How To Pull Off Athleisure Wear + 30 Outfit Ideas

How to wear Athleisure

I’ve been talking about athleisure wear for quite some time and I’ve been getting a ton of questions regarding the trend, so I figured, it would be best to create a fun and helpful style and shopping guide for you. Hopefully, this will help clear up what the athleisure trend is all about, answer your questions, and help you incorporate the easy and comfortable style into your wardrobe. I’m going to talk about different ways to wear athleisure, my favorite athleisure brands, my style tips, where to shop the best athleisure wear, and most importantly, how to pull off athleisure street style and not look like you rolled out of bed.

Best Athleisure outfits


Nike air max.Athleisure style

Athleisure with denim jacket

Best athleisure clothes

Best petite leggings

What is Athleisure?

So, what is athleisure? The formal definition of athleisure goes something like this: Athletic apparel or casual, comfortable clothing that’s suitable for both exercise and everyday wear. Honestly, I think athleisure was initially created when a celebrity threw a denim or leather jacket over their workout clothes after yoga and was unexpectedly photographed. From there it probably made it to Pinterest and the rest is history. Over time, athleisure has evolved into an actual trend and style, which is why we’re still hearing about it today. The difference now, you don’t actually need to workout to wear the athleisure trend.



Nude hoodie

How to pull off athleisure wear

How to wear athleisure style

Coat with sneakers

Athleisure with trench coat

How Has the Athleisure Trend Evolved?

What started out as a natural and functional way to go from yoga to lunch (by throwing on another layer to look presentable) is now a full fledged trend we’re all trying to recreate. And I’m so not mad about it. You no longer have to break a sweat to wear the athleisure trend, which may be a new revelation to some. You also don’t need to wear your grungy workout clothes, either. I like to think athleisure wear is more about function and comfort, but slightly elevated. Think trendy and cute athletic clothes paired with your favorite accessories or jacket. You can run around and do all your errands, but still look cute while doing so.



Nike funnel neck sweatshirt

Nike black thea sneakers

Cole Haan sneakers

Blank NYC leather jacket

Ways to Wear Athleisure

For those of you who are new to the trend, feel a little lost, or just need some guidance, I’m going to explain 3 different ways to pull of athleisure wear.

  • Wear your workout clothes (athletic all the way) – just choose pieces that are cute. If you’re looking at the athleisure style to be more functional for you than anything (you want it to work for working out and running errands, etc.), you’re going to want to invest in a couple cute pieces. This can be anything from black leggings with fun details (I love this pair) or a chic hoodie. Everything is functional, but elevated and makes you feel stylish.


  • Wear your workout clothes and add in casual pieces (half casual, half athletic) – This takes those cute pieces I recommended purchasing above and mixes them with your favorite casual pieces. Think leather jacket, denim jacket, puffer vest, sunglasses, baseball cap, beanie, handbag, etc. This happens to be my favorite way to wear the athleisure trend. You’re comfortable, but you can elevate your look with whatever you have in your closet.


  • Wear a normal outfit and pair it with an athletic piece (very minimal athletic) – This way of wearing the athleisure trend is a little trickier than the other 2, but something I love. Basically, you wear whatever you heart desires and then pair it with one (or two) athletic pieces. You instantly dress down your look, which is a nice way to balance out your outfit, but it also looks like you know what you’re doing. Those unexpected elements (pairing styles you don’t think go together) always create elevated looks. For example: sneakers with dresses, sweatshirt with a skirt, or a hat with a feminine blouse.



Best athletic outfits

J.Crew utility jacket

Nike Cortez

Vans old skool sneakers

J.Crew puffer vest

Athleisure Style Tips

I could wear athleisure clothes everyday if nobody cared. I’ve always been a casual dresser and I’m naturally drawn to more tomboy or athletic pieces, so you can imagine how happy I am that the athleisure trend is an actual thing. I finally have an excuse to buy all those hoodie/sweatshirts I’m always eyeing. Since I have quite the experience with athleisure wear, I’m going to share my top tips to help you achieve the perfect athleisure street style look.

