Joggers have languished in the background for too long, it’s time to mix yours up. Here’s how to get the most out of these supremely comfortable trousers.
Let’s clear one thing up. When I say “joggers”, I’m referring to the clothing. Not the people. You know how it is. You see them in the park, in the morning – in public! – doing visible exercise and making everyone else feel guilty. Joggers.
It’d serve them right if I were to kidnap them and turn their health-flushed skin into leather. But this isn’t a Stephen King story, so let’s stick to the clothes for now. It can be difficult to know where to start with joggers. They’ve had something of a raw deal for too long. So update your jogger style with our three ways to wear them
As a child, I’d associate them with bedtime – they were my pajamas. In Australia, somehow, the word “tracksuit” has morphed into “tricky-daks”. Go to the States, and you’ll find them unflatteringly described as “sweatpants”.
And yet this is unfair on joggers since they should be a mainstay of any decent wardrobe. They have plenty going for them: they’re affordable and versatile. Best of all, they’re staggeringly comfortable – something we all crave. There’s a tradeoff, though.
Overall, this leaves us in strong standing; joggers are an excellent base for an outfit. I mentioned a tradeoff, and this is it: a BASE. If all you do is pair them with a baggy T-shirt, you’re going to look like Andy Dwyer attempting to do running. Not fantastic. Here’s how to do it right.
So why do joggers exist? They’re French originally, and they haven’t been around very long. Le Coq Sportif was their inventor, back in the ‘20s. Their purpose was twofold: to allow athletes plenty of movement, and to trap less heat than traditional sportswear.
This is also why neutral grey prevails for joggers – style wasn’t the initial purpose. But then the indigo dye in jeans (another recent-ish invention), was also a practical choice, not an aesthetic one.
Keeping It Casual
Frankly, it’s never going to be easy passing off joggers as anything especially formal, so don’t even try. These were designed to go well with casual comfort-wear, so why not emphasize that? Keep it nice and simple with a well-ironed T-shirt. The ironing is important here – the crisp T-shirt needs to counteract the baggier nature of your trousers (else you might resemble a hungover student). You’ve got a lot of options here, not least because today there are more colors available than grey.
Which T-shirt works best is going to depend on the color of your tracksuit. If your bottom half is monochrome, then keep this going with your top half – any neat black or white T-shirt will pair perfectly. Got a pattern? Add it.
On the other hand, if you’ve got some color in your joggers, I’d say that any neat T-shirt is going to work fine. Once you’ve broken out of the grayscale, there’s very little you can do wrong. Just keep it tidy.
On those days where it’s a little colder, a T-shirt isn’t going to suffice. Nor are your joggers going to help you keep warm; that’s not what they’re for. So it’s your top half that needs to do the legwork. Go for a big, friendly cardigan here – you can get away with a looser fit here. Note that the same rules still apply – stick to a black-and-white look if appropriate, otherwise break out and add some noteworthy color.
Moving on to footwear. The style of joggers has changed in the last decade or so; the majority of them now have a more tapered look below the knees. In a nutshell, they’re designed to stop a little above the ankle, giving your shoe space to display itself.
As is so often the case, you can’t go wrong with some low-rise Converse. Is there enough room down there for high-tops? If you’re one of the shorter among us, stick to lower-rise shoes. The biggest faux-pas here is trouser cuffs smothering your shoes. A pair of white trainers (clean!) is a great shout here.
Keeping It Sporty
There’s no reason why you needn’t stay true to the roots of this look. And this is a good time to do it. Attitudes towards sportswear have changed somewhat over the years. Better yet, the majority of sports brands have expanded their range to accommodate this.
I’m talking about polo shirts. There’s plenty to choose from out there. Just as with T-shirts, you could go for monochrome; a plain grey polo will do very nicely. Some larger, blockier bands of color are your friends here – again, use your intuition. Matching or contrasting colors both work for joggers.
Nothing has changed here when it comes to shoes, either. With this look, you’re still going to be able to show off your trainers – what goes with a T-shirt will go just as easily with a polo.
Okay, okay, I did say above that joggers aren’t hugely formal. They’re not. But ramping up their tidiness is possible. We can’t really aim for anything above smart-casual with this look, but there’s always room for an Oxford shirt.
Again, a well-pressed look will easily contrast your joggers. Plus, they look mighty fine when untucked. (Please don’t tuck anything into your joggers.) The color-matching mentioned above doesn’t really apply here since the style of the shirt already provides a contrast. Grey joggers and a blue Oxford are the makings of an on-point outfit. Finish it off with your favorite close-fitting jacket.
You may well need some different shoes here – adding trainers could be too jarring. Fortunately, there’re plenty of other styles that could work. In the summer, go for a pair of loafers – preferably without socks, to strike the correct smart-casual balance. For the rest of the year, opt for a tidy pair of desert boots. Use your best judgment to figure out which colors go well together. Remember, neutral grey pairs well with nearly everything.
And On That Note
You’re going to need to keep your clothes tidy. There’re a lot of slovenly sweatpants out there; when you wear yours, you’re out to destroy that cliché. So keep your joggers stain-free, hole-free, and run them over with a lint-roller occasionally. Oh, and NEVER wear those trackie bottoms with poppers all the way down the leg. You are not a Spice Girl. Leave those in the ‘90s, where they belong.
Feature image from Pinterest