Last week, Kirsty Wark, presenter on the BBC program Newsnight, appeared on TV wearing jogging bottoms. Although, the smoking gun was paired with a suit jacket, the sweatpants have been widely criticized on social media. Critics claimed that this outfit was not suitable for the job. Whether Kirsty Wark’s age (61 years old) is appropriate for the outfit was also questioned.
By becoming the TV flag-bearer of “athleisure” (athletic + leisure) tendency, the journalist reaffirms freedom of wearing whatever she wants to wear and, especially, comfortable clothing.
Comfort fashion: that is what the issue is all about. Long gone are the days when we use clothes to date and seduce. Remember… whatever level of society you were at, you would get dressed up in your Sunday best. That’s all over. Tracksuit is the new King of the catwalk. Chloé, Vetements, Stella McCartney, Alexander Wang: they all released their version of the outfit. Suffering for fashion is out. Comfort dressing is in. Adidas collaborated with Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Stella McCartney, Mary Katrantzou and Yohji Yamamoto. Riccardo Tisci has again teamed up with Nike. We don’t want our clothes to make us feel uneasy.
It is all started with skinny jeans. They are made using a mix of denim/elastane and offer excellent wearing comfort. They are not as heavy and rigid as the traditional denim canvas. The “skinny” silhouette spearheaded by Hedi Slimane is on the street: it’s an old-fashioned idea that aesthetics matter above comfort.
Then, yoga pants or leggings entered the fashion market. Just try it out, and you’ll like it. Elastic-waist, second skin effect and innovative designs: leggings are the new fashion addiction. “Athleisure” is real winner for the new lifestyle-obsessed consumer: detox juices, healthy diets, yoga, Pilates. Sporty fashion is the perfect projection of how we want to see ourselves, as well as to be seen (on Instagram).
Impatience has become a way of life: time is of the essence. Wearing leggings is multitasking: you can use them all day long. We have less time available to dress up and change clothes. One changes his heels to ballerinas or sneakers when leggings don’t move. Women no longer hesitate to wear tracksuit when having drinks with friends or shopping. Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wear tracksuit at any point during the day. Miroslava Duma shops wearing a full tracksuit and Gucci slippers and then she posts the video on her Instagram account.
Dress codes have less and less influence. Kirsty Wark’s bottom joggings prove that all these codes that dictated our way of dressing (formal dress code guidelines for the office, social & family obligations) are disappearing.
Why a journalist should wear a female version of man’s suit to be taken seriously? Bottom joggings, a unisex outfit, is entering the public life. Comfort prevails over image. If we are not talking about freedom, I don’t know what we are talking about.