  • Throw on a 3rd piece – Most often times throwing on a 3rd piece will complete your athleisure look. I usually opt for a leather or denim jacket, but I’ve been experimenting with utility jackets and trench coats. The 3rd piece is what really takes your basic athletic clothes and transforms it into an athleisure look.


  • Work in some higher-end pieces (leather jacket, sunglasses, handbag) – This is a great way to elevate your outfit. Athleisure outfits don’t necessarily need to be worn with a super expensive item, so if you don’t have one, no worries. But, if you have a designer item you love or an item that makes you feel chic, throw it on with your athleisure look. It’s a great way to take a rather boring outfit up a notch.


  • Color coordinate – This is one of my go-to tricks when styling. It’s something I’ve been doing for years and while I don’t think everyone likes color coordinating, I’m a visual person who likes to see cohesion in my outfits. It also makes for killer outfits. You don’t necessarily need to always match your leggings to your shoes, etc. But, have all your colors tie in somehow. Maybe go all monochrome and then use a pop of color (or neutral) as an accessory. You can also stick to 2 colors and create cohesion there. Maybe you have different shades of gray you want to wear all together. Color coordinating is a great way to elevate basic looks.


  • Pick flattering pieces (you can’t just wear your grungy workout clothes) – This tip goes back to my first way to wear athleisure from above. It’s not about wearing old beat up workout clothes. You want to wear flattering and cute pieces. Pick up a pair of sleek and chic sneakers (I love the Nike Thea sneakers). Find a pair of leggings that flatter your legs. Because I’m small, I tend to go with black. But there’s a ton of different black options with fun details. Btw, going monochrome (all black, all gray) helps create long lines, so it tends to be more flattering. Also, for fellow petite girls, I find that the ⅞ or midi leggings hit at the perfect length to be regular leggings on me. So, no more rolling under or getting alterations. Essentially, find what looks best on you and run with it.


  • Keep your pieces on-trend and fun – Because athleisure wear is so popular, there’s so many great brands and retailers that sell cute and affordable athletic clothes. I’ve been loving color blocked leggings, blush hoodies, and these cute bomber jackets. You’re going to want to do away with the idea of not wanting to spend $$ on “workout” clothes. If you want to wear athleisure and not look like you rolled out of bed, invest in some on-trend pieces!



Black nike thea sneakers

How to wear athleisure wear

Bernardo puffer coat

Leather jacket with athleisure

Athleisure Wear Brands:
  1. Alo
  2. Outdoor Voices
  3. Sweaty Betty
  4. Nike
  5. Zella

Zella is my favorite athleisure brand. They have affordable pieces, but the best part, the quality is AMAZING. Their Live In Leggings are awesome – thick enough to wear to work out or with a cardigan and booties. They also have midi style leggings, which are perfect for petites. I have these and these and I wear them all year long!



Athleisure outfit ideas

Athletic and casual style

Athleisure wear

J.Crew gray puffer vest

Best athleisure brands

Athleisure Affordable Brands:
  1. Old Navy
  2. Gap
  3. J.Crew
  4. Abercrombie & Fitch

Over the last year or so, I’ve found some really great athleisure pieces at Abercrombie & Fitch. They have really cute and neutral fleece jackets and hoodies in their activewear section. They also do basics really well – think denim jackets, utility jackets, puffer coats, and pea coats – all great pieces to pair with leggings, sneakers, or tee shirts.



Barbor jacket

Best Places to Shop Athleisure:
  1. Nordstrom
  2. Nordstrom Rack
  3. Bandier
  4. Nike
  5. Lululemon
  6. Abercrombie & Fitch

I really love Nordstrom for cute athleisure pieces. You can shop for sporty and non-sporty things in one place. They also tend to have cheeky graphic tees or sweatshirts, which makes the athleisure trend even more fun to try. I love the variety, good price points, and the incredible return policy makes online shopping so much easier.


