Amanda Li Paige Explains The Evolution Of Athleisure And How To Wear It


If you don’t know what “athleisure” is, you’ve most likely been living under a rock since January 2014, when Karl Lagerfeld officially decreed that sneakers were a fashion statement by sending kicks down the runway at Chanel Haute Couture. Since then, athletic wear has taken the fashion world by storm. It’s as if the lovers of cozy casual got together and staged a legging-loving, track jacket celebrating revolution – shouts of “SPANDEX! SPANDEX!” as their war chant, demanding more comfortable ways of wearing designer pieces.


I’ll admit, the first time I saw a girl sporting running shoes at the club, I had a mini meltdown. But athletic wear is a staple that just won’t quit, so I decided to get with the times by asking model Amanda Li Paige what the hype was all about. Amanda’s shoot with Nisha Sanok brings the trend to life with knitted layers on layers, bright color blocking, and those gym socks that make you think of an impossibly chic middle school Phys Ed class. Accessories abound with mirrored sunnies, flat brim caps, and beaded wooden bracelets in every rainbow color. And if you, like me, still think it’s a sin to rep gym shoes on the night life scene, don’t despair. Chunky wedges and satin stilettos are still on the menu.

Dress, Herve Leger. Shoes, Nine West. Glasses, Linda Farrow. Top, J. Crew.

Why has athleisure become so popular? Do you think it’s bigger than a trend?

Fashion always comes full circle. Look back to the 80’s. There had been a sort of fashion “revolution” in the 1980’s where clothing was introduced in the athletic world. This, in turn, led to new styles such as leotards, tracksuits, sweatbands, etc. Just like history, fashion repeats itself, and we see “athleisure” making a come back in fashion today. We see brands targeting consumers who are consistently following the latest styles and health techniques, as well as brands catering their fashion lines to sports and health (i.e. street wear, surf wear). Athleisure is closing the gap between fashion for show and fashion for lifestyle.

Were you as shocked as I was to see running shoes as a staple at high end designer fashion shows?

I was a bit shocked, designer sneakers now run $500 plus!

Top, Azul by Moussy. Shorts, Mathiasen Designs. Socks, American Apparel. Shoes, Jimmy Choo.

Just how far can you push this look? Wearing it to class is one thing, but out to an event is another!

I think this look is great for daywear, cocktail casual events, but for formal events I don’t think this type of fashion will ever be entirely appropriate.

How can you wear athleisure to a cocktail party?

Confidence and color coordination.


What are the three pieces that you feel define this look?

Socks, attitude, and color.

What are the best ways to mix lounge pieces with every day pieces?

My personal equation for mixing lounge with everyday pieces is sporty + sexy + sweet. A v-neck tight top (sexy) with joggers (sporty) and nude heels (sweet).

Shoes, Jimmy Choo. Socks, Hanes. Bra, Forever21. Dress, Pret-a-Porter

What’s your favorite piece that you wore in this photoshoot? 

During the shoot I thought the mustard suit was amazing, but now looking at the set  I am in love with the magenta dress contrasted with the yellow water gun.

Hat, jacket and pants, Mathiasen Designs. Shoes, Reebok. Bra, Forever 21.
Photos by Nisha Sanok featuring Amanda Li Paige
Styled by Vic Saunders
Makeup by Erica Pennings
Story and Interview by Stephanie Janetos

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