With the good news that at least three COVID-19 vaccines might be on the horizon, the prospect of returning to some form of normality may soon follow. But, after a year largely spent indoors at home where comfort has been a key factor in deciding how we dress, the tracksuit may be a tricky working-from-home-mainstay to shake off. So why not take note from the virtual runways of Marni, Miu Miu and Gucci to elevate the look with smart loafers or statement jewellery?
According to global shopping platform Lyst, searches for sweatpants have had a significant spike since mid-March and have continued skyrocketing 104 per cent each month since. It comes as no surprise then that everyone from Beyoncé and Stella Maxwell to Hailey Bieber and Bella Hadid have been seen wearing the athleisure style.
As well as Kim Kardashian’s release of loungewear via her label Skims, Juicy Couture’s relaunch and collaboration with Kappa, and the meteoric rise of Pangaia’s eco-friendly sweatsuits in all the Pantone shades, the spring/summer 2021 collections were awash with tracksuits. See Rodarte’s floral-printed and lace-trimmed silk two-piece sets; Prada’s sporty uniform, amped up with kitten heels; Wales Bonner’s collaboration with Adidas featuring a set in an aquamarine blue, and Collina Strada’s sweats emblazoned with hand-drawn psychedelic prints in pastel tones.
A brief history of the tracksuit
Emerging in the late 1960s on professional athletes, the tracksuit eventually started finding its way into the everyday wardrobe in the 1970s thanks to an increased popularity in jogging and rock climbing. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, the style was being reinterpreted as luxe streetwear by legendary musicians including Run-DMC, Biggie Smalls and Dr Dre. But it wasn’t until the 2000s that it made a further shift into mainstream pop culture, when Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and Jennifer Lopez unironically turned the velour two-piece into a statement of rebellion and wealth—something that could be worn shopping on Rodeo Drive or on the red carpet.
How do you wear a tracksuit in 2021?
We’ve once again gravitated towards the tracksuit as an all-day-every-day outfit that can be worn anywhere with all its comfort and nostalgia. Only this time, there are accents that are unmistakably of the moment, either paired with Yeezy slides or Balenciaga spring/summer 2021 heeled hotel slippers in towelling, as per Dua Lipa. In snaps recently shared with her 55.4 million Instagram followers, the 25-year-old star wore a lime-green tracksuit from photographer Petra Collins’ line, with matching thick square-frame sunglasses.
Meanwhile, supermodel Irina Shayk was spotted in Manhattan wearing a matching grey velour set from Skims, elegantly paired with knee-high stiletto boots from By Far. The main takeaway? This year has been as much about expressing individuality as ease and mobility, and as spring/summer 2021 proved, this attitude isn’t going anywhere.