The humble tracksuit has come a long way from its velour heyday in the late-70s. Once the reserve of power walkers, Run-DMC and sometimes the sartorially inept, trackies today are enjoying a resurgence in a far chicer form.
Now loved by celebrities on the move, CEOs and those of the normcore persuasion, the tracksuit has become shorthand for the perfect mixture of comfort, style and even high luxury (hello, Balenciaga). Today, we explain how to pull off this ultimate leisurewear ensemble to the best effect.
How To Wear A Tracksuit As Active Wear
Tracksuits, by virtue of their very name, lend themselves to being worn as part of an active ensemble. However, this doesn’t make it excusable to slap on just any scruffy hoodie and sweatpants and be done with your weekend gym look. No way. If you’re wearing your tracksuit beyond the front door — and let’s face it, most of us do — then you need to think about fit.
First and foremost, look at track pants from the likes of Under Armour, Nike or Lululemon that taper around the calves. These make for a more streamlined silhouette and ensure your look is athletic, not dumpy. Pair these with a fitted workout tee and a smart zip up hoodie or gilet in a tech-fleece fabric. Investing in wicking fabrics (they take sweat away from the body) adds polish to a tracksuit and makes it feel more appropriate as active wear that can take you from the gym to brunch and beyond.
When considering colour ways, keep it simple. I like to stick with dark neutrals — think black, grey and khaki. These give your tracksuit an urban edge and are also versatile when it comes to mixing different tops and bottoms.
How To Wear A Casual Tracksuit
Even I have to acknowledge that track suits have moved beyond the realm of couch clothes and gym gear. Favoured by travellers, hipsters and urban gadabouts, tracksuits being worn as day wear is well and truly a thing. This being said, it’s not an easy look to pull off. To do so, one requires a heavy dose of swagger and the exact right elements.
Let’s start with the basics. If you’re rocking a tracksuit as day wear, don’t dive in with a full-blown matching ensemble. Instead, give your sweats some shape and contrast with a fitted marle grew neck sweater and black or navy fitted track pants. You could even look at layering this with a black gilet from the likes of a Moncler for a look that blends athleisure with the high-street.
For more die-hard fans, look to urban cult brands like Champion Athletic, Supreme or even Gucci for full top ‘n’ tail track suits that are sure to make a statement. Champion in particular boasts a range of colours from caramel to pale pink in boxy 90s fits. Pair these with chunky white sneakers like a classic pair of Nike Airforce Ones for a committed street look.
If sweats alone don’t cut it, think about layering with contrasting fabrics. Wind breakers and bomber jackets are a great way to elevate a track suit whilst still maintaining an urban, relaxed feel. Zayn Malik makes the case in point, layering a khaki fly jacket over a darker olive tracksuit.
How To Accessorise A Tracksuit
When it comes to accessorising a tracksuit, the key is keeping it casual. Don’t add any accessories you wouldn’t throw on over gym gear; a baseball cap, sunnies and a duffel bag is more than enough and will ensure you maintain a laid back aesthetic.
For bags in particular, think about premium, athletic fabrics and constructions that are a stylistic extension of your tracksuit. Lululemon has an enviable selection as does Melbourne based label Rains.
It’s also worth using accessories as a way to liven up your tracksuit. Add a New Era cap with your favourite baseball team logo or even a pair of Persol sunglasses to inject some understated elegance to this casual look.
What Shoes To Wear With A Tracksuit
Given how plain a track suit can look, footwear provides a golden opportunity to add some flare to your outfit. Think about statement sneakers from the likes of Balenciaga, Guiseppe Zanotti or even Nike to dress things up. This kind of shoe also ensures that your ensemble looks put together rather than sloppily thrown on.
If you’re wearing a day-wear style tracksuit, think about more classic sneakers like a pair of Oliver Cabell plimsolls or Adidas Stan Smith’s that imbue an urban aesthetic. These pair sensationally with a tapered pair of track pants and a plain tee-shirt. Throw on a vest and a classic pair of sunglasses for an understated weekend look.
Regardless of your footwear selection, it’s important to think about socks too. There’s nothing worse than a bulky pair of white sport socks peeking from the top of an otherwise perfectly acceptable pair of sneakers. Instead, look for fine knit socks that sit flush with your shoes — this ensure a more fluid line and will ensure you look athletic.