carefully placed mesh is always sexy – if carried off well.
And so to the burning question: can track pants and a hoodie be chic? Of course they can. The caveat is that if one is going to attempt this look, it has to be pushed to its most elegant, stylish limit – we are not channeling Tony Soprano or Britney Spears here.
Lo-Fi Luxe is what we are calling this. Not a new look, but one that will always be in style. Why? Well, the track pant is one of fashion's most forgiving silhouettes. You disagree? What is the first thing you reach for on a fat day? I rest my case.
But there are rules. The first and most important is this look must, but must, be worn with a heel. Think of it as an evening style. Resist the platform sneaker, and pair instead with a pointy patent stiletto: see how Victoria Beckham and Blake Lively wore Alexander McQueen's track pants with a spindly heel and proper jewelry. Yes, they may have the legs, but it
is hard to get this look wrong with the right blouson shirt, a fitted tux-style jacket (remember, if it is loose on the bottom, it has to be fitted on top), and the right killer Alaïa heels. It is something in the security of a low-slung pocket, the ease of an elasticized waist and the cheekiness – yet leg-lengthening skills – of a stripe that makes it all a no-brainer for me.
The patron-saint designers of Lo-Fi Luxe? Stella McCartney, for one, the pioneer of the look: note the tailored track pants she has created this season. Then there is 3.1 Phillip Lim picking up the baton. Take a look at his sequined silk 'tracksuit' for the ultimate example of athletics gone luxe. I understand, though, that we are not all Cara Delevingne, so you might want to take a look at his
“RULE 1: this look must, but must, be worn with a heel. Think of it as an EVENING style”
track pants in leather. Hardcore they might sound, but they are of the most flattering cut. Can you see how they'll become the perfect foil for all that summer cashmere and those silky tees you have so cleverly amassed over the years?
Of course, Lo-Fi Luxe isn't just about the pants. It may be about an oversized sweatshirt, or Helmut Lang's glitzy baseball-style "twinset" (divine with a ladylike pencil skirt and heels). Then there is the array of American Graffiti-style varsity jackets out there: you have to have at least one of those.
But maybe you would prefer to hover on the sidelines. How about swapping your ballet pumps for the new skater shoes? You could always follow Cara's example and wear a baseball cap. Or perhaps via a flash of fluoro? Do be careful with this one, though. You don't want to look as if you are trying not to get run over by oncoming traffic, or indeed as if you are on your way out to javelin practise. The beauty of Lo-Fi Luxe is that it is all about looking the part, not playing it.
A modern spin on the sportswear cover-up.
A lo-fi look needs a heel to show it's deliberate.