To assume that sports fashion finally grew up, wouldn’t be such an incorrect presumption. Although it might seem like yesterday when sportswear was all about throwing on a pair of loose pants, a slouchy t-shirt and a cool cap, years have since gone by and with them the lines got blurred. The athletic influences are no longer that obvious, and when they are, something about them screams pure luxury. Could be the sexier feel, the unexpected styling or the luxe fabrics used to balance out the relaxed silhouettes, but what’s certain is that sporty-clothing makes for an effortlessly elegant look these days.

Read on to find out what exactly is new and how sporty fashion has evolved as a fashion trend for spring 2014.

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Sports fashion: an ever-evolving trend.

This season, sports fashion finally moves from being influenced by particular sports, to being more about generic sporty twists and sleek athletic lines. Spring 2012 was the first season to mark a subtle return to femininity, with the lines becoming cleaner and the silhouettes going minimal. In 2013, the sporty aesthetic continued to slowly but surely morph into an entirely new embodiment of casual-chicness. It’s the bold volumes, the hi-tech fabrics and the old-school approach to styling to keep the sports fashion highly sophisticated, as one of the most prominent 2014 fashion trends.

Here are the main elements to build the new take on sports fashion, as seen on the spring 2014 runways.

Luxe fabrics.

Silk organza, washed satin, leather, wool crêpe, neoprene, it all goes as far as experimenting with texture. The more luxurious the fabric, the higher the contrast set for the sporty silhouette, which is pretty much all you will be needing in order to capture the modern-sports spirit of the season.

Look out for:

  • Track pants and basketball shorts, in bold patterns and sumptuous fabrics, like Gucci’s lurex, jacquard and matte satin sportswear.
  • Jackets, loose pants and derby inspired shorts in washed satin, sequins or crepe, like Marc by Marc Jacobs haute athletic wear.
  • Light coloured pencil skirts, bomber jackets and sleek tops, cut in satin or tweed, borrowing inspiration from Prabal Gurung’s gorgeous athletic offering.
  • Sleeveless dresses and flared skirts cut in electric blue neoprene, like DKNY’s sporty-chic renditions.

sporty fashion luxe fabrics

Sports mesh.

The netted fabric never looked quite as luxurious as it did on the spring 2014 runways. Layered on top of sexy camisoles and triangle bras, or used merely as a subtle statement on flowy dresses, the sporty mesh is enough of an athletic element to be channeling the best of this spring’s sports vibes.

Look out for loose tops, bomber jackets, sporty tanks and long sleeved sweatshirts cut in black or white mesh, and pair them to perforated leather or metallic boxer shorts, and satin track pants.

sporty fashion mesh

Of course, you could also be layering a sporty mesh blouson over a fitted dresses featuring a bold print, or on top of a laid-back pair of dungarees, and trust the impact to be even higher. Regardless of how you choose to wear it, make sure to style mesh with a pair of sexy ankle strap-heels for a taste of this spring’s effortless take on femininity.

sporty fashion mesh

Sporty minimalism.

One of the other novelties of the season, lies in a fresh sports interpretation that fuses the best of two worlds: luxury and minimalism. Sleek, clean, but bearing recognizable athletic influences, the sporty minimalism is defined by relaxed silhouettes, clean shapes, little embellishments, all veiled by an overall sophisticated feel.

We could be talking about perforated crop-tops and tennis whites alike, about boxy silhouettes and skirt-lengths hitting casually below the knee, about easy dresses worn underneath sheer bombers. In a nutshell, keep an eye out for sporty clothing that looks both relaxed and ultra-simple.

sporty minimalism

Refined use of hoodies.

There’s nothing slouchy about the use of hoodies this season, quite the contrary as the sporty style appears to have underwent a refined transformation on the runway. If you’re planning on making it a spring statement, try wearing the hoodie:

  • Underneath/or part of a loose, flowy dress, cut in a delicate fabric; style the look with statement necklaces and boots for added contrast.
  • Underneath a tailored blazer, paired with a tennis-style skirt and a pair of cool sneakers.
  • As part of a mesh bomber jacket, thrown over a matching bandeau, styled with a fitted pencil skirt and high heels.

hoodie sporty chic

Sports fashion: the key styles.

