Out for a Run: Preppy New England Style


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This story originally appeared on one of our favorite websites, WELL+GOOD, the go-to-guide for all things health, fitness, and wellness!

If a fitness fashion brand spent summers on Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard, ran track growing up, and wore more J.Crew than Helmut Lang, it would be TRACKSMITH. And if you’re someone who’s more likely to be caught in your dad’s worn-in Oxford than rocking a leather jacket, it might just be the line you’ve been waiting for. The Boston-born activewear brand, which launched a men’s line last summer, is debuting its women’s collection online today (and with a pop up on Boston’s Newbury Street just in time for the Boston Marathon crowds).

Tracksmith has deep roots in the history and tradition of running—and it’s inspired by the classic, New England (and yes, a little bit preppy) style. So their aesthetic is whole different than what you’ll find on Carbon38’s site or at Bandier. Translation: There’s not a pop of neon, mesh detail, or splashy print in sight.

The line is the brainchild of co-founder and CEO Matt Taylor, who has running in his blood. Taylor was a collegiate track runner at Yale, worked as the marketing director of Puma for a few years, and created the wildly popular Usain Bolt mobile app during the 2012 Olympics.
The idea for Tracksmith came when he starting to notice how a lot of women’s fitness apparel was starting to look similar. “If you take the logos off garments it’s hard to distinguish different brands—they’re all headed in the same direction,” he says.

Not to mention all that black and neon didn’t exactly resonate with his New England sensibilities. So he dreamed up the design details that have become Tracksmith’s je ne sais quoi—a minimalist, subdued color palette, quick-drying merino tanks, and singlets with diagonal bands across them, which are inspired from an Ivy League track tradition that dates back to the late 1800s. “If you scored a point they sewed a satin sash diagonally across your singlet,” Taylor says. The exclusively American-made collection (so bonus points for shopping local) ranges in price from $52–$198.
And while running is top of mind when the team sits down to design, Tracksmith doesn’t exclude those who are more into indoor cycling or CrossFit. “The great thing about being a running brand is that almost everyone owns a pair of running shorts and running shoes,” Taylor says.

For Tracksmith’s marketing images (like the ones you see here), Taylor used real female runners with a serious passion for pounding the pavement—like, an Olympic-qualifying passion. He plucked them from the Boston area and took them to Belinas, California, for a three-day training camp where he had a documentary photographer follow them around to catch the brand’s lifestyle in action.
You won’t find models with visible six packs and harsh, slicked-back ponytails like some fitness fashion campaigns—it’s all real athletes with sweat glistening on their cheeks. Kind of makes you want to go for a run, huh?

—Molly Gallagher


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