Why your wardrobe needs some retro sportswear

There’s no shortage of cult brands celebrating late ‘70s and early ‘80s sportswear this season. Here’s why you ought to get in on the act

I can’t quite put my finger on why garish, sporty staples are having such a resurgence this summer, but there’s something about oversized jackets, louche fabrics and quirky colours that’s ever-so-slightly naff, yet decidedly cool at the same time.

It’s a satisfying juxtaposition, and when worn with confidence retro sportswear makes for a great focal point for a weekend-worthy look. If you’re looking to give your casual wardrobe a lift as we move into summer, or treat yourself to a new seasonal statement piece, you could do a lot worse than explore this trend.

We’ve rustled up five pieces to get you started, and as always, there are some tips on how to wear them for you, too.

Retro sportswear, Battenwear, Jackal magazine1. Battenwear nylon track jacket

Part blouson, part track jacket, this quirky design from New York based streetwear brand Battenwear communicates exactly what this trend is about. It’s generous shape, short length and sizeable front pockets feel distinctly ‘80s, as does its sky blue nylon fabrication, but it also feels fashion-forward and relaxed. In such a light, confident colour, it’s an easy-wearing summer statement piece that’s great for slouching about town on the weekends.

Let the jacket do the talking and layer over plain pastel coloured tees and dark tapered chinos, finished with ecru canvas sneakers. Keep the rest of your look clean and modern, and you’ll stay firmly on the right side of ‘Miami Vice chic’.

£360, shop now

Kent & Curwen sportswear, Jackal magazine2. Kent & Curwen quarter-zip sweater

Kent & Curwen’s creative director, Daniel Kearns, is passed master when it comes to diving into old photographic archives, unearthing mid-century sportswear gems that he can ‘reimagine into modern classics. This little number proves the point: cut in K&C’s signature loopback jersey, with a wide, rounded collar and faux sports team branding on the chest, it feels like it should belong to a Harvard graduate from the 1950s – which is an intrinsic part of Kent & Curwen’s charm.

The thing to do with this piece is be brave and dress it up, rather than down. Think old-school preppy style and layer it over a sky blue Oxford button-down shirt, block striped college repp tie and well-fitted tan chinos. Finish with off-white tennis sneakers and you’ve pulled together a look that’s smart, relaxed and a touch rebellious, too. Nice.

£165, shop now

Beams Plus corduroy jacket, SS183. Beams Plus corduroy Harrington jacket

Yet another noteworthy piece from one of The Jackal’s favourite Japanese designers, corduroy’s had a summer kick courtesy of Beams Plus. A contemporary take on the classic Harrington, this jacket’s trim cut, elasticated hem, smooth zip-front and rounded collar lend a jacket that can often feel a little uninspired a sharp edge. Plus, the burnt orange colour’s unashamedly ‘70s.

As before, this is a piece that’ll need grounding, so layer it over dark, earthy colours and soft textures. A navy cotton polo or pastel striped t-shirt would work well beneath this, as would tapered jeans. It’s available in rich royal blue, too, if orange isn’t quite your thing. Both are exclusive to Mr Porter, so if you like what you see, you know where to go.

£260, shop now

Monitaly pleated summer trousers, SS184. Monitaly drawstring waist trousers

These are seriously clever. Another design from a cult American brand (Monitaly’s based in LA), these linen slacks combine the signature design features of pleated tailored trousers, and relaxed jersey sweatpants, in one featherweight design that’s perfect for high summer. Note the soft unstructured waistband, on-seam side pockets and perfectly tapered legs, which make,

Roll up the hems and wear sockless with preppy snuff suede loafers, a white t-shirt and a printed camp collar shirt worn open, for effortless West Coast cool. Or, if you want to really dress these down, you could take them on holiday, lose the t-shirt and wear to the beach bar with simple leather sandals.

£265, shop now

Beams rugby shirt, retro sportswear 5. Beams washed rugby shirt

Made by Beams Plus’s sister brand, this rugby shirt is not designed to be coated in mud. A fashionable take on the British sporting classic, the boffins at Beams have cut this in the best mid-weight jersey with a slight slubby finish, that’s been washed for a soft handle and vintage look. The chambray collar’s a sharp addition, too.

Treat this as an alternative to a crewneck jumper and layer over anything from a chambray shirt to a simple tee on breezy days. Play-off the shirt’s boxy silhouette by tucking into tapered, pleated summer trousers – anything in navy or khaki should work a treat.

£280, shop now

Adidas montreal 76 sneakers, SS186. Adidas Montreal 76 sneakers

Bit of a curved ball, but the latest rendering of Adidas’s distinctive Montreal 76 sneakers is worth knowing about. An archival design, these were originally created as a post-football shoe for the German team at the 1976 Montreal Olympics – the logic being that a generous tongue, soft construction and super-thick collapsible mid-soles made them easy to pull on after an hour of pounding the turf during a match.

These sneakers are versatile, but confident and a little different to the norm, making them a smart choice for something a little bit different this season – they’re also a sneaker that comes with genuine sporting pedigree. They’re perfect then for channeling just a touch of retro style this season. Props to the buying team at Oi Polloi for opting for such a fun colour, too.

£75, shop now