The Athleisure Movement – The Destruction of Elegance

photo courtesy of On Point Fresh

Lulu Lemon has single-handedly destroyed the idea of elegance and replaced it with ‘comfort.’ As a business, I can’t knock them. They killed it, literally. They came in, selling the idea of comfort to women and then slowly crept over and took men with them. And did a good job at it. I have to tip my hat to the owner for making their dreams happen. Problem is, it has gotten so far that more and more people are wearing gym clothes in the streets than actual clothes and the majority of them are not going to the gym, nor working out. They are simply in their days’ attire. And that is what frightens me.

As a society, we have become so disgustingly lazy and with victim mentalities. People ask themselves ‘why shouldn’t I be comfortable? Why shouldn’t I dress how I want?’ And yes, you should be free to do what you want, but of course within reason. People forget that certain systems are put in place for a reason. A government is created to maintain order (in theory). Because people, being inherently selfish due to the Ego, would simply create chaos without an organized structure there to create balance and order. A dress-code is the same. It is there for a reason. Sometimes it may suck, but in the long run, its idea is greater than the alternative.

Unfortunately we as people, more often than not, absorb information and then make a judgment on that information through visual intake. For example, if a young man sees his father wearing smart dress shoes his whole life, chances are that he will also follow suit when he gets older. If he sees his father wearing crocs…..well you get the idea. And while not a stone cold rule, the ratio of this rule is greater towards replication than rebellion. It is called groupthink when this happens in great numbers as people often follow what others do, like if you are walking down the street and see 4-5 people all start running. Chances are you will start running too without even knowing why. Same thing happened when you found yourself buying gym clothes for your daily wear. You walked into that shop, bought those clothes and did so because your subconscious told you that if all of these people in the street can do it then so can you, not to mention all of the subliminal marketing that you must have been subjected to.

So now, a few early Athleisure wearers have created a society of people wearing their gym clothes daily in the streets. Spandex, tights, athletic bras, gym shorts, running shoes etc, have replaced dresses, nice blouses, elegant shorts, cotton trousers, oxford shirts, polo’s, smart shoes etc. You see this trend greater in women than in men but it is creeping over and that is what frightens me. Couples are out and about on their days off, walking their dogs or pushing their baby strollers wearing clothes as if they just came from the gym. But they didn’t. At least I pray that a couple did not take their baby to the gym. That would be even scarier.

And for me, this entire trend is a problem. It completely destroys the idea of elegance and looking smart. And the need for leather soled shoes. As ‘The Shoe Snob’ I have to stand against it. It is ugly, it is sad, and it is just downright wrong in my opinion. I completely get wanting to be comfortable. I really do. I want to be comfortable too. But I also get the idea of being respectable. The idea of dressing nice is showing respect for others, for society and in reality for yourself. Being comfortable everywhere without care of societal rules or ideas is selfish. This entire trend is a selfish one.

Question is, will we ever go back to dressing smarter or is this the 1st step towards space clothes that you see on Star Trek and all of those movies from the past that showed the future where everyone was wearing gym like clothing????

11 thoughts on “The Athleisure Movement – The Destruction of Elegance”


    “It is ugly, it is sad, and it is just downright wrong”… I hear you, brother!!!!!

    It’s the sign of the times and it’s sad indeed… But… know what? We shall prevail!

    We’ve overcome worse times and it’s going to be no exception!!!!!

    You made my day, Justin…!!!!

  2. The bigger problem is that dressing “elegantly” isn’t seen as comfortable.

    Why can’t one dress to be elegant and still be comfortable? These are not mutually exclusive.

    1. Juan Manuel BALLESTEROS ALLUE

      Couldn’t agree more, JK
      . Obviously I don’t wear my white tie outfit at home for dinner (I know, I should as my wife is around… lol!), but (joking apart) I wear a suit to work, try to dress “properly” at the weekends… and always manage to be as comfortable as possible.
      In this scorching summer it is less so… but I still get the pride of being.. apart from the crowd! Lol!

  3. I wear a suit or sport jacket to work 4 out of five days and dress in cotton pants and a shirt/sweater/polo on Fridays. But, when I get home, I dress in leisure wear. T-shirt w/ shorts around the house and to walk the dog I put on running shoes. I would definitely not wear my Edward Greens or Alfred Sargents to walk the dog. And, even in winter, I’m not wearing shell cordovan boots with a leather sole to do it, although I would wear grained leather boots on lug soles if there’s some snow on the ground.

    1. I should probably add that I don’t wear t-shirts, shorts, and running shoes when I’m going to the store or taking the kids somewhere. In those cases, I wear smart shorts, polos, short sleeve madras shirts, and smart sneakers in the summer, jeans or cotton pants and boots in the fall and sweaters in the winter.

      1. Thank you for writing (err typing) this. Bruce Boyer has a lot of interesting, as well as thought provoking things to say about our societal casualization. There is also another article that reminds me of the things you have stated above.

        This will provide some more insight into the subject, so I do reccomend reading it.

        Kind regards!

      2. Justin FitzPatrick

        thanks for sharing Eugene. I didn’t mean that someone should wear their dress shoes to walk the dog, but what I meant is that I saw couples that were ‘out and about in the city’ and dressing like they were heading to the gym. Whether it was walking the dog, the baby or just taking a stroll through the town, I think that more appropriate attire could be used to still be relaxed and comfortable, as you mentioned wearing yourself.

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