Vintage sportswear makes its way into everyday styleSeptember 2, 2016
Vintage sportswear is no longer confined to sporting events. See how you can rock the retro vibe of vintage sportswear for everything from workwear to nights out.
Show your fashion and style savvy by rocking vintage sportswear in your everyday life, for everything from office wear to casual weekends to dressed-up nights out. Fashion that used to be confined to sports events now trends for so much more.
Performance wear today is focused on high-tech fabrications, smart technology and everything else that designers and engineers can throw at these sportswear items to enhance performance. And that makes these garments perfect for what they are designed to do, but not so great when you just want some cool athleisure wear outfits to rock at a non-sporting event.
That’s where vintage sportswear comes in. Retro sportswear has both style and substance and although these garments were also originally designed as performance gear, they lend themselves perfectly to mashups with non-sportswear pieces for a modern twist on a throwback look.
Use vintage sportswear to make a heritage style statement that you can rock as work wear, evening wear, casual wear or anywhere else you want to.
Accessible modern sporty wear
The best thing about it is that you no longer have to spend hours at your local thrift store looking for the perfect vintage sportswear items to add to your wardrobe. You can find the best selection of modern versions of vintage sportswear or authentic throwback pieces online in a range of colours, styles and prices to suit you exactly. And the fun part is they are readily accessible in-store or online at sites like Amazon, ASOS, eBay, Etsy and Blue17.
Vintage sportswear is having a moment, propelled into the fashion spotlight by the revival of platform sneakers, old-school brand names and the whole athleisure-wear-for-any-occasion trend.
Let us show you how to rock vintage sportswear the modern way.
- Logo-embellished vintage sportswear: Retro sportswear is big on big logos and this is a key trend for today.
The trick in wearing this vintage sportswear trend is to limit the big logos to just one piece in your outfit. A fashion favourite way to style this is wearing a big logo is on a T-shirt, hoodie or sweater.
Then pair this classic vintage sportswear top with a modern-day bottom of jogging pants, jeans or cargo pants for a finished look.
- Vintage sportswear in shoes: There is a strong nostalgic trend in retro sports shoes, from basic sneakers to high-end designer high-tops and track shoes.
Go simple with a classic pair of vintage sportswear Keds and pair them with your favourite skinny jeans for a casual modern-retro look, or wear them with a formal suit or dress for an edgy take on daytime dressing.
Or go all out with a designer name brand like a classic Nike high-top and rock it with cargo pants for a night out on the town.
- Vintage sportswear for festivals: Festival seasons come around every year and vintage sportswear is the perfect gear to rock at these annual events.
Tracksuit jackets with heritage styling like contrast piping, logos and retro prints work perfectly with equally timeless floral skirts, chino pants or other festival staples.
Vintage sportswear sneakers and hats help you finish your festival look in style. Rock a bucket hat in stone-washed denim as a practical and fashionable outdoor style statement. Or protect yourself from the muddy fields with vintage sportswear high-top sneakers in a dark hue.
The best of Vintage Sportswear
Not everything retro should be brought back again for a second go-around. There are some key pieces in vintage sportswear fashion, though, that are true throwback classics that deserve a place in your closet today.
- Tracksuits: With a long and varied history as a style staple, vintage sportswear in the form of classic tracksuits are a safe bet for incorporating retro sports gear into your everyday look.
Be bold and go head to toe in a matching jacket and pants and keep the look current with a slim silhouette. Choose a neutral colour like navy, forest green or black for a laid-back look, or elevate your style statement with a bold colour like red.
Or wear only one piece of the whole suit as your nod to vintage sportswear inspiration. Pair a retro tracksuit jacket with modern skinny jeans or even with dress pants – a tracksuit jacket is supremely versatile and goes with anything as the perfect three season outer layer.
Or rock a tracksuit bottom over a classic white T-shirt for casual cool style.
- Varsity Jackets: Another cultish favourite from the vintage sportswear genre, varsity jackets have a classic cut, colour and embellishment that is eternally youthful and always in style, whatever your age and whatever the occasion.
Wear yours with jeans and sneakers on the weekend and layer it over your tailored clothes as an edgy outer layer for work.
- Sneakers: Of course, nothing has stood the test of time like vintage sportswear Look for classic styles and colours like white with a few touches of colour in canvas or suede for a wear-with-anything pair of sneaks.
Or pick a designer retro pair by Nike or Adidas for something that really raises your style persona to the next level and becomes your go-to investment piece for years to come.
- Shorts: Vintage sportswear shorts in long or short styles fit into every guy’s wardrobe.These garments are breathable, comfortable and add a touch of style to your off-duty look.
- Football Shirts: And finally, check out vintage sportswearfootball shirts from across the pond. The classic British football shirts from decades past are perfect for music festivals or weekend parties.
Look for heritage colours, logos and styles that give a sly nod to the old days yet look modern and fresh when paired with classic pieces like dark wash jeans or chinos.
Top vintage sportswear brands
Take a look at these tried-and-true heritage vintage sportswear brands you should check out for your retro sportswear finds that will stand the test of time.
- Fila: Popular around the world with tennis pros from the 1970s to the 1990s, Fila is your go-to place for vintage sportswear ranging from tracksuit jackets to their classic “Disruptor” sneaker.
This Italian fashion house has a history of high quality, durable and fashionable sportswear, so rock their chunky sneakers or logo-emblazoned tracksuits today and know that you have made a lifetime investment.
- Reebok: Another classic brand for vintage sportswear shoes, Reebok originated in Britain and is now a global retailer of both retro and cutting-edge aerobic footwear and other sportswear items.
