Black-ish mega-star and funny woman Traci Ellis Ross stepped out for the Marie Claire Image Makers Awards last week in a comfortable looking red tracksuit instead of the standard tight-fitting, body-bearing long dresses women are expected to adorn for award shows.
Of late, she has been serving us a new, quirky take in fashion. At a time when women are stepping out and speaking their truth in various life arenas, it is great to see them flipping the script in fashion as well; taking the Director’s seat, and dictating what they want to wear, when they want to wear it and how they want to rock what they rock.
Athleisure, which has been a growing movement over the past four years, is one such style of women expressing their preferred clothing sensibilities, until high-end designers and low-end boutiques sat up, listened and delivered.
As the name suggests, athleisure is when athletic and leisure-wear married, and some cheesy American tabloid synergised the names the way they did with Brangelina and with J-Rod… you get the drift.
Athleisure is a style in which the clothing originally restricted for athletic and work out activities is worn in other daily life settings; walking out to catch a movie at Bulawayo Centre, attending a workshop, a P.T.A meeting and as Traci Ellis Ross has proven, even a red carpet event.
This look is for the woman who chooses comfort above all else when it comes to clothing. It is for the girl on the go, the Practical Phindi who doesn’t have time to sit for hours, zipping things up and corseting her frame; the sister who is not about to wear a long, puffy gown in a combi with fifteen other people and a conductor bending over her.
Really ladies, we have needed this trend for a very long time. It makes sense. Also, nothing screams “I am so comfortable in my skin and in my being that whether it’s a Little Black Dress or a tracksuit, I still bring it,” than athleisure. There’s nothing sexier than a woman choosing what works for her and rocking it regardless of the fashion standards she’s supposedly meant to follow.
And on that note, athleisure is about following your own fashion compass and breaking the damn rules. On the surface, wearing leggings and T-shirt or tennis shoes instead of stilettos would appear to be playing it safe. However, looking “simple,” takes a lot more gut and confidence; by wearing the tracksuit and sneakers, you’re choosing to stand out in a sea of cookie-cutter heels and tight dresses.
It’s January, a time where most people have resolutions and reflections. How about you unlearn what you were taught was suitable on a woman; and you relearn and redress Harvey Weinstein’s mannequin of sexy, Black sis. Wear your African prints, your track pants; whatever floats your boat boo.