Tracksuit As Protest Wear

With the pandemic, the matching tracksuit is selling out. Why has it leapt back into our wardrobes?


When was the last time you saw someone working-out wearing a matching tracksuit? Nevertheless, the tracksuit is a team sport leitmotif. At Olympic ceremonies it’s a quick identifier, a patriotic branding and bonding exercise, worn either before or after the heat or race is over. No one actually vaults with a pole, or rides a pony over a jump, or runs the 100 metres, while wearing a tracksuit. Would any male spectators bother to show up if women's beach volleyball players performed in a tracksuit instead of knickers and a bra?

Despite the lack of the two-piece jogging suits worn at gyms or by actual joggers, the matching tracksuit of any kind undeniably says action. On a Zoom conference wearing one says: I might be in my home office, being physically inactive, but I am still a very devoted employee thinking energetically about my job. The tracksuit implies: I could at any time spring into action and run rings around competitors or colleagues wearing pajamas while they work from home. And while we are all mask wearers; a team of PPE-wearing responsible citizens, the matching tracksuit is part of that uniform and our team sport is not catching Covid.

A tracksuit offers the comfort and flexibility to brandish a sign, run fast, pelt a brick, spray paint the lens of a surveillance camera, erect a barricade, hide under a bush.

But the tracksuit can also say rebellion and criminal activity. It’s possible to wear another set of clothes under a tracksuit, just peel off the suit when you’ve finished your crime spree, and stroll down the street like nothing just happened. A tracksuit would make a wise choice as protest ware. A tracksuit offers the comfort and flexibility to brandish a sign, run fast, pelt a brick, erect a barricade, spray paint the lens of a surveillance camera, hide under a bush. And if apprehended, your outfit backs up your claim you were just taking your lock-down quota of daily exercise.

Even the shell tracksuit has made a comeback. Made of a billowy nylon outer layer over a cotton lining, the shell suit when Googled, results in interesting search results. There’s either a Gucci version for $1800 or an array available from costume shops. Which reminds us, the most cutting-edge style always looks a little like you’re going to a themed party.


Things to Consider When Considering a Tracksuit


Never wear your tracksuit to exercise. Board games yes, streaming marathon yes, cooking maybe, gardening definitely not ‒ because your tracksuit should never be involved in a flex of muscle or actual loss of sweat.

In keeping with the no actual exercise theme, don’t wear your tracksuit with training shoes. Instead choose heels, or a boot or something strappy, a lot of makeup and a hairdo that would be ruined if worn in true exercise mode. A slide definitely says inaction because it’s hard to keep a slide on your foot just walking, let alone running.

A capacious pair of buttocks can be showcased in a tracksuit

Dressing up is usually done in our least comfortable attire. There is always a pinch or a tuck in dressed-up clothes and shoes that requires a particular posture to not appear pregnant or keep your tits in place, and often it feels like an amputation is required to make it home after a night of torturesome attire. The tracksuit is the ultimate let-it-all-hang-out option. And worn at night with heels somewhere ritzy, the tracksuit is saying nightlife is sport, a game, at the very least a mind game.

Ten pounds heavier from ISO? Wear a tracksuit. Looking to remind everyone that your gym efforts (sans tracksuit) have inflated your arse to Kardashian expanse? No problem, a capacious pair of buttocks can be showcased in tracksuit bottoms. The waist elastication means the casual observer will be wowed by your ‘slim-thick’ figure, the curvy yet toned nirvana of social media bodies.


I would advise against a burpee in the only shell suit I found on ASOS (left and above right). The bronze shiny fabric gives it a certain space-racy look. The actual model, with chin jutting, implies an exasperation with people accusing her of being a space cadet. Check it out:

ASOS Design metallic tracksuit.


There is nothing about the styling of the Gucci tracksuit (top) that says action. I would suggest it can probably only be afforded by, and worn with suitable aplomb, by a wealthy rap singer. It's styled in this pic with plenty of jewels, and strappy heels with socks. The beret definitely says militia. Buy the tracksuit here:

GG Supreme Print Track pants and top separately at Gucci.