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ACTIVEWEAR TRENDS FOR 2021


After an endless-feeling stint on the couch during quarantine, spring 2021 finally finds us back in action. In fact, being active and working out is trendy: Who doesn’t like to live a healthy lifestyle? Who doesn’t appreciate the compliments on social media when you share your Peloton stats or a video of you killing it with a trainer?


So it tracks that staying on top of the latest fitness and fit fashion trends matters. It counts for comfort every step of the way. It cements our drive and dedication to getting healthier and living longer. And maybe above all else, it gives us that surge of oh-yes-I-can body confidence to get into the arena in the first place—that’s half the battle won.


It’s time to step up your game. You’re in the right place to find the most motivating, coolest looking, hottest performing activewear trends for 2021.




MUST-HAVE STYLES AND SILHOUETTES



CROPPED SPORTS BRAS

Is it a shirt? Is it a bra? Does it really matter? This year’s hottest new piece defies definition. In a year when fashion has been completely dominated by a casual activewear and loungewear aesthetic, it’s become no big deal to skip the shirt-and-sports-bra combination and simply mash them into a single piece, especially when hot yoga or power cycling have you whipping off your shirt five minutes into the workout anyway.


Though it contains compression-style bra cups, the Glyder Cutting Edge Sports Bra’s square neckline, ribbed finish and pull-on styling gives it much more of a tank top appearance. For women who need more substance out of their sports bras, the Wacoal High Impact Convertible Underwire Sports Bra has that same seamless, smooth outer layer, longer line down the sides and punchy colors that allows up to H-cup busts to rock it like you would a shirt...a seriously supportive shirt.


ZIP-FRONT SPORTS BRAS

Another trend in the world of sports bras is the front-zip. It makes so much sense for full-busts, especially—it’s far easier to get in and out of than a pullover style (or even a hook-and-eye), especially when sweaty.


Check out the Pour Moi Shannon Convertible Zip Wire-Free Sport Bra, for instance. Each lightly-lined, seamed cup with inner slings keeps your breast where it belongs, no underwire required. A fabric backing behind the zipper prevents chafing, so no worries about irritation or anything. These straps are also standouts, with padding and a J-hook for rearranging them.


FULL-BUST SPORTS BRAS

We have a hard time remembering life before bra-sized sports bras, but there was definitely a time when your choices were Small, Medium, Large, the end. We’re grateful that sports bras for big boobs have evolved to look as cool as they do, all the while taking the strain off of tired backs and shoulders everywhere. Padded straps and closures, underwires, side wings...they do everything your everyday bra does, but under much more challenging conditions.


If you’re full-busted or full-figured, you need a sports bra that's come to play. That bra is the Panache Ultimate High Impact Underwire Sports Bra. It’s our best-selling bra, period, with well over a thousand reviews that make it plain: If you’ve struggled to contain the girls while at the gym, you just haven’t tried this bra yet. It’s as bounce-stopping as it is show-stopping.


THE LOOK OF A BRA, THE FUNCTIONALITY OF A SPORTS BRA

Not every sports bra has to look like it’s ready to drop and give you fifty; the best sports bras at the moment are chic enough to make you do a double take, what with their pretty styling that reads “understated,” as opposed to “athletic.” If you’re really lucky, the same bra can take you through your entire day, workout included.


In keeping with the cropped-top trend, you’re in good hands with the Natori Gravity—the ultimate fashion sports bra. From within, it’s a thin, lightweight foam bra with an underwire; from without, it’s a stretchy compression layer with a real bra closure. The bold, graphic high-contrast color pairings make it smart- and modern-looking. The size range won't let you down, either.


HIGH-WAIST LEGGINGS

Remember low-rise jeans? HA! We feel the same way about our leggings: We’re never going back. Luckily, the high-waisted pants craze is here to stay as far as we can see, and we are here for it. During a workout, it’s so much nicer to have our tummies tucked out of the way so we can concentrate on planking or pedaling without a pause. Another awesome trend is matching your cropped top with your high-waisted leggings for a completely coordinated, balanced outfit that doesn't leave you overly exposed.


Apart from a nicely elevated waistband, these leggings seemingly come in every print and pattern you would want, solids every color under the sun and multiple leg lengths, so you can bring your style preferences to the high-performance party. One of our favorite all-arounds, the Onzie High Rise Midi Leggings, are as stylish on the mat as they are at the supermarket. And that comfy, stretchy, high-cut panel makes it look as though you’ve already done your crunches for the day (whether you actually have is up to you).


TANK TOPS

Not one to forego tummy coverage altogether? You’re in good company. The tank tops of the moment are tailored enough to hold their own, stylistically-speaking, while also helping you keep your cool during a sweat session. In a range of high-tech wicking fabrications, they come in silhouettes from slender to swingy; details like pinhole perforations and princess seams give these sporty fabrics a fashionable twist. This season, expect bold graphics and brand logos, too, in every length and neckline.


The Glyder Mood Tank is a beautifully minimalist case in point. In sleek black or cool French blue, its rounded hem and easy drape mean you could absolutely wear it out on a sunny day and no one would be the wiser. Studio to street? C’est chic!


BIKE SHORTS

The nineties called, and they want their bike shorts back! Too bad they can’t have them—truth be told, we’re really into these all over again. Particularly when paired with one of the tanks we just talked about, these slim-fitting, thigh-length stretch biker shorts all but disappear, which is rare for workout gear and highly refreshing on an actual bike ride, a run or what have you. Just like their legging counterparts, this year’s shorts tend to have higher waistbands and come in solids, logos as well as smile-inducing prints. The nostalgic pull is extremely strong with Champion’s Authentic Graphic Bike Shorts. These shorts serve your needs at the gym (wicking technology, elastic waistband, close-cut profile) before they serve looks on the weekend—just add an oversized matching logo sweatshirt.


