It’s hard to gauge exactly when luxury sportswear began taking over our wardrobes, but it has well and truly taken over. From heavy-gauge sweatshirts and hoodies to leather sneakers and well-fitting T-shirts, the influence of sportswear on contemporary clothing is unparalleled.
And now is the best time to wear it. Whether you need a new work-from-home uniform or are simply attracted to well-made, comfortable clothing, luxury sportswear is for you.
What is luxury sportswear?
Sportswear is nothing new. But clothing made for competing in is very different to what we’re talking about here. Luxury sportswear is a more refined take on staples that have been used for exercise for decades.
You won’t necessarily be playing actual sportswear in these clothes, but many of the attributes that made them useful for sport are still present. Luxury sportswear is comfortable and made from breathable, stretchy fabrics that allow for ease of movement. But the key difference between luxury and traditional sportswear is those fabrics.
Gone are polyesters and performance-enhancing nylons which you’d typically find on clothing designed for actual sport. Luxury sportswear makes use of dense loopback cottons, cashmere-blends and soft merino wool. When used for items like hoodies and sweatpants these fabrics elevate the garments, ensuring they can be worn away from the gym.
The sweatshirt is an example of a garment that has transcended its original use. Designed for sporting use in the 1920s, it was a comfortable alternative to the heavier wool jerseys worn by American football players of that era, and has since become synonymous with American sports as a whole.
But fabric innovations has today made the sweatshirt redundant in the sporting world. Instead, its simple design, combined with its rich heritage has ensured it’s a wardrobe mainstay and a relaxed alternative to the crew neck sweater. Look out for Native North’s take, complete with raglan sleeves and front pockets.
Regardless of whether you work from home or not, sweatpants are an essential. Designed for ultimate comfort, sweatpants’ drawstring waists will make it hard for you to go back to anything else. While loopback cotton is preferable, many luxury takes on the sweatpant make use of other fabrics.
Cashmere sweatpants offer ultimate comfort, but look out for soft wool or fleece, as seen in these Shon Mott sweatpants.
The humble T-shirt is one of the simplest garments out there, yet it’s so easy to get wrong. Length, cut, colour and fabric choice can all combine to either make it or break it. While not strictly a sportswear garment, the T-shirt has been used in sports since they were first invented and have since gone on to become the most worn piece of clothing in the world.
This one from Asket could be the ideal take - crafted from heavyweight Egyptian cotton jersey and with a classic, tailored cut, it’ll suit all manner of looks and it arguably the ultimate stay at home piece.
Originally intended for sporting use, sneakers today are usually worn for anything but. A multi-billion dollar industry, the most lauded sneakers are favoured as much for their comfort and tech as they are for their rarity and potential to transform a look. Luxury sneakers are often minimally designed, allowing their quality materials and construction to come to the forefront.
This Uniform Standard pair is a case in point - an Italian calf leather upper is hand-stitched on a tonal rubber sole for sneakers that will pair as well with sweatpants as they will an unstructured suit.
A staple of the streetwear wardrobe, the hoodie has gone from strength to strength in recent times. Favoured by all manner of sub-cultures, from skaters to gamers, hoodies are surprisingly versatile and easy to wear.
Similar to the sweatshirt, hoodies are often best in loopback cotton, but many contemporary brands have been looking elsewhere for fabrics. Riley Studio has gone down the sustainable route, creating theirs from recycled plastic bottles collected across India via a zero waste concept.
How to wear luxury sportswear: 3 outfit ideas
It’s hard to go wrong with a simple navy T-shirt/grey sweatpants combination. Combine them with these ETQ LT 04 Off-White sneakers and a minimal Alex Orso bracelet and you’re good to go.
Sportswear-inspired details have infiltrated every aspects of modern dressing, as seen in this pair of elasticated-waist trousers from CMMN SWDN. Pair them with a light grey hoodie, matching sneakers and a backpack for trips out of the house.
Sportswear is a great way to inject colour into a look, as found in this Carhartt hoodie. Pare things back with plain navy jersey shorts, and a complementary navy-dial watch from NOMOS.
For more sportswear, check out our article on comfortable sneakers.