Men’s physicality has been on display through sport and military training for thousands of years, linking it to ritual, warfare and entertainment. Now a standard form of male dress, sportswear is designed both for the performance of particular sports and for the performativity of masculinities.
Distinctively British sporting style dates to at least the mid-1700s and has strong associations with class as the wealthy could afford the time and money for specialist clothing. Significant factors in the widespread adoption of sportswear include increasing leisure time for working people, cheaper mass-manufactured clothing, branding and technological innovation by sportswear businesses. Wearing specific clothing for watching sport has been equally important, especially as sportswear has shifted to leisurewear and streetwear.