Why the Juicy Couture tracksuit is eternal

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Sophie Ross is In The Know’s shopping contributor. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for more.

Like many other 13-year-olds in the early 2000s, the Juicy Couture tracksuit was the pièce de résistance of my wardrobe. I owned several iterations I’d gotten at steep discounts from T.J. Maxx — a burgundy velour version, a blue terrycloth set — all of which were fastened with the brand’s signature “J” zipper. I’d rotate and wear them everywhere from school, to mall trips, to sleepovers after Bat Mitzvah parties — as would all of the stylish older girls at my high school (whose sartorial choices I’d obviously try to emulate). 

Of course, the Juicy tracksuit trend didn’t start at a suburban Ohio high school. You couldn’t open a tabloid or a P*rez H*lton article in 2005 without seeing every It-girl — from Paris, to Britney, to Lindsay — rocking their own bedazzled velour ensemble, the shiny “J” zipper reflecting the flash of the paparazzi’s bulbs while they wove their ways through places like LAX and The Grove. Jessica Simpson sported them on Newlyweds and Jennifer Lopez wore them in her video for “I’m Real.”

In a world of 2020 spon-con, it’s interesting to note how the “product placement” was always totally organic — the masses, including celebrities, clearly loved the brand’s line of sweats because they were, above all, comfortable. And cool, and covetable and the epitome of casual luxury, pretty much. While today, we hardly see celebrity “street style” candids that don’t involve a team of stylists and a glam squad, things were different back then. (Today’s influencers could never.)

It was an iconic era. 

And so — as we all know by now — the Juicy Couture craze would ultimately subside over the years, around the time that Juicy-enthusiast Kim Kardashian went from a sidekick in a tracksuit to a household name. My T.J. Maxx-sourced sweats gathered dust as I eventually left them behind for more “grown-up” loungewear. 

But I’m thrilled to announce that Juicy Couture is officially making a comeback. And it almost does feel perfect for the “grown-ups” of 2020: The brand recently dropped a new collection of sweats, jumpsuits, T-shirts and more, available on their website, and also partnered with outerwear brand Apparis to create chic, faux-fur tracksuits and jackets that both my inner 13-year-old and outer 28-year-old appreciate. 

The current staples the brand offers will take you right back to the glory days: Velour hoodies with matching track pants, “Juicy” derriere embellishments, conspicuously placed logos, fleece pullovers. My personal favorite is a ruched sleeve top with matching velour leggings

Juicy Couture’s resurgence has less to do with my personal preferences, though, and more to do with the times we’re living in: It’s no secret that “the matching sweatsuit” has become the breakout wardrobe staple of 2020. With COVID-19 lockdowns ushering in a new era of staying in and working from home, people are purchasing comfy, PJ-adjacent apparel more than ever. And while the economy may have taken a downturn this year, loungewear sales were shockingly at an all-time high worldwide — just check out the data

On top of that, there’s another important factor that appears to be coming into play: nostalgia, which is always a fashion-industry hit, but especially in a year that’s thrown as many curveballs as 2020 has. It’s no surprise that some of us are finding comfort — no pun intended — in something that takes us back to the innocence and bliss of our childhoods. 

And speaking of childhood: The Juicy Couture tracksuit doesn’t take itself seriously. It’s whimsical, silly, playful. Perhaps, in times of discontent, no one wants to be bothered by “serious” clothes. Colorful velour is a little slice of comfort and silliness during a time of chaos and uncertainty. 

It almost seems like the stars were aligned to poise the Juicy Couture tracksuit for a comeback this year. And, even if we go back to our high heels, strapless bras and “grown-up” clothes eventually — the COVID-19 vaccine could certainly change everything in 2021 — fun, comfort-first fashion likely isn’t going anywhere. And if you need me, I’ll be cozying up in my “Js” like it’s the after-party of a 2005 Bat Mitzvah.

If you enjoyed this story, check out Sophie Ross’ roundup of 12 little luxuries that will elevate your WFH space!

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