If you’re planning to update your spring wardrobe with a few, smart items meant to allow you to develop your own take on spring’s sports fashion, here are the key styles to consider:

The bomber jacket.

This is without a doubt the key piece to invest in for spring / summer 2014. While you should try to preserve its lightweight, sporty shape, try to opt for ultra-luxe fabrics like washed satin, tulle or laser-cut suede (mesh) for this season’s bomber.

sporty bomber jacket

If you really want to turn sports into a statement, look out for an embellished bomber instead, the perfect piece to make the transition between super-casual and highly-luxurious. Seek inspiration in the ornate versions to have walked the runway at Marni and Erdem.

embellished bomber jacket

The tennis-style skirt.

Another nobrainer, the tennis-style skirt carries a particularly appealing sports feel, in being both fresh and fun, ultra-chic and cool. Look for clean, neutral pieces to style with a cropped shirt (a la Alexander Wang), tennis-influenced pleated mini skirts to wear with loose tops and visors (a la DKNY), or something a little more sleek and minimal to pair with a complementary bomber jacket (a la Lacoste).

the tennis skirt

The luxe track pants.

There was a time when the simple use of heels and track pants in the same sentence would have been granted as unacceptable. For spring 2014 though, the luxe track pants are only meant to be dressed up. A textured top, or a minimalist crop-top, a bold lip colour and a cool pair of heels are sure to instantly glam up spring’s ubiquitous track pants.

luxe track pants

Sports fashion: fall 2014.

As we transition towards the colder season, we notice the sports silhouettes turning somewhat slouchier, with the volumes becoming more exaggerated; the sturdier choice of materials doesn’t affect the use of mesh, but the employment of leather does become more prominent. There’s also plenty of room left for casual layering with quilted and leather bomber renditions, and a cool juxtaposition of contrasting fabrics.

Solid fabrics.

The sports attitude for fall 2014 still builds upon sophistication, but the choice of fabrics is eventually determined by the dropping temperatures. While the use of fur, velvet, leather and wool becomes predominant, the luxe feel is being reflected in the choice of voluminous silhouettes, and in the string of precious jewel tones defining this season’s sportswear.

Look out for:

  • Leather track pants, tennis-style skirts and dresses, as seen at Alexander Wang, DKNY and Kye.

leather sportswear luxe

  • Super-loose velvet sweatshirts and sweatshirt-dresses, as seen at Viktor & Rolf and Tommy Hilfiger.

velvet sports luxe winter

  • Wool jackets, fuzzy, jersey style dresses and voluminous sport-shirts cut in fur, as seen at Alexander Wang, Jeremy Scott and Kye.

warm furry sports luxe winter

Quilted detailing.

In between Jonathan Saunders’ beige bomber worn casually over a matching flared dress, to Miu Miu’s gorgeous athletic interpretation of quilted nylon that spans over windbreakers, sporty skirts and vests, there’s no doubt sportswear got more wearable all of a sudden, though not less pretentious.

sports luxe quilting

Sporty minimalism.

The preference for sporty minimalism transitioned quite effortlessly to fall and winter, with the easy crop tops, sleek dresses and gym-shorts being replaced by voluminous sweatshirts, satin boxer shorts worn with a coat, and brocade bombers worn on top of laid-back dresses featuring mesh detailing. Choose cool chokers, heeled ankle boots and darker lips to complement fall’s take on sports fashion.

sporty minimalism for fall

Key pieces for fall 2014.

Come fall, the athletic influences should meet the idea of comfort, in pieces allowing you to layer easily, while still looking cool when worn on their own.

Invest in:

  • A pair of leather track-pants to be worn with slogan sweatshirts, and slouchy jackets.
  • A quilted bomber featuring a sporty shape, cut in either leather, nylon or a dark-floral print.
  • A hooded pullover in plaid or dark wool, to effortlessly throw on top of a lightweight dress. (Rag & Bone, Rebecca Taylor)

sport luxe styling for fall

  • A cool jersey inspired dress with long sleeves, fluffy and warm for the day, covered in colorful sparkling sequins for the night. (Jeremy Scott,Tom Ford)

sporty luxe for fall

The trend for spring 2013.

