annals of athleisure

Looks Like J.Crew Reversed Its Stance on Athleisure

Looks from New Balance for J.Crew.

While everyone in fashion chases the athleisure rabbit, J.Crew has been content to stick with its preppy ready-to-wear vision, at least thus far. CEO Mickey Drexler said in 2014 that the company had considered getting into the activewear space, but decided not to. The same year, at a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund event, Jenna Lyons told the Cut, “I just don’t think it is the right thing for us to do, but it is out there. I think it is super-important, [but] we’re not planning on taking over the active world.” And last year, at a talk at Hearst Tower, Lyons reiterated that stance. “Everyone’s getting into that game right now. And I’m like, let them have at it. I would much rather do jewelry and sparkly things.”

Jewelry and “sparkly things” are still very much a part of the J.Crew image, but now they are — finally — dipping a toe into the activewear pond via a new 20-piece collaboration with New Balance. In keeping with the retailer’s affection for real-women models, they shot the pieces on Allure editor and Golden Peacock stalwart Rachael Wang, fitness gurus Taryn Toomey and Taye Johnson, and Gracie Cavalho (okay, yes, she’s a model, but she’s also a competitive boxer.)

The collab goes on sale next Tuesday at select stores and online. But tomorrow morning, the brand is doing an Instagram pre-sale of three pieces from the collection — a color-blocked top and leggings, and a navy-and-white sports bra — if you’d like to buy them off Toomey & Co.’s well-muscled backs.

Looks Like J.Crew Reversed Its Stance on Athleisure