Form & function in men's spring style.
Philip Minaker reports on this spring's casual looks for men.
Many of us have opted for a less structured approach to dressing that accommodates our lifestyles. Incorporating clothing specifically designed for workouts and other athletic activities into our work, casual and social wardrobes has become a new standard of dressing. And since it has begun chipping away at sales in casual (think jeans) and ready to wear commodities it has created one of its own.
Pieces specifically designed for true sportswear have now expanded into everyday wear. Whether for their fabrication, fit, practicality or simply convenience these pieces have become a booming industry onto themselves. The fashion industry has taken notice and has christened this segment of fashion “Athleisure”.
Brands like Adidas, Nike and Converse (to name just a few) have begun working with Fashion Designers to create capsule collections similar to the habits of clothing retailers like H&M. More than ever, there is an unwavering demand for accessible brand names synonymous with runway collections. As many countries have taken on the habit of having world-renowned designers create their Olympic Team uniforms this isn’t really a big stretch.
There is also a strong artistic influence that has generated an interest in practicing this mode of dressing. Musicians in the Pop, Rap and Hip Hop genres can also be credited for creating a desire for many of us to embrace this look.
Tennis shirts from Lacoste and Fred Perry were instrumental way back in the 60’s for initiating this practice as the Youth Movement embraced this habit. Their pure cotton fabrications were a natural choice to party thru the nights and wear throughout the days without any signs of fatigue. The look inspired up and coming designers like Ralph Lauren to follow suit and capitalize on the trend. Today most of these namesakes have a variety of fits to accommodate a variety of body types to ensure demand. The Fred Perry brand also continues to work with world-class designers, musicians and athletes season after season with a variety of collaborative capsule collections.
Technological advancements have also come into play. Brands like Lululemon have turned yoga wear into street wear thanks to their habit of flattering physiques that many are keen to show off. A clingy fit that also enables movement beats restrictive attire any day. They also have a durable edge that makes them great investment pieces and very cost efficient.
Tennis shirts, yoga tops, sweat shirts, hoodies and even t-shirts can now be practical alternatives to wear under blazers or with suits. Sweats jackets and/or sweat pants, cycling shorts or leggings can give casual looks an added bent that is far from schleppy and less laid back. Life in the cement jungle can also be more bearable in a pair of rubber-soled sneakers too.
This trend is not just for the young but also for the young at heart. Integrating a sportier look into your wardrobe only requires some thought on creating a look that keeps your comfort zone and image in check. Game on!!!