How to Put Together Cute Athleisure Outfits

If you’re just getting started on the athleisure trend, try combining 2 or 3 of the items below and you should be good to go.

  1. Leather jacket
  2. Denim jacket
  3. Wool Coat
  4. Sweatshirt
  5. Hoodie
  6. Joggers
  7. Leggings
  8. Puffer vest
  9. Moto jacket
  10. Utility jacket
  11. Trench coat
  12. Tee Shirt
  13. Tunic tee
  14. Sneakers
  15. Baseball cap
  16. Sunglasses
  17. Handbags
  18. Beanies

A T H L E I S U R E  S T Y L E  E S S E N T I A L S



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  • I loooove this post!! I really like all your posts like this they are so thorough and not just about one outfit i know a lot of time went into making it and i appreciate the effort. I have only recently started following you and i love your style and fashion opinions and you are def one of my fav bloggers! Looking forward to your next post :) and congrats on your pregnancy im very happy for you

    • I’m so glad you found me! Yes, I love these posts so much too, but they take a lot of time and effort. I’m trying to prioritize my content and really making an effort to do something like this at least 2 times a month. Thanks for your feedback. Knowing you love and find these kinds of posts helpful is all worth it :)

  • I love love love this post -as well as your blog!! You have a great sense of style which is still accessible for someone in her 40’s. Athleisure is a style trend I would like to develop within my wardrobe. I work from home and want to make more of an effort to look put together each day. My main problem is living in FL, where it is 80 – 90 10 months out of the year, makes layering less feasible. Any suggestions on how to make Athleisure still look ‘cute’ when you can’t add the finishing pieces. A t-shirt n leggings just doesn’t have the same WOW factor?! Again, thanks for creating such a great blog. It is truly one of my favorites.

  • This is one of my favorite posts of yours to date! It’s like perfect “Athleisure for Dummies” haha <3 Congrats on your pregnancy!!

  • I also LOVED this post! It was so informative. I have loved your style for a while but knowing how you put the look together is amazing. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  • Crystalin! What an awesome post. I live in athleisure Monday thru Friday and this is pretty much exactly what like to wear. This must have taken you forever, girl! Such good work:)
    XO! Gina

    • Haha, it took me a couple of days (okay on and off for a couple weeks) to plan it all out, but I think it totally paid off. I’ve received so many comments about everyone loving it. I’m hoping to do these more style guides at least 1-2 times per month.

  • Thanks so much for this post, Crystalin!! In my opinion, you are the Queen of athleisure!! The number of photos and details was so helpful and inspiring. Hope I can pull off some of these looks as well.

  • Thanks for posting! This really helps me out. I love wearing casual, comfortable clothing and sometimes I feel like I’m just bumming it. But this really shows you can be comfy and still be chic. Thanks! I’ll def be trying something like this soon.

  • Seriously love this post so much — stumbled upon it on Pinterset and have bought 3 things from Nordstrom an hour later =) LOVE this whole trend so much and been sporting it constantly! Will be nice to pick up a few more higher end pieces that you linked.

  • I really enjoyed this post, I basically only wear the athleisure style on a regular everyday basis so it was fun to get some additional inspiration from your looks. I would love to see a spring/summer version of this post. I live on the ocean in La Jolla Southern Cali so the cozy styles you have created might never make their way to my closet. You are so adorable!!!
    Thank you,

  • Thank you so much for these tips! I’m a young woman who has been trying to elevate her style for some time now, but has run into difficulties because I have some sensory issues related to ADD. This guide is really helpful for figuring out how to incorporate pieces like leggings that I find comfortable into a good everyday look!

  • A year after discovering this post, I have to pile on with more props for such amazing content. Over the last few seasons, I’ve developed an entire capsule wardrobe–tops, leggings, sneaks, coats, beanies, purses, the whole shebang–around your athliesure ideas. Not only is the style easy and comfy, it feels cohesive and very current. Best of all, I’ve been able to incorporate some great pieces I already had but could never figure out how to style before.So many of your posts are inspiring, but this “how-to” formula is my all-time favorite…thanks!