Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 26th 2013 Contents A32
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, November 26, 2013
So long, dingy sweatpants.
Workout clothes for women, once relegated to
the back of the closet, are moving to the front of
the fashion scene.
Yoga pants are the new jeans, neon sports bras
have become the "it" accessory and long athletic
socks are hipper than high heels.
"I ve actually had more excitement buying work-
out gear than normal jeans and dresses," says Aman-
da Kleinhenz, 27, who wears workout gear both in
and outside of the gym in Cleveland. "I want to
Blame it on the push by many Americans toward
a more active lifestyle. Or call it an extension of
the nation s fascination with fashion. Either way,
these days jogging suits are just as likely to be seen
on a runway in New York as a treadmill in Texas.
In fact, sales of workout gear are growing faster
than sales of everyday clothing---by a lot. Spending
on workout clothes jumped seven per cent to $31.6
billion during the 12-month period that ended in
August from the same period a year ago. That com-
pares with a one per cent rise in spending for other
clothing to about $169.2 billion.
But these aren t cheap cotton T-shirts and span-
dex jumpsuits. Top designers like Calvin Klein,
Stella McCartney and Alexander Wang all rolled
out fitness chic clothing lines, with everything from
$50 leggings to $125 zip-front hoodies and $225
long john sweatpants. And big retailers like Gap,
Forever 21, Victoria Secret and Macy s have fitness
This is the latest evolution in fitness fashion.
Sweatpants and tees were the hallmark of athletic
clothing for decades. That changed with the inven-
tion of spandex in 1959, then again with the aerobics
craze of the 1980s when tights, leotards, legwarmers
and nylon track suits became popular.
Athletic gear giants like Nike, Reebok and Adidas
were popular for years as synthetic material like
Gore Tex and Lycra gained popularity because of
their performance qualities. Then, in the late 1990s,
it became cool to wear workout clothes everywhere
after the Lululemon athletic chain opened and
gained a loyal following of fitness enthusiasts willing
to shell out $100 for yoga pants.
Annie Georgia Greenberg, a New York editor for
style blog Refinery29, says she noticed the trend
at the New York Fashion week in September as
more people were choosing shoes like the neon
Nike Free Flyknit over designer pumps. Greenberg
herself paired a "Gold s Gym" T-shirt and Adidas
Samba sneakers with a two-piece bejewelled suit---
something she wouldn t have done a couple years
"It is almost cooler to be comfortable and athletic
and feel like yourself than to be overly glam," Green-
Fitness chic also sends a message to others that
you are living a healthy lifestyle, says Noreen Naroo,
senior creative director for apparel at fitness brand
Under Armour. Recently, Naroo did a mile run at
her daughter s elementary school with leggings, a
sports bra, T-shirt and sneakers. She changed from
her sneakers into boots to go to work.
"This is exactly what women are doing---running
between work and play," Naroo says.
Nike says that s one reason its women s business
has added $1 billion in revenue since fiscal 2010
to reach $4 billion in fiscal 2013. It s been fuelled
in part by demand for fashionable workout gear
like its leggings with compression technology that
is made to be flattering. Another hit has been its
"tights of the moment," limited edition running
tights with geometric or neon prints.
And to capitalise on the popularity of classes like
Barre and Pilates in which people usually go bare-
foot, Nike says it created a lightweight foot wrap
called Wrap Pack which helps with hygiene and
slippage, but also looks stylish. "Women don t want
to compromise performance or style," says Heidi
O Neil, Nike s vice president and general manager
Fitness chic clothing is in
Workout clothes are fast becoming a basic
wardrobe staple. Everything from neon bras
to Crossfit knee socks are becoming hip to
wear outside the gym.
of women s training.
CrossFit, a high intensity group training
programme, also has inspired fitness chic
with brightly coloured knee-high socks,
colourful tanks and accessories like head-
bands and compression arm bands.
"We re seeing fitness become a fashion
look," said Chris Froio, vice president of
fitness and training at Reebok, which
sponsors the CrossFit Games.
Danielle Duffy, 31, wears CrossFit T-
shirts and sparkly silver headbands or
customised pink-and-purple Reebok
shoes both in the gym and out hanging
out with pals.
"Sometimes we ll dress up in normal
clothing ... but mostly we re the sweaty
girls in CrossFit clothes hanging out in
a bar," says Duffy, who lives in Washing-
ton, DC. "We own it and we re going to
be those people." (AP)
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