The Track Suit

I had to watch Squid Games. More than anything, I was curious about how the show just became such a huge success regardless of the celebration of violence. If you have not watched the show, it is the ugliness of capitalism; winner takes all. It is about the survival of debt-ridden, down on their luck, oppressed people who have come to play a game watched by a group of billionaires for pleasure. It is a sick game, but somehow people can’t stop watching it, and I was one of those people. I finished the first series, and that was plenty. Definitely not going back for Season 2. I got it.

What was also intriguing was the tracksuits. Clothing stands for different things in different cultures. In Korea, wearing a tracksuit means you haven’t made it, so it would make perfect sense that all the contestants in Squid Game wear a tracksuit.

In the US during the ’70s, tracksuits were all the rave. I had a few with the matching jacket and pants and, of course, the striped knee-high sweat socks. It was the beginning of the “casual” life. No longer did we have to dress up every day. People in hipper and more casual industries, like the music industry, were dressing a bit more relaxed. The top execs always wore a suit, but over time, they stopped wearing ties. Girls could stop wearing skirts to school and wear pants. Can you imagine?

In the ’70s, my Grandmother used to make me dress up to go to the bank with her—another generation. I still like getting dressed up every day, not in a suit but in a look that feels good to me based on how I feel that day. It is also relevant to the industry. A female founder I worked with told me she would wear a suit for her Techstars pitch. I gasped, you can not wear that. Wear jeans and a great jacket. Nobody will take you seriously in a suit! What we wear is as tied to history as the art that is made.

The mid-drifts are back in, patterned stockings are coming back, oversized casual clothes are hip, vests are making appearances again, and the tracksuit is raging. Even Anderson Cooper is conducting interviews on 60 minutes wearing jeans, a black t-shirt, and sneakers.

Sometimes when I walk down the street and note the clothes being worn, I can’t help but wonder if there ever was teleportation to our past; what would Martha Washington think walking down the street? How would she have looked in a tracksuit?