You Can Be an Urban Olympian

You Can Be an Urban Olympian

I’m all about the Olympics, but in a very specific way.  Mascots that get stuck in doors are hugely important, ruthless dissections of who had the best team uniforms are important, super chill tweets about ice cream are important.  Actual events/medal tallies are things I hear about while doing deep dive research into the topics that others may consider peripheral (like this heroine who competed despite a wardrobe malfunction).  I had a long and basically okay career in school sports (hockey!) and I’ve been known to frequent a gym (my abs are just resting right now), but I’m not what one might describe as sporty.

However, you don’t have to be good at kicking things or moving really fast and abruptly to participate in sporty looks.  This is not athleisure – long time readers will know that my reaction to athleisure is essentially one of confusion.  You can wear whatever you want, and if you choose to wear leggings and a pair of rather immaculate running shoes to brunch on a Saturday, more power to you.  I will not be wearing anything with a fitted waist band, because I want my abs (tum) to be comfy as I smash back the pancakes.  But I digress.  To the sporty explanation!

Crouching = Squats, yes?

Crouching = Squats, yes?

Fashion is basically about visual cues and tricks (you heard it here first) and this look is no exception.  There are three key elements:

  • My sunglasses;
  • The binding on the neckline and arm holes of my top; and
  • The stripe on my pants.

My sunglasses are more masculine than my usual rose coloured, cat eyed insanity.  The hard black lines and square shape say “what’s up, do you wanna do some X-Games stuff later” (and my entire body says “no thank you to you at this time”).  And also I’m not totally sure what the cool kids wear to the X-Games so that reference might be wrong but you get my point.  Much sportier.


That high contrast binding is very reminiscent of sports uniforms, even when mixed here with a top that otherwise totally reminds me of a souvenir tea towel (in a good way).  The cut of this top mirrors basketball jerseys – if you want something less boxy, go for a close-fitting top that’s got a racer back or a strong sport motif like a team name or player number.  FIRST PERSON TO CHOOSE 69 OR SIMILAR GETS BANNED.  Banned from what, I’m not sure.  Adulthood?

Finally, my stripy pants.  Remember when I made my DIY star jeans?  I had a lot of leftover paint and a burning need to maximise the use of my resources, and eventually the inspiration hit me to make my own pants with a stripe down the side.  It was super easy – I got a narrow sponge on a stick from Spotlight and then patiently drew the stripe along the seam on the pants.  I like it because it’s flattering and the hand painted-ness is kind of relaxed and cool (and was easy because the stripe being messy was the point.  This was key to my success).

Having a rest from Doing The Sports

Having a rest from Doing The Sports

I then paired all of that with a pair of animal print heels because you have to draw the line somewhere.  Clearly, without these shoes I was a real candidate for a quick game of streetball and I just didn’t want to have to disappoint the crew of teenaged boys who were no doubt just about to invite me. 

If you want to adopt a sporty look in honour of the Olympics, here’s a few other visual cues you can lean into:

  • Coordinating tops and bottoms that suggest track suit or cheerleader outfit, without actually being either of those things.  Look for limited colour palettes, contrast bindings, and the right shapes;
  • Cropped sweatshirts, which are particularly great with summer skirts or a pair of tailored but loose-fitting trousers in the weekend (also jeans, but that seems obvious and kinda dull);
  • Things with big numbers printed on them; and
  • Shoes and bags made of the same weird holey material that basketball jerseys are made of.  Personally, I’m not a fan (as you may have guessed from “weird holey material”, you super sleuth) but it’s definitely sporty!

Happy Winter Olympics everyone!


Jeans are a pair of black jeans I bought second hand and then painted, I bought the top on TradeMe, but it’s from Cooper (pick up an XS here on sale, or a similar but preppier style here).  Sunglasses are from Cotton On I think?  Here’s a fun sporty pair.  Shoes are from Topshop, you could try these, or you could grab some great sneakers (I like these ones) and brush up on your streetball skills real quick.

(Yes, I had to Google streetball)