Back on track: Sporty spring separates

Step into sporty separates this spring – and to really go the distance, keep the look luxurious with leather embellishments, draped jersey and heeled trainers, writes Harriet Walker

When fashion types talk about "sportswear", they don't mean tracksuits – although the most current incarnation of the trend is perhaps more literal than previous versions have been.

Stylish sportswear simply means a sort of relaxed daywear, informed by the more casual American look that took off in the Fifties. But looking sporty for 2010 nods more towards the running track than the runway.

Remember to always warm up with this trend. If you're used to being dressed up, you can keep the glamour by choosing bright, colourful pieces. The rule is that they shouldn't be too fussy in construction or have too much going on by way of embellishment. Sporty fabrics like jersey and drill cotton are casual and comfy – two of the key watchwords with this look.

Jogging bottoms are back from the wilderness, so save yours for special occasions, not just for the sofa. They're sharp this season in grey marl or khaki, nonchalantly rolled at the bottom and worn with none-too-prissy heels – block wedge sandals, clogs or peep-toe ankle boots only, nothing strappy or wobbly. Decade-old joggers with baggy knees are not acceptable, ditto anything bobbly.

If you feel they're a little too Vicky Pollard for your tastes, try some utilitarian harem pants, khaki chinos or slim-fitting cargo trousers (note: not of the Nineties girl group variety). Your colour palette should include a good mix of neutrals, as well as olive, slate grey, navy and stone.

Accessories should be functional with a vintage spin. Tan leather is a perfect accompaniment, with its prevailing connotations of medicine balls, from the days when sport was a serious business. Rucksacks, bum-bags and messenger bags work well with sportswear; steer clear of nylon and polyester in case it all gets a bit Foot Locker.

So take your positions, get set, shop.

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