There was a time when I was considered ‘sporty’ but years of bad eating habits, illness and exercise related laziness left me out of the ‘sporting loop’ for good, or at least so I thought. I had got into a pattern of excuses, believing that I was too ‘busy’ to exercise and blamed my hectic work schedule for not being able to take time out to exercise. Except of course that was a load of crap and as the years drifted by my refusal to be ‘healthy’ became more and more apparent. There is this misconception that just because someone is ‘slim’ they are healthy when the reality is far darker. I ate sporadically and my diet was terrible, failing to keep to a steady eating routine. Junk food was the order of the day and the more I felt exhausted the more I crammed. Soon I was consumed with the need to eat three times my body weight and my eating spiraled out of control. Except no one could see it because to them I was a perfect size 8 and they would ‘kill for my body’ . Yet I ate and I ate and it took a toll on my health. Now I was pretty ill during my university years and I can’t blame my lack of exercise and poor diet for my illnesses but it certainly didn’t help me feel any better and I knew I needed to make a change. But things made a turn for the worst and I became barely able to eat, sleep and daily activities became painful, as chronicled in ‘Living With An Invisible Illness’. I thought that there was no way out but in nine months after five years of a steady decline I am slowly rebuilding my health to get it to the place I want it to be at. There was tears along the way but I was able to trick my body into believing it was better again and help me get a step up in life. It was on my journey to getting my life back that I discovered Style Sportif, active loungewear dedicated to helping us ‘normals’ find our long lost ‘exercise vibe’.
Me and exercise spent so many years being enemies that I found it strange to get active again. The nature of my work meant that I walked all day but my upper core strength was weakened by my bad back and I knew I would have to seek more exercise alternatives than the Pilates I was forced to do alongside my physio. Queue Style Sportif; co- founded by entrepreneur Joanna Betts and Jemma Bolt, they realized that there was a gap in the market for a ‘fashion-led’ sportswear brand that emphasized a ‘look good, feel good’ ethos. And that is exactly what I needed; I used to view sportswear as ‘boring’ and ‘outdated’ because all I saw was a sea of monotonous colours that did not stand out from the crowd and it made me dismiss sportswear. I claimed that sportswear was not for me and looked down on ‘gym bunnies’ but now the joke is on me because I love gymwear and that is all thanks to Style Sportif. Jemma’s background as co-founder of styling company ‘Bang Tidy Styling’, award winning buyer, presenter and stylist meant that she had the ability and the passion to project a new active vision, combining her ‘eye for fashion’ and ‘passion for exercise’ to curate a ‘one stop shop’ of up and coming sportswear brands. As someone who is passionate about fashion, I connected to Style Sportif in a way that I never thought was possible and as I sifted through the site, I fell in love with active wear for the first time in my life. Bold and bright colours were juxtaposed against moody prints while patterns ranged from floral to more obscure architectural or futuristic prints.
It was difficult to narrow down my choices but after much deliberation I chose Laurie Nouchka’s Sagrada Crop, as part of the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona Collection. Featuring a colourful abstract print inspired by Spanish architecture, Laurie’s background as an artist made her the perfect advocate for ‘art that moves’. Drawing me into her colourful world, the wonderful emulsion of red, orange and yellow is painstakingly painted by hand, harnessing her love for ‘living art’ in each individual Sagrada crop. I was infatuated with the racerback Sagrada Crop from the moment I clapped eyes on it and its tight compression fit made it the perfect choice to get back into sport. The Sagrada crop is ‘limited edition’ due to the extensive craftsmanship and length of time it takes to curate each crop top, so I knew that I should order it because I would regret not choosing the crop at a later date. Far from an impulse order, the fully lined Italian made Eurojersey fabric is sensitive on the skin, meaning that it could ‘perform’ but still allow the skin to breathe, an ideal choice for active wear. As someone who has sensitivity to certain fabrics, the crop was surprisingly ok on my skin and although it was a little tighter than I would have liked I was willing to compromise because the print was ‘everything’. Also available as a swimsuit/one piece and matching leggings, it’s clear that commissioning or welcoming famed artist Laurie into the fold was a great portfolio to add to Joanna’s growing ‘fashion-led’ collection.
The Sagrada Crop might have been created with ‘sport’ in mind but the colourful print makes it ideal to mix with ‘everyday wear’ too; from Mary Quant style mini’s driven in from the 60’s to slick leather jacket and shade duos, the combinations are endless. Pairing the Sagrada Crop with black and white marble print leggings, the clash of the two prints works surprisingly well, while the imitation croc loafers and matching belted leather jacket creates a stunning contrast between ‘smart’ and ‘tough rocker’. The large orange and white wayfarers and matching red clutch bag is a perfect example of colour co-ordination done well, while the fusion of colour versus monochromatic accents, ensures that the Sagrada print remains ‘artistic’ vivid and by no means ‘garish’. The print is a lot easier to style than you would imagine and the bright fusion of sunshine yellow, burnt orange and pillarbox red makes it the perfect ‘sports’ staple to have in your wardrobe this summer. So when it comes to sportswear, I might not be your typical sports ambassador but my love for fashion and my desire to get active again makes me the perfect choice to model Laurie’s ‘living art’ in motion.
Have You Lost Your Fitness Mojo? Does Style Sportif Tickle Your Fancy?