Spa Suitcase: How Izod Lacoste & I Started the Athleisure Trend in the 9th Grade

This BCBG velour warm up suit is super similar to my fave in high school. via Poshmark

I have a secret — I wasn’t always healthy — in fact, in high school, I was a PE reject, you know the girl so bad at sports that she was always picked last when choosing teams. But, there was one, um, sport, I stood out confidently in a good way about. Dressing.

In public school, we were uniformless, peacocking, using clothes as a status symbol. They spoke volumes about us and how we saw ourselves. But for me sometimes the clothes I wanted and wore, were about aspiration rather than vocation.

One outfit in particular I begged my Mom for was from the preppiest, best shop in town, The Leader. Only now do I get the irony of the name of this southern chain of fashion stores. Because in school most everyone played follow the leader — fit in or risk being ostracized.

Though I was super shy, I took fashion risks not always wearing something just because it was popular. But I liked The Leader because they had the best selection of clothes in Chattanooga.

Case in point, the navy blue, Izod Lacoste velour tracksuit with white striped cuffs and hem from The Leader above. Warm up suits were then, worn only for between workouts or athletic practice and home. Athleisure hadn’t been invented. The outfit cost $110 a LOT for clothes then, but my parents surpised me on my birthday with it.

I wore it on it’s own with the jacked zipped up so it looked like a jumpsuit. Accesorized with my precious add a bead necklaces and Tretorns. It was so cozy and comforting, no one wore anything like it except after sports practices. All the teachers complimented me on it — the students not so much.

Vintage velour Izod Lacoste Warm Up Jacket in Hot Pink — look how soft it is!

And I loved it — I still remember having misgivings about getting rid of it, but I wore it so much the velour had balded in certain spots.

Did it help me become sporty? Though I wore it to baton twirling practice, I’d venture no.

Did it help me lose weight or be healthier? Probably not. But. . .

A couple decades later, suddenly everyone is wearing warm up suits, leggings, tennis outfits, on dates, to lunch, even to work! And adding high heels — trumping my Tretorns.

And just like me, this doesn’t mean they’re sportier or healthier, but it makes those pursuits more top of mind and reminds the “spectators” about that yoga class or spin workout they’ve been meaning to attend.

What about you? What do y’all think about when you see someone wearing athletic garb? Does it inspire your healthy intentions? or spa vacations? Would y’all wear and buy vintage velour warm up suits? Let me know below!

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Candy Holladay

Law school escapee fashioning a healthy life on TV, Radio, Youtube. Lover of frippery & frivolity. . . Ponderer of the above. #CatFan