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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

I’m sure if you are active on any social media, you have seen the “How I dress in France versus how I used to in America” videos that exist as a space for those in the eastern hemisphere to hurl insults at those in the west for how they choose to dress and vice versa.

But as undeniable as it may be, we in America tend to have a relaxed view of what is acceptable for the public.

I want to make it clear that this comes with no complaint from me. While I find that the creative expression European clothing may allow is more appealing to the eye, I, much like most people, enjoy being able to throw on a pair of sweats and a top and be able to go about my day.

I have wondered throughout the process of writing this article whether in making these choices, we sacrifice more than just fashion. We all know “Look good, feel good.” Would I be more confident if I had to layer every morning, or just more exhausted? I’ll get back to you guys on this one after I inevitably do student exchange.

So where did this come from? This desire to be comfortable no matter the location? Some may say Covid pushed us to “not care” or hey maybe we can chalk it up to our long-term desire of freedom, which may include the societal rules that dictate everyday fashion.

All in all, there is a difference in the dressing patterns between that of Europe and America. Let’s run through it really quick. From brief research, much of what I have discovered is that, depending of course on the city you are in, Europeans tend to dress more modestly in neutrals with minimalist styles. This can also involve a structured coat and/or a tailored-pant leg, combined with other pieces that can be worn throughout fashion cycles. What some would call “timeless.” In comparison, American fashion tends to be somewhat of the opposite, leaning to athletic- sometimes revealing- style wear, with fast moving trends and a focus on branding. This brings me to my overarching topic: that is the rise of athleisure, especially luxury. As I have grown up, I have watched little by little as leggings, sports bras and sneakers integrated their way into our day-to-day wardrobe.

In fact, in America, it’s such an integral part of our clothing that whole brands have branched off the genre. Exhibit one: Aerie Offline and FP Movement. Exhibit 2: the athletic wear industry generated over 89.3 billion dollars in 2022 (Global Market Insights Inc.) This type of clothing has come to represent a lifestyle that is supported in the USA, or people always on the go dressing for maximum efficiency in day-to-day activities. I believe the idea behind it is that we as a society must keep moving, making, creating so much so that we are lent no time to even change as we transition from sweating in the gym to sweating about a deadline. From this, I find it ironic that this style is called athleisure, meaning Athletic/Leisure wear, because to me it signals anything but relaxation.

Even those with undeniable wealth such as internet stars like Alix Earle or celebrities from affluent lineages take part in this style. Here however is where a distinction begins to form, dividing people. Much like luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Balenciaga have signaled classed differences. What fascinates me is that not only is athleisure its own category, but under this umbrella there exists another sector of luxury. Certain brands have emerged that make the comfortable staple seem just out of reach for those without discretionary income (money to burn).

The most prominent brand under this sector that can probably be mentioned is Luluemon. I remember the first time I heard about them. It was around 5th grade, and my sister was begging for a headband from there. At first, I thought that a brand called such a fun silly name:  “Lu- Lu- Lemon ” would mimic that design of Lily Pultzer, but I was so incredibly wrong. Lulu prides itself on sleek designs with hefty price tags.

In addition to Lululemon. Alo, which has apparently been around since the early 2000s, is another exclusive brand. $130 per legging anyone? Alo goes beyond clothing however, centering their brand on social media by inviting celebrities to personally train in their personalized studio. To me the one-minute clips scream into the void “we have too much money” but I guess it’s a good PR move too.

If that is not fancy enough for you, make your way over to Gossip Girl’s Bergdorf Goodman and snatch up a 2k pair of leggings from Alaia. While that last one may seem to be, rightfully so, obvious insanity, I cannot mention any form of fashion without pointing out the widespread absurdity that it is. From a different perspective, the price tag and overconsumption of clothing

Such as Lulu, Alo, Freepeople are undeniably bizarre. I mean look below at the Free People romper, which don’t get me wrong, I almost bought one (might still); it’s essentially a glorified potato sack. However, this is supremely trumped by the $150 pickleball skirt L’eTolie so casually sells.

Listen, maybe I’m just cheap or behind on trends, but I swear one day you are wearing Justice and the next a new legging brand is all the rage.

There is so much more that can be discussed in this realm like sustainable consumption, creating capsule wardrobes and the intense emphasis on exercise, but I’m going to leave it at that.

Disclaimer: I still wear the Lululemon I got in 6th grade and am jealous of Tate McRae doing pilates on an Alo reformer. I just wanted to bring light to the sector of luxury athleisure.

Natasha is currently a freshman at the University of Florida majoring in business management. She is a new news writer for Her Campus and is excited to spread joy and knowledge to readers. Her hobbies range from backpacking in the wilderness to painting. While she currently working toward a career consulting, she hopes to also explore life as a national forest park ranger. In her upcoming years at University, she hopes to study in Europe, gain friendships, and keep on learning and growing.