There’s no denying that the lines between sportswear and fashion are somewhat blurred of late. From women choosing to wear active-wear just to meet a friend for coffee, to men slinging on a sports cap for work when they’re having bad hair day, sportswear in the fashion world has become the norm.
Why, I hear you ask?
Sportswear is so comfortable and practical. It’s not too try-hard. It requires less effort to wear – and yet still looks just as good.
Influenced by some of the most-loved American sports, sportswear fashion is undoubtedly on the rise in the UK. Being an average English girl who regularly visits her boyfriend in the US, I’ve massively picked up on this in the last couple of seasons.
Here are my 5 all-time favourite American sportswear fashion trends.
1. Converse trainers.
Do you remember when Converse first came out and everybody went crazy? Well, no you wouldn’t, because you weren’t born back then.
Famous American basketball player Chuck Taylor might have started wearing and selling the shoes in the 1920s, but the hype still remains strong two decades after the sneakers retro-ed in the 1980s.
Basketball trainers have always been a “thing”, but they really became more of a “thing” when Chuck Taylor released them in dozens of colours in the 1980s. Originally designed to be a high performance athletic shoe for basketball games, their rubber sole and upper canvas makes them seriously comfy.
I have one trusty white pair at the moment that I wear with everything. They’re so easy to fall in love with that I’m considering going out and buying like, five more pairs.
2. Baseball caps.
More popular with men than women, but still worn by both sexes, American-style baseball caps show no signs of going out of style.
Dating back to 1860, the baseball cap was first designed to keep the sun out of players’ eyes whilst they were playing a game. The baseball cap was also an important means of identifying a team.
Fast forward 157 years, the baseball cap has become a cool way to show off your dedication to your sports team, yet practical to wear in the warm weather. And sales of baseball caps continue to grow, even in the UK.
My boyfriend practically lives in his.
3. Varsity jackets.
Varsity jackets, baseball jackets, letterman jackets; call them what you like, varsity jackets are still very much a forefront trend in the fashion world.
The inspiration initially came from baseball attire in the US, with the premise being to wear the jacket to represent your favourite baseball team. This then expanded to American football, high school and college sports teams, and now the jacket has been given a contemporary, fashion twist.
From their initial showing on designer catwalks back in 2015, varsity jackets have not only stuck around ever since, but they have developed globally each season.
You can now buy these jackets in a variety of colors, textures and fabrics – including polyester, leather, and cotton. However, the most successful type still remains the traditional wool jacket, with one colour for the body, another color for the sleeves, and banded stripe detailing on both the collar and hems.
I’m massively crushing over them.
4. Basketball jerseys.
Basketball jerseys, in the form of vests, remain a common style choice for the warmer summer months.
When basketball jersey vests first came on the scene in the US, like with varsity jackets, the idea behind them was to show up to games wearing the one that represented your team. However, as time has gone on, people have chosen to wear their basketball jerseys outside of games – to the “mall”, in a bar on a Saturday night, to their partner’s cousin’s birthday dinner. And no, I’m not exaggerating!
It’s not just the official basketball team jerseys. There’s a variation of them on the fashion market, even internationally.
Not too long ago, for example, US basketball team-inspired jerseys reigned supreme in some of my favourite UK fashion-forward stores – such as Topshop.
In other words, basketball jerseys are vastly becoming a fashion phenomenon worldwide.
5. American football jerseys.
Basketball jersey vests might be great for summer when it’s warm outside, but what about those colder months? Goodbye, basketball jerseys. Hello, American football jerseys.
With the longer sleeve length and hem length, these jerseys make for a perfect Autumnal alternative. Then you can simply layer them up over a long sleeved shirt for wintery weather.
In the US, it’s very common to casually wear your favourite American football team’s official jersey when you’re out buying your weekly supply of groceries on a Sunday. And not only wear it, but wear it with pride.
Perhaps not quite as popular internationally as basketball jerseys, I’ve still spotted a fair few American football jerseys on the UK high street. Primark – I’m looking at you, kid.
Varsity Jacket – £410 – modalist.com
American Football Jersey – £92 – popmap.com
Baseball Cap – £12 – boohoo.com
American Flag Converse – £27 – gilt.com
Basketball Jersey – £40 – modalist.com
Whether you’ve already bought into some of these trends, or you’re an American sportswear virgin, you might as well embrace sports fashion – like, pronto. It’s fun, it’s easy to wear and, most importantly, it looks like it’s here to stay.