Recently a friend showed up to a meeting with a client wearing tailored pants and a blazer, her own stylish spin on professional attire. Meanwhile, the client showed up in leopard print leggings. My friend was equal parts jealous and impressed.
Today’s fitness apparel is more stylish than ever. Over the last five years, athleisure has remained a steadily growing trend thanks to consumers dressing more casually in general, and to designers and celebs like Stella McCartney, Tory Burch, Kate Hudson and Beyoncé throwing their hats into the market.
At this point, sometimes it’s difficult to tell if a piece is for the gym or something cute to throw on while grabbing a matcha latte or, well, both. Using “Would I wear this to meet up with friends?” as a bar, below are CNN Underscored’s most fashionable athleisure picks, which you can wear to yoga or HIIT class, or just to pick up your dry cleaning for your next not-so-chill business meeting.
Outdoor Voices TechSweat Crop Top ($45; outdoorvoices.com)
Sort of an instant mood elevator, polka dots might inspire a fitness personal record! Throw a light cardi over for a playful day look.
Nike Shape Zip Bra ($60; bandier.com)
Sleek and chic, this one has a superhero costume kind of feel, with a practical zip-in, zip-out function.
Alo Yoga Sunny Strappy Sports Bra ($54; aloyoga.com)
Very flattering, with a ruched neckline and strappy back detail.
Alo Yoga Occasion Bra in Forest Plaid ($68; aloyoga.com)
Plaid makes anything a little more fun — including working out — and the forest green is less expected.
Zella Go with the Flow Tank Top ($39; nordstrom.com)
Throw this on over any sports bra for a little extra coverage.
Amazon Essentials Women’s Studio Keyhole Tank ($9; amazon.com)
An excellent essential: a basic tank that works for almost any physical activity and is a good layering piece in chillier weather.
Alo Cover Tank ($54; aloyoga.com)
This comes in loads of colors and is supremely comfy, and the front wrap detail works well with high-waisted fitness pants.
Athleta Dolman Tee ($49; athleta.gap.com)
The slouchier fit means it’s not easily pegged as workout wear, and thus transitions easily from gym to — whatever.
Adidas by Stella McCartney Train Crop Long-Sleeve Top ($90; neimanmarcus.com)
Makes you feel and look high-performance, with the coolest combo of coverage and cutouts.
Free People Check It Out Jacket ($128; freepeople.com)
The tiered cuff detail and the slouchy fit make it perfect for strolling around the city on a relaxed afternoon.
Onzie Breakaway Track Jacket ($78; neimanmarcus.com)
Can’t wait for spring, when this can be worn as just an everyday jacket.
Adidas by Stella McCartney RUN ULT Jacket ($164.97, originally $235; bandier.com)
This has loads of bells and whistles — big pockets, Velcro closures, drawstring waist, vented back for breathability — and is also great-looking.
Free People Hit The Slopes Fleece Jacket ($148; freepeople.com)
Fleece has been a big trend this winter, both for outerwear and casual tops. We’d happily wear this for spring skiing and as our everyday in-between-seasons jacket.
Alo Yoga Streetside Half-Zip Hoodie ($158; aloyoga.com)
Is it possible to have too many hoodies? We think not. And whatever, this one’s fleece, and so snuggly, it’s like you’re a kid with a stuffed animal again.
Free People Dream Team Recycled Fleece ($128; freepeople.com)
Kind of makes you feel like you just rolled out of bed — in the very best way.
Studio Barre Sweatshirt ($69; athleta.gap.com)
On the days you don’t make it to barre class, you just look like a throwback from the “Flashdance” era.
Sweaty Betty Power 7/8 Workout Leggings ($100; sweatybetty.com)
Constructed of “butt-sculpting” fabric with flattering seams and both a side and back zip pocket, and in the prettiest print.
Lululemon Align Pant II 25” ($98; lululemon.com)
With a cult following of its own, these leggings are known for making you feel like you’re wearing nothing at all, with super-soft fabric and just enough control at the top. They’re also available in cute patterns like gray camo and faded floral.
Girlfriend Collective Moss Compressive High-Rise Legging ($68; girlfriendcollective.com)
Sustainable brand Girlfriend Collective makes activewear (in very sweet colors and styles) out of recycled plastic bottles, diverting them from landfills.
Bandier All Access Audio Legging ($118; bandier.com)
The snow leopard pattern just may inspire you to up your speed — and the red racing stripe is a cool extra detail.
Adidas Believe This Reversible Tights ($33, originally $65; adidas.com)
Basic, well-fitting and reversible, so on early bleary-eyed workout mornings, it doesn’t matter if you accidentally put them on inside out.
Alo Yoga High-Waist Ripped Warrior Leggings ($125; bloomingdales.com)
The rips give these an edgy ‘80s quality.
Sweaty Betty Garudasana Yoga Pants ($115; sweatybetty.com)
Printed joggers in a sweat-wicking fabric — these may become your everyday, every-activity casual pants.
Salutation Jogger in Powervita ($89; athleta.com)
Athleta calls its trademarked Powervita fabric “buttery soft with support that feels like a gentle hug” — and who doesn’t enjoy more support and hugs, even in their joggers?
Amazon Brand Core 10 Women’s Cozy Workout Jogger Sweatpant ($39; amazon.com)
A more normcore option, perfect for chilling on the sofa with Netflix, cooking or, yes, a gentle jog.
Aspiration Bodysuit in Powervita ($79.99, originally $129; athleta.com)
Sure, the bodysuit is a bold look — but you can do it! We love the side cutouts on this one.
Free People Astro Onesie ($78; freepeople.com)
A more traditional yoga/dancer’s option, this one has soft lines and a strappy back.
Outdoor Voices The Exercise Dress ($100; outdoorvoices.com)
It’s no secret that the Underscored team is a little obsessed with this exercise dress, that is wildly supportive and extremely versatile. If you see someone wearing it at the library or pharmacy, do stop and say hello — it might be one of our editors.
Outdoor Voices Exercise Skort ($65; outdoorvoices.com)
Skorts aren’t just for tennis anymore! This leopard print one is especially adorable, and has a pocket for your phone and keys.
Nike Court Dri-FIT Elevated Victory Tennis Skirt ($70; nordstrom.com)
An actual tennis skirt, with flirty pleats and in a sunny hue.
Alo Yoga High-Waist Alo Brilliance Biker Short ($68; aloyoga.com)
Iridescent bike shorts for the win!
Note: The prices above reflect the retailers’ listed prices at the time of publication.
Photo: Healing Chakras High Waist Womens Yoga Leggings ($65; the-bt-store.com)