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At first glance sports and fashion don’t exactly seem to go hand-in-hand, although with tennis players designing their own uniforms and Olympic champions posing for luxury advertisements, the lines do seem to be blurring a bit more, don’t they? While I’m pretty certain the world could do with less of the design talents of Serena Williams, it is interesting to see designers take influence from sports and translate the casual, technical aspects in a more high-end way. Check out some of my favorite sporty-chic pieces and patterns to help translate the look into your wardrobe.

THE SWEAT PANT: The most poorly overused piece of causal sportswear is indeed the sweat pant. Thanks to Juicy Couture and Hollywood starlets too lazy to put on a pair of actual pants, the look was adopted as “fashionable” during the mid 00’s. Fortunately designers have stepped in over the past few seasons and shown us that drawstring pants can indeed be chic if they are in the right cut, material and not worn tucked into an awful pair of furry Eskimo boots.
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Left to right: Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, Isabel Marant, BurdaStyle’s Harem Trousers with Side Tie and Corinne Pant.

THE LEGGING: Another widely abused sport-inspired piece is the legging. We’ve seen these babies go from runner’s standby to functional wear-under-dresses-to-keep-warm item to all out leggings-as-pants assault (jeggings anyone?). However, moto-inspired leather panels and zipper pockets make this version look more like substantial pants than flimsy cotton tights. I would still recommend a shirt that covers your bum though.
THE CARGO SKIRT: While no one can argue against the functionality of cargo pockets, one wouldn’t exactly call them fashionable. Yet on a cute skirt the look is more utility-chic than crunchy adventurer.
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Left to right: Rag & Bone’s leather panel Moto Leggings, BurdaStyle’s Carol Leggings Patterns, chic in a cargo skirt and BurdaStyle’s Skirt with Stitching Pattern.

THE SHORT: Being revived in silks, wools and sequins, shorts have seen a resurgence in recent seasons and their dressier translations have taken these summer staples from backyard BBQ to high-fashion. While athletic shorts are still a bit of a risky fashion venture, when balanced correctly (expertly pulled off here by Marie Claire Accessories Editor Taylor Tomasi Hill) the look creates a fun, casual juxtaposition.
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Left to right: Marie Claire Accessories Editor Taylor Tomasi Hill, BurdaStyle’s Drawstring Shorts Pattern and Bermuda Shorts Pattern, a look from Kris van Assche’s Spring 2009 collection.

THE JUMPSUIT: Who doesn’t need one less thing to worry about in the morning? Pulling on a jumpsuit saves you the time of stressing over which top to wear with what skirt, and while wearing a onesie might evoke unwanted memories from your childhood, modern cuts and fabrics make these one-pieces so much more fashionable than what our mothers were forcing us to wear in Kindergarten.
THE HOODIE: It would be hard to ignore the hoodie explosion of the last few years, but rest assured there are chic ways to wear a hooded sweatshirt. Then again, a tailored blazer and leopard heels could make a potato sack look like a cute top.
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Left to right: Silk jumpsuit from Madewell, BurdaStyle’s Jumpsuit Pattern, walking the line between dressy and casual during Paris Fashion Week, BurdaStyle’s Lydia Hoodie Pattern.

THE JACKET: Jackets are probably the easiest way to pull off a sporty look without appearing as though you’re literally headed for the court. From windbreakers to parkas, there are tons of options out there for jackets that are both fashionable and functional (the ultimate marriage in my opinion).
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Left to right: BurdaStyle’s Blouson Jacket and Hooded Parka patterns, a parka from Elizabeth and James, Obey’s lightweight jacket and a blouson jacket on the runway at Dries Van Noten..

27 Comments

  • Robyn_-_2hawaii_large

    Dec 4, 2010, 11.26 PMby elaineren

    I live in the Pacific NW, USA — sportswear is about all we wear! ;)

  • Missing

    Dec 1, 2010, 06.40 PMby emaileanne

    i think these are great pieces anyone can wear… it’s all in how you mix-n-match them. great job again with some fantastic styling for the photos, burda-peoples! :)

  • Self_portrait_large

    Dec 1, 2010, 11.52 AMby Sabrina Wharton-Brown

    With the weather being the way it is (freezing in England at the moment) how about we try and update the quilted jacket? It’s a really practical garment for a ‘duvet day’, but it needs restyling, having been left much the same since the ’60s or so. Any ideas?

