Has Gym Wear Become Ready-To-Wear?

Sports-inspired clothing is infusing fashion, from haute couture to high street..

We are debating whether sports gear has essentially become ready-to-wear. Suzie Coen and Marie Kelly debate whether sports luxe is acceptable as fashion or if it should stay within gym walls.

So will you be wearing Lycra to lunch? Join our debate on Twitter using the hashtag #upfordebate.




Suzie Coen, Freelance Stylist.

When it comes to deciding what to wear, trends are one thing, but lifestyle is the most powerful motivator of all. As fashion consumers, we are all looking for the same thing: clothes that speak to the way we live: and make us look better while we're doing it. The really savvy dresser styles herself - she's an eclectic mix of the best of what's on offer, cannily reworked for her life and her attitude. She doesn't just want to look effortless, she wants to feel effortless. And easy sporty pieces are all she wants to wear right now.

Our attitude to sportswear has changed drastically over the last decade. As fitness and fashion collide, the latest high-tech workout gear has become catwalk inspired and almost too nice to sweat in. Not just for the gym, sportswear is now for life.

Let's get one thing straight: glamour?hasn't been sacrificed to the cause?of practicality. Far from it, in fact. Sports luxe designer collaborations such as Mary Katrantzou's incredible print collection with Adidas Originals are doing a roaring trade with fashion's influential .And it can't have escaped anyone's notice that the sports trend was big news on the catwalks this season. From American collegiate chic (Tommy Hilfiger) through urban athletic cool (Alexander Wang) to slick street style (Rag & Bone)

So how has sportswear nailed the'spirit of our times? First up, it answers our demand for gloriously wearable separates with that achingly desirable injection of high-fashion adrenaline. Make no mistake, these clothes feel modern, rather than scruffy.

A relaxed, nonchalant vibe is what we all aspire to. These effortless pieces will work seamlessly with your existing wardrobe and make you look instantly stylish and confident. Now there's a result.


Follow Suzie Coen on Twitter?@suzie_coen


Marie Kelly, Fashion Editor.

Last year, Nike CEO Mark Parker proclaimed, ?Leggings are the new denim.? Well, he would. The sportswear giant recently launched its latest fashion collaboration with Japanese label Sacai and has firmly rooted itself in the ?athleisure? market - the new buzzword for the crossover between sportswear and the rest of our wardrobes.

Gone are the days when sporting a tracksuit on the school run was akin to being spotted in your pyjamas. But isn't this cultural shift towards casual dressing descending into one big sartorial dumbing down? I'm not suggesting that women revert to vertiginous heels and a corseted waistline for a supermarket shop,but labels such as Maison Martin Margiela, Marcus Constable and Bottega Veneta have shown us?that comfortable dressing can look not just chic, but empowering too.


Of course, some would have it that women today are just so busy they don't have time to consider more than one style dilemma a day - they need clothes that can transition from the playground to Pilates. Will I appear like an utter underachiever then if I admit that I do have time to change from sweats to cigarette pants? If I confess that I'm not??juggling? to the dizzying point where I can't see the silk for the crepe de Chine, so wearily settle for a pair of stretch pants instead?

Performance clothing will?become increasingly stylish and?less 'sporty?-looking in the future,? predicts Richard Nicoll. Let's hope so, but until then, I'll look to Claire Underwood and Olivia Pope for'my style inspiration. Running gear?is good, but only in the park. And?if they can find the time to swap a T-shirt for a Theory shirt, so can you.

Follow Marie Kelly on Twitter?@Mkellyfashioned

Read the full debate in this month's issue of IMAGE on shelves now.

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