An athleisure state of mind: Track pants and cool hoodies style up for autumn fashion

As the Hayley Baldwin Adidas Falcon collection launches and track pants and hoodies go seriously upmarket for AW18, Stephanie Smith has tips on how to make the ever-evolving athleisure trend work for you.

Thursday, 27th September 2018, 1:30 pm
Updated Saturday, 29th September 2018, 10:02 am
Tigerlily Taylor at the Hailey Baldwin x Falcon London Fashion Week SS19 (Ian West/PA Wire).
Tigerlily Taylor at the Hailey Baldwin x Falcon London Fashion Week SS19 (Ian West/PA Wire).

Dressing down has become the new normal, much to the relief of some and the disapproval of others. But those who relish a bit of relaxed style should watch where they are treading, because it still doesn’t mean that it’s now ok to do the school run or the supermarket shop, or anything other than sleeping, while wearing your pyjamas.

That said, it can be difficult sometimes to know where those easy lines should be drawn. Lounge and leisure wear as daywear is a trend that has to be handled with consideration and care, if you don’t want to look as if you have simply got dressed in the first items of clothing you find in your drawers. As if.

Take track pants. Once reserved by most self-respecting fashion-conscious folk for exercise, or perhaps a desultory laundry day at home, are now worn everywhere and with everything.

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Longline double-breasted coat, £269; cashmere contrast joggers, £169. Both at The White Company.

We’re not talking grungy grey tracksuit bottoms here, all saggy bottoms and fraying hems. These new track-style pants are sleek and softly tailored, so they can transition from gym to work to dinner with ease. To be fair, you probably don’t wear them for the gym at all. They can be slim-fitting and tapered to the ankle, or wide-leg, but they must have a contrast stripe running all the way down the outer legs, to denote their on-trend style status. Wear them with silk blouses and cotton shirts, a tailored blazer or your new best coat. Wear them under dresses, if you like. You can even wear them with high heels, which strikes me as veering dangerously close to worst-of-both-worlds territory – the inconvenience of heels paired with hardly glam trousers – but there you go; that’s fashion for you.

This ought to be comfort-meets-style dressing, not comfort-suddenly-gets-uncomfortable dressing. The key to pulling it off is through thinking luxe at all times. Cashmere, silk, pristine jersey – the hoodie goes fully luxurious for autumn, so look out for chunky cable-knit hoodies, in particular. Team with loose but tailored trousers and chic (clean) trainers for elegance on the move.

Leggings are fine and dandy (especially with that contrast stripe) to switch in to pretty much any look. In fact, this trend for loungewear and athleisure for all occasions and times of day is going nowhere. It’s best to keep hair and make-up polished if you want to pull it off for smart and formal occasions, but other than that, run with it.


Faux fur coat and wide track pants, coming soon to River Island.

Thursday, September 27: The Harvey Nichols Trunk Show hosted by Elle Magazine, outlining the latest trends. It’s 6.30–10pm, Second Floor, Harvey Nichols Leeds. Tickets £15. Call 0113 204 8888 to book or book online at

September 27-28: Sweaty Betty Sale at Pavilions of Harrogate. Tel: 07715 568663.

September 28: Autumn Fashion Show at The Garden Rooms at Tennants, Leyburn. In support of The Sir Robert Ogden Macmillan Centre, with Barkers of Northallerton, The Wool Booth of Northallerton, Georgie’s and Julie Fitzmaurice of Harrogate and John Lewis Leeds. Hair styling by Baroque. Email: [email protected]

September 29-30: Made Up Leeds, an inclusive, city-wide beauty festival with free events, demonstrations, speakers and offers. There’s a Beauty Space pop-up on Briggate by John Lewis, a Beauty Bridge at Trinity Leeds with mini makeover, Harvey Nichols’ Eyes & Lips counters at Leeds Train Station. Visit and see this week’s Beauty page.

Coat, £89; jumper, £39.50; skirt, £35. All M&S Collection.

October 4: Fashion Fiesta: Salem Chapel, Hunslet Lane, Leeds. Up-and-coming designers showcase their work and collection for Simon on the Streets and PEERS Yorkshire charities. See

Chenille jumper, £16; side stripe wide leg trousers, £14; red boots, £15. All at George at Asda.
Chester trainers in ginger, £149 at Hush.