The New Year is a time for redefining things, new beginnings. And for menswear in 2015, this means giving a rightful name to the sportswear and relaxed tailoring trend seen oh-so-popular in recent months and season. As complex as it seems, the sporty luxury look has finally been defined by fashion leaders, and the ambiguity of how to work it is now debunked. We’re talking about ‘athleisure’, or the sports luxe trend.
What Is The Athleisure/ Sports Luxe Trend?
Over the course of a cultural shift toward casual dressing in 2014, gym-to-street clothes evolved to become an official clothing category, leaving fashion insiders, at the turning of the new year, a little unsure as what to call it. They decided upon athleisure.The term’s root words, athletic and leisure, are clearly complete opposites. From cashmere sweaters to neon-striped compression shorts, athleisure is the blurring of fashion lines between activewear and luxury fashion. You may have heard it referred to as “après sport” or “gym-to-the-office” wear, but essentially it is the colliding of heritage or classic looks such as blazers and button downs with gym gear (think track pants, tanks, sweaters and tights). And more importantly, no sweat is required to work the look.
How To Wear It
Proving to be more than a passing fad, athleisure is tipped to be one of the biggest men’s trends for 2015 (in the form of ‘longline’) and has already featured heavily at London Collections and Milan fashion week. That means investing in knowing how to rock it. Totally new at this? Purchase first an easy-shouldered suit jacket, made from lightweight fabrics like cotton, wool or even corduroy, and layer this over a micro-print shirt. Down below, slim cotton trousers work best paired with a fitted topcoat or a light puffer vest – accessorising with a silk woven striped tie to offset any chances of looking underdressed.
For more off-duty vibes look to the bomber jacket with a Varsity aesthetic, based-out with crisp white runners and a trouser-meets-jogger pant; elastically cuffed at the ankle with a drawstring waistband, and front and back pockets for additional functionality. The pant is best worn with a blazer or cardigan and brogue or sneakers, depending on the formality of the occasion. Anything in tweed – from a tie to a topcoat – goes well with athleisure, with an emphasis on texture going a long way for this trend. Meanwhile, the ultimate athleisure staple – luxury sneakers – make any outfit gym-street ready. From the vintage adidas Originals SL 72 to Nike Roshe Free Runs, what decade you imitate is completely up to you. Finally, wetsuit lookalike fibre, neoprene (see Alexander Wang X H&M collection shots below), is athleisure in a monochromatic nutshell. So look to the New York designer’s ‘Scuba Steve’ efforts if you are totally lost for inspiration.
When To Wear It
Strictly speaking, ath-leisure (in the sense that you are wearing tailored track pants with an open blazer and Nike kicks) should be left out of the corporate world. The aforementioned is perfect for day time antics at a game with the boys or a weekend trip with the girl, particularly when a lot of walking is foreseeable. For casual Fridays on the job, athleisure is your friend – just trade in the trainers for wingtips or derbies and swap the slim-fit tee for a granddad collar shirt or cotton oxford with textured tie.
Designers Doing It Well
The summer 2014 collection from Richard Nicoll brought to life athleisure, reiterating it as a key trend for autumn/winter. Nicoll’s signature minimalism went more playful with leather pants, mesh T-shirts, pieced baseball jerseys, and a plethora of baseball jackets.
For SS14, London-based James Long was inspired by patterns and motifs seen in the velodrome. Lycra tees featured cut-up images of techno colors and patterns; made Sci-Fi when layered under mesh parkas and nylon. Thick stripes were also used, pointing toward a country sporting lifestyle; while tailored silk and nylon shorts took athleisure back to the city.
Alexander Wang X H&M
Wang went hard-core sport for his H&M collaboration in late 2014, offering extreme workout clothes such as stretchy leggings and boxy neoprene sweatshirts. Key colours were black and dark grey, as well as providing a stark white down-filled park, designed for hitting Perisher’s slopes and then a restaurant after a full day of skiing.
All in all, athleisure is an evolving classic looks that works, and is a perfect (and rare example) of when fashion meets function. Whatever the season, your athleisure style should be versatile and comfortable. Mentally invest in how you can make the trend your own; working with trainers and blazers you already own to develop a personal style.
The final piece of advice? It’s about looking updated, not outdated. So throw out those tiresome kicks you shredded back in the 90s, and invest in some brand spanking new ones, preferably stark white, neon or coloured.