Readers have been talking about how athleisure has been a staple of their work-from-home wardrobe right now, so we thought we’d share a roundup of the best athleisure wear that’s worth the splurge.
You can find nice-enough leggings and other athleisure basics at Old Navy, Target, Uniqlo, and so on (another example: the affordable Nordstrom-brand leggings we featured in a recent Weekend Open Thread), but if you want something that’s made better and will last longer, here are four brands to check out.
Sales of athleisure wear have been growing in the last couple months, with most of us working from home and rarely leaving our houses or apartments. Being mostly seen by coworkers as a talking head (or not seen at all!) has definitely made athleisure work-friendly: The “business on top, party on the bottom” philosophy is working well for most of us. And because being away from the office gives many of us freedom to work out whenever we want, wearing athleisure makes sense.
What are your favorite athleisure wear brands? Have you been wearing a lot of athleisure lately as you work from home?
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Zella is a big reader favorite and most recently appeared in our “Some of the Top Things Readers Bought in March 2020” post. (Kat has recommended them, too.) Many readers probably know this, but Zella is a Nordstrom house brand — it offers almost 100 pieces, from leggings to sweatshirts to shorts to tees.
Besides straight sizes, plus sizes and maternity are available, too. Note that many of Zella’s offerings are on sale right now, so it’s a great time to give the brand a try.
One item to definitely check out is their live-in high-waist leggings, which have more than 6,000+ customer reviews (!) and a 4.5 rating and are priced at $59. The similarly highly-reviewed live-in performance jacket is $89.
This brand is another reader favorite and has been around forever. (It was bought by Gap in 1998.) Athleta is Fair Trade Certified and has earned B Corp certification, and many of its items are produced from sustainable materials.
They’ve done collabs with Peloton and Derek Lam 10 Crosby, and their current collab is very close to home: They’ve partnered with Banana Republic.) At least one reader has mentioned being a fan of Athleta’s sweatshirt dresses, and I like the one I bought a few years ago — it’s so comfortable (and has thumb holes!).
Other reader recs are the Skyline Pant ($89) and Sculptek jeans ($118), along with leggings, underwear, and more. (Note that, although we shared bad news for Gap in our recent post on which major retailers are in danger of closing because of 2020, Athleta seems to be doing better than sister brands Gap and Banana Republic.)
Reader favorite Title Nine is another brand that seems like it’s been around forever — since 1989, to be precise. (I distinctly remember my mom getting their catalogs in the mail when I was a kid — they had lots of photos of “real” women doing active things.) A few things to like about the company, besides their high-quality clothing:
Their 360 Guarantee allows returns/refunds for a year after purchase, they provide grants to new, grassroots sports/fitness programs helping girls in underserved communities, they have a great reputation for customer service, and they’re committed to avoiding fast fashion practices.
Good bets are their casual skirts and dresses, and sports bras — note that they’re offering free shipping right now. A few highly-rated examples are the Yes Capri ($69), the Double Dare Dress ($89), and the Manresa Hoodie ($89).
Co-founded by a second-career yoga instructor (really, third), Beyond Yoga makes their clothing in Los Angeles from responsibly sourced materials and is committed to ethical practices. In addition, their manufacturing partners around the world are WRAP certified for safe, ethical manufacturing practices. Available in sizes XXS–3X (and maternity, too), the styles are fit-tested on “real people” (the company’s employees, in fact).
Nordstrom has a nice selection of their items, including these fun ombré leggings with gold flecks ($66 on sale) and these high-waist leggings ($97). The brand’s sale items are selling out quickly! (A timely note: The company is offering handmade, non-medical, fabric face masks for $20, and if you buy two, another two will be sent to essential workers who need them. All of the money goes to mask manufacturing, shipment, and donations. If you need more options, check out our post on where to find the best face masks for coronavirus.)
A few other athleisure brands to consider: Lululemon, Sweaty Betty, Girlfriend Collective, Carbon 38, Outdoor Voices, Koral, ADAY, Vuori, or even reader favorite like Under Armour.
What have you found is the best athleisure wear that’s worth the splurge? What are some budget brands you like?
I just bought the Vuori performance joggers and am very happy with them.
During the pandemic I’ve been frustrated with Lululemon, which sells out of my size almost instantly and is being very slow processing returns.
This was the comment that put me over the top. I just ordered. Certain facebook groups i am in are obsessed with these pants. I hope they live up to the hype– at worst, they have a good return policy.
+1 – was influenced by facebook groups and love them – comfortable, good looking.
I keep seeing this ad! I think I will go ahead and grab them.
Thanks for the suggestion. Maybe a weird question, but do they show a panty line? I like bikini style underwear but my Align joggers are too snug and show a panty line. Just wondering about the fit with these. I tried searching the reviews but didn’t really get a good answer. Thanks!!
No, they are loose enough at the top that I don’t have VPL.
Thank you! I think I might give them a whirl!
not that you asked, but the embraceable lace underwear from Soma are amazing if you want to minimize VPL and not wear a thong. the ones with the lace on the back of the leg holes. I’ll wear them with black leggings even.
I didn’t, but thank you for the suggestion! I’ll take a look.
I’m obsessed with these – I have been wearing for a couple years after finding them at REI. I wear my regular size (M) and although I wear a thong, they are loose enough that I don’t think a bikini style would show. You may need to size up though, depending on how loosely you want them to fit.
Ok good to know. Thank you!!
I’m Team Athleta all the way for athleisure tops and actual workout leggings. Not so much for their athleisure pants, but that’s just me.
Uniqlo for casual/athleisure pants, although these days when I’m WFH I wear older versions of Old Navy yoga pants
Does American Giant count? I splurged on 3 pairs of pants from them back when we first went WFH (sweatpants, weekend pants, and linen pants) and am so glad I did! I wear the sweatpants and weekend pants every day to WFH and have broken out the linen pants on the couple of proper spring days we had. The quality is first rate, although the weekend/linen pants did require hemming for regular-sized me.
Anon Probate Atty
I love Lululemon, ALO and Sweaty Betty. SB is a little bit cheaper than Lulu and has better sales. They have “bum-sculpting” leggings that work almost as well as the Lulu Aligns for maximum bum-liftage. And I love SB and Lulu tops. Overall, I would say ALO is the best yoga legging for the price. Less expensive than Lulu, about the same price point as SB, and you can often find ALO stuff at Nordstrom Rack. The quality is amazing, I’ve had one pair of ALO leggings for about 2 years that I’ve worn and washed at least once a week and hang to dry; they look brand new and also make your bum look perky!
I love Athleta so much. Half my casual wardrobe is from Athleta.
On that same general topic, does anyone have a preferred brand of workout/yoga headbands that stay in place? I love headbands, but they always slip back on my head.
I am a fan of Lululemon headbands.
Old Navy and Athleta
I really like Sweaty Bands – they’re pricey, but they do. not. move. https://www.sweatybands.com/
Second Sweaty Bands!
I really like Alo for leggings and yoga tops, and wear them for athleisure now that my gym is closed. Also really like Athleta (their undies are the best).
My home office is set up next to my closet and I lament its overflowing contents with clothes I’ll never wear again and regret buying. Or will wear these months from now? Whatever. BUT I do not find myself regretting my Lululemon aligns. They are so soft and comfy for working in but still great for working out in. I love that they do double duty because that’s all I do now – work and workout from home.
I also enjoy Alo a lot but the pairs I own have more compression which I don’t really care about from my home office.
I’ve heard good things about Alala: https://alalastyle.com. I like their style, but haven’t yet purchased myself so I can’t vouch one way or the other.