Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Alicia Keys has been busy. From the release of her eighth studio album in December, the debut of her “Girl on Fire” graphic novel, and her editor-beloved Keys Soulcare beauty brand, there are few creative mediums that she hasn’t touched. However, it’s the songstress’s latest fashion collaboration that has us the most excited: a limited-edition apparel collection with activewear powerhouse Athleta. The assortment features a range of activewear and leisure styles that can be worn for almost any activity, from working out to even hitting the town. Keys “really wanted to create what [she’d] actually wear,” and the singer cited versatility and ease of wear as particularly important to the design process.
We chatted with Keys about working with Athleta to create a vibrant and diverse group of styles, from a sophisticated sweatsuit for day-to-night wear to ultra-cool ribbed leggings perfect for any workout. "I love [Athleta’s] focus on diversity and that my collection goes up to a 3X. It’s all about honoring women and all of our differences, styles, shapes, [and] walks of life", Keys explained.
Keys went on to explain how much intention went into her collaboration’s designs. From “fittings with actual different models of different sizes” to the importance of each and every color selection, she took the fashion designer role seriously. The singer explained that she would even “wear the samples and live in them and make notes” on any changes that needed to be implemented after her IRL test runs.
“This collaboration allows us to embrace the best of our performance and lifestyle categories: it’s a versatile group of essential layering pieces to make dressing for the day effortless and chic,” added Casey Schumacher, Athleta’s senior director of design.
In addition to the exclusive collaboration, Keys has also partnered with Athleta as an advisor for the company’s Power of She grant fund. This organization dedicates money and resources to uplifting marginalized voices and promoting wellness in diverse communities. “Connecting with Athleta just felt so synergistic because of [the fund]. With Power of She, I’m able to advise and be a mentor, [and make] wellness accessible to everyone,” said Keys.
I got a chance to try out some of Alicia Keys’ favorite styles from the collection, including a matching wide leg pant-and-hoodie set, a ribbed legging, and a reversible sleep set, all in a size 2X. Read on to hear my details on fit and some exclusive thoughts from Alicia Keys and the Athleta design team.
Keys Hoodie, $139, and Keys Wide Leg Pant, $139
“The beautiful sweatsuit feels so soft and so amazing,” says Keys of the soft-chic set. “Even though you feel casual you look put together.” This sweatsuit greatly exceeded my expectations — it's probably my favorite thing I tried on from the collection. I'm not really a leisurewear fan because the category almost always sacrifices comfort for style, but this combination is next level. Yes, the material is so soft, it's so smooth and more comfortable than you can imagine. On top of that, the gathered waist and cropped fit of the hoodie adds a bit of flair, to give the comfy style an extra bit of daytime oomph. The wide-leg pant silhouette is loose and freeing in all the right ways.
Keys Jumpsuit, $209
While I didn’t personally try out this style, it’s a favorite of Keys and Athleta design director Casey Schumacher. "The jumpsuit I think is a hero for sure,” says Keys. “Its really special and has a style to it that feels really cool. It has a windbreaker like material to it. It also has a really cool cut and design.” Schumacher explains why she adores the style: "I can envision so many different looks with this one piece in anyone’s wardrobe: layer over a yoga bra & tights for a to/from studio look, pair with sneakers and a tank, dress it up with some heels – endless possibilities. It’s so comfortable and chic, without compromising function: the soft sateen taffeta material is breathable and lightweight, and useful details include pockets, ventilation, and adjustability at the waist and ankles. "
Keys Rib Crop Tank, $69
It's really hard to go wrong with a mock neck, and I love the sleeveless ones because they can be worn all year long. This one, in particular, feels very expensive and the craftsmanship is superb, with next-level stitching and attention to detail. There's even a zipper in the back to avoid stretching out the neck. Although it is proportional, I have a pretty big head and often have to replace my turtle- and mock-neck tops because they get super stretched out over time. With this one, I won't have that issue.
Keys Elation Tight, $109, and Keys Elation Bra, $64
I've tried Athleta's regular Elation tight before, so it was cool to be able to compare the differences in Alicia Keys’ take on the design. The first major difference I noticed was that this iteration was ribbed, which added a streamlined and chic look to the tights. They were high-waisted and held up okay during some squats and light jogging. The beautiful really bright orange color is an instant energy boost and reminds me of the yummiest citrus treats. I LOVED the look and fit of the bra. I think it'd be good for low-medium impact activities.
Keys Reversible Sleep Tank, $64 and Keys Reversible Sleep Shortie, $64
"We have this [reversible] sleep set that can actually be used as a yoga set too,” explains Keys of this shocking pink set. “I love that you can buy one thing but it’s really two.” I immediately loved the reversible aspect of the sleep shortie and tank set — it's really cool to have a couple of options from one garment. It also feels almost like a second skin which is ideal for someone like me who doesn't like to wear a lot to bed — it’s made of a sustainable Tencel micro-modal fabric that is incredibly buttery smooth. It hugs the body yet is super breathable. The deep bright pink and peachy orange really stood out to me and definitely lifts the mood.
Keys Maxi Robe, $179
This maxi robe feels really luxurious and buttery smooth. It's a bit oversized, so keep that in mind. I think it really does a good job of making a casual workout outfit into an everyday bopping-around-town look. When it's windy, it kind of feels like you have a cape on which can make you feel extra special. I think this robe would be ideal for casual 'fits, but I can easily see someone pairing it with a body con dress and heels for a nicer formal look. “The leggings and the mock neck paired with the maxi robe is a vibe,” adds Keys.
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