A Love Letter To My Tracksuit Bottoms
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Featured Image Credit: Ciara Sheppard
Lockdown is a time to revaluate our relationships, and there's one in particular that I'm getting so much satisfaction from RN.
They've been the one constant in this topsy turvy world, a steadfast in these times of uncertainty, a source of unrivalled comfort when I've put away a takeaway probably meant for two: my tracksuit bottoms.
In normal life, the world wasn't ready for our tracksuit bottoms, affectionately known as 'trackies' or - more privately - 'comfies'.
Pre-Covid, wearing my trackies was reserved for hungover dashes from my flat to Sainsbury's Local, running the gauntlet in the hopes I wouldn't bump into anyone I knew. But in isolation, I've been wearing them like a second skin.
I wear them to the park. To take out the bins. Isolation Me wears them to the shop, no longer shamefully but as a badge of honour. "Isolation, isn't it?" I tell myself, luxuriating in the comfort as we wait socially distanced in the queue, giving my two-metre-apart comrades knowing nods.
I even wear them out of frame on my work Zoom calls, wondering how I'll ever be able to wears jeans in the office again and if my boss will consider instating a Tracksuit Bottoms Wednesday when this is all over.
This is not to say my love affair with tracksuit bottoms is a new one. Since I was a teen, my relationship with trackies has been on and off, permeated with abandonment, mixed messages and more right-place-wrong-time energy than Normal People's Connell and Marianne.
I've owned trackies in various iterations over the years, jumping on trends and sourcing inspiration from the likes of noughties icons like J.Lo, Christina Aguilera and Paris Hilton who wore theirs so sexily it hurt.
In my early teens, I spent all of my birthday money on Abercrombie and Fitch, SuperDry, Hollister and Juicy Couture, hoping to emulate some of the sex appeal I'd seen in my favourite R'n'B music video. Unsuccessfully, judging by old photos.
Me and my trackies hit a road bump when chav culture dominated circa age 14. I abandoned my trackies in favour of leggings and long tops, later evolving into skinny jeans, only getting together with the comfy bottoms once every so often behind closed doors, like some sort of sordid love affair I didn't want anyone to know about.
Since then, I've been too shy to take my trackies out and about, only looking to them as an old friend in times of need. The world collectively attempted to bring them back a couple of years back. "It's athleisure!" we cried, knowing it was only Bella Hadid that could really ever get away with wearing them.
They've been there for breakups, not judging us for wearing them for five days straight. For hangovers, when we're too weak and pathetic to wipe off the chilli sauce we just spilt on them. For weekends when we didn't plan to leave the house, never knowing it would become the new norm.
Since lockdown, it's been impossible to get hold of tracksuit bottoms, with everywhere from ASOS to Topshop sold out.
I can only hope Covid-19 brings on a new golden era for the tracksuit bottom. And if so, I'll be staying as loyal to them as they have to me.