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Sportswear Luxe

14:03 Posted by Alison
Sleek, sumptuous and sophisticated; this season, sportswear has emerged from the back of the gym locker having been given a luxurious makeover. Forget the painfully unflattering, plain and purely functional pieces that linger in the outskirts of your wardrobe, they are soon to be replaced by fashionable fitness wear that demands to be flaunted.


Relaxed fabrics and fluid cuts flooded spring/summer catwalks across the globe, with designers in the upper echelons of fashion embracing lounge wear, preppy playfulness and elegant sporty styles. Separates were at the heart of many collections, creating dynamic outlines and layers of contrasting textures, and the mix-and-match mentality meant that with the right details, active wear was miraculously transformed into something immensely versatile. Thanks to the ingenuity of Michael Kors, Prada and Preen (amongst many others who sent slick, shiny jogging bottoms and sequined studded shirts gliding down the runways), suddenly sweatshirts, racer back vests and trousers that gather at the ankle are as at home out on the town as on the track and field.

Urban athletic chic has quickly filtered down into stores across the British high street. Style savvy shoppers have been quick to snap up on-trend pieces, as the highly structured and hard-edged silhouettes of winter melt away to reveal casual contours, cutaways and sleek, visible seams. Keep your eyes peeled for quirkily positioned eyelets, mesh and laces and wear them with items that have become firm favourites in your fashion arsenal. Leggings, leotards and body-con pieces all blend fantastically with sportswear, and are given a fresh lease of life when teamed with unusual materials such as neoprene or flashes of neon brights.

However, this trend represents the best of both the futuristic and the nostalgic, with designs featuring nods to collegiate culture as well as cosmic couture. Elements such as cuffs, patches and pleats collide with bold motifs, jersey numbers and team emblems to create a laid back, California campus cool vibe. All-American items are the way to go when it comes to outerwear, with 1950s marl bombers, baseball and cheer leading jackets (with optional shoulder pads) replacing leather bikers as the season’s must-have cover up.

Accessories are the key to dressing up this trend, so do not be afraid to pile on glittering statement jewellery or step out in a pair of killer heels. Play with context and choose evening wear shapes in unexpected fabrics (such as a full length jersey dress or towering high-top trainer boots) add a sporty slouchy bag in an indulgent butter-soft leather or take a classic piece and throw a utility themed, pocket-and-zip covered parka on top.

Use ruching and draping to disguise problem areas and highlight your assets with piping, silk and figure-hugging pieces. Outfits should look effortless; stick to blocks of neutral colours to elongate and slim and add pops of vibrancy to otherwise natural make up to emphasise your features. Above all, be comfortable and rejoice in the fact that for once, comfort and style go very much hand in hand!
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All original content is ©Alison Rowley 2012. No words or images may be reproduced without permission from the copyright holder.