Remember a few months ago (it was mid of 2016, really), that we were crazy confused about this athleisure thing. We were all absolutely perplexed as to what it really is and why do we suddenly find it fashionable. It wasn’t long before we got it all figured out – designers jumped onto the celebrity promoted train of mixing and matching glam and gymwear. They needed something that’ll merge their very obvious obsession with fitness and their even more obvious obsession with style. Put the two together and you are getting a trend everyone is going absolutely crazy over. On top of that, it’s a perfect fitness motivation which adds a star to the healthy life promoted everywhere.
Truth is, at first – we had our doubts. However, as the time passed by, we’ve realized how simple yet fabulous this athleisure thing is. And, before realizing it – instead of grabbing the latest patchwork denim from the shelf, we’d reach out for leggings and tops. Weird! The style was very quickly evolving from plain gymwear base upgraded with a cute little unexpected top or an edgy jacket to being the base of all-that-glamour. It wasn’t long before we started seeing leggings combined with silk cardigans, Adidas bottomwear with lacy tops and heels, fancy, designer dresses with sneakers and baseball caps. So, naturally, we again hopped on board. It’s very simple – you cannot not like the easy-going nature of this style. In fact, athleisure is so laid back and so phenomenally glamorous,that you can’t help but feel rebellious wearing it (plus, it’s super practical).
And then came neoprene.
We’ve all flirted with neoprene all throughout the hot summer of 2016 (a dangerous flirt, much like those forbidden flings you have with hot, exotic strangers on the beach in Dubai while AKA Twigs is playing on the radio), and we’ve appreciated it for a moment but never thought it would last. However, just like athleisure wear itself, neoprene turned into a full-fledged love affair for fall. Still, this very stylish ladies gym wear isn’t everyone’s piece of cake but…the heart wants what it wants.
A reminder: this isn’t the first time we’ve gone bug-eyed for neoprene, although in this fashion era – it does come with a little nostalgia to it. This foamed synthetic rubber isn’t the best of quality materials out there but it has been around the block for some time. As fashion records remember, “back in the 50s, surf twins Bob and Bill Meistrell from California started fiddling around with the fabric and in 1953, opened the oldest waverider shop in the world called Dive N’ Surf (later renamed Body Glove), which stocked the first commercially viable wetsuit crafted from neoprene”.
Then, year 1981 brought a slight change, or an upgrade if you will, which pioneered the neoprene swimsuit every girl wanted to wear. Naturally, their invention and vision were immediately recognized by Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar editors who put them on the cover and made them the first surf brand to grace covers of such magazines. Hey, let’s not forget that sultry spread in Sports Illustrated with Kathy Ireland and Elle Macpherson in 1990, either!
By that time, land-locked designers like Donna Karan, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Jean Paul Gaultier and Alexander McQueen started taking note of neoprene and hoping on the bandwagon! Each designer took to the neoprene trend in their own direction, experimenting with everything from maxi and mini dresses to suits and playsuits.
This fall, there isn’t a fashion interested person who doesn’t own (and diligently wear) a neoprene this or a neoprene that. Starting with celebrities who are happy to pose in neoprene everything for their fitness photo shoot to us regulars – fall is going to be dressed in neoprene, no doubt. Just wait and see.
About the author:
Peter is a fashion stylist and a writer from Brisbane, Australia. After graduating from Australian Institute of Creative Design he worked as a fashion stylist for few local fashion events. Beside fashion and styling, he enjoys traveling around exotic destinations and discovering new vintage stores. He’s future plans are in creating his personal styling business.