Listen up, men. Whilst we universally condone the use of compression tights without shorts (unless you’re from the Russian ballet), there is a way to make today’s activewear look stylish without looking like a walking billboard for Nike or Adidas.
Ever since sportswear made the transition from the gym to the leisure scene, designs have gotten cleaner, sharper and more technical. Sportswear isn’t as perilous as it once used to be in the styling department, but there are still rules to scoring a cool off-duty outfit.
Step One: brush off those chip crumbs (or, better yet, learn to transfer food from package to mouth without spillage, you animal). Step Two: read our guide to wearing casual sportswear and rocking it.
Keep It Athletic Up Top
It doesn’t get any easier than this. That jacket you thought was only appropriate for the slopes? That sweatshirt you wear only for shuffling from the bedroom to the bathroom on cold mornings? The t-shirt collection that’s gotten so big it’s threatening to seize territory in a neighbouring drawer? All of them are prime candidates for the perfect casual sportswear look.
This is your chance to put all that gear described as “technical” into regular rotation in your wardrobe. If it looks like you could climb a mountain in it, wear it on the street instead. The bomber jacket is also a solid choice, especially when revamped with an unexpected colour or luxe material, as is the athletic jacket. Keep an eye out for interesting elements like extra zippers, fancy stitching and sporty ribbed details.
Designers are loving the upscale sweatshirt right now. Pluck one straight off the runway if you want something haute and high-end or, if brand exhibitionism isn’t your thing, grab something affordable out of your closet and make it smart. Hood or no hood, almost anything goes – but stick to fitted pieces to avoid the slouchy, slovenly look. Blocked colours create a cool, clean, minimal effect that works especially well for sportswear.
Pretty much anything goes here. Fitted is good. Monochrome is cool. Interesting patterns or graphic elements are also welcome. If the goal is to look effortless, you’d be hard put to think of anything more effortless than a t-shirt.
Keep It Fitted Down Low
Ok, it actually does get easier than the top half. For your lower portion you’ve got just two simple options: pants and shorts. You’ve dreamed of being able to wear sweats in public and that day has finally come. Hallelujah. On the other hand, if you’re feeling bold, you can go beyond the sporty cuts and fabrics and blend your sportswear on top with something more tailored down below.
Sweet, sweet sweatpants. How we longed for the day when we no longer had to hide you from the world’s condemning eyes. That being said, the ratty old pair you wear to the gym isn’t going to cut it. Look for sweatpants that are slim and soft, with elasticated cuffs. Basic colours, clean cuts and minimal details work best. Match the colour on top for a slick monochromatic statement. If you’re feeling daring, we’ve seen sportswear mixed with leather and tailored trousers. It’s a harder look to pull off if you’re not strolling down a runway, but give it a shot if you’re up for a challenge.
Comfortable. Relaxed. Sporty. Youthful. Cool. Those are the words you’re going for. Basically, your shorts should look like the truncated version of your sweatpants. Follow the same rules, but with a little less fabric, and you’re golden.
On Your Feet
Don’t skimp on the footwear. After all your hard work up above, this is where it could all fall apart. Instead of making your shoes an afterthought, carefully choose a pair that elevates your outfit. Your shoes are a key part of the process – the finishing touch that says “No, there weren’t Doritos crumbs on my chest just before this…I actually thought this out and I look damn good.”
Sneakers. Duh. This is one of those rare style occasions we live for, when fashion meets functionality and cool meets comfort. You can get away with pretty much whatever you want here, as long as your kicks are clean. High-end high tops work just as well as sleeker, simpler low tops or sporty gym shoes. Bonus points if you experiment with leather and other lush or unusual materials. If you’re feeling lost, we humbly suggest starting here.