Words | Pictures Carla Horvath

Active lifestyle or not, activewear has seeped into our daily wardrobe, serving us comfort and style. Brands like Adidas by Stella McCartney and AJE Athletica have redefined the realm of athleisure. But what if there’s another way to approach your fashion choices? Style guru Courtney Mills shares her insight, suggesting, “Why not swap some of your activewear budget for stylish day pants?”

The case for activewear

Activewear has evolved from mere gym attire to a staple in many wardrobes, and it’s not hard to see why. Beyond its initial design for athletic performance and physical exercise, it has infiltrated our everyday lives, offering a range of benefits that stretch (quite literally) beyond the gym or yoga studio.

Designed for comfort and versatility

Activewear is engineered for comfort. High-quality materials like spandex, Lycra, and moisture-wicking fabrics allow for greater mobility and breathability. This makes them ideal for anything from an intense workout to a grocery run. Activewear is one of those rare fashion categories that is universally appealing across various age groups. Whether you’re a teen, a busy parent, or enjoying retirement, the comfort and utility of activewear make it a viable wardrobe option for virtually everyone.

This versatility is one of its biggest selling points. High-end pieces often feature sleek designs and neutral colours, making it easy to mix and match with casual or even more formal pieces. This means you can go from a morning jog to brunch or even to a casual office setting with minimal fuss.

With the rise of athleisure, activewear has become more fashion-forward than ever. Brands like Lululemon and PE Nation are leading the way in creating stylish pieces that are as much about aesthetics as they are about performance. Unique prints, eye-catching designs, and attention to detail like zippers and pockets make these pieces stylish enough to be worn in a variety of settings.

Enter day pants : a casual wardrobe staple

Courtney Mills, pictured below, strikes a chord when she highlights the beauty of “day pants” as the solution to the “I’m wearing too much activewear” dilemma. What sets day pants apart is their uncanny ability to offer the best of both worlds: the comfort you crave and the style you aspire to. Options like chinos, wide-legged cargos, and even parachute pants—a hot trend this season—serve as the ideal middle ground. These pieces are structured enough to pass muster in a professional setting, yet possess enough flair and versatility to make them suitable for an evening outing.

Endless variations

According to Courtney, if you’re unsure where to dip your toes into the world of day pants, a simple Google search for “man style pant” could serve as an excellent starting point. The fashion realm is rich with options of cuts, fabrics, and styles, offering something for every aesthetic sensibility. Whether you prefer classic lines or more adventurous designs, there’s a day pant out there for you. From tapered trousers with minimalist appeal to cargo pants with utilitarian pockets, the options are endless.

One of the main advantages of investing in a pair of good-quality day pants is their sheer versatility. Many styles can be dressed up with a crisp shirt and brogues or dressed down with a casual T-shirt and sneakers. This adaptability ensures that your day pants will become a valuable workhorse in your wardrobe, capable of transitioning seamlessly between various occasions and settings.

The gateway drug to diversified fashion

Courtney calls day pants the “gateway drug” to expanding your wardrobe horizons—and for good reason. These pants offer a level of comfort comparable to that of your favourite leggings, yet they bring an additional layer of sophistication and style that activewear often lacks. Once you’ve made the transition to day pants, you might find it challenging to revert to your old ways. You’ll discover that comfort doesn’t have to come at the cost of style, which can be a liberating fashion revelation.

Investment over impulse

What about the cost? When considering the cost of apparel, it’s essential to move beyond price tags and think in terms of value. As Courtney points out, the price of two pairs of PE Nation leggings can add up quickly. While they might offer comfort and casual style, their utility is often limited to specific settings like the gym or relaxed weekend activities. On the other hand, for the same amount of money, you can invest in a pair of quality day pants, offering a broader range of utility.

Courtney suggests taking the funds you’d ordinarily spend on multiple pairs of activewear leggings and investing them in a pair or two of high-quality day pants. This isn’t just a swap; it’s a fashion upgrade. Well-crafted day pants can last for years and provide more styling options than leggings ever could. Plus, they’re often made from more sustainable materials, like linen, making them a responsible choice as well.

“Day pants offer a fashionable alternative to the overplayed activewear trend, giving you the comfort you need without sacrificing your individual style,” says Courtney. With their versatility and endless options, they’re a worthy addition to any wardrobe, promising to become your go-to choice for both work and leisure.

So, the next time you find yourself scrolling through activewear collections, heed Courtney’s advice. Pause and consider re-allocating that budget towards a stylish pair of day pants. Your wardrobe will thank you, and you might just find your Instagram feed looking all the more sophisticated.