By Diane Small
Do you feel more comfortable in a bomber jacket than a suit jacket? Prefer the feel of zip-up urban apparel to button-down office attire? If so, you’re not alone: athleisure is one trend that seems to be going nowhere. The simple reason is that streetwear is not only super-comfortable, but it’s super-chic, too.
Almost all streetwear can look hype on a youthful frame, but when the late-20s or early 30’s start creeping in, it may be time to rethink the nylon shell suits, ultra-chunky trainers and baggy sweatpants as a daily look. What’s more, as we get older and become more conscious about the impact of fast fashion, suddenly, cheaply made athleisure wear loses its appeal.
The good news is that streetwear, when well selected, has a place in a mature and even luxurious wardrobe. With this adult’s guide on how to wear streetwear consciously, you’ll be looking great without even trying.
1. Always Opt for Premium Fabrics
Back when streetwear originated, designers made items with robust fabrics that could hold up to moves from extreme sports, like skidding on the pavement after a fall from a skateboard. This utilitarian approach resulted in a lot of boxy and somewhat unflattering clothing.
Now, however, things have changed: the majority of streetwear brands produce cheaply (and usually unethically) made garments that will barely stand up to a few wash cycles, let alone a spill on the sidewalk.
Opting for key pieces in premium fabrics allow you to maintain your street cred whist upping the ante in terms of sustainability and sophistication. An example? This jacket by OtherLinks, blends athleisure with luxe.
2. Choose More Ethical Shoes
There’s no doubt that heeled shoes are on the way out, and the newest fashion ‘rule’ is trainers with everything – even dresses! But when it comes to streetwear, the shoes you choose can make or break an outfit. But when chosen wisely, they don’t have to be sweatshop-made, or break your bank account, like the latest Yeezys would do. Of course, they should also be made from ethical, animal-friendly fabrics.
Our picks would be Po-Zu – an ethical streetwear brand that’s only recently pledged itself to going fully vegan, or Veja, another brand that’s not fully vegan, but that has a great vegan selection, such as these white trainers below.
3. Put Aside The Hypebeast Culture
For many young fashion followers, hype and exclusivity are everything. Many find themselves coveting an item because it’s conspicuous and to-the-moment trendy, not because it actually looks good on them. But the reality is, you should find yourself gravitating towards clothes that flatter you – no matter what the brand.
Keep in mind that such trendy clothing is bad for the planet – what looks good now will be laughable in 5 years’ time. Instead, buy streetwear that’s more understated and classic, like this entire look by Stella McCartney, below, which will look stylish for years to come.
4. Don’t Oversize Your Style – Too Much
Oversized, baggy clothes may hang well on young, thin bodies, but a more sophisticated look is moving beyond ‘baggy’ to ‘loose’. It’s more universally flattering, and if you work in a casual office environment, it’s more work-appropriate.
We love this example below from 90 Percent, for example. The sweatshirt is ethically made from pure, organic cotton, and while it’s roomy enough to be comfortable, it’s not so large that it engulfs your figure completely.
5. Limit the Logos
Don’t get flashy with an obnoxious amount of logos, or you’ll end up looking like a walking NASCAR advert. Try to limit your look to one brand logo piece and keep all of your other items more understated. After all, unless you’re being paid to advertise it, why wear your brand loyalty (literally) on your sleeves? Better to wear a well cut, plain shirt, like this organic cotton one by Bassike, below.
Otherwise, you can go for brands that only apply subtle logos to their items, like Stella McCartney, above, or forego the logo altogether.
6. Mix It Up
Just because you love the look of a baseball cap, for example, doesn’t mean you need to pair it with a 100% sportswear look. Take one sporty element and mix it up with something more formal, like a blazer – you may be surprised at the casually sophisticated result, like this one by Rag & Bone, below.
Just because you find yourself with more responsibilities, having to live and work among peers of different tastes and expectations, doesn’t mean you need to hide your fashion away. Streetwear is for all ages, and with a bit of style savvy, it can be appropriate for all situations.