Trend Alert: Androgynous Sports Chic
Two of the most recent trends in female fashion seem to have pulled in completely opposite directions to each other. On one hand, there is the uber-feminine styles as favoured by the likes of Zooey Deschanel and Marion Cotillard which focus on girly designs, floral prints, polka dots and twee, retro accessories. The other trend for female dressing has seen the embrace of more traditionally macho styles and the re-appropriation of a number of patterns, designs and trends that have previously been synonymous with men; androgynous variations on the brogue and Oxford lace-up designs have been popular amongst women and prints such as Houndstooth are now used in the dress patterns of the fairer sex. Due to these two divergent, polemic trends, it was inevitable that somebody capitalised on their disparate nature and focused on melding the two together. Sports chic, a style which, if the catwalk is anything to go by, is set to be huge next year, aims to do this.
Whilst combining sports clothes with more traditionally feminine style has been tried before, not least by Lily Allen who was known for teaming billowing dresses with macho looking trainers, the new trend, as seen at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in London, is set to take the look even further. “Old school” running shoes have been surprisingly omnipresent at the event and whilst they were often teamed with skinny jeans or shorts, the most popular and eye-catching of the looks was when they were teamed with flowing sheer dresses which helped create an impressively mixed message look, teaming masculine with feminine, informal with formal. The running shoes also managed to be utilised in a way heels have often been employed in recent months – to colour block – and the use of neons particularly emphasised this. For those who were not quite ready to complete dispense of any full-on girly elements in their footwear there were a number of designs which have taken the trend of wedge-soled trainers a step further by incorporating high heels onto the classic running shoe design.
At the event, brands such as Chloe and BCBG also incorporated athletic wear into their outfits; one common look at the Fashion Week was the use of white linen blazers teamed with sports gear - the aim of which was to both dress down and add informality to the jacket whilst simultaneously making the sports gear seem smarter than it actually is. The emphasis of the show, and the new trend, is that comfort is the ultimate of all luxury and thus, fashion should reflect this. Sports gear has often been the default choice of dress for those wanting to relax and it is not uncommon for people who value comfort over appearance to wear little boot hoodies, tracksuit pants and white sneakers. However, sports chic is an attempt to address the balance between comfort and style – it is possible to achieve both. One example of this was the latest Adidas collaboration with Jeremy Scott which was seen at the show – it was a neon yellow sneaker, perfect for colour blocking, which also featured an ultra-feminine daisy-pattern and cutesy and twee bear head with paws protruding from the shoe. Such a trainer is a great illustration of how it’s possible to combine stereotypically masculine and feminine details into innovative clothes designs and is emblematic for the sports chic trend that is likely to spill onto the high street very soon!
Kieron Casey is a fashion writer who blogs on up-coming fashion trends. He suggests you consider trying Love Your Shoes womens shoes.