Athleisure on Campus


College students are often depicted wearing overly casual clothing like pajama pants or hoodies, but in recent years we’ve become more “stylish.”

That’s largely due to the rise in athleisure! Athleisure clothing is sportswear pieces like leggings, hoodies, sneakers, etc. but worn in a more fashionable way. It has really picked up speed in the last decade becoming a staple in most young women’s wardrobe. College students are particularly drawn to this trend because of how comfortable the styling is. They can be as comfortable as they are wearing sweatpants/pajama pants, but look more put together.

To determine the perception of athleisure, Dreissig Athletic conducted a survey.

The survey was out of 20 college students on multiple campuses. It was on a Survey Monkey format, which is very easy and straightforward. There were ten questions pertaining to how they wear athleisure, how often a week they wear it and how important it is to them. Let’s see what these students have to say!

When asked how important comfortability is to the student 18 out of 20 said it is very important. 18 students said they were wearing either leggings or a hoodie every day to class or fairly often. When I interviewed a student, I’ll identify her as Emily*, face to face she said for her the more classes she has that day the more comfortable she would like to be, so she goes for athleisure pieces. She wears either leggings or a hoodie out of 5 days during the week. This isn’t surprising at all! It’s kind of a trope that college students are given. And as a student you’re doing so much work, focused on different topics and classes, so why sacrifice your level of comfort when you don’t have to? This is sort of our last opportunity to do work in soft, fluffy jackets, or fleece-lined leggings. There isn’t a business casual dress code, like most business’s, campus-wide so why even attempt? This is our last step towards being in the work force; we want to take advantage of lazy dressing!

In the survey, students were asked how much thought was put into their outfit for the day.

The majority said there was some level of thought, they weren’t just throwing on whatever they found. An even number of students said that they often try to make those athleisure pieces look more stylish, or always try to do so. When asked in what way one student said “I feel good when I look good.” Another said they add “on trend” accessories like denim jackets. Which is something easy to put on. College students need things that are easy to throw on but look good. Emily echoed the same viewpoints. She doesn’t want to be seen as completely lazy, whether she is or not, so she tries to make sure things match like colors or cuts of the pieces. She continued by saying that she is very inspired by what she sees on Instagram. She’s more inclined to buy something that’s in a post and styled because it’s easy to find things to wear it with. The post gives her a base of where to start creating her outfit. We spent a great amount of time online, so getting our inspirations from photo sharing sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest is second nature.

What was interesting was that majority of those who took the survey had not “known about athleisure” before taking the survey.

It is most likely that they did not know about the term as opposed to the style. It’s so common to see someone wearing athleisure that the answers of them wearing leggings/hoodies were “every single day” but not knowing the word athleisure isn’t surprising. Athleisure is at a level that could possibly rival denim. Denim jeans/jackets have been around for so long that seeing them in public is nothing to turn heads. Everybody has a pair of jeans at this point in time but the same goes for a pair of leggings, a hoodie/sweatshirt, sweatpants or joggers. You can’t walk from one academic building to the next without seeing an athleisure piece, so the students are familiar but unaware it’s causing such a stir.

Something that does concern college students about these pieces of clothing is the price and quality.

The average price they are willing to pay averaged $30 for any piece of athleisure clothing. It’s another trope for college students, we’re broke. We are paying so much for school we aren’t prioritizing new clothing as much as people who can afford it. So a reasonable price is something very important to us. But we also understand what good quality clothing is. Emily stated she’d never buy from a fast fashion brand because she knows it wouldn’t last in the wash. We, as students, are very aware of what prices are fair for certain items. Some in the survey said a pair of leggings over the price of $50 was too much but, a pair costing as low as $15-20 is just as bad! Those are the pair that rip and tear easily, are see-through, and fade faster than the sun sets in November!

It seems to be a range of understanding on this trend. Most students are just wearing what they deem comfortable, with some thought towards looking presentable. Others, like Emily and myself, are fashion students and understand other aspects of athleisure. We look for specific prices and have an understanding of quality fabrics.

All in all this is a trend so popular it’s worth buying pieces; it’ll be around for the long haul.

* Names have been changed for the sake of anonymity and an honest survey.

- By Hannah Winnewisser, Dreissig Apparel Inc. Independent Contributor

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