Fashion people don’t like to sweat or exert themselves in public, so the S/S12 ‘sporty’ trend is slightly disingenuous. Much as you see portly men with football shirts straining over impressive beer bellies, so this summer you can expect to see chic women who don’t know one end of a tennis racket from the other strutting about in aertex and luxe jogging bottoms. As a less than sporty child and a fairly unfit adult, I love this mild fashion deception.
Sometimes a ‘trend’ feels a little forced; just because three designers happened to use lace or purple or whatever that doesn’t actually make it an epoch-defining shift in the fashion landscape. But the sporty thing was omnipresent, from Stella McCartney and Marc Jacobs to Alexander Wang, Victoria Beckham to Peter Pilotto and it’s been translated beautifully by the high street into fun stuff that really works.
As well as producing a collection that’s been worn by every A-lister I can think of (you know those mesh dresses with the slightly psychedelic curvy panels and cut-outs), Stella McCartney also designed the uniforms for TEAM GB at the OLYMPICS, which I think is amazing. There have been some gripes about the designs, but whatevs, they’re #totesamaze in my opinion.
Sometimes the sportiness made itself felt in the fabrics – the aforementioned aertex, grey marl jersey or shiny nylon. In other cases it was the colour palette; cheerleader combos of black and yellow, or red, white and blue. Then there were the clothes themselves – sleek track pants at Rag & Bone, bomber jackets, hoodies and retro Buffy-style cheerleader sweaters. Just add pompoms. I also spotted racer back vests, scuba fabric, zips, neon trim and my two nemeses: crop tops and wedge trainers.
Because that’s the point isn’t it? You can reference sport in so many different ways – a footballer dresses rather differently to a pro cyclist, or a golfer. But wonderful wonderful fashion couldn’t care less – all that matters is ‘the look’ – meaning we can pick and choose, mix and match to our hearts’ content, safe in the knowledge that no-one’s going to tell us to drop and give them 20.
So when I’m skipping around town this summer in my polo shirt (Wimbledon!) and pleated skirt (golf!) with a cricket jumper incongruously thrown over my shoulders, I’ll be smugly taking part in my own personal fashion Olympics without once breaking a sweat.*
So what have we got? ASOS have a nice selection of neon stuff, bodycon dresses and retro trainers.
Then there's Topshop, which has gone for a retro feel with their Reclaim to Wear ethical collection and soft jersey separates.
COS has been doing the luxe sporty thing for years and is unbeatable when it comes to getting creative with neoprene and fluoro trim. These silk angora track pants would look hot with heels, but I'd probably just lounge around the house in them.
Who needs designer labels when you have the school uniform department at John Lewis eh? cough...
*Until I get on the Central Line and then things are going to get nasty.