November is a month of huge cultural importance, not just because of Thanksgiving celebrations but also because it is when we pay homage to one of the most beloved outfits on the planet – the humble tracksuit.
On November 6, fans of the laid-back leisure set celebrate International Tracksuit Day, by donning their favourite tracksuit or heading online to browse the latest, most fashionable tracksuits, but why? What is the significance of the tracksuit and how has it managed to become so iconic? Read on to find out.
The History of Tracksuits
As is the case for many of our current favourite fashion staples, tracksuits were born out of functionality. In the 1960s, mid-century prosperity saw more people than ever before engaging in exercise as a leisure activity.
The tracksuit was first released to solve the problem of regulating heat during low to moderate effort exercise like jogging. Toward the end of the decade the outfit developed fashion status when German soccer player Franz Beckenbauer signed a deal with Adidas to model their tracksuit. The following 10 years saw the line between athletic and leisurewear begin to blur substantially.
Whilst joggers and mountain climbers loved the functionality of the tracksuit, the warm, soft and stretchy nylon of tracksuits began to be favoured by people with no inclination towards sport or exercise.
Initially the tracksuit was a clothing item worn around the house to relax in or informally when carrying out DIY tasks. Then in the middle of the decade, the tracksuit began to make its way on to the silver screen.
Bruce Lee famously wore a one-piece tracksuit in Game of Death as did other A-list actors. This saw the outfit gaining more fashion kudos, something that clothing companies began to capitalise on, introducing more formal elements to the outfits like collars and buttons.
By the time the 1980s rolled around, the tracksuit had already cemented itself as a cultural phenomenon. Tracksuit sales here in the United States and all around the globe were going into hyper drive.
In the intervening years since, tracksuits have become a solid staple of the fashion world and have bene worn by and further popularised by names such as Run DMC, Paris Hilton and Rihanna. Keep reading to find out about some of the most iconic tracksuits to add to your wardrobe collection.
The Sergio Tacchini
In 1966, retired Italian tennis player Sergio Tacchini formed his own clothing company with the idea of using bright and vibrant colours to create stylish and elegant tennis wear. He achieved that goal with aplomb, producing one of the most iconic and eye catching tracksuits along the way. The trademark red tracksuit with the mid chest white stripe is the Sergio Tacchini classic and should be in your wardrobe.
The Adidas Essential
They were the first company to take tracksuits seriously and they are still the experts. The classic three stripe tracksuit set from Adidas is not only affordable, but it’s also stylish and functional. Whether you’re going for a jog or just going down to the mall to meet friends, this tracksuit is the perfect accompaniment.
Casablanca Expo Track Jacket
In the 1980s and 1990s tracksuits were designed to catch the eye and that’s exactly what this stylish set does. The white right hand side is contrasted by green down the opposite side and the collar, especially when popped, adds an extra layer of elegance. At just under $900 for the full set, it is a luxury item though.
There is a certain snobbishness that doesn’t exist toward other clothing items when it comes to tracksuits. Don’t let those judgements put you off from buying one though as they are just as fashionable as any other type of apparel.