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What Is a Track Jacket?

February 24, 2022

Not all sportswear is created equal, nor can it be. Even the most versatile of garments provide highly specific style and benefits. This is ultimately for the better. 

The needs of long-distance runners, rugby players, golfers, and streetwear afficianods do not universally match. Why should their apparel? 

The prevalence of streetwear no doubt comes from its ability to suit daily use and high-performance athletics. Going from intense action to the rest of your day has never been easier with the style of modern streetwear.

Few pieces have earned as prominent a place in streetwear history as the track jacket. These pieces of sportswear serve as powerful layering pieces in any outfit they are paired with.  They are designed to help give runners protection without weighing them down. The result is lightweight, stylish pieces designed to meet both form and function.

Where Did Track Jackets Come From?

The origins of track jackets cannot be discussed without entering the history of the tracksuit itself. Both track jackets and pants were designed as separates in one complete outfit. The original tracksuit was released in 1939 by French company Le Coq Sportif. 

This idea of sportswear that could double as daily apparel was novel in the early 20th century. The early marketing even alluded to the casual alternative it allowed, calling the tracksuit in question “The Sunday Suit.”

The tracksuit would not be what it is today without a concurrent evolution in synthetic fibers. Polyester, nylon, and spandex, all popular in athletic apparel, were all invented in the 1930s and 1940s. These pieces offered unique properties in regards to drape, heat, and moisture response compared to organic fibers. Many of the early tracksuits used french terry or cotton, but synthetic is now the standard for the best suits.

Despite the early presence of Le Coq Sportif, it would be another company that would end up popularizing the track jacket. The 1960s saw the tracksuit enter popular usage, especially among American athletes. These pieces were made of cotton and used buttons instead of zippers. Adidas solidified its popularity with a 1967 collaboration tracksuit in tandem with athlete Franz Beckenbauer.

The special properties of the tracksuit made it popular on the track and on the streets. It could be seen in countless movies, in presidential wardrobes, streetwear, and the world of athletics. 

Tracksuits can be spied in lines from casual brands, sportswear producers, and luxury designers. Adidas is still putting out collaborations, as seen in our DP Adidas Basketball Collection.

What Makes a Track Jacket?

Track jackets stand uniquely in the world of sportswear. If they didn’t, they would not receive a name highlighting specific athletic capabilities. Some rules are looser than others, but guiding principles inform what a track jacket is. 

  • Fitted: Tracksuits need to be fitted to some extent to avoid tripping up runners in motion. They generally fit tighter than sweats without being skin-tight. Consider them a comfortable middle ground navigating relaxed sportswear and the regular fit of other apparel.

  • Material: There is no hard rule as to what material a track jacket has to be made of, but tendencies exist. The vast majority of track jackets are made from synthetic materials such as nylon and lined for additional quality. Nylon is known for its lightweight and quick-drying properties, making it ideal for pared-down, full coverage sportswear. Some designers use other materials to make bold statements, like in vintage velour tracksuits.

  • Zips: Track jackets require an open front; otherwise, they are a form of pullover and not a jacket. Early tracksuits sometimes used buttons, but zippers down the center of the jacket are standard today.

The best pieces use the necessity of a center zipper to highlight the overall shape of the jacket. This can come in the form of branded zippers or additional ones running throughout the garment.

  • Track Pants: Track jackets can be styled on their own or with their matching separate. The fact remains that most track jackets are designed with a full tracksuit in mind and not as individual pieces.

The full tracksuit may have pieces that play off each other or present a wholly monocolored design. This lets the wearer choose between a contrasting outfit or to emphasize their aesthetic with a uniform silhouette. 

Our Track Jackets

The above features make a normal track jacket, but we do not consider ourselves a normal brand. Daniel Patrick is one of the few designers in the world to focus almost exclusively on luxury sportswear. The result is pieces that aim for the pinnacle of style, design, and athletic performance. The result is track jackets that take old standards and put them to their absolute limits. 

