The athleisure trend evaded me for the longest time. When I was a nanny in Boston I was constantly surrounded by moms in Lulu leggings, Patagonia quarter-zips, and Hunter boots. And I just didn’t get it. Why would you spend that much money on an outfit that wasn’t, like, a real outfit. You know? I remember at the time thinking that if there were a way to get the athleisure look for less, then I could maybe buy into it. But for the time being, it just wasn’t on my financial radar.
(Ahem, it still isn’t.)
The following year I was teaching dance for a living so I began to really warm up to athleisure, since it was basically my work uniform. There is just something magical about feeling put-together when you’re wearing an outfit that’s only a couple steps up from pajamas. Athleisure gives you a relaxed, casual vibe that isn’t sloppy, but isn’t as fussy as a regular outfit.
So I set out to figure out how I could stock my closet and get the athleisure look without spending the big bucks, and it’s WAY easier than you’d think.
When it comes to leggings, I’m a huge fan of the C9 Champion brand from Target. It’s really good quality for the price, and there’s a variety of fits and lengths. I love a good print but I tend to gravitate closer to more subtle details, like the criss-cross pattern at the calf of this pair. Choosing a legging with a bold pattern or detailing will jazz up your look, so don’t settle for boring black!
Whatever you do, don’t buy your running shoes at full price! Just don’t! The only place you’ll ever need to go is Nordstrom Rack. I buy my Nike’s there for a fraction of the cost. You can also try TJ Maxx or Ross if you have a good one in your area. I literally never buy my running shoes at full price anymore. You can get them so much cheaper at Rack!
Maybe I’m a weirdo, but I actually prefer working out in a graphic tee and a sports bra most of the time, rather than a super tight tank. If I do opt for the tank, I still throw a tee in my bag so I can transition to whatever I’m doing next. Target has the softest, cutest ones in my opinion. On the day I wore this outfit, I checked into a 9am Saturday yoga class and then went directly from there to brunch with a friend. Pack a scarf, bright lipstick (I’m wearing Razzberry LipSense in this photo, which I wrote about here) and a light cardigan for a more put-together look. If you’re just running around town, then simply throw on a pull-over over your top to keep warm (bonus points if it’s a bright color!).
I’ve had a few of you ask about my hair. I generally wash my hair at night and sleep on it wet, put it in a bun at the very top of my head while I work out, and style it afterward. If it’s already styled from the day before (like it was in these photos) then I spray in a little dry shampoo (this is my favorite) and sprinkle in a bit of texture power (this one) to give my curls some life. I usually keep bobby pins in my bag if I need to pin the front pieces back. These little wipes are great if you’re doing a serious workout and know you’ll be sweaty.
I hope this inspires you to give athleisure a shot, if you haven’t already! You don’t have to blow your budget at Lulu to get this look, and, of course, you’ll be so comfy!
All photos by the lovely Kailey.