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Rebecca Minkoff’s SS16 Athleisure Collection Nails The Work-To-Play Transition

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When we first heard the term “athleisure,” it seemed like yet another example of a forced portmanteau (that’s the official linguistic term for the practice of combining two words to create a new one, as with now ubiquitous words like “frenemy,” “bromance,” “McMansion,” and “gaydar”), a mash-up of two nouns (“athleticism” and “leisure”) concocted as a marketing tactic for Internet-age consumers. The gimmicky nature of the term was enough to incite an emphatic eye roll but the murky definition of the word made it seem all the more nonsensical. Workout clothes you’d wear while shopping with friends or going to brunch? Who’d ever want to strut around in sweatpants and a sports bra? But, then, when the term first emerged, the range of “athleisure” fashion options, remained somewhat limited. In the past two years, however, fitness and fashion have converged in such a way as to make the word “athleisure” seem like the most sensible and concise way of describing new gym-to-street attire. Any  of our qualms about this being some new gimmick-y term have dissipated — largely thanks to the contributions of designers like Rebecca Minkoff, who recently debuted her SS16 Athleisure Collection during a runway show at AOL Studios that was live-streamed on AOL.com and made immediately shoppable on  RebeccaMinkoff.com.

The Rebecca Minkoff Spring 2016 Athleisure Collection is undeniably informed by the designer’s downtown cool aesthetic, with an abundance of hoods, cargo pockets, and biker-chic zippers and unexpected cut-outs, as well as graphic patterns and prints. Slick black pieces, for instance, are embellished with pops of neon green or neon fuchsia, while black-and-white storm cloud prints are paired with sensible stripes for a fun take on pattern-mixing and an ombré coral pink pattern softens the vibe of tough moto jackets and bold racerback tanks. Best of all, there’s a clear emphasis on layering and on mixing and matching within the collection.

In and of themselves, for instance, the neon green Celine Bra ($88 at RebeccaMinkoff.com) and matching Lizzy Legging ($128 at RebeccaMinkoff.com), shown fourth and fifth above, seem like sensible garments for a pilates or yoga session, a ballet barre class, or a run on the treadmill. But, when you layer the Ana Sweatshirt ($98 at RebeccaMinkoff.com), pictured third above, over the sports bra, the look takes on a sporty but street-ready feel. On windy or rainy days, you can take the layering a step further and toss on the Binx Hoodie ($278 at RebeccaMinkoff.com), pictured ninth above, which features a high-low waistline and drawstring cords to tighten the hemline or the hood as desired.

If you enjoy playing tennis, meanwhile, you can hop around the court in the Rebecca Minkoff Athleisure Pander Dress ($168 at RebeccaMinkoff.com), shown second above, which has a flirtatious print that mimics sequins and which incorporates an ombré color scheme with gray, white, and black leading to punchier coral pinks and reds. Once you’ve pulled a Serena Williams on the court, you can dress to sate your appetite at a nearby café simply by slipping on the lightweight Rebecca Minkoff Saxby Jacket ($278 at RebeccaMinkoff.com), pictured sixth above, which features a stand-up collar, a center zipper closure, 3/4-length sleeves, and a sheer mesh back, as well as roomy cargo pockets along the front. Or, for a slightly dressier look, try the Wes Moto Jacket ($298 at RebeccaMinkoff.com), pictured first above, which features all the diagonal zippers and button-adorned tabs you’d expect to find in a biker jacket but replaces the traditional leather construction for a more breathable and lightweight performance fabric.

Both of the aforementioned jackets can also be paired with such slim-fitting, gym-ready separates as the Kirin Top ($108 at RebeccaMinkoff.com), a racerback cami with a built-in bra for support, and the Grace Legging ($108 at RebeccaMinkoff.com), shown seventh and eight above.

The mixing and matching options, however, are endless. You can take the logo-emblazoned Attie Sweatshirt ($148 at RebeccaMinkoff.com), shown 12th above, and pair it with a bright, coquettish flippy skirt or go for a more tomboy-ish route by wearing it with the leather-like Evi Short ($89 at RebeccaMinkoff.com), shown last above.

All you need to do is mix, match, and layer depending on your destination, then accessorize appropriately to take the outfit into the desired realm. For instance, give a sweatshirt-and-shorts combo a cool attitude with strap-adorned ankle boots or attain a sporty but cheeky by adding a baseball cap and high-top sneakers. Similarly, make a tennis-dress-and-jacket combination more romantic by ditching the sneakers in favor of strappy sandals and adding a funky cross-body bag or a structured satchel. Just make sure to pack some beauty essentials in your gym bag so that you can freshen up before heading to your next destination!

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