Get yourself a pair of retro Reebok kicks and rock them with everything in your closet today, for some serious laid-back style.
- Champion: This athletic clothier has been in business for over 100 years and is known for the durability of its products.
Vintage sportswear from Champion has been worn by serious players from the US Olympic basketball team to the NFL and NBA, so you know you are getting the best quality when you wear a Champion product.
Rock some retro Champion sportswear as part of your street-savvy style today.
- Kappa: Check out the vintage sportsweartracksuits offered by Kappa. These classics are loaded with logos and made of authentic throwback fabrics like nylon, so you know you are rocking an original retro look with Kappa’s vintage sportwear.
This Italian fashion house started out as a humble sock maker and is now a global sportswear brand known for such style innovations as taped joggers.
In modern society sportswear is not primarily used for playing sports. This versatile sector has morphed into a global player in the fashion industry with several offsets of everyday wearable items. With the rise of preloved clothing, vintage sportswear has been revived in a number of ways.
Recently we’ve seen a comeback for 90s sportswear with classic brand names coming back into the mix. Other elements of vintage sportswear are shining through in designer collections. There has also seen a rise in celebrity inspired collections reviving a love of vintage leisurewear.
History of sportswear
Believe it or not the term sportswear didn’t start out as a description of a typical sport designed garment. The term was generally used to define informal and interchangeable items that were worn in a casual setting.
Activewear on the other hand was mainly used to outline clothing made for sports. Some of the earliest examples of sports clothing included garments for riding, playing tennis and yachting. Some early designer examples of sportswear came from well-known fashion houses including Coco Chanel and Jean Patou.
Later in the 20th and 21st century, sportswear had a foundation of clothing aimed for comfort and style. This staple look later had a modern fashion twist with vintage sportswear making a comeback in recent times.
A 90s revival of vintage sportswear
The comeback of this fashionable decade has had a major influence in revival of classic sportswear. The 90s saw some of the biggest brands release huge ranges of fashionable clothing. These brands are sought after trends in modern fashion with recognisable style coming through into designer and high street collections.
Modern sports luxe looks have taken inspiration from iconic brands of the 90s with sporty windbreakers, bomber jackets and bold colours influencing modern trends.
80s American sports influence
Recent Olympic and sporting events have seen a rise in people looking for old school track jackets and American football jerseys. These iconic sports pieces were a key feature in American sports teams and later filtered through to the US hip-hop culture. There are plenty of 80s vintage sportswear examples, ideal for mixing up with modern pieces.
American varsity jackets also provided an alternative sportswear look. Modern trends have incorporated these jackets into preppy casual styles alongside key looks in current fashion.
A popular feature of vintage sportswear is branding and slogans. Recent revivals have seen many of the pasts well known and much loved sports brands becoming trendy again.
For spring/summer 2017 there are strong pulls towards slogans making an impact on the catwalk. The recent shows in Paris from designer Vetements displayed several iconic brand names signaling a further revival for 90s sports looks.
Hip-hop music influences
As with many notable times in history, music has influenced sectors of fashion. For many music and fashion go hand in hand due to the creative and individualism of opinion and personality. During the 1970s and 80s several popular sportswear brands popped up in music culture. Iconic brands included Le Coq Sportif, Adidas and Kangol. During the late 80s and 1990s, sportswear became oversized with men and women styling brands in a new and influential way.
As music videos became a prominent figure on our TV screens, the influence of fashion in music became apparent. An example of the reach of celebrity influence included well-known artist LL Cool J. He wore a Kangol hat that wasn’t a well-known brand in America at the time. Yet this appearance set the wheels in motion for this British brand with American fans flocking to buy the hat.
The influence of hip-hop artists has also seen an increase of celebrity-designed brands. Rocawear is an example of the creation of music inspired fashion by founders Damon Dash and Jay-Z. The collection contains everything from men and women’s clothing to shoes, accessories and childrenswear.
Iconic vintage sportswear brands
There are many iconic sportswear brands that revolutionised the way we think and feel about sports fashion. The 90s provided a huge variety of brands to choose from and although some have fizzled into the past. Some are still alive and kicking proving trends still live on.
Many people have certain brands that instantly pop into their head. Whether that’s a childhood memory or trends that influenced you as a teenager. How many can you remember? Here’s are a few to jog your memory:
- Helly Hansen
- Tommy Hilfiger
Sportswear has grown in creditability and moved from casual styling to a luxury fashion items. The industry is booming with celebrity collaborations growing ten fold. Brand awareness for buyers is more prevalent in clothing choices with celebrity trends influencing a new generation.
The luxe sportswear industry is giving a new fashionable yet comfort look with the term ‘athleisure’ being created for this type of look. Luxe sportswear has several vintage inspirations dating back to times when sporting spectators wore casual garments to watch their favourite sports.
This in turn now coincides with people wanting to look good whilst chilling in front of the TV. Yet if you pop to the shop, you don’t need to get dressed to look good.
Styling vintage sportswear
There is so much choice in vintage sportswear with a fantastic opportunity to pick up retro clothing to style with modern pieces. The American sports sweatshirt influences have given a casual twist to 90s fashion with plenty of iconic slogans to choose from. You can pick anything from vintage college tops to bright vintage track tops.
In modern trends, sportswear has elevated a choice in unisex clothing. The diverse nature of sportswear gives both men and women a larger choice of items. Great examples of unisex clothing include vintage sweatshirts, vintage track tops and vintage bomber jackets.
With designer collections still taking inspiration from vintage sportswear, next season will continue to relive those 90s fashion moments for many years to come.
Tommy Hilfiger label – Iconic brands
LL Cool J’s popular Kangol hat