The Athleisure Set I’d Buy If I Ever Actually Went Hiking

And the brand which enables my fantasy self

We all have a fantasy self. Or several.

One of mine zips through New York City in all black, unharried by tourists and always getting to the subway at exactly the right time. Another of mine has absconded from society and is living out somewhere in the woods like Thoreau.

Each fantasy has different degrees — different likelihoods of happening depending on their inception. Some came from movies, some came from different stages of life where I think I could've gone full tilt and fallen into some other, better, cooler me.

The latter are the most seductive because they're the most believable, the people I could be because I'm so close.

One of my fantasy selves materialized during my brief tenure in LA. This is the Healthiest version of myself, the one who wakes up to drink celery juice, goes to sunrise hot yoga, and carries a gallon of water around with her everywhere. This is the stereotypical LA girl, and while I lived in SoCal long enough to be rid of most stereotypes — news flash for anyone who saw La La Land and thought you'd make Ryan Gosling fall in love with you at a pool party by being charmingly awkward … you won't — this fantasy self remained.

There's an element of That Girl to her — the kind of girl who has it all together and is a little self-satisfied — but mostly this fantasy self is a projection of all the things I think I should have become in LA … but didn't.

And, obviously, a defining factor of this version of myself is that she hikes.

I always say that, next time I'm in LA, I'll finally hike Runyon, or one of the million other trails that people rave about. Sure, this fantasy version of myself would never go to Runyon — too many tourists or safety in numbers or something — but the real life version of me has to start somewhere.

Obviously, I've imagined this a lot. I've imagined my ideal morning routine: waking up with the sun, whipping up a TikTok worthy green smoothie, and bounding off to the trails like I've done it a thousand times before. I've imagined the actual hike: how easy it would be, how the sun would feel against my skin, how the view would look from the top (with the help of many hours spent scrolling through the Instagram geotag, this visual is crisp and clear in my head, though maybe heavily filtered).

In the fantasy, there is no thick smog in the LA air, there is no trash on the trail, and I do not gasp for breath at any point on the hike as I imagine my real self might.

Sometimes, to get closer to the fantasy self — this one or any other — I browse through online stores to see what I'd wear if I were the type of person who did any of the things I think about doing.

My peak New York City self naturally is stylish without trying too hard and can sift through clothes on The RealReal with way more patience than I can; my Walden Pond self floats through the world in thrifted white linen; and the LA hiking girl version of myself is decked in head to toe Athleta.

Athleta lets you shop by activity — which enables my fantasy in the best way. From "Yoga & Studio" to "Run & Train" and, of course, "Hike and Explore," Athleta will never steer you wrong.

There's a specific Athleta set I picture myself wearing: the Hustle Short, the Hustle Sports Bra, and the Kinetic Waist Bag. Something about this set — maybe the name, maybe how effortless it looks — makes me feel like the put together person I try to imagine myself as.

As companies incorporate more sustainable materials into their products, Athleta is doing their part by being more mindful of what their fabrics contain. The Hustle set is made of their signature Recycled Featherweight Fabric which keeps you cool while on the go.And maybe I'll never hike Runyon — but maybe I will. And if I finally decide to wake up and be that person, there's an unused blender in my kitchen just begging to make me green smoothies, and a dream set from Athleta waiting to be worn.


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