Thinking on my growing wishlist of future style acquisitions, I hardly recognize myself. A camo jacket from Nike Lab (there’s a new shop in New York!). A pair of digital print Adidas ZX Flux sneaks. Pretty much everything at Vancouver’s Lululemon Lab.
These brands aren’t exactly underground, but that’s the thing. They’re just the tip of the iceberg, and they’re still luring me into an unfamiliar world of quick-dry fabrics and functional designs that are a far cry from the blazers and slim-fit shirts I’m used to picking up. And you know what? I’m okay with that. I get to bring my style with me on race day — yeah, yeah, different clothes won’t necessarily help me crush a personal best, but they’ll definitely give me a boost of confidence at the starting line.
Perhaps it’s taken me this long because I haven’t really had the option to combine my active lifestyle with my interest in fashion until fairly recently. There’s no question that sports apparel designers have been focusing on trendy styles and cuts for years now. However, this innovation largely took place on the ladies’ side of the rack. Guys’ workout gear remained neutral, conservative and unremarkable.
Then, well, things suddenly caught on. Athletic and urban influences became a runway staple, and vice versa. At first, you started seeing more colours, prints and style-conscious fits coming from the big sports companies. Smaller upscale brands specializing in active looks started cropping up soon thereafter. With the advent of those, men’s sportswear quickly went from a sweat-soaked afterthought (or the odd pair of designer sweatpants) to a full-time lifestyle choice that actually looked good.
Which brings me to today. I’m looking over at my coolest piece of the moment (this crazy H&M singlet made in collaboration with the Swiss Olympic team), and I realize this sportswear phase is destined to keep going strong long after my running days are over. My favourites are anything with loud prints, but I don’t mind settling into some sports-inspired minimalism, too. I hope I can keep up.
Here are some items I’ve got my eye on.
- Adidas – ZX Flux Prism
- Lululemon Lab – Solitary Chino
- Nike Lab – White Label Bonded Pocket Shirt
- Adidas – New Media Trefoil Tee
- Nike Lab – F.C. Real Bristol Storm-Fit (minus the soccer branding)
- H&M – Functional T-Shirt