For And Against: The Tracksuit

It's back in fashion, but is it really a good idea? Our Editor-In-Chief and Fashion Director debate

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Our Editor-in-Chief, Lorraine Candy, has been banned from buying a Chloé tracksuit - the new season piece she covets most 

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When you work in fashion the temptation to cross a sartorial line is an everyday menace.

You know the feeling: you see a trend and you're desperate to wear it whatever the style implications may be.

And after a 30-year career in fashion I've been drawn to some pretty spectacular trends (the peplum, anyone?), so much so that I've now developed a Beyoncé mindset around getting dressed: I am Editor-In-Chief, it's allowed. 

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So I sometimes mistakenly believe if Beyoncé can do/wear/eat/buy/ride something then so can I too.

That's what sitting in the front row for decades does to you, it tricks you into thinking you have a fashion super power to wear whatever you want. 

But this delusional style bravery is foolhardy.

I am not Beyoncé and this is the path to a street style picture I'd rather no one ever sees.

Right now, I am desperate to slip into a Chloé tracksuit.

I want that red zip-up top and those loose pants so badly I've googled it a thousand times and even bought a fresh white t-shirt to wear underneath. What could possibly go wrong?

I spend half my life in gym gear anyway (I'm learning to box) and I wear trainers more often than any woman with an office job has a right to.

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But I have been told on no account must I buy a tracksuit, designer or otherwise. 

I am, in fact, to step away from this garment and the athleisure trend completely and focus on the minimal almost all-black-everything uniform I am told I wear well.

Who's saying this? Who has crushed my fashion dreams?

She who must be obeyed that's who: Fashion Director Anne-Marie Curtis.

She believes the tracksuit trend is not befitting of a woman in my position, that I already have a look that suits me, a signature style I should stick with given it's taken years to perfect.

I like a long, lean well-fitted silhouette: cigarette pants and polo necks with over sized coats and flat shoes (I can't wear heels due to a foot injury).

I like fitted dresses or skinny jeans. I don't do print and I am picky about colour. I should stick to what looks good, AMC tells me, and not throw caution to the wind with a tracksuit.

"You can't command respect in a tracksuit," she says sensibly. 

I tried arguing. "It's not the same as wearing PJs on the school run," I quibbled, "It's not a onesie, or a shell suit, there’s no logo and Edie Campbell looks amazing in the campaign pictures."

But there was no persuading her.

She is right, I have neither the height nor the job to pull this off with respect and style. 

But I am so happy to see the return of what was a 90s staple, I love the freedom of choice it signifies, the fact that today you don't have to have a weekend wardrobe and a weekday one, that personal style is still about breaking the rules, and being an individual.

I may still buy that Chloe tracksuit but wear it in the privacy of my own home, it's almost as contrary as wearing those silk Gucci Pjs to bed.

Our Fashion Director, Anne-Marie Curtis, on why tracksuits are best left in the 90s (if you were there the first time around)

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When Edie Campbell strode out at the Chloé show in a 90s style tracksuit (albeit it a very refined, luxe version) it felt like a defining movement, the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle and confirmation that the 90s were back with a bang.

From the slip dress trend that had been fast gathering pace to the oversized sweatshirts at Vetements, the Chloé show was an all-out unashamed homage to the decade.

The show notes even went so far as to namecheck 90s models, from Rosemary Ferguson to Cecilia Chancellor, and also took a fair percentage of the fashion press back to the beginnings of their career.

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Yes, I remember the 90s (well most of it anyway).

From clubbing in high-top trainers and a Stussy T-shirt to wearing slip dresses and a spritz of Calvin Klein Eternity, to my first job on a magazine, I was most definitely there.

It was an amazing time to be in fashion as there was a seismic shift afoot and with the grunge movement a new world order emerged which changed the face of fashion forever.

Sound familiar?

Here we are again 25 years on and another major shift appears to be taking place in fashion.

The old order is being broken down and new designers at the helm and brands such as Vetements and Gucci are setting the pace.

As an editor and stylist, I am hugely excited by this.

It feels new and fresh and, yes, a bit like the 90s all over again.

There is, however, a general rule of thumb I feel when dressing oneself.

If you wore it the first time round it would be wise to think twice before doing it a second time.

Because of this truism, coupled with the fact I am also a mother to two teenage children (one of whom is currently living in an oversized Calvin Klein sweatshirt and the other obsessing over Fila and Stussy t-shirts), it would be unseemly, I feel, to be embracing the sportswear trend into my wardrobe.

I am far from ageist when it comes to fashion, and in fact love seeing women far older than me embracing it in all its glory. Joan Didion in Celine? Hell yes.

Joni Mitchell in Saint Laurent? Bring it on.  

And I am not going to lie, I am currently coveting a Vetements black bomber jacket which may bear a similarity to an MA1 flying jacket I had way back when, but there are some things that are simply best left to the kids.

And as for a full-on tracksuit, it also helps if you look like Edie Campbell.  

Styling: Harriet Stewart

Photography: Robert Harper

First image: Silk top, £125, Cos. Polyester trousers, £225, Diesel Black Gold. Leather sandals, £110, Bimba y Lola. Gold-plated silver earrings, £235, Thomas Sabo. Gold watch, £189, Guess.

Second image: Silk top, £32, Intimissimi. Cotton-twill trousers, £128, Me + Em. Metal and glass earrings, £98, Butler & Wilson. Suede bag, £130, Reiss.

Catwalk imagery: Getty Images

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