Contrast paneling, luxury accents, and special accents allow for immediate recognizability. We go above and beyond in our selection of materials, with contrasting and non-traditional fabrics given each track jacket allure. Classic nylon, corduroy accents, and statement-making reflective fabrics all make our track jackets stand out among others. 

We source and produce the overwhelming majority of our designs local to our central hub of Los Angeles. We believe that keeping the manufacturing process local helps us better engage with our community and ensure ethical business practices. The only time we dip elsewhere is when a country has verdant natural resources and powerful labor laws. This can be seen in our footwear, which is made in Portugal for the quality of the nation’s leather.

It’s one thing to say how our pieces aspire to continue a legacy of sportswear evolution that started a century ago. It’s another to showcase it firsthand. The remainder of this article will be highlighting a few of our best track jackets. Unique materials, bold contrasts, and iconic silhouettes all figure highly in the next few paragraphs. 

2021 Track Jacket 

Our 2021 Track Jacket truly fuses form, fit, and function in an athletic garment made for the modern age. This relaxed fit track jacket features polyester cross-straps, with the Daniel Patrick name in outline embroidery of the back.

The piece itself is made from 100% nylon, with full polyester lining. This fuses the smoothness of nylon for exterior wear and the insulating properties of polyester for mild or cold weather.

The bottom of the garment is kept simple with understated elastic on both the cuffs and waist. Two front pockets add protection to personal effects thanks to DP branded zippers. The jacket features a hidden hood compartment at the neck, as well as a diamond applique left chest logo. Each colorway of the 2021 Track Jacket matches perfectly to a version of our Parachute Track Pant V Cargo. 

The above features are shared across each version of this track jacket. The most striking part of each colorway remains the special, signifying design properties.

2021 Track Jacket Black Reflective and Silver Reflective

This variation of our 2021 Track Jacket is for those who feel confident announcing their presence wherever they go. A black nylon body is distinguished by silver cross-straps. 3M, known for their reflective apparel, makes the perfect companion to highlight these contrast panels. 

The nylon which makes up this track jacket is reflective. This means black that gleams softly under light and bright silver that glimmers almost gem-like. Only the matte fabric around the central zipper contrasts this. 

Reflective materials are a way to make a statement going out or ensuring you’ll be spotted on night runs. Always stand out with this powerful colorway.

2021 Track Jacket Red and Black and Maroon

The previous jacket stood out through a blazing, uniform appearance. This 2021 Track Jacket colorway instead uses high-contrast materials to define its appearance. 

The red lower body of the track jacket and neck are both made from nylon. The cross-straps are made from black polyester, with white Daniel Patrick embroidery on the back. The white 3M accents serve to highlight the contrast between panels all the more. The defining feature of this particular model is the fabric that makes up the chest and shoulders.

Matte, maroon corduroy contrasts with synthetic fibers in texture, color, and appearance alike. The matching track pant also features corduroy contrast panels at the knees for a two-toned appearance. 

Both versions of the 2021 Track Jacket take the same standards and design fundamentals but apply them to wildly different results. Choose to stand out, whether it be through the power of contrast fabrics or with dazzling, reflective streetwear.

The Future of Track Jackets

Track jackets started out as purely athletic garments, intended and marketed only for the weekends. Thankfully the piece is no longer restrained to one sphere of life. The versatility, usefulness, and style of tracksuits have since permeated into every aspect of our culture. The Sunday suit has since become a suit for daily use. 

Treating the track jacket as a serious garment will no doubt lead to continued exciting versions of it. Athletes and street stylists will both be able to benefit from the long-overdue appreciation sportswear have finally earned. 


Sources:

The History Of The Tracksuit I Reader's Digest

The History of Fabrics And Different Fibers I ThoughtCo

Charting The History Of The Velour Tracksuit I CR Fashion Book


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