The precursors of true sportswear emerged in New York before the Second World War.[2] Clare Potter and Claire McCardell were among the first American designers in the 1930s to gain name recognition through their innovative clothing designs, which Martin described as demonstrating "problem-solving ingenuity and realistic lifestyle applications".[10] Garments were designed to be easy-to-wear and comfortable, using practical fabrics such as denim, cotton, and jersey.[18] McCardell in particular has been described as America's greatest sportswear designer.[18] Her simple, practical clothes suited the relaxed American dress code, neither formal nor informal, that became established during the 1930s and 1940s.[2] McCardell once proclaimed: "I belong to a mass production country where any of us, all of us, deserve the right to good fashion."[19] Martin credits the 1930s and 40s sportswear designers with freeing American fashion from the need to copy Paris couture. Where Paris fashion was traditionally imposed onto the customer regardless of her wishes, American sportswear was democratic, widely available, and encouraged self-expression.[10] The early sportswear designers proved that the creation of original ready-to-wear fashion could be a legitimate design art which responded stylishly to utilitarian requirements.[10]
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.[4] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[4]
In the 1970s Geoffrey Beene, one of the first significant male sportswear designers, incorporated relaxed layering and elements of menswear into his women's clothing - details that continue to widely influence early 21st century industry designers.[2] In 1970, Bill Blass, whose fashion career began in 1946, founded his own company, Bill Blass Limited.[42] Blass's wearable designs were designed to be worn day and night and he was said to have raised American sportswear to the highest possible level.[43] Like Beene, he introduced menswear touches to his sportswear, which was described as clean, modern and impeccable in style.[43] Kirkland commented in 1985 that sportswear designers such as Liz Claiborne and Joan Vass were no longer "borrowing from the boys," but had begun making menswear too.[22] In addition to the high-end names who produced apparel in large quantity, a more personal level of sportswear was offered in the early 1980s by smaller designers such as Mary Jane Marcasiano and Vass, who specialised in hand-knits in wool and cotton.[22] By the mid-1980s, sportswear had become a key part of the international fashion scene, forming a large part of America's contribution to the twice-yearly fashion presentations alongside top-end collections from Paris, Milan and London.[22]
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“Lululemon gear is my favorite athleisure wear because, for starters, its as comfortable as can be. They are presentable and are fitted, so I can still look professional as a fitness professional. The 5 Year Basic Tee is one of my favorites because its super comfortable, but also a fitted t-shirt. It’s stretchy, so it hugs your body just right, and if it feels too tight, you can stretch it out a little before putting it on, and it will fit great.”
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.[4] 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[4]
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George is the exclusive clothing brand at Walmart. George is fashionable, affordable and has styles for all areas of your life. Whether it’s during the week at work, or relaxing on the weekends, George at Walmart makes shopping for essentials simple. Walmart also carries a variety of popular brands in addition to George, so you can shop a variety of styles in one place.
“Nike makes a great training short that I own every color in because I like them so much! These Flex shorts are fitted but also have a stretch in them, so they’re not restrictive when I’m squatting or performing other hip bending movements. Since I train a lot with a barbell, I look for gear that is not going to fade or deteriorate from the bar rubbing against it, over and over. These shorts have proven to be worthy for training in my opinion.”
While 1920s Paris designers offered haute couture designs that could be considered sportswear, it was typically not their design focus.[10] A notable exception was the tennis player Jane Régny (the pseudonym of Madame Balouzet Tillard de Tigny), who opened a couture house specialising in clothing for sport and travel.[8][11][12] Another famous tennis player, Suzanne Lenglen, was director of the sportswear department at Jean Patou.[12] In contrast to the flexibility of American sportswear, these expensive couture garments were typically prescribed for very specific circumstances.[10][12] Many couturiers began designing clothing that, whilst suitable for sport, could be worn in a wider range of contexts.[12] Coco Chanel, who promoted her own active, financially independent lifestyle through relaxed jersey suits and uncluttered dresses, became famous for clothes of "the sports type."[8][13] In 1926 Harper's Bazaar reported upon Chanel's sporty garments, noting the absence of equivalent apparel from New York fashion presentations.[8] However, Martin has noted that while Chanel was undeniably important and influential, her work was always based on couture construction rather than the easy-wear nature of American sportswear.[4]
The quality of Italian sportswear was recognized early on by Robert Goldworm, an American sportswear designer who in 1947 joined his New York-based family company Goldworm.[52] Through his second company base in Milan, Goldworm became the first American knitwear designer to take advantage of Italian quality and bring it to the New York market.[52] In 1959 Goldworm, in recognition of his active promotion and support of the Italian knitwear industry, was made a Commander of the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity by the Italian government.[53][54]
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In the 1930s and '40s, it was rare for clothing to be justified through its practicality. It was traditionally thought that Paris fashion exemplified beauty, and therefore, sportswear required different criteria for assessment.[10] The designer's personal life was therefore linked to their sportswear designs. Another selling point was sportswear's popularity with consumers, with department store representatives such as Dorothy Shaver of Lord & Taylor using sales figures to back up their claims.[10] Maxwell and Potter were two of the first three sportswear designers, along with Helen Cookman, to be showcased and name-checked in Shaver's window displays and advertisements for Lord & Taylor.[22] Between 1932 and 1939, Shaver's "American Look" program at Lord & Taylor promoted over sixty American designers including McCardell, Potter and Merry Hull.[17][23] Shaver advertised her American designers as if they were French couturiers,[6] and promoted their lower costs as a positive feature, rather than a sign of inferiority.[24] One of Shaver's retail experiments was a 'College Shop' section in the store, opened in the early 1930s and run by her assistant Helen Maddock, with the intent of offering casual but flattering clothing to young female college students. The stock, however, ended up selling swiftly to adult women as well as to the students.[22]
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“Lululemon gear is my favorite athleisure wear because, for starters, its as comfortable as can be. They are presentable and are fitted, so I can still look professional as a fitness professional. The 5 Year Basic Tee is one of my favorites because its super comfortable, but also a fitted t-shirt. It’s stretchy, so it hugs your body just right, and if it feels too tight, you can stretch it out a little before putting it on, and it will fit great.”
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