Consider the Sportifs as men who are in the sweet spot between luxury fashion and sporty casual. The archetype is a defining one for the new millennium, as designers responded to the rising star power of athletes, who in turn have created a demand for luxury sporting wear that befits their status. Arguably begun by such stylish sports icons as David Beckham, the trend has married runway designers and traditionally ill-fitting sportswear, and their brainchild is an active masculinity mixed with luxury materials, updated cuts, and stylish detailing.
Further propelling the trend were the collaborations between top designers and Olympic teams, with Stella McCartney and Giorgio Armani fashioning on- and off-game outfits for the British and Italian representatives respectively. With no waning in sight for its popularity, the assortment of luxury-sport looks has only gotten bigger and better over the years, drawing inspiration from baseball uniforms, soccer jerseys, tennis polos and shorts, equestrian apparel, F1 racing gear, and more.
A SPORTIF’S PROFILE
A typical Sportif may not be an athlete or even play sports – he is just someone who appreciates how sportswear can make one look active and vitalised, but also wishes to communicate his savoir-faire for style. Freedom to move is prioritised equally with looking sharp.
The Sportif look has two main attributes: it is reminiscent of sportswear, and it looks fashionable. Most styles borrow items from an iconic example of sportswear, but reinvent them using unexpected colourways, generally more tailored silhouettes, sports-ready materials, and tasteful use of details such as zips, stripes, buttons and prints. If there is a dominant colour in the Sportif archetype it would be grey, but a wide range of bright colours are also used to add an athletic vibrancy and accentuate the wearer’s masculine vigour. Synthetic materials play a big role in this style, borrowing from the requirements of permeability and weightlessness required in sportswear – spandex and Lycra, waterproof rubberised fabrics, breathable Gore-Tex, and polyurethanes. Another common fabric is jersey and fleece, both popular materials for making sweatpants. One dominant, indispensable feature of the Sportif style is sporting shoes. Whether this be the retro New Balances, ever-changing Nike basketball shoes, or Lacoste tennis shoes, sport-inspired footwear is a must.
WHO IS IT FOR?
As accessible as the Sportif look seems, certain flair with matching items is required to separate it from being simply sportswear. If you’re into sports and have a wardrobe of mainly sporty items, or if you like to put in effort, but not too much effort, into constructing a look, this archetype may well work for you. Especially if you’re older but wish to still look active, the Sportif archetype can help you achieve that vitality without compromising on maturity.
TIPS TO GET YOU STARTED
Remember that being Sportif is not just being sporty – there has to be a stylish, fashionable or luxury component. Avoid flimsy materials that look cheap. That being said, try not to weigh down the active aspect with too much material. The idea is to look like you’re always ready to jump up and sprint off, even if you’re looking like a thousand bucks. You can get that energy going by using colours, playing with lengths of sleeves and pants to reveal some skin, and of course – getting a pair of legit sneakers.
BRANDS TO EXPLORE
- Alexander Wang
- Kris van Assche
- New Balance
- Björn Borg
- Gosha Rubchinskiy
- Dirk Bikkembergs