Home » History in Fashion: The Tracksuit

History in Fashion: The Tracksuit

So much of the modern woman’s wardrobe finds its origins in the world of sport, and the tracksuit – unsurprisingly, given the name – is no exception. But how did this zippered nylon jacket and matching trousers make the leap from track to street, and who were the style setters from music, film and TV who helped it along?

We did some digging and were surprised with what we discovered! Check out these top tracksuit influencers and let us know which history piece we should feature next.

1968

The name “tracksuit” arose because, quite literally, it was a suit designed to be worn on the track. Obvious, right? Back then it was the sole preserve of athletes such as American sprinters Messrs John Carlos and Tommie Smith.

1971

It wasn’t long before the tracksuit was vaulted into popular culture, and TV became a top influencer. Farrah Fawcett was seen wearing a tracksuit.

1979

By the end of the decade, the jogging boom was in full swing. No longer was the tracksuit something to be casually worn by an Olympian seconds before the big race. Now, even recreational athletes had a reason to own one, too.

1988

In the mid-1980s, the influential fashion stylings of Run-DMC and Madonna – instigated a reinterpretation of tracksuits from athletic apparel to prestige streetwear.

1996

The wild popularity of the 1980s hip-hop look brought the tracksuit – to the masses. Soon enough, it was being sported by everyone from The Beastie Boys to TLC and Gwen Stefani.

2001

In a sure sign that the tracksuit was approaching the point of parody, it was chosen as the outfit for Ben Stiller’s angst-ridden, overprotective dad, Chas Tenenbaum, and his two sons in Mr Wes Anderson’s 2001 film The Royal Tenenbaums.

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