Should tracky dacks be seen in public?

There's not many things I turn my nose up at (non-alcoholic drinks, fan fiction and Ugg boots pretty much sums it up) but as temperatures begin to drop faster than Abbott's post-Budget approval rating, I've begun noticing a questionable trend amongst my fellow men.

Yep, I'm taking about the trusty tracksuit pants as a conscious fashion statement.

I'm all for comfort, but the line between looking comfortably edgy and simply sloppy is becoming increasingly thin.

I don't mean the team-coloured, shell variety worn by soccer teams as they enjoy some post-game protein. I'm talking about the oft-oversized and completely shapeless ones that come in grey marle or – my personal favourite – the black satin jobbies (with snap-down-sides) that are appearing in social environments such as cafes and bars.

For the record, I'm not anti tracksuit. In fact, I'm as fond of trackie dacks as the next lad who grew up in the western suburbs, and even own a number of my own pairs. They're great for the gym, incredibly comfortable and perfect for keeping warm in winter when you're lounging around the house.

But is that ultimately where they should stay?

Once upon a time I probably would have said yes because they're kind of like day pyjamas, projecting an air of laziness (although I wouldn't go as far as Karl Lagerfeld, who opined that anyone who owns or wears a pair of trackpants has obviously given up on life).

However, as dress codes become laxer – I can still recall a time when turning up to a bar in shorts would have seen you left minding the car while your mates went on ahead – it seems that comfort is the new black.

Maybe it has something to do with high-end designers such as Dirk Bikkembergs, Givenchy and even local brands such as Bassike and Claude Maus, who have all released various ranges of tracksuit and athletic-inspired clothing that is a far cry from your average jeans and chinos.


Paris-based American designer Rick Owens went one step further by releasing what can only be described as a tracksuit suit, with the pants secured by a drawstring waist.

And herein lies my conundrum. I'm all for comfort, so in one way I'm applauding this new age of total relaxez-vouz. But on the other hand, the line between looking comfortably edgy and simply sloppy is becoming increasingly thin.

So how does one embrace comfort without ending up looking like the kind of person who shouldn't be allowed within 100 metres of the local school?

My first suggestion would be to set yourself a minimum standard. Some have taken the leisure-clothing trend to mean that any old pair of sloppy trousers equates to suitable social attire. They don't. They may be your favourite pair of duds around the house but if they look like you've been dragged down a dirt road in them, best to keep them for home.

Secondly, don't reveal too much. Wearing a pair of trackies often seems to include some unspoken code to “let it all hang out”. Don't. In fact, if you're going to attempt rocking a laid-back look, make sure you remember to wear some form of undergarment (lest you risk sporting the male version of the camel toe).

Finally, keep it fresh – one of the reasons so many celebrities seem able to bust out a tracksuit and somehow still look crisp is because they look as though they walked out of the store in it. In redesigning the traditional trackie, one of the first things that brands such as Bassike, Claude Maus and Zenerobe did was to make them more hardwearing, using thicker material that won't go threadbare after only a handful of washes and which helps to maintain their shape a lot longer.

Ultimately while the lure of comfort is definitely something I can appreciate, I stand firm that it should never get in the way of maintaining personal style. Like wearing Crocs. I don't care how comfortable they are – they look stupid. But that's a whole other can of worms.

What do you say about tracky dacks? Should they ever be seen in public?

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