Unless you're headed to the soccer field, leave your elastic-waist shorts and tank top at home. Dressing sporty has everything to do with casual style and nothing to do with your favorite basketball team. Sporty dress for guys falls someplace on the fashion scale between a t-shirt and business-casual dress. It's the sweet spot that has you looking causal yet in-the-know about mixing classic wardrobe staples with popular styles.
Layer your clothing with thin fabrics. Wear thin, cotton, button-down shirts over a t-shirt for a thoughtful, sporty feel. You can always take off the oxford if it gets too hot, but it adds a touch of style to an otherwise plain wardrobe staple. Other options over a tee include a light-knit cardigan, v-neck sweater or vest. When it's really cold outside, wear a trench coat, safari or jean jacket over your clothes. All three options are casual, yet make a bolder fashion statement than a sweatshirt hoodie, for example.
Search for stripes and patterns on shirts to help give a guy a more sportier look. Pair plaid shorts with a solid-colored polo shirt for a preppy look or cargo shorts and a belt with a short-sleeved, button-down stripped shirt. In the summer, unbutton cuffs and roll your sleeves up a bit. Also, leave a button or two undone more than usual. Flat-front, cotton chinos and dark-colored jeans are always a safe, sporty bet and can be paired with anything from knit-wear to cotton and fleece.
Find a boat shoe in leather or canvas, for example, that is not quite a loafer or dress shoe but can be paired with shorts or pants in any month. The best sporty options are Skecher-type shoes that feature a racing stripe, for example. Converse, Puma and Superga brands are also good, slim options that look sporty without the appearance of a bulky tennis shoe.
Tread lightly with trends. A good rule of thumb is to choose a conservative outfit, made up of classic wardrobe pieces. Next, look to see where you can make a statement using an of-the-moment fashion trend. Sporty options include brightly colored watches, slick eye wear, a patterned belt, a fun hat, and an appropriate-sized leather or rope bracelet, for example.