fashion tips › 2015年08月18日

women’s fashion


FKA Twigs sports Cottweiler onstage.

(Photo:blue prom dresses)

The revival of the tracksuit is a curious move in womenswear. On men, of course, it’s well bedded-in. Note spring’s nu-lad revival, Kanye in purple velvet tracksuit at the Grammys and British designer Nasir Mazhar. In womenswear, it’s primarily artists en route to their Radio 1 Live Lounge session, making it the last bastion of menswear yet to be seriously borrowed by women. Still, appropriation happens, and better this than a feather headdress.

Riding the wake of AW14’s athleisure trend, and months after we’d Kondo’d andgender-neutralised our wardrobes, tracksuits are a good indicator of how we’ve streamlined our wardrobes into staples. Tracksuit bottoms with a vest? Fine. A tracksuit top over a summer dress? Go on then. Top and bottom together? Jog on, mate. But that’s not the whole story.

Part of the problem, as far as I can see, is how the line between smartwear and casualwear has become blurred. People are wearing tracksuit bottoms to work. My boss is right now. So there’s space for something hyper-casual that still looks good outside the house. But actual sportswear?

Of course, recent history places tracksuits unfairly but squarely in a particular bracket. See the film Fish Tank, and Vicky Pollard. In truth, tracksuits have a far more varied history. They first left track and field in the 70s. In the US, they were adopted by Run DMC and NWA. Then came Britpop and Damon Albarn and the Haçienda before they evolved, painfully, through Sporty Spice and Goldie Lookin’ Chain. If that wasn’t penance enough, they loped into an icky period in the late 00s with Juicy Couture in signature Paris pink velour. Some people even wore them with heels, which capped off a tricky journey. It’s a miracle the tracksuit survived, let alone made it in fashion, even if it has taken 10 years to edit Juicy from our memories.

A good starting point is the Adidas Firebird. Yes, it’s definitively sportswear but it’s also monochrome, which should please some of you. This streamlined, three-striped, zip-up top with matching tracksuit bottoms is polyester, but remains a design classic of Corbusier standards. It came of age in the 80s and has outsmarted us all by reconstituting itself over time in our consciousness. Emma Watson has one. Rita Ora has about nine. So does the infinitely cooler artist Sue Webster. It’s also quick-dry (20 minutes inside), costs under £100, and you can sleep in it. In the summer, it’s best accessorised with Birkenstocks or, in autumn, with Reebok Classics and a thick skin.

Facebook Twitter PinterestRaey at Matches.

If that feels too real, try a pair of tapered tracksuit bottoms in a posh fabric, so the trousers feel more like trousers (some find the Firebird a bit “wafty”). Matches’ in-house line, Raey, has plain-speaking, cashmere-blend tracksuits in marl grey with OTT tapering that have been a bestseller this season. Another issue with tracksuits is the way some bleed dye on to trainers. Hoiking them up to your ankle means you can not only see your trainers but also keep them mint, handy because no one, not least those in fashion, likes scuffed Stan Smiths. Rachael Proud, Raey’s creative director, says women are buying the set, suggesting we have a new uniform on our hands. Fashion loves a uniform.

Once famed for its velour tracksuits, Juicy Couture is rebranding itself with a ‘couture nouveau’ campaign and just one tiny dog. But can it cast off its old image – in the same way that Bella Mackie finally managed to chuck out her two-piece?

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For those who want to do it properly, Cottweiler is the label in the know. It has a knack for riffing on unwearable trends by making them minimal, and its “unisex” tracksuits (it is a menswear label but women are buying it) are as hot as you’d expect from what will be this year’s biggest label. According to i-D, they are unisexed by removing seams from the shoulders, and use drawstring waists. FKA twigs wore one of their sheer tracksuits on stage recently. Less well known is Caitlin Price of Fashion East, who nails it with her line of silky, satin-embossed tracksuits in winey pinks and cream.

Jenna Young, meanwhile, makes bright tracksuits in semi-sheer organza forThis is the Uniform, a style that shesays is about “taking that working-class element and celebrating it”.

But that’s the point. They’ve always been decidedly un-fashion. The beauty of tracksuits is their versatility: you can either go loose, ultra-casual (see Webster) or tight – Adidas tweaked the sizing so they feel slightly more feminised and actually pretty sexy. An appearance in the Chanel AW14 supermarket show (although these were robust, posh pseudo-tracksuits in tweed) suggests you can also go all-out.

Fashion is becoming increasingly casual. Eva Mendes said “tracksuits are the No 1 cause of divorce”, which was silly so she apologised, although chances are she was talking about Juicy Couture: in which case, good shout.

Baffling to think that clothing once banned by a McDonald’s in Lancashire could be making waves in womenswear, but in fashion the struggle is real.Read more at:black prom dresses


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