But high fashion, young consumers and innovative sport brands have another point of view. Sports has been a playground for designers frustrated by the status quo of the formal suit and tie side of a man's wardrobe. Looking good does not always mean dressing up, and new sports brands are merging technical expertise with luxury and style to put casual gear on a par with high fashion.
Look no further than Lanvin, one of the most luxurious labels for men, whose autumn 2008 collection includes trousers with a sweatpant style cuff, bathrobe coats and jackets as soft as cardigans. Lanvin's boots for autumn sport a thick grey rubber sole and look like galoshes.
"The soles were a technical breakthrough for us," says Lucas Ossendrijver, Lanvin's menswear designer. "We layered rubber and then covered the outside to make it look like one piece.
"I like to take opposites that clash and bring them together to make news," he says. "What I want is desirable clothes that are dressy, but not overdressed. For spring, we've looked at sportswear techniques and applied them in unusual ways. I think the mix of sportswear and tailoring looks quite easy."
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New York Times