  • 3a3428ec3922d929aaa557062b6f59b8ce3598e3_large

    Dec 1, 2010, 10.39 AMby sewverytall

    LOL, all these clothes say one thing to me…if you are skinny, under age 30, and wear high heels, you can wear a garbage bag, call it fashion, and someone will think you look great.

  • E7cdf92f097247ffcd17dffa75d8104e4d3bc395_large

    Dec 1, 2010, 02.44 AMby karasumegami

    I adore the quilted shorts! I’ll have to make a version of them sometime :D

  • Missing

    Dec 1, 2010, 12.55 AMby lisasassy

    I actually have a jumpsuit, just black and very similar to above design but strapless, I completely love it and its really casual or dressy with heels, only problem is obviously being practically naked when you go to the bathroom!! Sweatpants … well…. i guess the terms that come to mind are, Chav’s (UK) or bogan’s (AUS). Tights as pants… with tunics yes, or working out yes, around town NO, unfortunately for most who wear them, they don’t see the view from behind as you walk (or juggle) down the road. I love anything that compliments women and its just a fact that trying to fit intothe “fashion” for most doesn’t work. Be individual, find your own style

  • Avuntitled_1_large

    Nov 30, 2010, 02.55 PMby crocka

    Digging the comfort look! Although as some have mentioned it needs to be styled right and not right out of bed or from the gym. Dress it up a bit! It will give you a sassy yet down-to-earth look.

  • Dscn5250_large

    Nov 30, 2010, 12.10 PMby mixtlii

    I hate this fashion. It doesn’t show a good figure on almost everyone, and it seems to shout “I don’t care”. I don’t care if what I wear is not fitting, I don’t care if I look ugly.. I’m doing sports and that’s what’s important in my life… OK girls, sport is good, but it’s good for health, not for look!

    Anyway, of course I respect everyone, even the sweat pants girls, but I really don’t like that. How can you even call il “fashion”?!

  • Big_tri_large

    Nov 29, 2010, 11.12 PMby cantare

    You’re tellin me I can take anything off the runway and make it myself?! Wahoo I’m in heaven! ;) I’m lovin the continuation of the “drapey” look all over. I’m a fan.

  • Missing

    Nov 29, 2010, 03.21 PMby Rust Hawk

    The cargo pockets look much better on the purse/bag than the skirt. :)

  • Missing

    Nov 29, 2010, 02.33 PMby janellef1

    A lot of these are staple pieces that you would find in any womans closet! It’s just how they accessorize them that makes them different : ) I’m a fan!!!

  • Missing

    Nov 29, 2010, 01.57 PMby puddlefoot

    Jumpsuits! Unattractive and inconvenient!

  • Missing

    Nov 29, 2010, 11.45 AMby dakers

    I like the parka! The rest of the pieces are okay…just not really for me.

  • 4343a36d4466c6f353525bdc97ba571be3128723_large

    Nov 29, 2010, 04.00 AMby thecuriouskiwi

    I am not a fan of sweat pants in public or harem pants but I really want to try a playsuit/jumpsuit kind of thing, maybe with shorts as the bottom part…if it all goes terribly wrong then I won’t be sharing it but cross your fingers for me :)

    1 Reply
    • 2_dsc_1140_large

      Nov 30, 2010, 02.28 AMby magdamagda

      I feel the same when it comes to making choices abt sweat pants, always deciding better jeans just to buy bread from the cornershop..now harem pants is something I’d like to give a try to, who knows, maybe I can get away with it, even in my eyes…

  • Greenpale_90x90_large

    Nov 29, 2010, 02.53 AMby kamavenue

    I like the way Lydia Hoodie adds to the look. :)

  • Steampunk-lincoln_large

    Nov 29, 2010, 02.04 AMby kneesocks

    I will be the first to admit, I have a passion for jackets that is rivaled only by my cousin’s love for shoes. Somewhat sporty jackets are fantastic! They can dress down something dressy, making it applicable for a casual event, but can also lend that cool cat vibe I know I personally am endeared too. I am not the biggest fan of one-pieces, partly because I’m six two, and that is a LOT of the same fabric ALL OVER. They look fantastic on some girls, but I think you really have to have the right body type for them, else it looks like you just went digging in the retro goodwill box with a blindfold on.

