On the topic of essentials, we talk about menswear staples that have withstood the test of time: the white Oxford, the navy blazer, the black brogue. Classics, right? And with every generation that has passed another mark has been made, ranging from the leather jackets of the 50s to the smartphones of today’s always-on age.
Wondering about that last one? Much like the role fashion has played for centuries, technology is now the driving force that helps us express and improve ourselves. Devices have evolved from simple tools to something handsome and, in many ways, completely essential. An extension of our minds and bodies, if you will.
I didn’t always think like that, but the Polar A360 Fitness Tracker I received from Polar has redefined how I think about the relationship between style, tech and fitness, and the essential roles all three play in my life.
The concept of the A360 is really quite an intimate proposition. The fitness band tracks your activity levels 24/7 — workouts, days off and even bouts of sleep — for a week or longer on a single charge (in my experience). A built-in heart rate monitor helps you visualize the intensity of your workouts. It even gives you a bit of a kick if you haven’t moved for a while (I’ve come to dread the inactivity badges it awards as much as I’ve come to appreciate them). Taking short breaks went a long way in keeping me focused at the office.
The Polar Flow companion app gives you light coaching to tell you how you’re improving, as well as motivation to reach your fitness goal for the day — not just by adding exercise, but by filling your life with functional activities. (Who knew 45 minutes of jogging equated to two hours of cooking or 90 minutes of gentle dancing?)
It’s a two-way street, and you build a real relationship with the wearable, not unlike the kind you have with your favourite piece of clothing. I found that putting it on became like tying a tie — a finishing touch that equips you with confidence for the day ahead.
Indeed, it has become somewhat of a cornerstone of my sportier personal style. The A360’s colour touchscreen found no shortage of admirers among my running buddies, but even at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week it felt like it belonged in my ensemble as much as a classic timepiece. It soon took over my main watch wrist.
But like the weight and drape of a suit’s fabric, a good piece of technology is imperceptible when fulfilling its role (which is generally just looking good). The soft rubber strap stayed comfortable throughout workouts, long nights and everything in between. Smart notifications kept me on top of incoming calls, texts and social media so I wouldn’t have to pull out my phone at inopportune times. Eventually I simply forgot I had it on — that is, until I reached my fitness goal for the day.
And that’s how I like it: form meets function, in every way.