Athletic/performance clothing that looks like streetwear?
September 14, 2020 9:50 AM   Subscribe

With autumn having arrived, my thoughts have turned towards beefing up my wardrobe, which hasn't been touched in a few years. More below the fold, but in essence, I am looking for performance clothing that doesn't look like it - I want performance clothing that looks like streetwear.

I don't need office-appropriate clothing, or anything dressy in a business-casual way (although I'm open to items of that nature if they fit all of the other requirements). I am looking for casual clothing that doesn't scream "athletic" but has performance features (sweat management, stink management, supremely comfortable, washable, durable). Examples might include the Patagonia capilene air hoody (which looks like a knitted sweater but is actually a merino/polyester moisture-wicking baselayer, or the Athleta Softtech dress or jacket from a few years ago that was also a merino/polyester blend. My picky requirements include that I'm always cold, I don't like cotton, and if at all possible I prefer a washable blend of merino and artificial (drirelease merino, etc.) to give a more natural feel but also have some of the anti-stink of wool. I don't like uncomfortable clothing and my threshold is lower than most (I don't love seams or zippers). I used to wear a lot of 100% merino, but ultimately found it itchy, delicate, and at risk of moths. Items absolutely need to be washable, durable, and comfortable, and ideally they should be somewhat flattering/form-fitting. I typically like wearing tall boots, leggings, and then some kind of cozy top or dress.

I'm very open to hearing specific items of clothing that might be suitable, but I'm also looking for brands that focus on this type of clothing, or websites/shops that sell various brands of this sort. I'm aware of Athleta and Title Nine, but I wonder whether there are smaller or newer brands or stores that I'm not aware of. Thanks for any ideas!
posted by ClaireBear to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (12 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
I always end up recommending Duluth Trading Company, but their whole brand is about making reasonably nice-looking clothes aimed at people who do physical work, so their khakis are waterproof, they make very nice structured sweats, their tops are often aimed at range-of-motion/airflow/stink management, etc. I like their stuff a lot and it even fits me.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:53 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]

I would check out BetaBrand as this is what their brand is basically based on
posted by raccoon409 at 10:27 AM on September 14

Have you tried the women's clothing section of REI? Their casual wear is similar to Title Nine and they carry some of the same brands (Toad&Co, Prana, Krimson Klover, Patagonia, etc.). I've found dresses and some sweater jackets there--basically more casual unfussy every day clothes that are still flattering and are not like what I would wear to the gym. They definitely carry sweaters that are a wool/poly blend.
posted by Shazbot at 10:33 AM on September 14

Consider Arc'teryx. Stylish slim tailoring, but fully polyester rather than a wool blend.
posted by wombat praxis at 10:52 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]

Thanks so far, all! Also wanted to say that any recommendations for VERY high-waisted leggings would also be appreciated. Bonus points if they're warm, but any suggestions are welcome.
posted by ClaireBear at 10:56 AM on September 14

Kuhl is a brand that tips in this direction, though they tend not to have wools.
Smartwool makes some dresses and sweaters.

I go for this style too, but this year I am not finding a lot of options.
posted by xo at 10:57 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]

Speaking of REI, this morning I got an email introducing their Everyday Collection, which seems to have aims in line with what you're looking for (may or may not actually be to your taste). They describe it as "Approved for use in online meetings, daily errands and last-minute yoga. Our Everyday Collection is full of professional play clothes that fit into any schedule."
posted by mskyle at 10:59 AM on September 14

I’ve had good luck in the past month ordering fancy Athleta leggings (ones that look like pants, fleece-lined ones, etc.) on steep discount from people in warmer climates off Poshmark. I like Athleta because they have tall sizes, but you may have other preferred brands.

I love my merino zip athletic sweaters from REI (REI brand and Kari Traa). Boden also makes some nice tunics and sweatshirt fabric dresses that pair well with leggings (and come in tall sizes), and those are easy to find on Poshmark as well. Prana usually has some merino wool sweater dress/tunic options and are plentiful used or new. I haven’t tried the Duluth Trading Co versions yet but would be tempted if they were on sale.
posted by Maarika at 11:37 AM on September 14

I don't have any recommendations for you, but I do remember a somewhat related post from the blue you might want to check out.
posted by kickingtheground at 3:52 PM on September 14

Man over the past year or so I've really gotten into Athleta, their fleece lined leggings are so good. For exercise, but they also have styles that are more athleisure/everyday friendly.

If merino is your thing though consider checking out icebreaker. They seem to have sales often enough.
posted by ataco at 6:13 PM on September 14

Lululemon might actually be good for this! A coworker at work used to swear by their stretchy/performance-fabric pants - they apparently allowed for many more spontaneous dance moves throughout the workday.
posted by sagc at 6:45 PM on September 14

You might like Title Nine. They have a lot of dresses and tunics that look like they'd work.
posted by Red Desk at 10:03 PM on September 14

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