It is officially May—more than six months since the spring 2012 runway shows have wrapped—so it’s probably a safe assumption that by now, the words “digital print”, “pastels”, and “athleticism” have been permanently etched into your brain. Over the last few months, we’ve seen countless editorials featuring models in sweet, macaron-inspired shades of rosewater and crème de pistachio, posing against lavender-washed skies; streetstyle photography of explosive print after explosive print all piled together have surely reached a new high. But what to make of this “new athleticism” trend? For one, the mere mention of “sport” and “fashion” immediately conjures up an unpleasant image of mesh sport jerseys-cum-dresses (yes, those), and how can you really tell when the look makes the trip from sport-infused fashion to—well—just a trip to the gym?
Indeed, the trend that many have dubbed “sport luxe” is a tricky new fashion territory to navigate, so it is best to consult the mapmakers of the trend—in this case, Alexander Wang, Rag & Bone, Antonio Berardi, and Marc Jacobs—before setting off on your expedition. Upon close inspection of the aforementioned runway collections, one item quickly emerges out of the mesh, exposed zippers, and nylon windbreakers to claim a place among this season’s must-haves: the track pant (even Gucci, the reigning definition of sexpot-glam, sent side-striped slim trousers stomping down the catwalk).
Before you go dashing off to dig out your old Umbro side-striped tearaways from 9th grade, consider this golden rule with which to tackle your fashion + sport equations: strike a balance. What this means is to simply offset the athleticism of the track pants with something feminine, glamorous, or luxurious in order to achieve a balance through juxtaposition. For example, a hooded sweatshirt paired with track pants misses the mark, but a breezy chiffon blouse helps to soften the look without breaking a sweat. Still apprehensive? Here are three easy ways to rock a winning look in track pants: with A) prints, B) colour, and C) tailoring.
Look 1: Monochromatic Superstar
If bold brights aren’t your thing, then mixing prints and textures in a clean black-and-white palette may just be your ticket to the track-pants train. Look for a printed or colour blocked blouse with contrasting finishes (collar, cuffs, etc) and top off with punchy-hued accessories, like bright sunnies or nail polish.
Look 2: Saccharine Sport
Another great way to make your track pants runway-ready is to incorporate a soft, feminine palette. Luckily, with all the pastel hues that floated down the spring runways, finding a sweet shade should be a piece of mint-frosted cake. Snap up a pastel colour-blocked top and—fun tip—vie for a crewneck as it will allow you to add one more element of colour through an embellished collar.
Lipstick, Victoria’s Secret $15
Collar necklace, Topshop $30
Nail polish, Butter London $14
Ankle-strap d’orsay sandals, 3.1 Phillip Lim $625
Gold watch, Anne Klein $65
Python printed clutch, Guess by Marciano $88
Look 3: Tailoring Overtime
For those looking to incorporate the track pant into your office wardrobe, playing the tailoring card is your best bet. A structured garment, such as a blazer or waistcoat, instantly dresses up the ensemble and makes it work-appropriate as well as evening-ready. Of course, heels are a no-brainer for giving a sports-infused look that extra sartorial oomph, but a lush pair of le smoking slippers are an equally glam (and probably far more comfortable) option for footwear.
Illustrations by Michelle (WhenImAnOldMan)