The influence of sportswear – a staple of street style – has been seen all over the runways lately.

Designers with a naturally sleek and sporty aesthetic, such as Alexander Wang and Michael Kors, are making it big and even fashion houses such as Givenchy and Chanel have incorporated sporty items and materials in recent seasons.

The crossover can happen in your wardrobe as well, even if you have one chock-full of corporate blazers and pencil skirts. The trick is to sneak in streamlined versions of sporty staples into your outfit, along with more conservative and casual elements.

For example, layer this simple and colourful Nike hoodie (photo 1, US$66 or S$82, from under a sharp black blazer like this one from Zara (photo 2, $189, from B1-12 Takashimaya Shopping Centre). Finish off with skinny jeans for a look that is casual cool. It is a combination that is worn often by men but works great for women as well.

You could also take a pair of silky, track-inspired pants such as these from H&M (photo 3, $59.90, from 1 Grange Road) and tuck a simple blouse into them.

Whether you go white (photo 4, $279, from Club Monaco at B1-41 Takashimaya Shopping Centre, available from next month) or black (photo 5, $29.90, from Uniqlo at B2-38 Ion Orchard), the look is nicely graphic and elevates the joggers.

Sneakers, the sportswear mainstay, go well with a simple shiftdress. Take a retro pair of New Balance kicks (photo 6, $129, from 01-39 Velocity) and pair them with a dress like this white piece with a houndstooth trim from Something Borrowed (photo 7, $29.90, from

The loose silhouette of the dress almost mimics an oversized T-shirt to create a subtly sporty overall vibe.
But do not be afraid to pair sneakers with more girly outfits, should you feel like it. Chanel sent out all of its models in its spring 2014 couture show (photo 8) in sneakers, in a fun contrast and modern twist to the tweed and pearls look above the ankles.

A touch of sportswear is actually a great way to tone down the formality of conservative pieces and turn them into a weekend outfit.

This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on August 22, 2014. For similar stories, go to You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.