Before being able to approach the athletic direction from a fresh and slightly different perspective, it is important to underline what’s new in terms of sporty fashion and what exactly changed from last season up until now. Starting with the previously mentioned subtle quality, moving towards the polished vibe exuded by the garments, we finally get to the elements of novelty that helped shape the sports trend’s current face.

DKNY S/S ’13

By taking a quick look at the spring 2013 runways you will find plenty of fashionable clues and lots of inspiration that will help you get a better understanding of what fashionable sportswear is all about for spring 2013:

  • Overall, the looks appear rather minimal, featuring clean lines in basic silhouettes
  • White becomes the number one color as chosen to redefine the sporty aesthetic as a chicer manifestation, at times complemented by bold color-blocking
  • Sports elements are still being mixed with sophisticated tailoring

Tommy Hilfiger S/S ’13 and Richard Nicoll S/S ’13

  • Lots of mesh inserts are being used as to complement the sharp cuts and to accent the sporty feel of the luxe garments
  • The midriffs and cutaways point towards a regained sense of femininity and allurement

Ohne Titel S/S ’13 and Richard Chai Love S/S ’13

Sportswear sensibility for spring 2013 – what to wear

Luckily, sports as a fashion trend for spring leaves plenty of place for its current manifestation to be reinterpreted. According to your own aesthetic, search for pieces that will effortlessly blend in your wardrobe, making you fashionably fit for summer but still true to your style. Choose basic silhouettes with sporty twists that are easy to complement, to dress up or down, dependent on the occasion.

With that being said, keep an eye out for mesh skirts, tops and dresses, as well as for slick sports bras and bodysuits. They can effortlessly assure a smooth transition between styles and daily activities.

Sportmax S/S ’13 and DKNY S/S ’13

A pair of impeccably tailored shorts or a t-shirt dress represent another smart take on sports separates.

Diesel Black Gold S//S ’13 and Lacoste S/S ’13

The use of color is not completely ruled out in what regards sports as a fashion trend, so don’t be afraid to embrace bold hues for your future athletic inspired looks. As long as accessorizing goes, it’s all best kept to a minimal, but a cool pair of sunglasses, a chic bag or a pair of wedges can make the difference.

Rag & Bone S/S ’13

Sporty chic: complimentary trends

There are plenty of spring 2013’s other trends that can merge well with a hint of the sporty chic. For example, an androgynous yet sexy look can benefit from some boyishly sporty elements. Transparent plastics and perspex have an inherent slickness that makes them perfect for complimenting other sporty-luxe pieces.

As far as accessories go, baseball caps have been standing out as their own trend, and are themselves an ideal way to inject a sports mood into any outfit.

For any sports inspired outfit a wet look hairstyle, whether it’s worn out or thrown up into an easy wet chignon, is a perfect accompaniment.

wet hair sporty

Trend Updates

The evolution of sporty fashion

Sporty clothing for men

While a number of menswear collections for spring 2012 directly quoted Olympic sports as inspiration – notably Nicole Farhi and Moncler Gamme Bleu both referenced sports like fencing and rowing – many also leaned gently to the functional. As with women’s a mix of effortless sporty cuts and tailored pieces was key across menswear, a mix that should be looked to in a man’s wardrobe for the season. For men, the most obvious and most popular way of incorporating a sporty feel into spring is by way of outerwear: hooded coats in parachute silks or jersey, varsity jackets, and parkas are all strong options.

mens fashionable sportswear
Nicole Farhi S/S ’12, Moncler Gamme Bleu S/S ’12

Sleek, body-conscious cuts aren’t reserved for womenswear, either: a sporty mens jacket or pant cut can take its cues from motorcycle leathers, scuba-gear or other more streamlined sports cuts. At the opposite end of the spectrum loose slouchy pieces or relaxed tailoring offers up a casual sporty aesthetic that can be smartened up by way of luxe fabrics or the right accessories.

mens sporty fashion trend
Alexander Wang S/S ’12, 3.1 Phillip Lim S/S ’12

Sporty fashion in 2010

You know what’s happening now, read on to find out where it’s evolved from.

