Gone are the days where I make a big song and dance about going to the gym; working out is habitual and now, rather than long, leisurely sessions with a friend, I slot it in when and wherever I can – be that in-between meetings or post-cocktail event during which I’ve stuck to water. I’ve even gone to an 8pm class before quickly showering and heading to DJ a set in Shoreditch.
Like so many of you, exercising is a vital part of my existence; it helps me looks after my mental wellbeing, it keeps my eating in check, it gives me an hour to myself and, more importantly, an hour offline almost every day.
I’m sure you’ve heard the term athleisure wear by now. Fashion brands have dipped their toes into sportswear and activewear for a long time. Sportswear brands have lapped up designers to collab with them and some, such as Stella McCartney for adidas, have even gone onto seasonal offerings.
Highstreet fashion have all slowly but surely dived in to grab a piece of the athleisurewear pie too; Topshop got Beyonce on board to create Ivy Park and everyone from H&M to Missguided to Primark now have regular activewear drops enabling everyone access to exercise gear, whatever their budget.
I’ve often found that style has trumped performance with these pieces. I’ve long been searching for kit that lives up to the performance level I need from my kit in the gym but also wouldn’t be embarrassed to head to a meeting in first. I’m sick and tired of lugging two pairs of trainers around everyday because sportswear designers don’t design for the gym and activewear designers don’t design for the street.
And that’s where J. Crew x New Balance comes in. It’s got high-tech performance, as tried as tested yesterday in my hiit class, and I’d be more than obliged to wear it pretty much everywhere. The colours are perfectly muted, the fit is impeccable (i.e. they do not budge while mid burpee) and I even found trainers to match.
What’s more mind blowing is that I picked up all of the pieces, which are still available to buy full price online, with up to half price off in New Balance’s Bicester Village store, which opened recently.
Last Thursday, New Balance took a few of us out of London for a day to explore Bicester Village, which has been on my hundred-ways-to-blow-my-bank-balance bucket list for sometime. Luckily, the NB team kindly gave us some ££ to spend and promised that the store was full of their most premium pieces but at a friendlier budget.
I can’t pretend to understand how I picked up the J. Crew x New Balance cut out sweater for only £27.50 but I’m 100% happy to go with it, no questions asked.
Alongside the heavily discounted J. Crew pieces, I also added a couple more pairs of trainers to my collection. I could hear a sigh of disapproval from my flatmates at the idea of more trainers kicking about the house all the way from from Bicester but honestly, who could pass up a pair of navy Fresh Foams for £36? And in all honesty, I don’t think I’ve worn anything but since.