In my 20s, I refused to wear anything but heeled shoes for all occasions, whether it was for work, a night out with friends and even casual weekend days. Yes, I was THAT girl, but for good reason—being only 5-feet-1-inch tall, heels give me height… not to mention I love dressing up. Fashion OVER function. Who cares about achy feet when you can have longer legs all the time? I didn’t even own a pair of proper sneakers. I was told it all changes as you get older. Nope—not me, I vowed.
Fast forward to now: Yup, it changed. After years of working in the city and walking everywhere, comfort is now a top priority. My shoe wardrobe currently includes the same amount of sneakers as heels—high-tops, old-school Adidas Stan Smiths, classic Converse Chuck Taylors and running shoes since I’m now an avid runner. In fact, I only wear heels once or twice a week now, mainly when I have appointments or dressier events. But one thing that hasn’t changed is my love for fashion—my dress code might be more casual, but I still want to look stylish. I’m an expert at styling my sneakers with my everyday street clothes. Needless to say when athleisure emerged, I was all over it. As a runner, this trend is a no-brainer for me. I own an entire wardrobe of training apparel that are high performance for my runs but stylish enough to take me to other activities with friends post run. Athleisure has become so mainstream that it’s no longer just for workout fanatics—athleisure-inspired apparel from high-end designers such as Stella McCartney and Tory Burch to fast-fashion retailers such as H&M and Forever 21 are now available for anyone who wants to dress comfortably cool.
So how does eyewear play into this? We all know sport eyewear has long been a big part of optical, and even before the athleisure movement, many of these brands began designing sport frames with a lifestyle edge for their active consumers. The arrival of athleisure has certainly elevated the demand for this type of eyewear, not only for consumers with active lifestyles but for those who simply want comfortable and stylish frames. And ECPs have taken note—in our latest Sport Eyewear MarketPulse Survey, 73 percent of respondents said they are familiar with the athleisure category, and 64 percent of these said they also dispense athleisure eyewear. 20/20 has been eyeing athleisure with product pages spotlighting the trend but in this issue, we dedicated a Special Edition feature to athleisure eyewear styled with athleisure apparel expertly curated by stylist Lisa Nguyen. Art Director Iris Johnson brought a trampoline on set for our models to jump and pose on but we all took our turns on it just for kicks. By the end of the shoot, we were inspired to go shopping to expand our athleisure wardrobe. Now we invite you to peruse this issue at your (ath)leisure. Go ahead, blame us if you too get bitten by the athleisure bug.
• Christine Yeh