Beyoncé Wants You To Get Physical With Her Ivy Park Activewear Line
Yesterday, Beyoncé revealed her highly anticipated activewear collection which, in keeping with the current athleisure movement, aims to offer versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched, dressed up or down, and worn to the gym and beyond. The collection, currently available at Topshop, is expansive, with pieces ranging from sports bras and moisture-wicking leggings to sheer mesh hoodies, oversize tank tops and tees, football jerseys, dance-ready bodysuits, running shorts, sweatpants, parkas, racer vests, biker shorts, seamless camis and crop tops, hoodies, skorts, sports slides, baseball caps, knit beanies, and sweatbands. The goal was clearly to offer options for women with all types of athletic proclivities – whether they were yogis-in-training, ballet barre enthusiasts, long-distance runners, tennis players, spin class fanatics, mountain bikers, soccer lovers, or gym junkies.
On a positive note, the Ivy Park collection includes some funky parkas and jackets, as well as some stylish but functional crop tops. On the flip side, the collection isn’t particularly colorful: black, white, and gray, pieces abound, with only a few azure blue options, powder pink separates, and two understated geometric prints (one a striped motif and the other a maze-like pattern with concentric diamond shapes). Perhaps my biggest gripe, however, is the abundance of logo-emblazoned pieces. While huge logos are making a comeback this season, I’m personally not thrilled about the trend since I loathe the idea of people being walking billboards for brands — not to mention that I firmly believe this kind of trend tends to lead to disturbingly elitist behaviors, with people trying to flaunt their status via the labels they wear.
Still, there are definitely some pieces worth checking out in the collection. Check out a selection of offerings below, as well as my thoughts on each!
Ivy Park Sheer Mesh Hoodie, $70. Available at US.Topshop.com
This sheer mesh hoodie features a slouchy silhouette, a ribbed hemline and matching cuffs, a neoprene Ivy Park logo emblazoned along the chest, and a relaxed hood with a drawstring cord. The piece isn’t designed to maximize any athletic performance, but it’s more of an off-duty layering piece meant to be worn over sports bras and fitted tanks. Personally, I don’t really see the aesthetic value of this piece — it just seems like a tacky way to flaunt off your abs through the sheer fabric. And, again, the logo irks me to no end.
Ivy Park Seamless Crop Crew Tee, $35. Available at US.Topshop.com
This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite pieces within the collection since it’s design is bold yet simple. This fitted top features mesh inserts below the neckline and along the sleeves and back so as to improve air circulation and keep you cool and dry. The only caveat: because it is a crop top, you have to feel comfortable showing off those abs if you’re going to pick this piece up!
Ivy Park Seamless Capri Leggings, $52. Available at US.Topshop.com
On its face, this capri pant seems pretty pedestrian — a basic fitted legging with a high rise fit and a wide waistband. That said, I do appreciate some of the subtler design details: the waistband, for instance, can be folded down to reveal a contrasting stripe detail, and mesh panels on the sides of the knees add an element of breathability. Still, probably the best reason to get this pant is to wear it with the crop top shown above — especially since the waistband reaches all the way to the belly button, making for a more modest outfit that still shows a bit of flesh.
Ivy Park Logo Bodysuit, $50. Available at US.Topshop.com
Obviously, this piece is designed for dancers (and we all know how much Bey likes a bodysuit!), but bodysuits have been making a comeback this season, so it could ostensibly be worn with jeans or shorts during your after-gym activities. The striped trim along the neckline and the leg openings nods to the classic styling of basketball jerseys, while the high-cut along the legs adds a sexy touch. Yes, the Ivy Park logo is enormous but, somehow, it works here since it does add to the hoops-flavored motif, practically conveying the idea that you’re part of the Ivy Park “team.”
Ivy Park Print Wrap Back Jacket, $220. Available at US.Topshop.com
This jacket’s allure stems from its linear print, which seems to pay homage to the mind-bending works of the Op Art movement, and which has the added benefit of being reflective, making you more visible when in dimly lit areas. On a practical level, the jacket features a hood with a drawstring cord for an adjustable fit, a lightweight mesh fabric lining to keep you dry and comfortable, and a 100% polyester shell that dries quickly, so it’s a great layering option when you’re heading to the gym on rainy days. Still, is it worth $220? Probably not.
Ivy Park Logo Mesh Tee, $58. Available at US.Topshop.com
Though it was allegedly inspired by vintage basketball jerseys, this tee more closely resembles a football jersey, with its striped V-shaped collar and loose sleeves. The fit is boxy and unflattering, and the logo along the front is just gaudy. Since it has no performance-enhancing elements, I’d bypass this piece altogether. You’re better off wearing your boyfriend’s favorite jersey and saving $60.
Ivy Park Mid-Impact Print Bra, $36. Available at US.Topshop.com
This is another of my favorite pieces in the collection since it’s designed for both performance and pulchritude. Made of a double-layered fabric that offers sturdy support and is both quick-drying and moisture-wicking, this sports bra features a painterly striped print with an ombré effect and wide shoulder straps that won’t snap or slip. Other technical elements include flat-lock contoured seams that ensure the bra doesn’t budge as you jump, run, and lunge, and a sheer mesh panel on the back that provides much-needed ventilation.
Ivy Park “I” Low Rise 7/8 Leggings, $62. Available at US.Topshop.com
With a 7/8-length leg, this fitted legging offers more coverage than the capri versions in the collection, and the double-faced fabric compresses and contours the silhouette. The low-rise fit, however, means the leggings sit on the hips, which some women prefer to mid- and high-rise options. The logo on the waistband provides some contrast, but it’s precisely this element that makes the piece less appealing to me. Besides, at $62, I could buy at least three athletic pants at Target that are just as colorful if not more, offer the same performance benefits, and don’t have any obnoxious logos.
Ivy Park Hexagon Mesh Parka, $122. Available at US.Topshop.com
This oversized parka is made of a sheer fabric with a honeycomb pattern, designed as a nod to Beyoncé’s “Beyhive,” an features a drawstring belt, cargo pockets at the sides, and a full-length zipper. It’s got a cool, street-flavored vibe, but the sheer fabric cheapens the parka a bit and the cocoon shape won’t exactly accentuate your figure. Pass!
Ivy Park Printed Cross-Back Top, $52. Available at US.Topshop.com
Again, this is one of the few pieces in the collection that truly blends function and fashion. This supportive top features a bonded “V” under the top to support your bosom during high-impact activities, and the quick-drying fabric wicks away sweat and keeps you comfortable during your workouts. The geometric print, meanwhile, makes this sports bra stand out from other basic black numbers.
Well, that’s just a small sampling of the offerings within the Ivy Park collection and, as you can see, there are some hits and some misses. I’m sure the collection will sell well because of Beyoncé’s fan base but, when you judge it objectively, Ivy Park is just so-so. Considering the wealth of athleisure lines on the market right now, I’d probably look to other brands like Live the Process, This Is First Base, Michi NY, Well Kept, Outdoor Voices, Cynthia Rowley Fitness, Rebecca Minkoff, Without Walls, and Derek Lam 10C for Athleta.