The DIY Playbook Style Series – Athleisure

Today’s Wardrobe Staple – Athleisure

Just to make sure we’re all starting today’s post on the same page, let’s first start by defining what the heck “Athleisure” is. For most of you this is probably old news, but for the few who are scratching their heads thinking that “these ladies have lost their minds… again”, we want to prove that this ONE time we actually haven’t because Athleisure is a real thing.

casey-athleisure-27Athleisure is technically defined as “a trend in fashion in which clothing designed for workouts and other athletic activities is worn in other settings, such as during work, casual or social occasions”. <— Thanks Wikipedia!

athleisure_walking-cold-vestIn other words, it’s athletic wear (like yoga pants, tanks, or sweatshirts) that can be worn well beyond the gym (like when you’re running errands, bumming on the weekend, or just because you feel like it). We love athleisure wear because it’s so comfy AND so versatile. And since this type of clothing is very popular now, it’s easy to find a few affordable pieces. You’d be surprised how quickly these pieces creep into your everyday routine.

The one thing we like to keep in mind when buying athleisure is to limit our collection to a few versatile pieces that we really love. We have found that we typically reach for out favorite pieces over and over again so instead of buying 42 different athleisure looks, we keep it simple by buying just a few key pieces that are quality, neutral colors, and looks we really love.


I could kiss whomever came up with this whole athleisure thing! Clothing that is comfortable & cute, plus it can be worn to workout or to just lounge around?! Yes, please! casey-athleisure-25

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I must admit…I own a lot of athleisure. But honestly, I don’t feel bad about it because I wear these clothes constantly. casey-yoga-workout-fitness

First of all, I do wear my workout gear to actually workout! I belong to a gym in our neighborhood and I find that I’m much more excited to get a workout in when I’m wearing cute active gear. casey-lunging-fitness-workoutAnd then once I’m actually working out, I find that I have a much better workout when I’m wearing the right clothing. I know it may seem crazy to spend a lot of money on leggings, but I’ve found that higher quality ones are well worth the price! They suck everything in, don’t roll down, and don’t require you to pull them up every 15-seconds <– literally the worst thing ever. casey-leggings

These new capri ones are my current favorite! I love the detailing (a little bit scandalous…but still  gym appropriate) and they are incredibly comfortable. I’ve bought cheaper leggings in the past, and have always been disappointed when they would pill and fall apart quickly.

This my first time buying leggings from Zella and I think they just might be my new fav brand. casey-zella-hoodie

Now let’s discuss my new zip-up. Man, it’s another obsession of mine. You know I love me some gray, and this sweatshirt is a new staple in my closet. casey-athleisure-10

I often throw the zip up on over a tank when on my way to workout class, and then after the warm-up I’ll take it off. casey-athleisure-14

But I also wear this hoodie constantly when at home. It is pretty much the best thing to throw on when our condo gets chilly. And the thumb holes on the sleeves make it ever better. casey-athleisure-24

All in all, I’m all aboard the athleisure train and I don’t plan to hop off any time soon!


For those of you thinking that you love the leisure part of these outfits without the “ath”-letic part… you are my people! I’m sending you an air high-five from behind my computer right now.

In honor of full disclosure, when I wear outfits like this I barely wear them to the gym (am I horrible for even admitting that?!). Before recently, I barely went to the gym and when I did, wore super old and ugly “gym clothes”. Now that I’ve been going to the gym more often (cue the confetti emoji but don’t get too excited because it’s only January) I still tend to wear running shorts and old t-shirts. I like to save my athleisure looks for weekend errands, relaxing, and really any activities that involve no sweating. #isitjustme? <—- after reading Casey’s portion of this blog post, I kinda feel like it IS just me and I need to get my act together! 


This is probably one of the main reasons why I’m the WORST person to give athleisure advice. The fact is that I like to have one or two of these outfits… tops… in my closet because I’ve found that since I don’t wear them to the gym and get them all sweaty, I grab the same outfit over and over again.athleisure_nike-gymshoe-grey

I’ve had these black “yoga”-like leggings in my closet for a long time. They have little zippers on the side, which makes me think they’re probably less yoga and more leggings. But either way I like this particular pair because I can wear them with athleisure gear (they’re stretchy just like yoga pants) or dress them up a bit with booties or boots and a long sweater. No one can ever tell the difference.

athleisure_nike_hoodI recently bought this classic grey hoodie and am pretty obsessed with it! I’m not a huge fan of a traditional hoodie because I feel like it is heavy and constricting on my neck. Instead I love cowl neck sweatshirts because they’re way less restricting and a bit more fashionable in my eyes. You wouldn’t believe how many people comment on the neck of this sweatshirt!

But the neck isn’t even my favorite part of this piece. See that zipper across the front? It unzips to create a huge compartment behind the pockets to hold all of your essentials. It’s almost like a kangaroo’s pouch and it’s a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I wore this outfit on the plane traveling to Mexico and kept my phone, headphones, and passport in that little kangaroo pouch and it allowed me to keep my belongings safe while being hands free. And because there’s extra room in that area of the sweatshirt, you could hardly even see the treasures I had tucked in there.  Honestly, I think I want to travel in this convenient sweatshirt all. the. time. because it’s pretty life changing. Or at least I’ll run more errands with it on the weekends so I don’t have to deal with a purse. <— that counts as “running” right?!

On cold days, this outfit pairs well with my winter coat or this Northface vest I’ve had for the past few years. I love how the cowl neck adds a bit of fun to the front of the vest without bringing the bulk of a hood.


I may not hit the gym as often as I should, but I promise you I get plenty of wear out of my few athleisure pieces. I usually wear them until they are old and ragged and then splurge on a new quality piece.

