NO TURNING BACK

Analysts say Americans love sweatpants too much for athleisure to go away

Obsession
Fashion
Obsession
Fashion

Americans can’t stop buying yoga-wear and sweatpants. According to the research firm NPD Group, US consumers spent $2 billion more on clothes, shoes, and accessories in 2014 than they did the previous year, and women’s activewear drove that growth.

“Casual and ‘athleisure’ have taken on a life of their own,” said NPD’s chief industry analyst, Marshal Cohen, in the report. “This is no longer a trend—it is now a lifestyle that is too comfortable, for consumers of all ages, for it to go away anytime soon.”

This photo provided by Under Armour shows a pair of the company's workout sweatpants. Workout clothes, long relegated to the far end of the closet, are fast becoming a basic wardrobe staple. Everything from neon bras to CrossFit knee socks are becoming hip to wear outside the gym. Spending on activewear is outpacing general spending on clothing: the figure jumped 7 percent between 2013 and 2012 to $31.61 billion, while total clothing spending rose just 2 percent to $200.78 billion. (AP Photo/Under Armour)
You’ll never take them off. (AP Photo/Under Armour)

That’s right: athleisure, the recently invented term for soft, structure-less, aprés-gym style clothing is just too comfortable for American women to give up. Sales of activewear items such as leggings and sports bras were up 8% in 2014, compared with the year before.

Perhaps it’s understandable that Americans are choosing comfortable “soft dressing” over more structured styles. You try putting on crisp, rigid blue jeans after a week in sweats.

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