, asymmetric, and crisscross details.
Forever 21 Crisscross Cutout Leggings
Just a subtle hint of exposure.
ALO Yoga Barre Long Sleeve Top
Just a slight peek-a-boo effect with some flattering tie details.
WeWoreWhat Cutout Bodysuit
The onesie + cutout details make for the perfect 2021 fitness piece.
Tie-dye sweatpants were the bottom of choice in 2020, and the retro print has endured and shifted to activewear pieces that are so easy to style for a workout class or just running some errands.
Aerie Offline Hugger High-Waisted Legging
These high-rise leggings also feature side pockets — perfect for outdoor workouts and strolls.
Spiritual Gangster Old School Kaleidoscope Sweatshirt
Wear this psychedelic sweatshirt post-workout or lounging at home.
Lululemon Limited Edition Align Pant 28″Lunar New Year
These LE acid-wash leggings pay homage to the Lunar New Year.
Leather pants are the hottest fashion trend of the moment, and activewear has definitely caught on. These faux-leather and vinyl leggings aren’t the rigid leather trousers you’re used to though—they give you plenty of flexibility to actually work out if you choose to do so (and no judgment if you don’t, obviously).
Spanx Faux Leather Leggings
There’s a reason these leather-like leggings are perpetually on backorder.
Commando Faux Patent Leather Leggings
Health influencer (and athleisure style icon) Melissa Wood is a fan of these uber-chic leggings.
Nike Icon Clash Statement Jacket
The latest iteration of the beloved puffer jacket trend.