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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Buenos Aires and the plague of the Adidas track suit

The classic look
Upon arriving in Buenos Aires the first thing we noticed was that the people were friendly, and that they spoke Spanish like Italians.

We noticed too what a lovely city it is architecturally, and its vibrant feel. But something was off. The people looked as if they had “let themselves go”, and in a manner that had nothing to do with poverty.

Then, one day while walking down Independencia, we witnessed an extraordinary sight. A well-dressed middle-aged woman was casually tearing a strip off a man in his thirties. He had his nose stuck in his device. In his left hand, a cigarette smouldered.

But this wasn’t what offended her.

“Put some trousers on!” she said in disgust, and walked off.
Working the hat

The man was wearing Adidas track pants. 

Dark blue - or were they black? - with three white stripes. 

So what? The man just smiled, took a drag from his cigarette, and continued to thumb his device. 

The woman’s behaviour was bizarre, particularly in this friendly city.
Old school
 But then we began to notice. The Adidas track pant, and to a lesser extent the top, are everywhere. Nike comes in a distant second.

The Adidas track pant is, we realized, what gives this city an odd feeling, as if it had suddenly been hit with a wave of post-Soviet immigrants. The Adidas track look is, after all, owned by eastern-European men. It was Capitalism when, to them, Capitalism was suddenly new. But that doesn’t explain Buenos Aires.

Part of it may be a persistent infantilism. If times are tough, and the climate allows for casual wear, then why dress as if you have anything important to do? 
Does he know something we don't?

Or it could be that Argentina is soccer mad. The best footballer in the world, Lionel Messi, hails from here, and has promoted Adidas products. But he pushes footwear mostly, and doesn’t sport the classic long pant with three white stripes.

Whatever the reason, its persistence is remarkable. None of the photos posted here are doubles, and they were all taken during a few hours in one afternoon. Many didn't make the cut (need to see the stripes).

Perhaps Cristina Kirchner, the increasingly autocratic President of Argentina, could do something? Maybe a new tax, a quota, or an outright ban? Surely, something could be done.... 

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

For another off-the-wall story see:

March 27: The cardboard-on-grass tobogganers of Montevideo, Uruguay

For recent stories in Argentina see:



Below is a collection of images...Just to confirm we aren't making this up -

Nike top, and yellow striped Adidas below...
A full kit
Working the combo
The popular mid-cut

Classic at rest
In the metro
Owning it

The future of fashion?

Adidas with purpose



Socks optional 
Forever young
Walking an upper with "tenis"
Who am I?
A new take
Help is on the way





Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

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Into the board room?

1 comment:

  1. I seem to recall when traveling through Sweden some years ago that everyone wore track suits. You would see parents and children in matching track suits. Everywhere.

    ReplyDelete