Whether you wear activewear pieces like leggings, biker shorts, or fun matching sets for workouts, errands, or chill time, all are key players in a modern wardrobe. Each spandex-y staple is essential for sweat sessions, of course, but after a year like 2020, they’re more popular than ever for mid-afternoon jaunts, weekend lounging, and working from home. With a new year in sight, fitness goals are on the brain, as are the 2021 activewear trends that will guarantee a stylish sweat — in other words, it’s the perfect time to stock up sporty attire like sports bras, warm-up layers, and tights.
For fitness fanatics and novices alike, Bandier’s SVP of design, Ardith Singh, says the pandemic spurred an emphasis on staying healthy. “We see a trend of embracing the individual wellness journey, meeting the athlete where they are today,” she tells TZR. As at-home exercising increased, so did the rise of activewear well beyond the workout. “It’s all about activewear beyond the gym now and into 2021,” Singh says.
Among her top 2021 predictions are performance-driven pieces with fashion-forward silhouettes, sustainable fabrics, and playful finishes like high-shine and bright colors. The Bandier designer adds, “[These trends] feel optimistic for 2021; embrace being unapologetically bold!”
Even if you’ve long abided by the spandex-for-workouts-only rule, Chelsea Power, a senior buyer at MATCHESFASHION, champions the trend of activewear for everyday life, noting its practical, comfortable, and stylish appeal. “The idea that we would need to change from our sports gear into everyday clothing has changed,” she says. “Our everyday uniform has evolved, and we have seen activewear integrate seamlessly with fashion pieces in our wardrobe.”
Keep scrolling to discover Singh and Power’s fitness fashion forecasts for 2021, from must-try tops to essential fabrics and the buzzy silhouettes that’ll continue their reign.
2021 Activewear Trend: Fashion-Forward Silhouettes
Singh says asymmetry, multi-strapping, and cut-out details are big for 2021, inspired by the runways for added drama, while Power notes the continued trend of long-line bras. “[These features] elevate tried-and-true active silhouettes,” Singh says. Pair these fashion-forward designs back to your favorite pair of leggings for virtual classes and socially-distanced hangs (they’re even better with a third-piece layer!).
2021 Activewear Trend: Biker Shorts
Biker short fans, rejoice — the bottom is going strong for 2021, according to Singh and Power. If you’re still hesitant to try the silhouette, a classic black pair is a perfect foray. For die-hards, liven up your assortment with a pastel, printed, or metallic pair.
2021 Activewear Trend: Jumpsuits
One of the boldest silhouette trends of the moment? Workout jumpsuits, from ballet-inspired unitards to color-block onesies. Power says the trend will continue for 2021, noting styles from Ernest Leoty as a popular choice among MATCHESFASHION customers.
2021 Activewear Trend: Matching Sets
If you live for matching sets, great news: they’re sticking around for 2021. “We absolutely love head-to-toe looks in both active and sweats and feel strongly about this trend continuing,” Singh tells TZR. A failsafe formula for put-together outfits from workout classes to errands, look to unexpected hues, color-blocking, and ribbed fabrics to freshen up your assortment.
2021 Activewear Trend: Sustainable Fabrics
Power and Singh both note a significant focus on sustainably-sourced technical fabrics, like Econyl, going into the new year. “Material innovation will be crucial, not only [for] personal wellness but also for the health of our environment,” Singh explains. Recycled yarns, upcycled and deadstock fabrics, and natural dyes will become increasingly important, according to the Bandier executive. “Being better stewards of the environment will be the expectation [and] no longer a ‘nice to have.’”
Power says this sustainable shift ties back to styling activewear with everyday staples, highlighting brands like Girlfriend Collective — new to the MATCHESFASHION activewear edit — who offer stylish, versatile, and minimal pieces in an extended size range.
2021 Activewear Trend: Minimal Designs
Those with pared-back tastes will appreciate the continued trend of clean lines and solid colors in workout attire for 2021. “We’re seeing a more minimal aesthetic when it comes to activewear with less prints and patterns,” Power tells TZR.
2021 Activewear Trend: Beyond The Gym
The most significant overarching trend for 2021? All-the-time activewear. “Comfort is key, and it reflects the continued emphasis on self-care and calm as we enter 2021,” Singh explains. A primarily at-home existence calls for reenvisioned loungewear, like head-to-toe knitwear sets, according to the Bandier designer. “Mixing sweats with ready-to-wear pieces will continue through 2021, and sweater pieces will be the new sweats,” she says. Other key players: leggings and cycling shorts with relaxed tees and oversized hoodies, according to Power.
2021 Activewear Trend: Sporty Coats
Top layers are an essential piece of the activewear puzzle for warming up, commuting to-and-from a workout, and athleisure-inspired outfits. “Pre-Covid, we might have worn a tailored coat to the gym, but now our customer is investing in activewear for the outdoors such as puffer coats, shearling hoodies, and raincoats to go with her new laidback lifestyle,” says Power.