If there’s any fashion trend from the last few years that is universally beloved, it just might be athleisure. With the combination of athletic and loungewear trends, athleisure is arguably the most comfortable clothing category, no matter how you adapt the style to your fashion sense. If you’re somehow not familiar with athleisure, though, it’s easy to dismiss it as pajama-like or sloppy. Technically, though, the definition of athleisure is pretty straightforward: Athletic and leisurewear, combined.
In theory, owning clothing that looks just as good in the gym as it does at the office or happy hour is great. In reality, it can be a little more difficult to strike the right balance. If you’re not confident about styling or purchasing athleisure pieces, it can be easy to end up with a look that you don’t feel confident in at all—and no one wants that. To find the best possible options for athleisure, it’s helpful to know which brands are offering the best silhouettes and styles.
As Buffbunny founder Heidi Somers explains, investing in athleisure pieces gives your wardrobe versatility, so it’s worth choosing pieces carefully.
Meet the Expert
“Instead of wearing heels and restrictive clothing to go grocery shopping you can wear something comfortable, but also stylish and feel very put together,” Somers explains.
Keep reading for Byrdie's picks of the best athleisure brands on the market now, as well as more styling advice from Somers.
Girlfriend Collective reigns supreme when it comes to inclusive, sustainable athleisure. From their loungewear and intimates to their beloved leggings and sports bras, Girlfriend Collective is a brand proving that prioritizing size inclusivity isn’t all that complicated. Plus, the brand releases beautiful, on-trend seasonal colors every few months, which makes owning your favorite items in a ton of colors not only possible but very fun.
Size Range: XXS-6X
Universal Standard is a stand-out brand because of its incredible commitment to size inclusivity (the brand sells up to size 40). But when it comes to athleisure, there is one particular piece of clothing you need to know about: The brand’s Next-To-Naked Bodysuit. Simply Google it and you’ll see the many detailed reviews of the jumpsuit. People are obsessed with it, and there’s nothing quite like it on the market.
Size Range: 00-40
Odds are, you’ve seen Fabletics on your social media feed recently—and the hype is very real. If you are someone who wants to experiment with new (but budget-friendly) athleisure pieces every month (or even every week!), Fabletics is a good place to start.
Size Range: XXS-4X
What Our Editors Say
"Fabletics made it super easy for me to expand my running wardrobe, in terms of convenience and affordability. Not to mention they offer inclusive size ranges and make pretty much every legging style you can imagine." —Erika Reals, Associate Fashion Editor, Commerce
Mono B is known for its high-performance activewear options that are soft and comfortable enough to transition to life outside of the gym or yoga studio. Plus, Mono B is pretty affordable, so it’s great for those who are on a budget. The brand’s ultra-soft hoodies only range from $31 to $71, for example.
Size Range: XS-3X
Buffbunny is for anyone who is constantly looking for thick, quality leggings that are as cute as they are effective during a particularly intense workout. Created with a variety of body types in mind, Buffbunny offers high-quality athleisure and athleticwear that combines functionality and trend-focused designs.
Size Range: XXS-34X
Beyond Yoga is known for its buttery soft, form-fitting material called Spacedye, and let me tell you: It is good. For athleisure that’s as soft-to-the-touch as it is compressive, Beyond Yoga is a great option.
Size Range: XXS-4X
What Our Editors Say
"[Their leggings] are buttery soft and extremely comfortable; I could wear them all day and even to bed, which I have done a few times when I'm too lazy to grab my PJs."
—Jessica Mahgerefteh, Commerce Editorial Director
If you look up any Athleta piece, in particular, odds are you’ll see hundreds of (positive) reviews along with it. That’s because the brand knows what it’s doing when it comes to activewear that’s as supportive as it is stylish. For workout-focused athleisure that comes in a wide variety of sizes (the brand gets bonus points for size inclusivity in-store and online), you can’t go wrong with Athleta.
Size Range: XXS-3X (plus petite and tall)
Melt Fit combines a lot of different factors that make it an A+ athleisure brand: Trending styles, quality designs, size inclusivity, and unique silhouettes. Not only does the brand sell your classic athleisure staples, like leggings and shorts, but it also has coordinating gym staples like gloves and belts.
Size Range: S-3X
Looking for a brand with thousands of positive reviews? Check out Zella, an athleisure brand sold by Nordstrom. The brand’s leggings alone have more than 1,000 reviews and an average rating of 4.4/5 stars.
Size Range: XXS-3X (plus maternity and petite)
If you want size-inclusive, budget-friendly athleisure that can shop and try on in person (no matter what size you wear), opt for Old Navy. The brand’s Extra High-Waisted Leggings, for example, come in nine different colors and have more than 2,000 positive reviews.
Size Range: XS-4X
Alo Yoga has long been a fave of supermodel Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber, so you know it’s the brand to wear if you want to look cool. While the brand’s size range could certainly be improved upon, its well-reviewed pieces and celebrity-endorsed silhouettes make it one of the most popular athleisure brands on the market.
Size Range: XXS-2X
What to Look for When Buying Athleisure
According to Somers, looking for athleisure that’s going to work for your personal style and wardrobe long-term comes down to a handful of factors. Qualities like “functionality, breathability, versatility” as well as “quality fabrics [that are] long-lasting, flattering, and make you feel beautiful and confident” are at the top of Somers’ list when it comes to designing and choosing athleisure.
When it comes to shopping for athleisure, I like to apply the same philosophy that I do to most clothing and ask myself three questions. One: Will I actually wear this? Two: Does it feel good on my body? Three: Does this bring me joy? If the answer is yes to all three questions, then it’s worth investing in. If you’re still unsure, check out customer reviews to assess fit, quality, and other details that a website product description won’t give you.
How do you style athleisure?
Styling athleisure can be a bit overwhelming if you’re not used to it. But as Somers points out, it’s all about mixing and matching pieces you probably already own.
“One of my favorite and easiest ways to style athleisure is to wear a cute matching legging/sports bra set and add either a jean jacket, blazer, or bomber jacket on top of the set to give it that pop of fashion,” Somers says. “Some people claim you need to have a balance of loose and fitted pieces, but I love to mix it up. One day I might wear a very loose hoodie/jogger look with a statement purse and another day I may wear a very fitted jacket with leggings and a pair of combat boots.”
Is the athleisure trend still in style?
One thing about athleisure as a trend is that it’s been around for a few years now. This might have you wondering if it’ll be heading out the door in the months and years to come. But don’t worry—most experts think it’s here to stay, especially as at-home work and at-home workouts continue to gain popularity. Even Peloton has released its athleisure line.
Why Trust Byrdie
Olivia Muenter is a fashion commerce contributor for Byrdie, and she has been published in Refinery29, Bustle, Fashionista, Glamour, and Woman’s Day, among others. Her search for this piece covered athleisure brands of all types. For criteria, she evaluated customer reviews, return policies, variety of inventory, and user-friendly or inspiring shopping experiences.