Alexander Wang’s inimitable cool factor put him at the fore of this trend. The young, fresh interpretation he sent down the runway for Spring 2010 saw us all looking to American football for an injection of youthful tomboy cool into our wardrobes come Spring. But while football is key, it’s not the only sportswear inspiration: don’t forget to look to sports like baseball & hockey, tennis, scuba-diving, and dance.

Alexander Wang: sport trend 2010

Sports trend: the looks

The possibilities for 2010’s sportswear fashion trend are many – but it’s also easy to go wrong. Thus, we’ve singled out four key looks for how to wear this trend in 2010: the tomboy, the sporty flapper, the urban dancer, and the Bond bombshell.

The tomboy

She’s the pretty girl at school with the rough-and-tumble attitude, the one who’s blissfully unaware of her own beauty; the one that kicks the ball with the boys oblivious to their crushes. Alexander Wang epitomised this look with his Spring 2010 collection: youthful, unimaginably cool, and ultimately sexy. The cool factor is engineered by way of cropped tops, pants low slung to expose the waistband of an under-layer; leather cross-lacing, jersey fabrics, football-style shoulders. Woven into the effortless tomboy look are super-feminine elements like sheer fabrics and high heeled shoes, placing the look firmly in 2010.

Along with American football – which was also an inspiration behind Alexandre Herchcovitch‘s Spring 2010 collection – you can also take your fashionable sportswear inspiration from other tomboyish sports like hockey, baseball, rugby league, and soccer.

Alexander Wang Spring 2010 runway

The sporty flapper

If she were a character, she’d be The Great Gatsby’s Jordan Baker; athletic, boyish, cynical, seductive. Golf or tennis are the flapper girl’s games, so in 2010 it’s preppy with a 1920s twist. Look no further than Hermes – with drop-waist pleated skirts and sports stripes in classic colours – for inspiration.

Hermes Spring 2010 runway

The urban dancer

She’s a little more Dirty Dancing than Swan Lake; but that said it’s not an 80s costume party free-for-all either. We simply mean that – as with any take on the sports trend in 2010 – it’s best when femininity is kept low key. There’s an element of the urban, of the street. A little bit of toughness and carelessness. Look to Charlotte Ronson as a perfect example, with a subtly stonewashed bodysuit given modern flair; soft ballet pinks and creams transferred into skinny pants and flowing sheer hoodies, her looks capped off by topknots and understated braided sweatbands. Bottega Veneta‘s slouchy sweats in pastel yellows are another prime example.

Charlotte Ronson Spring 2010 runway

The Bond bombshell

Bond girl bikinis

You know all those knock-out Bond Girl bikinis that somehow suggest an element of the functional, and yet are really nothing more than sex bomb swimwear? Ursula Andress’ belted bikini, or the red scuba suit in Thunderball… that’s what to think of when you attempt this look.

Based heavily in scuba and diving wear, sleek modern takes were seen on the runways of Gucci, Julien Macdonald, and Alexander McQueen for Spring 2010. Any dabbling in this type of sporty look should be skin-hugging, sexy, and most of all – dangerous.

Sports trend at Julien MacDondald
Scuba-inspired outfit at Julien Macdonald, Spring 2010

How to style it

As described above, there are many ways to add a sporty look to your wardrobe for Spring 2010. For any sporty style, the important thing is not to look too sloppy like you’ve just spent an hour at the gym, or too “glamorous” either – no Juicy Couture velour tracksuits please. Here are a few things more generally that you can try to work the look:

  • Messy long hair, the side braid
  • Sexed up with super high yet sport-inspired heels
  • Incorporate some knee-high socks – look to Alexander Wang’s cut-out back socks, or sports socks with stripes – but in luxe fabrics. The right kind of leg-warmers can also work
  • Cross-lacing – particularly in leather – reminiscent of baseball gloves and boot laces
  • Shoulder pads, football player style
  • Work in the hot pants trend for a sporty take on hot pants or bodysuits
  • Cut off tees
  • Jersey fabrics; mesh
  • Pleated tunics (elegant ones – no super-short cheerleader skirts)
  • Utility elements like plastic buckles, snap closures, and rope ties
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