How to Pull Off a Tracksuit Like the Leading Men in "The Gentlemen"

It's easier than you think

How to Pull Off a Tracksuit Like the Leading Men in "The Gentlemen"
STX Studios

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In theory, a tracksuit sounds like the ideal outfit in that it requires a minimal amount of forethought. But the tracksuit has largely lost its cultural cachet. What was once considered a plausible outfit to wear out in the real world has been relegated to an association with New Jersey mafiosos like Tony Soprano or, in British culture, Chavs, rowdy youths with a penchant for Adidas tracksuits — in short, associations you don’t want to necessarily inspire in others. And despite the rise of athleisure in recent years, the tracksuit has yet to reclaim its place in fashion as serious sartorial wear.

Thankfully, Guy Ritchie is changing that. The director’s latest film, The Gentlemen, follows marijuana magnate Mickey Pearson (Matthew McConaughey) in London as he comes to the decision to get out of the business. Naturally, all sorts of crime and chaos ensues as those vying for the fortune are willing to acquire it by any means possible. It’s a crime/action/thriller — all while making the case for the tracksuit.

Among the star-studded cast is Colin Farrell who portrays Coach, a lenient mentor to a group of lads who naturally find themselves entangled in the drama. The most notable feature of Coach and his cohorts is their ensembles; all tracksuits, all plaid. It sounds like a lot, and admittedly it is, but it works. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill tracksuits though — they’re high-end tracksuits (yes, such a thing exists). The fabrics aren’t velour or polyester, but a quilted material. And the plaids are classic, not some gaudy buffalo check pattern, that could easily translate to a suit. It is possible to wear a tracksuit and not look like a (total) douche.

But, there are several “rules” required to pull off a tracksuit, as demonstrated by Farrell and others. While it’s easy to throw on the suit, the rest of your outfit, from accessories to shoes, should be carefully crafted. Below you find all the guidance you need to brave the tracksuit trend, as well as some options inspired by the film. You’ll look proper fit.

1. Regarding the Shirt

While you’re not necessarily required to wear a shirt underneath your tracksuit, it does aid in elevating the look. A polo or collared shirt will be especially helpful in making the ensemble feel like less of a sweatsuit and more of a suit. They key is to have the polo just peeking out from underneath the jacket, so as to offer a mix of varying textures and colors, and to provide others with a masterclass in layering.

Bonobos Superfine Pique Long Sleeve Polo

2. Regarding the Fabric

Again, we’re not talking about some sleazy polyester velour nightmare here. Think of the kind of fabric you’d want in a nice suit (wool, thick) — why shouldn’t you want that in a tracksuit, too? And you don’t have to seek out some Italian suit maker to fashion the wool tracksuit of your dreams for an exorbitant price, because such things already exist. Most recently, Todd Snyder teamed up with Champion for yet another collab, this one featuring several matching jackets and trousers, constructed from Italian wool and in patterns from houndstooth to Glenplaid. Although not technically advertised as tracksuits, they’re practically begging to be worn simultaneously, and you would be remiss not to do so. It’ll be like wearing a suit without all the stuffiness involved.

Todd Snyder x Champion Italian Wool Houndstooth Track Jacket and Italian Wool Houndstooth Sweatpant

3. Regarding the Shoes

Typically, tracksuits are paired with sneakers. That’s the footwear of choice for Farrell and his goons in the film, all sporting various Nike and Adidas styles. If you want to fully lean into the tracksuit lifestyle, we recommend a shoe like the Adidas Samba or Nike Air Force 1s, something streamlined that won’t detract too much from the outfit as a whole. But there’s no reason tracksuits as nice as these couldn’t (or shouldn’t) be paired with something a little less street. We’re willing to bet that an understated pair of leather loafers would work just as well with the look, if not better. Crazier things have been worn than sweats and loafers.

J.Crew Ludlow Penny Loafers

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