For far too long, athletic wear has been a pendulum swinging between two colors: all black and all neon. While the all-black look does make us feel intense — and slim — it doesn’t exactly inspire us to jump out of bed in the morning and go for that 3-mile jog as planned. Neon can be fun on occasion, but we prefer our athletic wear to be cohesive with our general style, and highlighter yellow is not a color we often reach for. Those of us who don’t buy into either the all neon or all black category are left to pull on ratty gym shorts and oversized t-shirts that probably shouldn’t be worn outside the house. But over the last year or two, we’ve seen a dramatic shift with the creation of an entirely new clothing category. “Athleisure” has become a section at the Nordstroms and Targets of the world. Celebrities and established clothing brands alike are venturing into the market, searching for clothes that hit the sweet spot between cute and comfortable. These days, athletic wear on the whole is taking a turn for the stylish.

So this month, we’re dedicating “What to Wear” to that most beloved section of our closet — the leggings, sports bra and tank top drawer. Whether you’re participating in Hike for the Homeless and enjoying the family fun day activities that follow, or signing up for the Music City Yoga Festival and finding inner peace and strength while celebrating the yogi culture, or putting us all to shame and running in Nashville’s beloved Boulevard Bolt on Thanksgiving Day, there’s no excuse to not show off your own personal style. The following looks are active enough for your exercise of choice, but can take you straight from the gym or barre to the afternoon fall festivity on your calendar, sans the need for an outfit change.

We shot on location at Percy Warner Park. Christi Beth Adams, owner of Fleet Feet Nashville, and Kady Decker, co-owner of Pure Barre Nashville, modeled our athleisure outfits of choice, which came from Fleet Feet, Pure Barre, and Pieces Boutique.

The Event: Hike for the Homeless

  • Saturday, November 5, 2016
  • A benefit hike to raise awareness and funds for the Nashville homeless community
  • For more information, click here.

What to wear: Hike for the Homeless does include hiking along two paved trails at Edwin Warner Park, but the day is more family fun day than hard-core hiking. As such, this is an opportunity to let your athleisure look shine! Add your favorite quilted vest to create a fun layered look, or try monochromatic-chic in your exercise apparel.

Look#1: Kady rocks a monochromatic black ensemble, but creates interest in her use of pattern and texture. The sheen on the legging gives it a leather-like appearance (making it great for non-athletic wear as well!), while the plaid vest adds a layer that is both stylish and warm.

All black athleisure is still okay - as long as you break it up with textures and patterns!

(Kady) From Pure Barre: ALO Yoga Serene long-sleeve top, $78; Onzie Venom high-rise legging, $69; From Pieces: Laju plaid vest, $84

Look #2: We love Christi Beth’s cool girl vibes in this look. The striped hoodie pairs perfectly with her subtle camo vest, while mesh-paneled leggings keep her from overheating. We’d say this is pattern and color mixing at its finest.

Stripes and camo with mesh leggings? That's pattern and texture mixing at it's finest!

(Christi Beth) From Fleet Feet: Lole Esma striped hoodie, $100; Lole Icy vest, $130; Lole Burst tights, $90; Nike LunarGlide Shoes, $120

Look 3: Monochromatic gray ensembles, also known as the “groutfit,” are a staple for Saturday mornings spent reading the paper and walking the dog alike. We’re asking that you throw out (or at least hide away) the college sweats and trade up for a heathered legging and chic-but-still-cozy sweater.

Boost your groutfit game with heathered leggings and a chic sweater.

(Kady) From Pieces: THML sweater, $68; From Pure Barre: Beyond Yoga Space Dye high-waist capri, $76

The Event: Music City Yoga Festival

  • Saturday, November 19, 2016
  • A celebration of the yogi lifestyle and fundraising effort to make yoga accessible to more Nashvillians
  • For tickets and more information, click here.

What to wear: This event is part group exercise, part celebration of yogi culture, so you’ll want to look the part. Embrace the tank top and legging duo that enable you to have your full range of motion for child pose and one handed tree pose alike. Go for graphic tee-type sweatshirts that mirror your personality or fun and funky leggings that give you the courage to stretch your body into scorpion pose!

Look #1: Striped leggings are a great way to begin your venture beyond all-black workout apparel. We love this pair that looks equally sporty and stylish, especially with the graphic sweatshirt.

Graphic sweatshirts and striped leggings show off style while being comfortable enough for your next yoga session or barre class!

(Kady) From Pure Barre: Emi-Jay “Let’s Get Lifted” wweatshirt, $68; Splits59, Ryval tight, $98

Look #2: For those who aren’t ready to hang up their all-black workout apparel, we encourage you to embrace texture and pattern. This perforated shell jacket will keep your body well-ventilated and show off your killer style.

Add interest to your blackout apparel with a perforated shell.

(Kady) From Pure Barre: ALO yoga shell Jacket, $148; ALO yoga high-waist airbrush legging, $92

A detail shot really shows off the back of this shell.

(Kady) A detail shot because the back of this shell is just too cool!

Look #3: Push your physical and style limits with these olive green leggings. We know that black leggings are great for hiding any lumps or bumps in the lower region, but this olive pair are dark enough to accomplish the same feat, while boosting your style game.

Olive mesh leggings are the perfect way to push your physical and style limits.

(Kady) From Pure Barre: ALO yoga extreme racer tank, $48; Onzie track legging, $69

The Event: Boulevard Bolt

  • Thursday, November 24, 2016 (aka Thanksgiving Day!)
  • A pre-turkey trot that helps support metro Nashville’s homeless community
  • For more information and to sign up, click here.

What to wear: If you’re running the race, you need to wear what you’re comfortable running in. That said, take pause before reaching for your staple black legging-black top combo. Add some brightness and intention to your running apparel! Pair a printed legging with a bright top, or go for monochromatic, but with a mix of textures. Athleisure, like exercise, has no set rules or regulations — just do what feels right!

Look #1: All purple everything! The layers in this look elevate Christi Beth’s style without overwhelming her frame. And we bet that digital camo print legging looks even cooler when she’s breezing past us to the Boulevard Bolt finish line!

Layering tanks and jackets moderate the bold print in this look.

(Christi Beth) From Fleet Feet: Nike Sphere dry top, $75; Nike Legendary tights, $150; Nike Vomero Shoes, $140

Look #2: Fun leggings are a great way to show off your personality. They can also pair with any number of colors and fine prints!

Look #3: If you’re not feeling bold enough to try out a zany print, consider adding a top that has texture in its actual design. The top below has subtle ribbing that adds visual interest while also slimming your figure — a double win in our book!

Texture is a great way to boost your workout style game without venturing into the challenges of mixing patterns.

(Christi Beth) From Fleet Feet: Oiselle Tripoli long-sleeve shirt, $66; Oiselle Kimono jacket, $98; Oiselle Black Widow tights, $96; Brooks PureFlow 5 Shoes, $110

Look #4: We may be leaving neon behind, but that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace bright colors! This green mock-neck jacket looks great on race day, but we could just as easily see it paired with your favorite jeans when you’re running carpool.

Thank you to Christi Beth Adams of Fleet Feet and Kady Decker of Pure Barre for being our models. And thank you to Leila Grossman of Grannis Photography for the beautiful photos.

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