x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Carry off the sporty look without looking like a gym bunny

Yes, it's an Olympics year - but, no, don't look like you just stepped off the racetrack.

Often some of the bigger trends tend to teeter perilously close to the edge of bad taste, which is why I try to break them down, explaining ways to play around rather than go top to toe with them.

While I am normally terribly happy to encourage experimentation, the bottom line here is that there are boundaries when it comes to high-octane dressing. Take the athletic trend inspired by the forthcoming Olympics as an example - it's all in the finer details. You don't need to look like you've just stepped off the racetrack; in fact, you must make it very clear that you have not been anywhere near one. Instead, try injecting a sporty sensibility into the look - you are not at an Eighties costume party, after all.

There's an element of urban culture to the trend, a taste of toughness that needs, at the least, to be addressed. Details such as thick elastic strapping, hoods, cut-outs, racer backs, three-quarter-length trousers or thick sports socks with stripes down the sides is a good start. Look to Alexander Wang for a modern twist. Cut-off T-shirts in a good-quality jersey or mesh can be a more grown-up way to tackle things, as are off-the-shoulder fine knits, with brands such as Isabel Marant.

If you are mixing your fabrics - leather with silk, for example - keep your colour scheme to a minimum. Black on black works beautifully; it screams "I mean business" without the pretension of fluorescent accents. If that feels a little too dark for you, add in some grey or white tones.

Importantly, things must be skin hugging - a little bit dangerous in order to be taken seriously - and hot pants and bodysuits in luxurious fabrics will take the look far from its cheerleader tendencies.

Alexander Wang, Joseph Altuzarra and Stella McCartney (who is involved in designing the actual kit for the British Olympic team this year) all showed their luxurious take on the trend with tracksuit bottoms, bomber jackets and waterproof anoraks.

The extreme silhouette has made sportswear unapologetically on trend - which is not to say we have been granted permission to dig out an old pair of saggy-kneed leggings that last saw daylight in a physical education class in the late Eighties, because there isn't a tracksuit in sight.

Lastly, just in case any of you had any worries you would get tired of the Olympics, fear not, because you will keep hearing about the clothes for a long time afterwards.



This week's highs and lows

TUTU DREAMS The London-based designer Kinder Aggugini is giving the Rodarte girls (responsible for the costume designs in Black Swan) a run for their money with his designs for the English National Ballet.

OH BOY! Boy London may be the newest craze to hit Hollywood, but we are not convinced that a full monogrammed get-up is necessary.

THE "IT" SHOE YSL's new "Cardinale" shoe is set to follow in the footsteps of its prior legends the "Tribute" and "Tribtoo".

TO-DYE-FOR DOGS What on earth is Amber Heard doing dip-dyeing her poor Yorkie?

HE KIT If you need any more reason to be jealous of Italian athletes, look no further - their 2012 Olympics kits are being designed by none other than Prada.