Ask Janie Cai: Is It Still Track Pants Season?

Esquire's Fashion Editor-at-large and her tips on how to tackle athleisure.

BY Janie Cai | Dec 27, 2016 | Fashion

Streaker Michael O'Brien being escorted off the field during the England-France rugby. Image from Vintage Sports Pictures.



"Is it still okay to wear my jogging pants out?"



See all those women milling about town in bright-coloured yoga tights? Thing is, they aren’t actually heading for a yoga class. Likewise, you're not doing laps around Orchard Road to train for that ultramarathon now, are you?

Unfortunately, like mold, hot and humid Singapore just happens to have the perfect environment for athleisure to thrive.

A combination of comfort and convenience—perhaps the byword for the majority of Singaporeans when it comes to what to wear—meant that sports-style gradually became a fixture of the going-to-town-for-overpriced-coffee look.

It wasn’t a difficult transition. Unlike major cities like New York and London, Singapore’s casual approach to dressing is one of the things our little red dot has been known for.

Blame it on the merciless weather, or the fact that most of us tend to prioritize comfort when it comes to dressing, or maybe because we don’t really have a national preoccupation with style.

Instead, according to a Straits Times report, we seem to be okay with spending more than 7-times our income on food as compared to clothing. Urgh.

With everyone from Beckham to Kanye being spotted in a sportswear (whilst not actually playing sports or being anywhere near a field/stadium/bouncy castle), the joggers-as-trousers trend is still going to be around for some time.

After all, if celebs and models are slumming it up in zip-front hoodies and tailored track pants, it’s legit? Right? Actually, no.

For the layman, IT IS VERY TOUGH TO LOOK GOOD IN ATHLEISURE. In fact, unless you observe a few rules, you might bomb altogether. But that's not going to stop you, is it? And so, here are a few guidelines that if you follow, might just help you come out winning.


Burn the baggy

Seriously, if your track pants or joggers are baggy, THROW THEM AWAY (or cut them up into small rags and use them to wipe the mirror so you can see in your reflection that you are not Drake on a coffee run). Or keep them as PJs that no significant other will ever see in daylight. Wear them out and you’re doing yourself, and the eyeballs of others, a disservice.




Help is here

Uniqlo is making looking good, easy, and affordable. Thanks to Christophe Lemaire and team, their joggers are slim-fit and have gathered ankles for a trimmer silhouette. Uniqlo Dry Stretch Sweat Pants, SGD39.90. Or check out the slim-fit pairs in tech material from sports giant Nike. MR PORTER has a good selection.



The '80s called and they want their pants back

Who are you? Weird Al? Forget luminous materials, skull zippers or reflective safety patches in ironic slogans that have been heat-pressed on your pants. Stick to solid, dark colours like navy, olive green and dark grey, which look a tad dressier than the usual light grey jersey joggers.


Alexander Wang Vintage fleece sweatpants and Nike's slim-fit joggers.


Help is here

Plenty of big brands have luxed-up the humble jogger. If your paycheck isn’t being eaten up by all those fine dining options, check out Alexander Wang, Neil Barrett or splash out big-time on a pair of Bottega Veneta jogging pants. Because to hell with it, you’ll probably wear it 1,028* more times than that pair of expensive leather shoes.

*In one streak, without washing. Oh yeah.


Belstaff Cotton-Jersey Sweatpants, available at MR PORTER.


Don’t be a slob

Wearing your sweats does NOT give you a free pass to slip up on the rest of your look. You actually have to work harder with the rest of your outfit or end up looking like a slob. So, ditch the ratty tees and pair it with an oxford shirt and swop the running shoes for classic sneakers like a pair of Converse or Greats (which aren’t expensive but do look good). Oh, and don’t slouch.