An important aspect of having a good sense of style is dressing appropriately for the occasion. It’s a point that we haven’t touched on enough here at Well Built Style so I wanted to take the time and address it through a rather common Style NOPE! I see men committing everywhere today: utilizing sportswear as everyday wear.
The growth of the sportswear industry has been unprecedented to say the least. Nowadays we have entire department stores that cater to selling clothing that is specifically designed to accommodate the seemingly endless variety of sporting activities we engage in.
And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
As someone who spends a lot of time working out and staying fit, I appreciate all the different types of sportswear garments out on the market. I mean, who doesn’t love working out in a good Dri-Fit shirt? They actually wick away sweat while you train! Or what about a quality pair of compression shorts? Almost indispensable for runners and cyclists. And don’t even get me started on the new line of “minimalist” running shoes, a godsend for my shins and knees to say the least.
So my problem isn’t with the modern sportswear industry per se. In fact, they get two big thumbs up from me. My problem is with the litany of men who like to wear sportswear pieces as everyday casual wear.
You know what I’m talking about.
It’s all of the men I see wearing athletic sneakers with their oversized “business-casual” attire.
It’s the guys I see wearing sweatpants and hoodies at the bar.
It’s the men I work with who like to wear polar fleece with their shirts and ties.
What these men have failed to understand is that sportswear is meant to be worn in a specific environment for a specific reason. Not as a part of your everyday casual wardrobe.
The irony is that most men understand the importance of dressing appropriately for the occasion, albeit in a narrowly defined scope. For example, most guys understand that if they are going to be attending a formal event such as a wedding or a funeral they need to be at least wearing a suit. In fact, most guys would feel out of place if they weren’t wearing one.
Same thing goes for interviews, black tie events, graduation ceremonies etc. most men understand that they need to be wearing clothes that are appropriate for the level of formality of such environments.
Unfortunately, I have noticed that this type of consideration is not extended to less formal or more casual situations. That is why I see guys walking around everywhere wearing sportswear as casual wear.
Do not commit this style sin!
Instead, you should aim to put as much care and consideration into what you wear every day as you do when dressing yourself for more formal occasions. This is how good habits are formed, and dressing well should become a good habit.
So what should you wear to replace the sportswear garments in your casual wardrobe?
Ya, that’s right. Sportswear. But the right kinds of sportswear.
For example, instead of wearing a hoody and jeans to the bar to watch the game with friends, throw on a well fitted rugby shirt and jeans as an alternative.
Instead of wearing your favourite gym t-shirt, sweats and athletic sneakers while running errands during the day, put on a 3/4 sleeve length baseball t-shirt with a pair of chinos and canvas sneakers for a more polished look that is equally as comfortable.
You get the idea.
The big difference with these types of “sportswear” garments (baseball tees, polos, sport shirts etc.) is that they have been divorced long enough from their sporting origins to have become appropriate pieces of casual wear. In my opinion, these pieces strike a perfect balance between style, comfort, and function. Contemporary sportswear, typically, does not.
Furthermore, these sportswear garments allow men to dress well without drawing too much attention or criticism from friends. As unfortunate as it sounds, one of the biggest obstacles for many guys attempting to improve their style is the fear they have of “standing out” or drawing undue criticism from family and friends. I understand that most guys will simply not want to wear a nice blazer and jeans to the bar to watch the game with their buddies for fear of being “called out” or criticised. That’s why items like rugby shirts, baseball tees, and sport shirts are great alternatives. While all of your buddies are wearing hoodies with jeans or sweats, you’ll be wearing a nice baseball tee with a pair of good denim and casual (not sport!) sneakers. Not only will you be dressed appropriately for the occasion, you’ll also be comfortable, stylish, and likely won’t have to field such dumb questions as “Why are you so dressed up?” An all around win if you ask me!
A big part of dressing well is simply dressing appropriately for the occasion. Unfortunately, this piece of advice is largely ignored by the vast majority of men in all but the most formal of settings. As a result, you can find men everywhere wearing clothing that is more appropriate for the gym or a winter hike through the mountains.
Do not be one of these men.
Leave your sportswear items for those specific occasions when you actually need to wear them. Instead, invest in some casual wear basics (rugby shirts, polos, baseball tees, etc.) that will keep you looking just as sporty but about a million times more stylish.
Here’s to looking sharp!