After hitting the dressing room at Chelsea Collective, the new activewear chain from Dick’s Sporting Goods, you can walk to the “girlfriend lounge” and test how your new gear feels while using a ballet barre or treadmill. And if you’re not quite satisfied with the fit of your printed leggings or wispy workout tank, the retailer offers free alterations.
As it opened the doors to its first store on Tuesday evening at Tysons Corner Center, Chelsea Collective became the latest retailer to make a play for the booming market for “athleisure” clothes, pieces that are functional enough for a workout but stylish enough for running errands.
It’s hard to imagine this trend hitting a bigger crescendo than it is right now: U.S. sales of women’s activewear soared 21 percent to $18.5 billion in the year ending June 2015, according to NPD Group. Lululemon, the store widely credited with sparking the trend, has grown its store count by 76 percent in the last three years, while Athleta has doubled its fleet in two years. Everyone from value-conscious Old Navy to upscale designers such as Rebecca Minkoff and Tory Burch are looking to get in on the action by launching activewear lines. Even Ann — the company behind Ann Taylor, bastion of sensible office attire — is starting an athleisure chain, Lou & Grey. Continue reading >>