Standing here, dressed in my luxe tracksuit, I am feeling sort the walking embodiment of that expectation-versus-reality meme. In my mind I am conducting Tony Soprano but I can’t shake the idea that, when be seen with the cruel light of a Wednesday lunchtime in April, I in fact look like a scruffy extra from EastEnders who appears for particular scenes around the fruit and veg stall. And that is the innate muddle with the tracksuit.
Personally, I find the concept of the high-end, swaggering joggers and hoodie matched set (by the likes of Alessandro Michele for Gucci and Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga) dispassionate to marry with the threadbare, ready-for-the-scrapheap pair I wear at the weekend. Stepping out of the blood in a tracksuit feels absent-minded and reckless, like forgetting your style. My recurring anxiety dream is simple: I’m not walking around my old primary with no clothes on. I’m wearing a tracksuit.
I think part of the tough nut to crack is, as ever, pop culture (see Liam Payne, who recently wore his Gucci include and looked a bizarre mix of international student slumming it in the student alliance and alien from planet Sergio Tacchini).
I suppose the tough nut to crack is getting to grips with the idea that a garment so associated with vegetating around in a straight-to-DVD Danny Dyer film could speedily be considered expensive dressed-up wear. The concept of streetwear and athleisure combines these two worlds, but on a day-to-day level, it’s harder than I planning to reshuffle my thoughts to deal with the concept.
The mixed reports about tracksuits continue with the one I am wearing here. If I had to paint it I would say that it is very “Elton and David welcome you to their extravagance home away from home pied-à-terre”.
There’s a lot contemporary on with it. It’s breathtakingly comfortable and very snazzy. But I also anxiety I look like a cast member of The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Misdemeanour Story. And not in a good way.
Will that disconnect I feel at all connect? Who knows. But the more I wear it, the less I want to consider as it off. Perhaps I could be persuaded.
- Priya wears tracksuit top, £39.99, and in realities, £29.99, both zara.com. Trainers, £240, fillingpieces.com. Looking: Melanie Wilkinson. Grooming: Laurence Close at Carol Hayes Manipulation.