  • Missing

    Nov 29, 2010, 12.11 AMby specialk

    I’m a huge fun of parkas now, like the army inspiration that take on. When it comes to the jumpsuits and shorts, not everyone can rock them. But when it is done well it is amazing.

  • Mee1_large

    Nov 28, 2010, 05.55 PMby fashionfreek

    Erm… some pieces look real nice. I guess its how you put them together. :)

  • Img_3512_large

    Nov 28, 2010, 03.58 PMby Shira B

    Leggings are nice but I cant wear them without putting some tank top or dress, I mean – although everybody wears them today as pants, I always feel a little bit naked when I wear them like that (so I don’t do that :D)…. and I’m not saying that because I’m conservative or something :D I have a lot of leggings myself but I wear them underneath other clothes… :) Am I the only one who thinks that way?

    1 Reply
    • 2_dsc_1140_large

      Nov 30, 2010, 02.24 AMby magdamagda

      haha I am a bit like that too:))

  • 990745-073_large

    Nov 28, 2010, 03.14 PMby nehmah

    One-piece “anything” has a drawback. No easy way to attend to bodily functions. Not all women have bladders with a 5-gallon capacity; there are other issues besides bladders. So, that is not for us. Furry Eskimo boots are great in snow; ditto parkas. On city streets in October??? One question, here. Why are so many skirts, dresses, long coats equipped with drawstrings at the hemline? I’d keep checking for a loose thread, or critter running across on all 6 legs! Ugh! (I do see the need in pants legs, parka, and anorak sleeve and bottom hems.) Nehmah

  • Wonder-woman3_large

    Nov 28, 2010, 12.18 PMby simonewarrior

    The leggings I think are the best by far, they are simple-chic. Effortless style with a mix of practical comfort, who won’t want try these? The short drawstring shorts are also very cute! My imagination is going wild just thinking of the many fabric options that I could use.

  • 2_dsc_1140_large

    Nov 28, 2010, 08.53 AMby magdamagda

    Is “fashion” only on the catwalk? … I’d say it’s on the street, in the club, in the office etc… these 2 sides can exist without many common points, or they can be a reflection of mutual inspiration, plus there’s something like a “fashion mass conscience”, a dynamic living subtle thing… the lines and the categories may fade away, and it’s for everyone to “decide”, based on their common sense and outer influences, what works where and in what form… there are no “absolut” boxes as any opinion on fashion is just a representation of a perspective, depending on oh so many subjective lil things:) for example looking at pics of tall skinny women with sad faces and weird shoes and deciding if something is “in” or “out” is just one example of how things can look differently by changing the perspective… and don’t get me wrong, I am as skinny as it gets and my last pics are oh so sad:)) Thanks for an article pointing out the contemporary borderlines, I like the overview that it gives, it’s nevertheless a page in history!

  • Missing

    Nov 28, 2010, 12.42 AMby cherwinamy

    I like a good yoga pant (sweatpants with some style)-not necessarily to wear around town, but they are a good option for working out. The jumpsuit intrigues me, but can’t imagine I could pull it off.

  • Yesplsmore_large

    Nov 28, 2010, 12.29 AMby rebeccapeebles

    Shorts and jumpsuits can be so weird, but with the right fabric and/or print a designer can smoothly bring these pieces into the realm of awesome. I’m a clothing designer who commutes mostly by bicycle, so sport-wear made wearable once I’ve reached my destination and I’m off my bike – critical. Nobody concerned with fashion really wants to wear a boxy fleece and techy cycling pants – on or off the bike.

  • Audrey_and_fred_large

    Nov 27, 2010, 10.29 PMby kara12107

    I’m definitely not a fan of the “rolled out of bed”/“just after the gym” looks walking around right now but if I saw more of these pieces being worn around it would be more fun, appealing and fashionable. I love the jumpsuit and the blouson jacket! both VERY cute!

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