Regardless of how you use your athleisure gear, here are some of the quality pieces we’re currently loving. The best part is that only a few pieces in your wardrobe can make a huge impact.


Athleisure Favorites

1 Gray Zip-up (Casey’s) // 2. Cowl Neck Hoodie (B’s)  // 3. Asymmetrical Hoodie
4. Athleta Leggings // 5. Gray Tank // 6. Black Capri Leggings
7. B’s Gymshoes // 8. Casey’s Gymshoes // 9. Swell Water Bottle // 10. No Show Socks

So what do you think, do you love athleisure gear as much as we do? And more importantly, do you actually wear your athleisure gear to the gym or everywhere BUT the gym?!


  • Trang

    I don’t know the meaning of ‘limiting my collection’ of athleisure gear. 90% of my clothes are athleisure. Like Casey, I go to the gym often (5-6x a week) and have many pieces that are versatile enough to wear out (date night, grocery store, social events, you name it). I find that wearing bright colored items helps me get through the 5:30 AM work outs. And quality is a MUST. I squat a lot and I do not want to show anything, especially at that hour of the day. No one wants to see that. My favorite brands are Lorna Jane (love her tank tops and sport bras), Lululemon (jackets are so wonderful and the last a long time), Alo Yoga (their yoga pants are thick and ultra cute/edgy enough to wear out on the town).

    • Trang you need to be our go-to authority on athleisure! Never heard of Alo Yoga (must check them out immediately!) What are your thoughts on Athleta? I just went into their store recently and wanted to buy everything. I left with some leather looking leggings that are good for a night out on the town. Very excited to wear them. But wanted to know your thoughts on the brand in general…let me know!


    • Trang

      I like Athleta a lot. I have a couple of tops from them. I do recommend though, because they are owned by Gap and Old Navy, that if you find an item you like on Athleta, try searching for the same on Old Navy and Gap. I’ve been able to get some cute tops a little cheaper that way. It doesn’t work each time, but worth the look. BTW, leather looking leggings are my absolute fav! They are so versatile. Now I have to look on Athleta for some.

      One more recommendation I have is a new clothing line by a fitness model that I follow: Buff Bunny. She has tights that are durable and thick and you can squat all day long without any see through. She has launches (of new products) every few months; there’s one this Sunday at 7 PM, CST. The prices are very reasonable too.

    • Thanks for the tips Trang! Definitely gonna look for tops at Old Navy & Gap. And yes…check out their leather ones from Athleta. They’re so comfortable and look great.

      Can’t wait to check out Buff Bunny. Thanks for the recommendation!

  • Erin

    I don’t mind athleisure…. but in all honesty i don’t even wear that out. I want & love wearing my jeans, pretty clothes. I’m also super conscious about wearing leggings in public.. I am anti leggings as pants. *insert laughing crying emoji!* I do wear skinny jeans though!

    but for actual workouts, I’m a huge fan of the victoria secret sports bra and their knock out pants. i can only wear tank tops while working out. short sleeves or whatever feel super restricting to me! and i do wear shorts in the summer, otherwise i feel like i’m dying if i wear pants. this shorty doesn’t like capris!

    • haha Erin you crack us up! It’s funny how some people love leggings as pants, and some are so against it.

      We will definitely have to check out Victoria Secret for their sports bra selection. Never would have thought of them for athletic gear, but love it!

  • I am a HUGE fan of the athleisure movement. I am not a morning person, and when I am getting dressed in the morning, “what is most pajama-like” is often the question that guides my clothing selection…because I work from home, and am busy with 3 kids and a dog, leggings and a sweater are my jam! living in Vancouver, Canada I am a loyal fan of Lululemon. As an aside, you should see Chip Wilson’s house, it was just recently assessed at 75 million! Anyway, the “align” pant are the softest most lightweight leggings ever. Can’t say enough about them!
    Great post and “Long Live Athleisure!”

    • haha you’re our kinda gal Kerri! Sweaters & leggings everyday sounds pretty perfect to us.

  • shawnna griffin

    Hey girls- Great post! I just bought a pair of yoga pants the other day at TJ Maxx for $16.99 and I really like them! My husband just bought us a treadmill last week so… I have been on that thing almost everyday! yay

    • Good for you Shawnna! That is such a great way to start 2017!

  • Marguerite Huber

    Zella leggings are the BEST! I have several pairs and they last for a very long time. I think my oldest pair is probably 5 years old. Always try to get them during Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale!

    • So happy to hear that they’re still great for you 5 years later! I’m really loving the ones I got and they’re holding up really well. Great tip to buy during the big sale!

  • Kara D

    I’ve been turning more and more to athleisure these days! Feels so comfortable and cozy. I’m still a bit self-conscious of the booty end in the yoga pants/leggings (um, no one needs to see jello), so I prefer to wear tunic-length tops over them when I’m not working out. Casey – how can you tolerate the capris in Chicago winter weather?? Brrr, I can’t even deal with the teeny bit of skin showing between sneaks and the long leggings!
    Loving the brand suggestions – keep them coming! If you had to pick between Zella and Athleta, which would you pick?

    • haha you’re so right…my legs were pretty cold when we took these pics! Usually I’ll wear boots when I walk to the gym and then have a couple inches of skin exposed and it’s always freezing by the time I get there. ha!

      Honestly loving both my Zella & Athleta leggings right now! I was really impressed when I went to the Athleta store though. I wanted to buy everything in there! Plus they have some cute like “real clothing” that’s not for working out, but is still super comfortable.

  • Lindsey Seip

    Bridget – what size are you wearing in the Nike cowl neck? Is it a baggy fit?

    • I’m wearing an XS and it’s not baggy. It’s nice and lose fitting in the torso but the arms are snug (or more form fitting) and they are a hair short (just a hair, nothing bad or noticeable). <– Hope that helps!