In 2023, the best suit is a 90s tracksuit

I never knew how I’d dress as an old man. It’s still a long way away. But not that long. 32 came quicker than I expected, and the retina-scorching vintage Umbro sweatshirts of my mid-20s gave way to pricier, simpler grey sweatshirts in my nascent 30s. What would that morph into in my 40s, 50s, 60s? What would I wear in my twilight years of professional complaining and swearing at other peoples’ kids? 

The answer evaded me until the particularly biting February of 2019. I was in New York visiting a friend, and we decided to get high at Coney Island. She said there were rides we could freak out on and drunk people to tell lies to. She wasn’t wrong. But she failed to mention that the place was also one of epiphany. The edibles we’d bought off a man that wouldn’t tell us his name had a lot to do with that. But so too did an old man we passed on the walk from Brighton Beach: a gargoyle on a deck chair, Oakley wraparounds balanced on an aged nose that guarded a rope-thick grey moustache. His thin-yet-paunchy frame was housed in the finest polyester tracksuit of white, purple and grey; geometric panels pushed together on billowing sleeves and trousers, a speckled collar that had been intentionally popped, colours aged and faded and all the better for it. That’s it, I thought to myself, that’s how I’d dress as an old man. 

Well known as the off-duty kit of The Sopranos, Christopher Moltisanti, the family-apprentice-turned-fuck-up, was seen in a whole host of track suits: a black Nike, a red Genelli, a monochromatic Diadora. Complete with vest and gold chain, it was the stuff of the more refined mobster; comfortable enough for shifting things off the back of a van, but still designer. And that continued in all manner of films not strictly about Italian-American gangsters, and IRL too. Wakanda Forever’s Letitia Wright takes her character, Shuri, incognito in a purple Adidas tracksuit. She looked sick. Late last year, Justin Bieber dropped himself into a tracksuit jacket that was far wider than those of Tony’s crew – as in wavy wide – but there was still a quiet promise that even this swollen take could “fuck one up”, so to speak. And yes. He too looked sick. 

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