REAL sportswear for men .
Sporting looks for men are big this season. But can you wear the clothes on the pitch? We asked three sportsmen to put the catwalk kit through its paces. By Simon Chilvers
Friday June 17, 2005
Fashion evidence: Cricket-style sweaters cropped up on the Louis Vuitton catwalk in neutral shades, while Swedish menswear designer Siv Stodal whipped up a yellow-and-turquoise take on this theme. Dunhill sponsors the England cricket team, designing the player's casual and formal uniforms, as well as producing a range of super posh cricket accessories, which this September will be joined by a new range of bags designed under the supervision of Bill Amberg. John Galliano alluded to the sport in his autumn collection, with trousers complete with attached cricket pads .
Style on trial: Nic Fearon-Low, 34, a senior government press officer, plays for Gentleman's Relish Amateur Cricket Club, a wandering London-based club. He wore head-to-toe Louis Vuitton during a recent nets session. He says: "I thought the outfit was stylish though impractical. There were too many buttons on the trousers. Sporting gear requires ease of access, and it took me a few minutes of fiddling to do them up.
"The quality of the fabric was much better though, sometimes the cheaper cricket whites can give you the feeling of being back at school during a games lesson. I could have easily played a game in this outfit but I would have felt terrible shining a ball on such a lovely pair of slacks. My team mates thought I looked very dapper, though I did get a few odd looks from other people at the cricket nets.
"I wouldn't wear an outfit like this, as I would feel too much of a poseur - sportswear is designed to play sport in, not wear down the pub. I am pleased, though, that football style has had its moment and fashion is looking at more sophisticated sports such as cricket as a source of inspiration."
Fashion evidence: Burberry and Pringle have dedicated golfing ranges. The former uses its classic check on bags and caps and as trims on shoes or tops, while Pringle's autumn 2005 range takes note of the "younger fashion-conscious contemporary golfer" and will see designs available in a "fashion" fit. Super-luxurious Italian fashion house Bottega Veneta has produced glam golf accessories, including a golf shoe bag, golf ball cases and golf bag. A TV celebrity golfing special presented by Ant and Dec and featuring golf fans Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Jodie Kidd and Samuel L Jackson airs at the end of August.
Style on trial: Sam Richardson, 30, a venture capitalist, started playing golf at 12, gave it up when he was 15 and started again a few years ago. He regularly plays with a group of friends. We shot him wearing head-to-toe Burberry Golf with a golf carrier by Bottega Veneta.
He says: "I think golf clothes are still a bit of a fashion pastiche of what the Brucie and Tarby brigade wore 20 years ago. The Burberry clothes I wore seemed very retro. The jumper was pretty garish, though the trousers were really well made. Fashion statements are out of place on the golf course, there is no need to attempt to look good. There are some interesting golf clothes around such as Pringle and the J Lindeberg range but the Bottega golf bag seemed like a bit of a joke - it was so impractical, too heavy to lug around on the course and not enough storage. Maybe it would make a nice umbrella stand at home?
"The thing about golf clothes is that they reflect the fact that golf is not meant to be cool. People still dress quite formally. You can't wear jeans or T-shirts, so it has to be smart trousers and a collar, although I have noticed that some places are getting a bit more relaxed on this. As more women are beginning to play maybe it means the clothes will get better."
Fashion evidence: The rugby-style shirt is one of the most popular pieces of the season: from the catwalks of key fashion houses such as Burberry and Dries Van Noten, to practically every high-street store including the supermarkets.
Styling touches include ultra-bold stripes at Polo Ralph Lauren or distressed finishes for the just-played-a-game look at Topman. For autumn, Pringle has included rugby shirts for women as well as men. And, of course, Welsh rugby star Gavin Henson is dating the Cavalli-wearing Charlotte Church.
Style on trial: Richard Vaughn, 34, a social worker working with young offenders, plays for Hackney Rugby Club. We shot him, pre-match with his team, wearing a striped shirt by Polo Ralph Lauren. He said of the experience: "I do think it's nice for the sport to get a bit of fashion attention, though the top I wore wasn't to my personal tastes. I thought it was a bit camp. My captain John went as far to say it was 'the gayest thing he had seen in his life'. The rest of the team thought it was really bright and over the top. They couldn't believe it was a high-fashion item. It certainly isn't your standard rugby top.
"The fit was great but on traditional rugby shirts you have reinforced stitching to strengthen them because, obviously, during the game they are grabbed and pulled around. On this one, they had used stitching as a style feature - this top would not last a full game of rugby!
"Off the pitch, my personal impression of guys wearing rugby shirts, especially with blazers, is that they tend to look a bit like the Harry Enfield character, Tim-Nice-But-Dim. A bit too posh. But I have seen people wearing fashion rugby shirts with casual jackets and jeans, and I think it looks all right." · With thanks to: Hackney Rugby Club, Gentleman's Relish Cricket Club and Dukes Meadow Golf Club.
Something for the ' Hooray Henries ' and ' the Cheshire chinless wonders ' .
Wilmslow and Prestbury will be snide-out with Ralph Lauren , Burberry Prorsum and Vuitton .
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