Activewear Is Trending In A Bold New Direction

From Y2K designs to catsuits.

Originally Published: 
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If workout clothes take up more space in your closet than ever before, the biggest 2022 activewear trends are sure to pique your interest. Pieces like leggings, sports bras, and biker shorts never seem to get old for gym clothes enthusiasts, whether you get in movement five days a week or purely like the look and feel of stretchy attire.

Jennifer Bandier, founder of the boutique Bandier, tells TZR how activewear has gone from a considered part of one’s wardrobe to a foundation category. “That’s not changing,” she says. However, after the last two years, with more reason and desire to dress up again, activewear trends are going beyond workouts, evolving to what Bandier describes as ‘athluxe.’ “Think activewear meets luxury,” she says, such as pairing workout sets with elevated footwear, cashmere, and blazers.

Echoing Bandier, Shopbop’s Fashion Director Caroline Maguire tells TZR that while people return to their pre-pandemic workout routines, the fully-dressed urge with everyday outfits extends to activewear, driving a desire to shop more trend-driven activewear. “People are having fun with [activewear], incorporating bold fashion items into their workout looks,” she says. Think cozy winter boots and a shearling coat atop leggings and a tank top to and from a workout class. Or, a button-down shirt styled with a sports bra, biker shorts, and sandals post-yoga flow. “These [combinations] make you both look great and feel good,” Maguire adds. Similarly, confidence-boosting is the workout catsuit, which Bandier says will only become more prevalent in the future.


But, while activewear seeps into outfits unintended for a sweat, brands are still focusing on performance-driven designs. Aesthetic details — new fabrics, colors, and modern silhouettes — are, indeed, more heavily emphasized. But priority elements like four-way stretch and moisture-wicking materials, innovative sports bras for support, seamless silhouettes, and compression fabrics all abound this year.

Keep reading for the five biggest activewear trends of the moment, and shop the edit to get your gym (and leisure) looks on point.

We at TZR only include products that have been independently selected by our editors. We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

The Bold Matching Set

A staple for exercise and leisure moments, matching workout sets are on the rise. An while muted earth tones still abound, some of the most exciting versions of this look come bright and printed: think warm red and orange tones and logo motifs. “All Access introduced a new color called ‘fiery red,’ which our customer loved,” Bandier tells TZR, also highlighting the signature bold tones and prints by Lapp the Brand, a new label carried by the boutique.

“I love the fun of mixing and matching, but the idea of throwing on a same-print top and bottom is easy while giving your look a more put-together feel,” says Maguire of the matching set trend, highlighting Splits59’s vibrant assortment among her favorites. “Good American Essentials will also spice up your gym look with bold sets and the perfect fitting cropped tanks, offering a great range of extensive sizing options as well,” she adds.

A Long Line Bra

Sports bras are a workout wardrobe staple, not to mention a buzzy look to be worn with coordinating leggings and shorts. But these days, elongated proportions most for a refreshed look. “Part crop top, part sports bra, this [silhouette] offers move coverage while letting [customers] flaunt their hard work,” says Bandier.

Similarly, Maguire says the in-between bra and tank shape is “the perfect fit for when you want to show a little skin” without feeling too bare. Wear yours outside the gym with bottoms of all kinds: low-rise cargos and jeans, waist-skimming skirts, or slouchy shorts.

Ribbed Fabrics

Bandier and Maguire both highlight ribbed fabrics as the material du jour right now. It is certainly a signature of the It label, Year Of Ours, which Maguire ranks as a personal go-tos. “[They’re] perfect to wear when you’re on the go and don’t have time to change from the gym,” she tells TZR. “I wear these 24/7, either leaning into the monochrome trend and layering the same colors together or throwing on an oversized blazer and some chunky jewelry to give my look a more polished feel before [working out].”

Y2K Silhouettes

The wide-spread Y2K-fueled cut-out trend is now extending to activewear. “We’re seeing this look everywhere,” says Maguire. The fashion director points to Alo’s sleek and satiny fabrics as a masterful way to wear this trend. “Their glossy leggings and monochrome zip-ups definitely elevate gym attire,” Maguire says. The brand also translates other recent fashion trends into their cut-out designs, such as asymmetrical necklines and split-hem leggings. Yoga pants are another ’00s activewear trend continuing this year — it’s undoubtedly worth a go if you’re not a leggings person. Plus, cinched and ruched detailing, particularly on tops.

The Catsuit

According to Bandier, the one-and-done catsuit is transitioning from a microtrend favored by early adopters to of the 2022’s most ubiquitous looks. “It allows for ease of movement, and it’s impossibly chic,” says the boutique owner, highlighting Le Ore as a brands that continues to reinvent the look. Try a cropped or romper silhouette if a full-length look isn’t for you. Styling tip if a one-piece feels too exposed: Try a pair of shorts layered on top for extra coverage and dimension. So retro.

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