Full disclosure: outside of the gym or tennis court, you will never see me in trainers, track pants or wearing a baseball cap. I have a personal aversion to the sporty look when it's worn outside of its intended context. Many times I have tried to wear sneakers with my jeans or khakis, but at the last minute I always change into loafers. Call it fashion snobbery.
There are many times I've wanted to dress like the models on the DSquared2 runways, with their two sizes too tight tees, extra-short shorts and high-top sneakers with tube socks. But I might be mistaken for Richard Simmons' long-lost Asian brother, so I'll leave that look to the professionals. In fact, the only time I wear T-shirts is when I am in the comfort of my own home. Dressing like the whole world is an extension of your backyard is not part of my sartorial vocabulary. And so it's with a little hesitation that I explore the topic of the sporty look.
Last winter I bought a white puffer vest, thinking I could wear it with a white button shirt, jeans and Chuck Taylors to give me some street edge, ? la Usher or Neyo. Unfortunately, the puffer vest never made it out of my closet and the Chuck Taylors remain unworn. My dreams of mimicking Usher's style remain unfulfilled.
I suppose the easiest way to create a sporty image is to work with what I have in my wardrobe and replace one or two items with more contemporary and urban pieces. Club Monaco (top right) suggests I should temporarily lose the blazer and wear a bomber jacket instead. Desert boots will substitute my loafers, and I'll pull on brown jeans instead of my favourite Prada khakis. I suppose it won't be hard to do. It's not much of a stretch from my usual get-up.
Dunhill (bottom, second from right) proposes almost the same strategy: try a black bomber jacket, keep the khakis and get a pair of their white sneakers. And since I have a ton of polo shirts in my closet, I can just mix and match however I want.
I don't mind the Dunhill bomber jacket or the zip-up black jacket from Allegri (bottom far right). I could even go as far as purchasing the cashmere zip-up windbreaker with orange lining from Kiton, if it wasn't so expensive. So long as no one is making me wear a member's-only jacket, I think I'll be okay because the last thing I want to look like is an old buzzard from Queens hitting the slot machines in Atlantic City.
Don't expect to see me wearing the Kanye West Louis Vuitton high-tops, though. The shocking red colour and the style of those trainers are for guys who can really pull off the downtown, I'm-too-cool-for-school look. They're not for guys who like the tailored and classic style, such as myself. The same is true of the shiny red high-tops with a fringe from Gucci. They're cool and stylish on other guys, but not on me.
For trainers, I think my safest bet is black or white, preferably with a slim silhouette so they look deceptively like lace-up leather shoes. Dolce & Gabbana and D&G have selections I've seen guys wear with black slacks and blue and white gingham shirts for a classic-meets-sports-guy look. Tod's and Hogan (far left) also have trainers that would go well with a tailored look as well as one that's younger.
But perhaps the look that I take to the most is the one proposed by Ralph Lauren (middle left), which is part Gatsby and part Ivy League with a dose of aspirational attributes, copied by Sean Combs and Andre 3000 of Benjamin Bixby: white shorts, tennis sweater, shawl-collared cardigan and lace-up shoes. It's a look that will serve me well on and off the tennis court.
Allegri and Kiton, The Swank, Alexandra House, Central, tel: 2868 2017
Club Monaco, Times Square, Causeway Bay, tel: 2118 3515
Dolce & Gabbana and D&G, Alexandra House, Central, tel: 2877 5558
Dunhill, Prince's Building, Central, tel: 2524 3663
Hogan, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2918 0181
Ralph Lauren, The Landmark, Central, tel: 2869 0388
Tod's, The Landmark, Central, tel: 2810 8692