Rebecca Arnold and Emily S. Rosenberg have noted how the American look, demonstrated through healthy teeth and the use of affordable, good-quality fashionable clothing to present a neat and practical appearance, despite claims of egalitarianism, was ultimately held up against white standards of beauty. Rosenberg has pointed out a six-page spread in LIFE dated May 21, 1945, which explicitly described girls with an athletic 'American look' of good teeth, good grooming, and good, not-too-masculine, simple, neat attire, as being seen as preferable to girls from England, France, Australia or Polynesia.
Sportswear originally described activewear - clothing made specifically for sport. Part of the evolution of sportswear was triggered by 19th-century developments in female activewear, such as early bathing or cycling costumes, which demanded shorter skirts, bloomers, and other specific garments to enable mobility, whilst sports such as tennis or croquet could be played in barely-modified conventional dress. One of the first couturiers to specialise in sports-specific clothing was the British John Redfern who in the 1870s began designing tailored garments for increasingly active women who rode, played tennis, went yachting, and did archery. Redfern's clothes, although intended for specific sporting pursuits, were adopted as everyday wear by his clients, making him probably the first sportswear designer. Also in the late nineteenth century, garments associated with activewear and/or modified from menswear, such as the shirtwaist began to form part of the working woman's wardrobe. Prior to 1920, men and women could both demonstrate their being at leisure simply by removing a jacket, either literally in the case of menswear, or metaphorically by a woman wearing a shirtwaist blouse that resembled a man's shirt worn without a jacket.
Whether you're a hardcore gym rat, a runner, a climber or a fitness beginner, we've got men's workout clothes to suit. Performance T-Shirts and mesh tanks keep you cool and dry, while slouchy joggers, knit and woven workout pants and sleek athletic tights are all designed to maximize comfort and ease movement. Check out our wide selection of men's cross training shoes, running shoes and athletic shoes too—because the right footwear and gym shoes are key to taking you all the way to your fitness goals. Once you've chosen the activewear and training gear that's right for you, find a rugged gym bag to stash it all when you're on the go.
Along with many other designers, Gernreich took advantage of the development in the mid-1950s of upgraded machine-knitting techniques to produce his work. Double knitting (which was developed in Italy) enabled the mass-production of easy-to-wear knitted suits, coats and dresses that retained their shape and became a key American look in the 1960s and '70s. Another knitwear development involved varying the lines of the classic T-shirt so that it could be extended into dress-length versions, long or short sleeves, and other variations, including, by 1960, a sequined long evening version by Kasper for Arnold & Fox. In the 1960s, American sportswear depended on very simple shapes, often made in vivid colours and bold, geometric prints (such as those by Gernreich and Donald Brooks).
“I have multiple pairs of shorts, shirts, and tank tops from Rhone. I really enjoy their gear for going on runs or bootcamp-style classes, where I don't have to worry about them wearing from a barbell. They are comfortable, and have enough stretch in them that allows zero restriction. The clothing is presentable and fitted, which in my line of work really is helpful.”
Before co-founding the business that later became Missoni with his bride Rosita in 1953, Ottavio Missoni, himself an athlete, and his teammate Giorgio Oberweger had an activewear business in Trieste making wool tracksuits christened Venjulia suits. The success of the Venjulia suits, which took into account the need of athletes for functional, warm garments enabling freedom of movement, led to their being worn by the 1948 Italian Olympics team (which included Missoni himself). In the 1960s Missoni became renowned for their uniquely colored, mix-and-match knitwear separates based upon activewear, which have remained desirable and fashionable well into the 21st century.