The tracksuit is, according to Jane and Michael Stern’s The Encyclopedia Of Bad Taste, “the uniform of people who abjure dry cleaners and ironing boards” as well as “the all-purpose solution to all clothing problems.” Athletic wear of this nature has its roots in the sweatpants and sweatshirts first worn by track and field athletes in the late 1910s, but exercise suits didn’t become (theoretically) acceptable as everyday clothing until the late 1960s and early 1970s, when jogging became trendy in America. Tracksuits enjoyed a brief honeymoon during those years, when they were considered fashionable, but have since acquired a stubborn reputation as tacky and uncouth. The sweat-drenched garments have also played an important role in movie history, as demonstrated by ” “Leisure On The Lens: Tracksuits In The Movies,” a new supercut by Travis Greenwood and Robert Jones.
Here, set to “It’s Your Thing” by The Isley Brothers, is a montage of all the great warm-up suits in movie history. True to form, the older clips here tend to come from that aforementioned “honeymoon” period of the 1970s, when actors like Bruce Lee, Burt Reynolds, and Sylvester Stallone actually made tracksuits look good. Most of the clips, though, come from comedies and depict the tracksuit wearers as looking utterly foolish. The actor most often victimized in this manner? It’s Ben Stiller, who bravely dons ridiculous exercise togs in The Royal Tenenbaums, Dodgeball, Zoolander, and Starsky & Hutch. To many Hollywood costume designers, Stiller plus tracksuit equals comedy gold.
[via Laughing Squid]