RUNNING SHORTS

Whether you made varsity or not is of zero concern to these present-day basketball and running shorts. Though retro-inspired, they’re more streamlined and shorter than the baggy shorts of your intramural youth for a look that’s both flattering and functional. Finding your ideal pair comes down to the details: Look to inseam lengths, drawstrings, pockets, sewn-in liners and all manner of sweat-wicking fabrications for your pitch-perfect new go-to. We’re partial right now to the Under Armour Maquina 2.0 Short. While a total steal, they still make a stylish statement in retro burgundy with a white racing stripe. Bonus points for the comfort waistband (the drawstring is on the inside) and generous 5.5-inch inseam so you can run like the wind without your shorts uncomfortably creeping up.


LOGO SWEATS

Casualwear has been going strong for a couple of seasons now, and we say keep it coming; we couldn’t be happier about the oversized comfort trend in 2021 activewear. Classic lifestyle brands like Champion and Calvin Klein have been rediscovered by the next generation. Everywhere you look, there are hoodies both zip-up and pullover, branded with their iconic logos. Case in point: This Under Armour Rival Fleece Logo Hoodie, in XS to 2X, with a kangaroo pocket, raglan sleeves and drawstrings for days when you can’t even with your hair. Whether you’re actually warming up for a pick-up game or hanging around on the weekend, you can rest assured you’re doing so stylishly.





COLORS AND FABRICS FOR EVERY STYLE



TIE-DYE

The first major fashion trend to emerge during the chaos of 2020 was tie-dye, and little wonder: This calling card of the counterculture always crops back up during times of upheaval when extra peace, love, understanding and happy-making color are in order. Now that we’re getting back out there a bit, tie-dye is still here, accompanying us not only when we’re lounging around but, increasingly, while we’re working out. You can find the motif in sophisticated, moody colors in the form of leggings, crop tops, sports bras and sweats, like the oversized French terry Onzie Boyfriend Sweatshirt.


SHIMMER & SHINE

Across categories, the latest and greatest activewear really puts the pedal to the metal: Metallics are turning up everywhere in doses big and small. We can’t say whether a dusting of gold, silver or rose gold will supercharge your workout, but it will make you feel like a boss, even if you’re merely wearing them out to brunch. The Glyder High Power II Leggings, for one, go with the cropped-top sports bra we covered earlier and nail the high-waist leggings trend.They’re so on point, it would basically be a crime not to bring them home.


BLUSH COLORS

In the same way that metallics play so universally well on all complexions by casting a flattering glow, rosy tones also do wonders for every shade of skin. No wonder makeup colors come back in vogue every so often: The new neutrals, deep-to-fair shades of tan and pink, really speak to us as individuals. The Onzie High-Neck Crop Top and Ribbed Bike Shorts win the day with their fashion-forward silhouettes in dusty rose tones. You can totally see this Millennial trendsetter making a quick TikTok video before barre class starts.


CAMO PRINTS

In times of war and peace, in support or subversion, camouflage constantly endures. This motif works so well on activewear because it channels a certain toughness you need to make it to the end of a punishing workout. Not only can you find classic army green camo in ready-to-wear clothing, this year you can expect to find updated prints in pastel colors and soft, painterly graphics. The model uniform: Glyder High Waist Leggings in French Blue Camo. They pack the higher waistband we need in the fresh design we want. And did we mention they have pockets?!


ANIMAL PRINTS

What better place than the gym or the great outdoors to unleash your wild side? This season it’s about snake skins and big cats (cheetah, leopard and the like). This is a mind-over-matter trend: By bringing such fierce street fashion into the studio, you’re instantly amped up to work out. Try it in the form of a bra, sweatshirt, shorts or any number of leggings such as the Onzie High Rise Graphic Leggings.


UN-BASIC BLACK

It’s almost hard to call black a trend since it’s never not in style, but this season, we’re seeing black make a comeback in lots of innovative ways. Black-on-black matte and shine prints, static patterns reminiscent of yesteryear’s TVs, and high-contrast black-and-white graphics are all on the scene. Hue's Sleek High Rise Bike Shorts in multi-textural camouflage (two trends in one!) are a perfect example.




TRENDING ACTIVEWEAR BRANDS



POUR MOI ACTIVEWEAR

From the English brand that brings you some of your favorite bras and swimwear comes this brand new, super supportive line of cutting-edge fit fashion that includes high-impact sports bras and sculpting leggings. They’re designed to match for a pulled-together, invincible top-to-bottom look—just add sneakers.


GLYDER

For a full range of stylish, multifunctional workout pieces that go from the gym to the trail, Glyder is on a roll. The brand’s cool cuts, contemporary colors and prints and strappy styles are designed to stylishly take you wherever you want to go.


CHAMPION

This eighties icon is back and, quite possibly, bigger and better than ever before. Those script logos carry a lot of cachet these days, and you already know how ridiculously comfortable these cotton clothes are going to feel.






Bare Necessities has brought together today's hottest trends in every category of activewear you could need. Whether your jam is yoga, Pilates, spin, weightlifting, kickboxing, running or something else altogether, with our head-to-toe active assortment, you can dress to make progress.



Published: 4.26.2021
Bare Necessities: Editor Bio

From the desk of: Brooke Glassberg

Editor at Bare Necessities


Brooke oversees all the words here at Bare Necessities. In a previous life, she was an editor at Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Brooke has written for Glamour, Travel+Leisure, Food Network and more. She’s into concerts, travel and her exceptionally adorable daughter and husband.

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