Whether you’re super model Gigi Hadid, a die-hard Beyonce stan waiting to let H&M take your coins, or a struggling student working your way through an essay at Starbucks, athleisure is for you. Once the sign of the fitness pal who was too legit to ever quit their workout regardless of the occasion, the style and comfort of athletic clothing have now made its made its way down to the masses. The moral of the story is that athleisure is hella addictive. The reasoning behind this trend: comfort + power.

 

On the pure comfort level, a lot of people would agree that there is something freeing about a life of sports bras and leggings. They adhere to the body, rather than forcing the body to compensate for their shape. Plus, you can move in nearly any position you want without the fear of ripping your jeans or chafing. The popularity of this trend has allowed for the emergence of bright colors and patterns, snazzy straps, unconventional caging, and street style ready kicks. Particularly as more brands are releasing lines dedicated to it, such as the Beyonce x H&M Ivy Park collaboration, ultimate comfort meets fashion.

 

When you move from the pure comfort and potential cuteness of athleisure wear, leggings have the potential to offer a bit of a status boost. More specifically, athleisure provides us with a sense of “symbolic fitness.” Symbolic fitness allows the everyday person to tap into the image of fitness culture, by wearing an outfit that says, “Hey, pals! I too am hitting up the gym!” The best part: actual participation in these fitness culture related activities is not a requirement! In 2016, fitspo and workout accounts across all social media platforms are incredibly prominent, bringing with them their call to invest in all of their Booteas and waist-trainers. Going to the gym, or at least the image of it, is represented as the epitome of cool. Though we can’t all live the insta-fit lifestyle, wearing athleisure clothes, particularly those from pricier brands, certainly gives us the image that we do.

 

Of course, this may not be as much of a conscious decision as much as it derives from the tendency to dress like those from our social circle (online circles included), but we reap the benefits none the less. That fit lifestyle is often reflective of the funds to buy the gear, the time to spend putting it to use, an air of health and longevity, and a body that meets our standards of attractiveness. By wearing these clothes, we're able to portray an image that's highly indicative of these concepts. As, fashion psychologist Dawnn Karen told the Huffington Post, "There’s a psychological aspect of wanting people to know this about you and for you to know it about yourself. It makes you more attractive to others — to friends, to family, to a mate. We want people that are fit or trying to become fit." All of this together equals a major status symbol.

 

No matter why you’re rocking it, the bottom line is athleisure is the raddest trend around. It combines sense of practicality that fashion usually misses out on with the ability to show our friends that we are envy worthy style beasts. So slip into those Nike leggings, throw on the dad cap, and lace up those running shoes. It’s athleisure season and we’re ready to face it head on; the gym membership is 100% optional.