Last Updated on March 17, 2020
The perennial tracksuit gives off such an effortless cool factor that it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it can be worn with anything, anywhere, in any configuration.
But, as much as I love me a good 90s tracksuit, it is not as all-powerful and god-like as I like to think it is. There are some combinations that just won’t fly, and some destinations and environments where people won’t be able to fully appreciate the glory of the 90s tracksuit. Basic bitches, all of them. Yes, including your grandma.
#1 Don’t…wear them to a wedding
Come wedding season, we see lots of things we REALLY shouldn’t be seeing. Like all the gals who are so starved for attention, that they wear WHITE to someone else’s wedding. Bad look, everyone.
But a white dress isn’t the only way to be wildly inappropriate at a wedding. So are jeans. And trainers. And tracksuits. I know, I’m sad too, but you just can’t ruin someone’s photos like that. If you want the comfort of a matching two-piece, there are tons of beautiful, pastel-colored suits out there. Even a jumpsuit is better.
#2 Don’t…wear them with heels
And speaking of fancy events, tracksuits and heels are a NO from me. I know some people can make it work and make it look ~fashun~ but let’s be honest for a second here – you’re not the one.
I know it’s tempting, because it seems like the ideal accessory that can take your outfit from day to night, but in my humble opinion, putting heels on just makes you look horribly mismatched, and not chic or edgy in any way.
Like, make up your mind, you know?
Cause your outfit says you’re popping over to the off-licence to get a cider and your shoes say you’re going on a night out. WHICH ONE IS IT, STACY?
#3 Don’t…wear them to a funeral
I…didn’t even think I’d need to say this, but I’ve seen it happen in real life, so I feel like it’s my moral obligation to be the one to say it: it doesn’t matter that your Adidas tracksuit is black, it’s not appropriate for a wedding. Yes, really.
#4 Don’t…wear them to church
Same rules apply as with weddings and funerals – TIME AND PLACE, PEOPLE. This is really not the time to take your new tracksuit out for a spin. Every single old biddy in church is going to be tut-tutting and throwing shade your way, and you do not want to bring that mess into the house of god, now do you?
It doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not, you need to respect the establishment.
What would be better? One of the many 90s dresses available; maybe a nice skirt that you’ve had time to press. A pair of shoes that aren’t made of mesh. You know, stuff like that.
#5 Don’t…wear them to visit your grandma
Listen, your grandma doesn’t know how to appreciate the post-ironic statement you’re making by wearing a tracksuit. Nor will she know how to appreciate how ~cool~ you are. In fact, she may think you mistook her for the gym, or she may be offended that you didn’t bother to change before going to visit her. You know how old people are.
Anyway, you should probably put on real pants before visiting grandma (that means they need a proper waistband and no rips or holes in them), so that she doesn’t have to cut you out of her will.
#6 Don’t…wear them to meet your in-laws
When you’re meeting the in-laws for the very first time, you need to make a glorious first impression. And part of that first impression is the way you look. In fact, it’s the very first thing they will know about you, and based on that, they will form opinions.
And you don’t want to be The Gal Who Met Them In A Tracksuit for the rest of your life. On this particular occasion, you want to be The Gal Who Looks Smart And Put Together. The Gal Who Made An Effort. The Gal Who Wore A Bra.
#7 Don’t…wear them to a job interview
This one makes me go “Oh no gal, that’s not it”. A job interview is where you want to show that you are a capable human being. That you know how to dress appropriately. That you own more than a Kappa tracksuit from the 90s. It’s kinda like meeting your in-laws, except these people give you money, instead of their son.
Look, don’t wear a tracksuit to a job interview, ok? Promise? Wear a button-down shirt and some sort of pants with a zipper that aren’t jeans. If you add a jacket on top, I’ll give you a lollipop.
#8 Don’t….wear them with clashing prints or colors
The thing about tracksuits is that they’re a lot of lewk, especially if you have one of those windbreaker ones that’s super colorful. That means that while you may WANT to wear your purple-and-blue-and-red tracksuit with your green-and-yellow sports shoes, you may consider…not doing that.
It’s not that I hate colors and the people who wear them, it’s that you’re going to clash monstrously, and people may need to wear shades or avert their eyes when you walk by. Sometimes, it’s better to let the tracksuit do the talking and go a little more subdued with the accessories.
#9 Don’t…wear them in the summer
This isn’t as much of a faux-pas as it is just completely impractical and honestly…weird. Even if you’re somewhere famous for mild summers (ahem, the UK), chances are that global warming is doing its thing and the weather will surprise you with some real scorchers.
And then you’re the sweaty mess with the full-on tracksuit. Or the weirdo who’s wearing a full tracksuit with flip-flops. It’s just not a good look, no matter what. And please, for the love of god, don’t wear one to the beach. Yes, it pretty much guarantees you won’t burn, but it doesn’t really go with the bare feet and the sunglasses, and the beach balls, now does it?
#10 Don’t…wear them with white socks and sliders
I know this look is kinda big right now, which is why I feel like it’s my responsibility to address it – do not wear a tracksuit with dorky white socks and sliders. I repeat: DO NOT WEAR A TRACKSUIT WITH DORKY WHITE SOCKS AND SLIDERS.
Seriously, you will look like my dad in 1992, and that’s not a good look for anyone, including my dad in 1992. If you want to be taken seriously, stay away from dorky white socks and sandals or slides, in general.
I love me a good tracksuit (at least, on other people), but as retro and cool and normcore as they may be, there are some things you should just NEVER do with a 90s tracksuit. Yes, never. I’m no authority, but I’m telling you: it’s in your best interest that you follow my rules.