Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past five years, eating beetles for protein and washing in a muddy stream, you’ve no doubt noticed that menswear, as we know it, has undergone a transformation on a pretty fundamental level.
Speaking of history…
The History Of Joggers
Believe it or not, running as a form of voluntary exercise has origins in Ancient Greece, but spread after the modern Olympic games were re-introduced in 1896 and spread further after the ‘running boom’ of the 1970s. But after decades of training in ungainly attire, it was clear that something needed to change, and for one Frenchman, the solution was clear.
Émile Camuset wasn’t just any French dude; he was the French dude who founded world-renowned sportswear label Le Coq Sportif – which, FYI, translates to “the athletic rooster” – and he had understandably had quite enough of sweating his way around the track in whatever cumbersome legwear men were rocking at the time.
After some experimentation with fabrics and cuts, the classic jersey jogger we all know and love was born.
However, while joggers were built with a firm purpose in mind, today they’re much more. Just as with jeans and dress trousers before them, there are now many styles and shapes to take into consideration.
Types Of Joggers
No longer suitable only for track, field or sofa, the sweatpant revolution has seen this active/loungewear essential undergo a tailored transformation. Yes, the humble jogger has, as part of the athleisure trend, had a sartorial makeover, meaning dressing smartly no longer requires squeezing your lower portion into a pair of uncomfortable dress trousers for extended periods of time.
Think tailored, tapered legs and fine-gauge cotton that won’t sag at the knees. In fact, joggers have smartened up so much that wearing a pair with a shirt is no longer out of the question – something which just a few years ago would have been utterly unthinkable.
Even purpose-built joggers haven’t escaped this new dawn in menswear. Once a baggy, billowy, grey marl affair, sporty joggers have shaped up, slimmed down, and somehow still managed to retain every ounce of comfort they boasted before.
Flattering cuts and technical fabrics are par for the course in this new sportswear movement, and now it’s possible to hit the gym and look slick at the same time. Until you’re drenched in sweat and purple in the face, that is.
Perfect for everything from staying comfortable on a long-haul flight, to nipping out for a lunchtime bite – these classic, understated sweatpants have got your back no matter how you choose to spend your day.
With unbeatable comfort, total versatility and an increasing acceptance from menswear types, it may only be a matter of time before these modern casual classics take up the ‘favourite day-to-day legwear’ mantle from their denim cousins.
Sometimes all a man wants to do with his Saturday afternoon/evening is to sprawl himself out on the sofa and watch questionable television while shovelling fistfuls of dry roasted peanuts into his face. Thankfully, there is a legwear option more than adequately equipped for the task at hand.
Lounge joggers are loose cut, insanely comfortable and somehow manage to be both airy and cosy at the same time. Basically, you’ll never want to take them off.
How To Style Joggers
Relaxing attitudes in menswear have blessed joggers with a new-found versatility, and rather than just teaming them with a tatty hoodie for a quick dash to pick up a hangover cure, there are now many ways to work a pair of sweatpants into a number of different outfits.
Here are the most stylish combinations, depending on your look.
Trackies are nothing new on the street, and their current popularity is due, in part at least, to the merging of streetwear and high-fashion.
To give an insight on how to style your joggers for a streetwear-inspired look, who better to hear from than Hypebeast UK editor Jack Stanley?
“Keep it simple,” says Stanley. “Anything sporting or workwear-inspired can be paired very well with traditional joggers. Work jackets, technical waterproofs and bomber jackets [are] all great options.”
As far as footwear is concerned, Stanley is a firm believer in the importance of a good sneaker game: “I’d go for a classic pair of trainers, something like Reebok Classics or Air Force 1s, and top it off with a white tee.”
Simple, but effective.
Leaving the house in a pair of joggers for anything other than a walk to the gym or a jog around the park was once considered a cardinal style sin. But these days, it’s entirely possible to wear them as part of a smart-casual outfit. Sarah Gilfillan, personal stylist and founder of SartoriaLab, explains how to do it:
“I suggest either wearing a fine-gauge crew neck sweater or a fitted button-down shirt. It could even be in a jersey fabric, which carries through the sporty feel, without being as casual as a T-shirt.”
On the feet, Sarah’s a fan of the premium white leather trainer, and we’d have to agree. “Smart leather trainers like Common Projects or Lanvin would be my choice of footwear,” she says.
Top it off with a wool overcoat, denim jacket or unstructured blazer, and you’re good to go.
The idea of wearing a pair of joggers with any tailored clothing would’ve once solicited a hearty laugh from anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of menswear. Now it’s an altogether different state of affairs.
“Over the past few [years] we’ve seen a more refined jogger creep into menswear,” says freelance stylist and brand advisor Daniel Rhone.
The refined joggers that he refers to are a hybrid between dress trousers and sweatpants, melding the best traits from each. Plus, they’re surprisingly easy to style.
“I like the idea of a wool jogger worn with a black Derby shoe and matching wool blazer for a modern take on the two-piece suit,” he says. Since this is as formal as you can go with joggers, stick to darker shades of grey, navy or black, but team with a casual, unstructured jacket that has soft shoulders and patch pockets. Soft, tactile materials should also be prioritised. A shiny, polyester blazer will make you look like you’ve broken your parole for the fifth time.
There’s a certain irony about joggers. On the one hand, they were designed with the express intention of being worn to play sports and live actively in; conversely, they’re perfect for slumping yourself on the sofa like a beached whale, while you watch Netflix and consume your body weight in junk food.
But acting like a slob doesn’t mean you have to dress like a slob, and it’s definitely possible to bring a dash of style to proceedings, even if you’re just starfished on your bed, taking a nap with your cat.
“If you want to up the luxury factor with your joggers when chilling out, choose a cashmere sweater with the ‘V’ detailing of a sweatshirt,” says Gilfillan, adding that a logo-free hoodie could also work nicely.
“After that, just chuck on your trainers and bomber, or fur-lined denim jacket to go from sofa to street.”
The sports luxe look is a direct result of the menswear mashup we spoke of earlier on. Think sport-inspired clothing and relaxed styling, with the odd wardrobe classic thrown in here and there.
Put bluntly, you wouldn’t wear it out for a swanky dinner, but you certainly wouldn’t wear it for a game of five-a-side either.
Joggers are the element that tends to anchor most sports luxe outfits, while other components can vary. A bomber jacket might make way for a denim jacket, but the joggers will usually remain.
Phie McKenzie, editor of fashion and music magazine Notion, advises on how to style: “I love a pair of joggers teamed with a simple, Scandi denim jacket,” she explains. “Something from Our Legacy or Acne Studios would work nicely, topped off with a statement tee and a pair of Converse.”