The beauty of the athleisure movement is that it makes fashion functional. Combining activewear with casual or slightly dressy attire allows you to move seamlessly from the gym to running errands to brunch, and even to dinner or cocktails. The trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon, and has been spotted on some of the most stylish celebrities. While it’s about more than just throwing on some gym clothes, putting together trendsetting gym-ready ensembles doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Investing in a few athleisure essentials can keep you looking casual, chic, and contemporary.

Invest in Some Good Leggings

Image via Flickr by ldhren

Leggings or high-quality yoga pants are the foundation of the athleisure wardrobe. They’re super comfy, boost your look, and some brands even flatten your stomach and give your bum a slight lift. If you plan to actually wear them to the gym, look for a pair or two that are designed for athletes. If you want to wear them out in the real world, you’ll have quite the variety to choose from. Sticking to neutrals and relatively solid colors will keep your look polished.

There are many ways you can play with texture and style when it comes to leggings. Subtle prints that resemble dressier pants like tweed, wool, or faux leather moto-style leggings are fun and can really elevate an athleisure ensemble without sacrificing comfort or your budget. No matter which styles you’re drawn to, make sure they aren’t see-through!

Find the Perfect Shoes

While heels and boots are great and can be incorporated into an athleisure outfit to add an element of elegance, a good pair or two of sneakers is integral. As with leggings, it’s important that they look polished and stylish while showcasing your own personal style. There are some pretty fancy kicks out there, but if you don’t plan to workout or run in them, investing in a lux pair of trainers isn’t necessary.

While the type of athletic shoes you choose should depend on their intended purpose, with so many styles and colors to choose from, you’ll be able to maintain the integrity of your personality and your bank account. If you don’t need shoes designed for anything in particular, go for a versatile pair that you can just slip on or wear with multiple outfits.

Use Your Existing Wardrobe

While it’s important to invest in some staple athleisure pieces, the key to maintaining a chic yet effortless feel is balance. This means incorporating a sporty piece or two into an otherwise regular outfit. Fortunately,  you already have a closet full of clothes suited for a wealth of social settings. When it comes to athleisure, there are few things you need to spend money on to make it work.

Pair leggings with a cute oversized tee or high-neck crop top and a denim or leather jacket, and tie a flannel around your waist for errands or lunch, or with a sleek breezy tank and long chunky cardigan for dinner and drinks. You can add a twist with contrasting elements like leggings and a trench coat or duster.

A dramatic coat and bright white kicks can add a bit of sophistication to a sporty ensemble, and keeping your accessories on trend will keep things modern.

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