Now that the defining lines between athletic wear, loungewear, and relaxed after-hours-wear have been blurred to soft smudges, searching for the best activewear is a triple play. In 2021, everything lives beyond the gym, the studio, or, of course, the yoga mat.
Designer collabs and ballet-all-day layers are leading activewear’s metamorphosis as we twirl toward a new year. Stateside enlisted New York City Ballet principal dancer Tiler Peck to design a comfy capsule collection, while Le Ore’s wrappy cardigan tops and RtA ribbed bodysuits update the Center Stage look. Marine Serre’s head-to-toe spandex fits offer stylish hybrids, and then there’s the neverending versatility of a classic Adidas tracksuit that made it so beloved by filmmaker Wes Anderson or Grace Wales Bonner. The latter reimagined it with West Africa in the ’70s as inspiration (below), complete with a hint of the London-based brand’s insignia at the neck. Perhaps it’s Lady Gaga’s House of Gucci wardrobe that’s sent the fashion world into an après ski frenzy or simply a renewed interest in all things outdoors. In any case, dress to thrill in the latest pieces from Moncler and Cordova, or simply stroll the streets sans windblown tears in Celine’s new Italian-made ski goggles. Even Rick Owens, with a reputation for sculptural leather and aspirational gothwear, has embraced the skort—not to mention vegan materials.
Here, a running tally of the emerging, essential, and delightfully useful brands making some of the best activewear in the game to shop and infinitely style.
New Balance x Staud
New Balance tapped Staud designer Sarah Staudinger for a remix of the American sportswear label’s colorful signatures. Expect two-tone sweatpants, charming water satchels, and multi-use outerwear that’s anything but basic.
New Balance x Staud colorblock maxi
New Balance x Staud nylon water bottle holder
For an ongoing collaboration with Wales Bonner designer Grace Wales Bonner, Adidas classics are reimagined with an emphasis on retro details. Warm color palettes, crochet, and “Trefoil” and stripes can all be found in this drop.
Adidas Originals x Wales Bonner crochet-trimmed knitted track jacket
Adidas Originals x Wales Bonner crochet-trimmed knitted track pants
A finalist for Vogue x CFDA Fashion Fund, RtA designer Eli Azran infuses the brand with “French sensibility.” Stretchy bodysuits and lurex leggings are designed for the dance floor and work just as well at dance class.
RTA Enrica stretch-cotton jumpsuit
The Burch brand has tennis whites and on-court accessories baked into its DNA. Its best-sellers blend Coolmax® EcoMade fibers with classic silhouettes for preppy staples that feel safe to break a sweat in.
Tory Burch reflective-stripe hoodie
Tory Burch ripstop nylon color-block duffel bag
Solid & Striped Sport
Lightweight and moisture-wicking, Solid & Striped Sport offers fabrics that move with the body. For the line’s best-selling Trek fit, leggings even come with a removable belt bag for storing the bare essentials.
Solid & Striped Sport freestyle deep V elastic band bra
Solid & Striped Sport trek belt bag leggings
The Parisian label made famous by Beyonce and Euphoria continues its iconic moon print. Marine Serre created an exclusive run for MyTheresa in technical stretch jersey to stylize every kind of movement exercise.
Marine Serre printed stretch-jersey top
Marine Serre printed stretch-jersey leggings
Live The Process
Co-founder Robyn Berkley left a career in fashion to get a yoga certification in Bali that eventually led her back to fashion—this time, using conscious fibers and production methods to create Live The Process. Think hi-tech fabrics with a ballet-pretty aesthetic.
Live The Process Zen jersey cropped wrap top
Live The Process ballet seamless ribbed jersey stirrup leggings
The ballet aesthetic is going strong. Knit cardigans, sweater bras, and mock-neck pullovers are on the lineup for Bandier’s Le Ore label.
Le Ore Lodi pointelle knit wrap cardigan
Associated with supermodels like Candice Swanepoel (who hosts a series of digital workouts for the brand) and the Hadid sisters, Alo Yoga’s designs are exactly the kind of athletic wear you’ll see in celebrities-in-the-wild paparazzi shots and yoga classes alike.
Alo Yoga Foxy sherpa jacket
Alo Yoga high-waist Airlift leggings
Lululemon’s leggings and contoured outerwear have become legendary amongst fitness buffs. Still, there are accessories to be discovered, like comfy boxing wraps to level-up handwork at the gym.
Lululemon Fast and Free high-rise tights
In apparel, Nike’s figured out the sweet spot for high-performance fitness pieces that masquerade as real clothes (as well as collaborations with labels like Sacai that beg the question “why not run in a skirt?”). Their DRI-Fit tech, featured in compression pieces, is thinner (and somehow stronger) than traditional stretch yarns for a featherlight touch that lets you move more freely.
Nike Dri-Fit Swoosh women's medium-support 1-piece pad sports bra
Nike x Sacai webbing-trimmed pleated ripstop midi skirt
Girlfriend Collective considers all bodies in their process with extended sizing, then goes a step further to offer an eco recipe for each piece. For example, the bike unitard below diverted 26 water bottles from landfills, while the bra diverted 12.
Girlfriend black Ellie clip nursing bra
Girlfriend mahogany Juliet strappy bra
Credit where credit is due, Stella McCartney was in the first wave of designers to consider the health and fitness of all forms of life by promising to avoid materials that harm animals. Futuristic and functional, the line’s eco-solutions range from the recycled polyester for this wearable water bag to recycled polyamide in supportive bikini shorts.
Adidas by Stella McCartney Earth Protector shell overalls
Adidas by Stella McCartney hooded belt-bag shell windbreaker
This is where basics are married with thoughtful fabrics—like an organic cotton sweatshirt that’s as soft as a pullover should be or a unitard that bounces back with 58% recycled nylon.
Everlane the perform square-neck unitard
Everlane the track cropped sweatshirt
Moncler has, of late, become one of the most forward-looking fashion houses for activewear. Bubblegum pink fluffy vests, printed thermals, and figure-flattering neoprene ski suits define the latest collection.
Moncler Grenoble logo-patch quilted-fleece down gilet
Moncler Grenoble Tuta belted paneled neoprene ski suit
Celine’s ski goggle collection is sure to be seen off the slopes (especially at the height of fashion’s mask-ification of all accessories). With completely UV-protective lenses, the case for all-day wear is obvious.
Celine Eyewear studded ski goggles
Celine Eyewear injected ski mask goggles
The appeal of a one-piece has been proven over the past seasons in fashion and activewear. Cordova’s modern color theory and throwback après ski styles offer the next wave of onesies.
Cordova the Avorias 1800 belted striped ski suit
Cordova belted nylon-blend softshell ski suit
From surfing waves to shredding slopes, Perfect Moment’s luxury activewear is designed to be seen. When foiled puffers and star-printed jumpsuits are staples, imagine the possibilities.
Perfect Moment Mania zipped merino-wool thermal top
Perfect Moment Aurora houndstooth softshell ski trousers
These recycled Raquel leggings by Splits59 have become insider favorites for their body-friendly fabric and silhouette. Tech flex sports bras and French terry rugby tops can be mixed to match the day’s class.