Kirstie Clements: The big fashion trend that absolutely needs to end

The influence of Kanye Wst and Australian Bianca Censori can't be ignored.

The influence of Kanye Wst and Australian Bianca Censori can't be ignored.

It appears to be official, but from what I can see in Sydney this summer it has been decided that activewear is pretty much the only thing being worn 24/7.

Bike shorts and crop tops are now legitimate clothes.

When I think of all the years as a Vogue fashion writer, when I breathlessly and seriously discussed concepts such as “office dressing” or “day to dinner” or “what to wear at night” and it all referred to different and very beautifully considered garments, and whole different looks, including accessories.

Now it’s just activewear at the gym, at the café, at work, at lunch, at the bar, at the shops and – the one that really does my head in – at the airport and on the plane.


There are some places where activewear should definitely be banned. Photo: Getty

There are a few major factors at play that caused this migration to activewear and also explain why it has become the new uniform.

Firstly, the very big trend towards health and wellness over the last decade or so, which now permeates whole lifestyles rather than merely exercise sessions.

There was also the easy, at-home dressing that we all embraced during the COVID lockdowns, which gave us a sense of security and comfort in tough times and that, quite understandably, we haven’t quite abandoned.

Kanye and Kardashians

I also don’t think you can discount the influence of Kanye West and the Kardashians and the leggings, bike shorts and tiny bra tops aesthetic, in those very unflattering shades of beige, tan and white. It’s a ”getting coffee in LA”  trend that dominated social media.  

Kanye is still pushing this style of clothing – well it’s more like performance art – displayed by his new wife, Australian Bianca Censori.

Censori is often photographed in extremely revealing activewear, bra tops and unitards that are so barely there she sometimes holds a cushion across her body for what looks like protection.

It’s quite uncomfortable to look at to be honest, a public exposure which leaves nothing to the imagination. But that is essentially what activewear is – there is nothing creative, or alluring or mysterious about it.

A Sydney thing?

Everything is just there, in your face. Up quite close if you are flying economy.

I do wonder if it’s just very, very Sydney.

I was having dinner this week with friends from India, London and Darwin, and every one of them mentioned how surprised they were to see so much activewear being worn out and about.

It’s definitely getting skimpier. It seemed to start with what we in the fashion industry termed “athleisure” which was appropriating easy activewear pieces like track pants but teaming them with tailored jackets, or evening sweaters, hoodies with skirts or putting crop tops under a blazer. 

But from what I noticed in my last trip to Westfield, all semblance of real clothes have been abandoned and now it’s just black bike shorts, crop tops and singlets, and in a lot of cases just a black bra top.

I couldn’t even see any cut-off jean shorts. I saw one young woman in a floral ankle length slip dress with lace edging who looked so unique and beautiful, I almost rushed over to tell her, in amongst the sea of bottoms clad in Lululemon.

No wonder fashion magazines are dead.

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