There are a few nostalgic fashion items that still feel on the cusp of a comeback—that, if you saw someone on the street wearing them, you’d assume it was ironic. On paper, the loud shell suits popularized by eighties sportswear, with their colourful nylon and baggy fit, definitely fit that bill. Even in the age of tiny sunglasses and fanny packs, these feel a tad too dated to make a grand re-entrance. But then you have Gucci sending its own riff on the style down its spring 2018 runway; hallmark athletic brands like Champion, Reebok, and Nike are revisiting the silhouette in heritage colourways and patterns. Thrift stores and Etsy are no longer your only options for getting that look.
E-commerce site Lyst reported a spike in searches around a range of terms—including shell jacket, shell tracksuit, shell suit top, combat trousers, and parachute pants—beginning in May and reaching a high point after men’s Fashion Week in Paris in late June. Most of these entries are coming from New York and London, according to Lyst, with searches up 87 percent year over year. The platform suggests recent collections from Gucci, Prada, and Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton may have played a role in this surge. Plus, Bella Hadid has been spotted in a shell suit or two, Kylie Jenner wore a neon version to Fashion Week…. This comeback story is getting harder and harder to ignore.
If you’re one of those shoppers that’s been eyeing shell suits on the sly or one who rocks the eighties aesthetic loud and proud—we’ve rounded up 17 sets to try now.
Forever21 Pepsi Anorak, R 580, Forever21
Nike Colorblock Anorak, R 1749, Nike
Fila sports Anorak, R 1299, Spree
Reebok Classics Windbreaker, R 950, Reebok
Geometric Anorak, R450, Topshop
Champion Tracksuit Top & Tracksuit Bottoms Two-Piece, R 2200, ASOS
Yellow windbreaker, R229.99, MRP
Adidas geometric jacket, R 1899, Adidas
Monochrome jacket, R599, Factorie