Gear Trends: Spring lifestyle apparel

Spring 2018's lifestyle apparel caters to outdoor enthusiasts who want to look the part—even when they’re not on the trail.
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Spring 2018's lifestyle apparel caters to outdoor enthusiasts who want to look the part—even when they’re not on the trail.

The trail is calling

With millennials looking for do-it-all pieces, lifestyle apparel continues to offer an elevated aesthetic that’s ready for a spur-of-the-moment outdoor romp. Look for heat-releasing features like micro holes and breathable fabrics in summer-specific garments, as well as dry-in-a-flash and wicking capabilities. “People want apparel that transitions easily from work or daily life into those quick ‘sessions’ and then back in time for social hour with friends,” says Larissa Rubin, a designer with Ibex.

That fashion/function duality also shows up in lifestyle footwear, notes Janice Pilkington, sales associate at Alpenglow Sports in Tahoe City, California. “We get a lot of people who come in and want a shoe that they could potentially run in, do some hiking in, and wear around town because it looks good.”

And even if apparel isn’t built for the trail, “things that have the outdoorsy vibe” are most popular with customers, says Carly Beck, sales associate at The Bear Mountain in College Station, Texas. People want to look the role of the outdoor enthusiast, even when they’re crushing spreadsheets rather than trail.

Ahhhhh-parel

Comfort continues to be a key feature in the category. “The brush feel of the clothing and fabrics has been huge for us,” says Cory McCall, co-owner of Outdoor 76 in Franklin, North Carolina. “If the hand isn’t right, it’s not going to sell as well.”

This season, fashion-forward lifestyle brands report an evolution of the women’s athleisure apparel into swingy, fluid fabrics and looser fits. Body-
hugging silhouettes aren’t quite out of the picture, but wider-leg pants, bell sleeves, and asymmetrical styles will take center stage. These oversized options play into the macro trend of women’s wear adopting a more tomboyish, even genderless, look. The hoodie, which you’re sure to see everywhere at Summer Market in both men’s and women’s options, is a prime example.

Patrick Anderson, men’s product line manager for OluKai, adds that this mentality extends to the workplace. “Traditional, hard-soled leather dress shoes are becoming dinosaurs as professionals trade them for the more comfortable, cushioned, and fleet-footed feel of a sneaker.” 

The products hitting shelves next year

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