Over the past few years, trends have moved towards a casual interpretation of fashion. Clothing brands have taken sportswear away from the gym and out into the world, but this means getting the balance between ‘well-dressed’ and ‘gym rat’ has become even more difficult to balance. The sportswear-as-daywear trend is driven by comfort, and if you’re the kind of person who prefers relaxed style to button-up suit, then you may already have figured out how to pull off this look without impersonating a 17 year old. However, if you’re not sure you can make it work but want to give it a try, we have some suggestions for you.
Wearing activewear outside of workouts is all about choosing quality pieces. Thankfully, this trend isn’t centred around wearing grubby old t-shirts or cycling shorts. Forget about oversized sweatshirts and swishy tracksuit bottoms. Aim for slim cuts with breathable, high-tech fabrics. Some of the most interesting items are made of higher-quality materials and include special touches. It’s easy to go overboard and end up with lots of clothes that will quickly look dated, so restraint is necessary.
Some designers have even created sports luxe items that can be worn in the office – that is if you work in the kind of place that doesn’t require a tailored suit. Realistically, it’s probably best saved for the weekends or holidays, though.
Try Things On
It can be frustrating or dull to go shopping, but it’s also not ideal to throw money away by buying things you don’t like and letting them languish in your drawers. Go to the shops to try things on, or choose online retailers with straightforward returns policies. There’s no better way to see if something fits your personality than to try it. If you’re going out on a shopping trip, wear items that are easy to mix and match, so you can see if the clothing you fancy actually fits into your regular wardrobe.
Most importantly – don’t just keep something that doesn’t suit you. There’s nothing to be gained from wearing clothing that doesn’t make you feel good. If you consider that the whole ethos of the this trend is comfort, putting something on that makes you feel uncomfortable or awkward is absolutely not worth it.
If you’re trying to figure out whether or not you can pull off a sporty style – or any fashion trend for that matter, starting with just one or two things can help you work it into your regular wardrobe.
Incorporate pieces into your daily look to strike a balance between traditional and casual. Picking up a few items at a time lets you build them into your clothing rotation, so you understand how they fit with what you already own.
Because the ideal version of this style is about restraint, you’ll have opportunities to mix and match. Rather than wearing joggers with a t-shirt, pair them with a semi-casual button-up. Put that tee to good use by wearing it under a blazer. Wear a nice pair of jeans with a sweatshirt, or choose a backpack over a satchel for your laptop and other necessities.
Get a Second Opinion
Ask people who are close to you to be honest and let you know if the clothing you’ve chosen makes you look like a teenager. Take someone with you to the shops so you’re not just stuck with the mirror and an uninterested fitting room attendant for your decisions. Besides the obvious benefits of having someone else to share your look with, they might also have input into what does or doesn’t work about a particular item, so you can hone your search and finish shopping more quickly.
Look to the internet and men’s fashion sites for ideas, too. While you don’t need to commit to a £400 track jacket, it may give you some ideas on what you do and don’t like before you start shopping.
Use it for inspiration
While you could easily go out and buy a wardrobe of joggers, some brands are taking this trend as inspiration rather than a rule. Look for items that have sportswear influences without going full on into Adidas slides and sweatshirts. A clean pair of white trainers with casual trousers and a crew-neck jumper is a great way to stay comfortable and look stylish. Small details like rubberised zip cords and casual stripes can make you look more casual without fully committing.
Are you a fan of trainers but not keen to wear them outside the gym? There are plenty of styles and colours now that aren’t just running shoes. Choose neutral colours that fit into your wardrobe, or if you generally wear muted colours, pick a bright pair that suits your personality. While they’ll make your look more casual, if they’re well considered and tidy, you won’t look slobbish or unkempt.
Just (don't) do it
The final piece of advice is – if you don’t think a particular trend suits you, you don’t need to take part. If you prefer a tidy, tailored approach, there’s no reason to look and feel uncomfortable in clothes that is meant to be comfortable! Choose the style that works best for you. If you like some aspects of the athleisure trend, you can take them and make them suit your own style. Do you prefer the grays and navys of the sportswear world? Add some of those neutral colours into your wardrobe. Otherwise, you can just sit this trend out and wait for it to fade away, or become even more mainstream and easier to adopt.
It can be fun to try new styles and express your personality with what you’re wearing. The sportswear trend is another opportunity to take a modern look and embrace it, but how you do it is ultimately up to you. Start slow, choose items that fit into your current wardrobe, and wear them in the right context, and you’ll be a poster boy for this cool, confident and comfortable style.