Health is the new wealth and baseball caps are the new Birkins. With the global wellness industry now worth $4.5 trillion, It bags as status symbols have been superseded by yoga mats and Barry’s Bootcamp bodies.
Thanks to social media influencers and Instagram, fitness has become bright, beautiful and extremely aspirational, and high-end fashion brands are taking heed. Take the Celine show in Monaco late last year, when Hedi Slimane sent his models down the runway in chic C-branded baseball caps, or the rise and rise of uber athleisure brand Sporty & Rich (the name says it all), to which Vogue Paris devoted a tennis-themed editorial.
The move to sportswear as fashion’s new language of luxury gained momentum during the Pandemic, with Balenciaga, Burberry and Isabel Marant among the designers embracing athletics-inspired apparel as consumers poured their money into at-home fitness classes and expensive gym gear.
Now that we’re back in social rotation, nothing says “I’m worth it” like a Barre Body hoodie and a spin studio membership – and Australian brands such as E Nolan, Camilla and Marc and Dion Lee are also taking note.
In their hands sporty feels elevated, not exhausting, with chic cricket vests, silky track-pants and creamy tennis whites abounding. Think Princess Di with Pimm’s and lemonade courtside rather than Bjorn Borg breaking a sweat, or the OG of the trend, Coco Chanel, who was inspired by English sportswear worn by her lovers.
“Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening,” Chanel once said.
Today that means embracing a toned and honed aesthetic that is exclusive and desirable. It’s a step above the sweats you wore on the couch during lockdown, and a perfectly pitched balance of sporty with style.
“Lockdown during Covid really brought our attention to tracksuits and loungewear,” says PRIMER stylist Lucy Woods. “Now that we’re up and about we’re able to bring more of a fashion element to it.”
Above: PRADA heeled high-top sneakers, $1400
As to how to do that, the key is to balance performance with polish. Wear a baseball cap with a classic blazer and denim jeans combination, or team it with a skinny knit and wide-leg trousers for a vibe that says ‘Katharine Hepburn does the New York Knicks’.
Layer a cricket vest over leather trousers and heels for evening, or wear it with tailored pants and sneakers for effortless daytime cool.
“Avoid wearing a cricket vest with a flouncy skirt or dress, it’s best to keep the look tailored,” advises Wood.
A pair of crisp white trainers is the easiest way to buy into the trend, but don’t worry about keeping them box-fresh.
“These days a more lived in sneaker is preferred over pristine white and paired back with a trench coat and earrings you’ve got yourself a relaxed look for the evening,” says Wood.
And while health may be the new wealth, you don’t have to fork out Birkin prices to buy into the trend. A baseball cap is the most low-risk fashion investment you will make and if it doesn’t end up working for you on the street, we’ll see you court-side.
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