I do believe the advent of “athleisure”, the trend of wearing athletic apparel for decidedly not-athletic activities such as brunch or going to the movies, is surely a sign of the end times for western civilization.
As a society we’ve green-lit a behavior once reserved for the derelict and depressed; wearing sweatpants in public. This shift in popular opinion has been so unanimous it actually brings a welcome sense of unity to these divided times. The fact that we’ve all gotten on board with athleisure instills a warmth comparable to that provided by an Adidas track jacket worn to an upscale rooftop bar. It’s kinda nice. We’re all giving up... together. We are millions of lemmings toeing the edge of a cliff in our Roshes and Yeezy Boosts, with an agreement to jump on “3”.
Contrast this with the 1950’s and 60’s. Social and technological progress was rampant, whispering promises of a brighter future. Men tucked their shirts in just to mow the lawn. Women would put their hair in curlers for a trip to the grocery store. These people believed something big was looming on the horizon and they wanted to look presentable whenever it arrived, even if that meant being uncomfortable. Athleisure, on the other hand is not a wardrobe of optimism. It’s more like fashion version of hospice care. We know the end is coming. We’re done fighting it. We just want to be as comfortable as possible in our final days.
It’s not surprising because we are animals, after all. Maybe this is our sixth sense. Hours before a tsunami, birds fly inland. Prior to an earthquake, cats become agitated. Perhaps modern Homo sapiens don comfy, cozy spandex as they realize their whole civilization will soon go belly-up.
This behavior has historical precedence. Before Rome collapsed, what was everyone wearing? Togas.
“Fuck sleeves and pant legs” they said, “throw a sheet over your body and go watch a man fight a lion to the death.”
What about shoes?
“Shoes? Bitch, slip on some sandals and enjoy the collapse of Rome. We’re done here.”
The toga was their yoga pant. The coliseum was their Worldstar. I haven’t identified an ancient Roman analog to avocado toast but if you have a thesis, I’ll hear it out. In the grand cycle of society’s rise and fall it’s currently Sunday Funday. We’re dressed comfy because we’ve got no plans, we’re not expecting guests and quite frankly, we’re dreading what waits for us tomorrow morning.