Style / September 2017

The Rise of Urban Sports Chic

The urban male has tired of inconvenience and compromise, and the menswear industry has responded by creating a new code of dress that combines fine tailoring and functionality.

Blue button-down Oxford shirt, Thom Sweeney; navy silk knitted tie, Mariano Rubinacci; grey cashmere hooded zip jumper, Theory; grey cashmere jogging trousers, Brunello Cucinelli; grey leather backpack, Tod’s; Navy suit jacket, property of The Rake.

The way men are dressing has irrevocably shape-shifted and transmuted. It retains the core essential iconography of classic suiting, but it is now allying this with heightened attention to the realities defined by the contemporary urban environment — our need for adaptability, lightness, utility, mobility and comfort. We’ve co-opted the material innovation and iconography of athletic wear and outdoor gear to create a new tailored functionality that marries the previously irreconcilable values of performance and beauty in a new genetic blueprint for ‘Raked-out’ men’s style. Regardless of whether you live in Shoreditch, Le Marais, Park Slope or Park Avenue, it is undeniable: this is the moment when the zeitgeist has become a massive commercial force of renewal in men’s clothing.

And while The Rake navigates the precarious semiotic pedestrianism of ‘athleisure’, a term that Jon Caramanica of The New York Times amusingly referred to as “unbearable”, we profess our enchantment with the integration of this innovative mode of dress into our lexicon of classic elegance. Our take on it integrates the irreverent élan of the après-ski scene at the Gstaad Palace at its most halcyon, and the roughish-cool of the motorbike-riding style of Lawrence of Arabia. It blends craft, artisanship and tailoring with street and athletic inspirations to form an exciting genetic recombination of classic sartorial D.N.A.

Adaptability

Close your eyes and imagine your next two-day business trip to Paris. Like any seasoned traveller, you’re not going to check a bag in and brave the luggage crapshoot that is Charles de Gaulle. Which means that the clothing you’re wearing and in your overnight bag will have to adapt to your every need over the next 48 hours. It will need to take you from home in New York or London to the plane or train to Paris. Then you’ll jump on the back of a motorcycle taxi to beat the traffic on the Périphérique to check into your hotel. Then you’ll use public transport or even a public-hire bicycle to get to that series of boardroom meetings while avoiding the insane jams at Place de la Concorde and along each side of the Seine, before checking back to your hotel for a quick workout and then changing again into your street clothes for an elegant dinner at Place des Vosges. Saturday consists of a run down the Seine or a visit to the gym, with a quick change of your top, before brunch. By this point you’ve checked out, so everything you brought comes with you in your luxury backpack or messenger slingbag for an afternoon in the park, of shopping, of drinks and dinner with friends before you jump on the last plane or train home.

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Contributor

Wei Koh

The Rake's Founder & Editorial Director.