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Haute Casual Couture: High Fashion Co-Opts Activewear

A decade after the Juicy Couture craze, haute casual is back
Haute Casual Couture: High Fashion Co-Opts Activewear
From left: Arun Nevader/Getty Images; Courtesy Fendi; Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images; Courtesy See by Chloe

Maria Woike, 31, an associate creative director at a New York ad agency, likes to mix things up by wearing more formal clothing with a seemingly unlikely accompaniment: workout gear. “I tend to have a little bit of tomboy style,” she says. “My favorite outfit is a pair of yoga pants with heels and a blazer and a retro throwback T-shirt.”

The growing ranks of consumers like Woike with a penchant for pairing athletic wear with almost anything has turned baseball jackets, cashmere track pants, and even tailored men’s sweats into hot items. With activewear sales growing more than four times as fast as the overall $201 billion U.S. apparel industry, according to market researcher NPD Group, it’s not hard to see why designers from Cynthia Rowley to Todd Snyder showed so-called haute casual, or sports deluxe, clothes during New York Fashion Week in early February.