Even the most casual of men draws the line at turning up to the office in “dressy” sweatpants, with their sporty cuts and high price tags. Wearing sweats, even the fashionable kind, outside the gym or home environment makes one feel somewhat exposed—it’s a bit like wearing an undergarment in public.
But if athleisure itself is considered to be dubious, it’s definitely having a wider impact on style—one that could make dressing for work a little more inviting. Designers have heeded the call for comfort, recognizing the need to make men’s clothing, from suit jackets to office wear-ready trousers, more adaptable, breathable and wearable while ensuring that the design retains a degree of fashion gravitas.
This new approach might be dubbed “covert comfort,” given that the comfortable aspects of the clothes are not immediately apparent. These easy pieces don’t resemble workout gear but have a kind of stealth coziness. Think formal silhouettes in plush textures that make you feel more like a tech mogul (minus the hoodie of course) than a corporate clone.
Good looking jackets and shirts imbued with performance attributes—thanks to sturdy stretch or fibers that wick away sweat—that don’t look out of place in the conference room and no one will know the secret to your unflappable demeanor.