Raising the Stakes on Your Elevated Active

August 27, 2020

Over the past year, we have adjusted our lifestyles to accommodate staying-at-home for just about everything we do. But guess what – we are in the middle of a shift. We are venturing out more and because of that, we are making more changes in how we live our day-to-day. Athleisure is still doing its thing, but it is sharing the stage with a hot, new supporting actor known as “Elevated Active” and this elevated style is getting rave reviews.

Let’s start with a description. Elevated Active means:

  • Knit jackets of all styles (look dressed up but not overly dressed up).
  • Button-down shirts of all fabrications and styles (perfect for looking business-ready but not too over-the-top).
  • Tees with something special (stretch for comfort).
  • Performance tees with fashion styling (moisture-wicking, antimicrobial fabric that has a great drape to it).\
  • Easy layering pieces like sleeveless tanks.
  • Sweatshirt hoodies and crew necks (score points if they are in oatmeal heather, vintage white or ecru colors for a premium business vibe).

And if you’re going outside:

  • A mask (one for every outfit – don’t be afraid to get “matchy”).
  • Outerwear with style (think of it as your new party outfit, because it is – get a few options).
  • A great hat (bucket, baseball, beanie – your style, your choice).

Think: Classy on the top and functional-comfortable-casual on the bottom.

The Comfort Zone
The pandemic introduced many of us to a lifestyle where we are reconsidering what a commute is and what we need to wear. We are working from home most of the time now and popping into the office only when we really have to. We are rethinking how we get anywhere and if it’s an option, many of us are walking, biking or taking a scooter rather than taking public transportation. With all of this movement and activity, our clothing needs to be careerwear enhanced with practical performance qualities. The demand for more features in each garment is being met by a real desire to be more mindful of how much we consume. The mantra for many consumers is “Buy Better and Buy Less.”

These days we may drive less, eat out less and balance our work and non-work screen time more, but giving up our comfort is a non-starter. Comfort clothes are everywhere and on everyone (seriously)! I even see brands putting elastic waistbands in men’s trousers. Trend service WGSN reported this past April that conversations around “comfort” on social media have been steadily increasing since 2018. This trend accelerated because COVID-19 has kept us at home and has increased our appetite for contentment.

Lessons in Style: Back to School
Trend service WGSN is predicting that after an extended period of time spent indoors, Gen Z kids are ready to debut a bolder style when the school bell rings this month. Their choices will translate into unexpected color combinations, out-of-season prints, revamped silhouettes and vintage pieces. The core of this concept consists of knits and stretchy clothes – but we aren’t talking about those comfy clothes you might not want to be seen in. These days, knits and stretch are not that at all. These items are very special, especially for young people. Which brands they buy from and how they’re put together in an outfit, creates their very unique and elevated personal style. It’s a much more polished look than third period gym class sweats used to be!

Trend Alert
Layering shows no sign of slowing and the hoodie continues to be a key ingredient in this story, especially when it’s used as a color accent. The increase in outdoor socializing (to help prevent the spread of COVID-19) calls for a greater level of practicality. We are also looking for layering solutions for when the weather is unpredictable – try outfit solutions that include knitwear, outerwear and versatile footwear.

The weather will be no match for the big hoods that are trending now. They act like shields against both the germs and the elements. The same can be said about high collars that are also hot right now.

As we edge closer to cozy season, I am loving the OGIO Luuma Full-Zip Fleece (LOG812). It feels like a little bit of luxury. It’s soft like cashmere and it keeps the chill away. As we toggle between working from home and going into the office, this is the perfect piece because the Luuma’s elegance turns outdoor clothes into indoor biz-leisure classy styles.

All of these trends will help us start looking ahead to 2021 and 2022! COVID-19 has kept us cooped up for so long that customers are craving a justified indulgence if for no other reason than to cheer us up a bit, so the need for luxury is likely to stick around. Those indulgences are items that need to be well-designed, built to last, useful and lavish for years to come.

Next month we’ll talk about workwear. You may not think it’s a great fashion topic but you would be wrong. Workwear is trending for people who wear it for their jobs but there are a whole lot of other people who wear it for several other very interesting and surprising reasons. Talk to you then.