…kill the office wear that we are familiar with
Track wear is now suitable for the office. Or so Balenciaga and Adidas would have us believe. There is no longer any boundary between the running track and the boardroom. Sure, we have shifted away from office dress codes for quite a while now. But this is truly bringing tracksuits into a space that once expects its occupants to look spiffy. The images for the latest Balenciaga X Adidas collaboration is shot in the confines of an unmistakable office, one that looks like the headquarters of, say, JP Morgan Chase than the design studio of gaming giant Electronic Arts. Yet, the pretend office users are all outfitted in track wear with the distinctly oversized silhouette of Balenciaga and the conspicuous three stripes of the German sports brand.
Even when office wear is now redefined, very few people can get away with wearing tracksuits to their work place, let alone those that are this baggy. Fewer still will be able to afford these priced at a staggering S$3000, up. But with Kim Kardashian, Madonna, and others adopting them for nearly every occasion, it is possible that the ultra-relaxed look may win hearts among average office workers. They only need to buy the cheaper Adidas version, or pick one suit from a thrift store (where for, some reason, they tend to end up to die, or reborn). In today’s office, where hot-desking is increasingly preferred, Balenciaga’s and Adidas’s proposal may not look out of place in a workspace system conceived to encourage interactivity, community, and creativity. Casualness rather than formality is preferred, which may see four-figure tracksuits find their places between the open workstation and the equally open water cooler.
To be sure, Bella Hadid in the ads (top right) does not look as scary as the face-concealed models who wore similar outfits during the brand’s cruise reveal at the New York Stock Exchange in May. She tried to appear soignée, but there is something quite incongruous about her, the outfit, and the surroundings. It isn’t clear if women who work in offices would find tracksuits agreeable to wear. They are, in fact, not the epitome of comfort. The Balenciaga X Adidas tracksuit comes in “techno poplin” (a blended fabric of cotton and polyamide), cotton terry jersey, or polyester nylon, all of which, in the collaborative version, are rather thick. Given the oversized silhouette of both track jacket and pants, the weight of both is not exactly light. Can they be truly comfortable in the office? Or are we being captious? If Balenciaga can get you to buy Crocs with heels, distressed-to-death sneakers, and leather clutches that mimic the packaging of Lay’s potato chips, they can, we suppose, quite easily entice you to wear tracksuits to the office.
Photos: Joshua Bright/Balenciaga X Adidas