Many of the first sportswear designers were women, including McCardell, Potter, Elizabeth Hawes, Emily Wilkens, Tina Leser, and Vera Maxwell. A common argument was that female designers projected their personal values into this new style.[10] One of the few male designers at this time was Tom Brigance, who by the late 1930s was regularly ranked alongside Potter as a leading name in mid-range priced sportswear.[20] Like Potter, Brigance understood how to design smart and fashionable clothing for mass-production, which made his clothes attractive to manufacturers as well as to customers.[20] Two other notable male designers of sportswear at this time were Sydney Wragge and John Weitz.[21]
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]
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The Renaissance period marked the rebirth of scientific advancement, music, and the arts throughout Europe. Renaissance clothing reflects the vibrancy of culture and innovative tailoring techniques that marked the period of 1400 to 1600. Historical Clothing Realm features a generous selection of historically accurate Renaissance clothing, including dresses, jerkins, coats, vests, shirts, boots, and more.
“I grew up on Nike and they’re still consistently coming up with new ways to be innovative. They’re making clothing that allows me to focus on my training movements, being very specific to the personal details of their material and design, whether you’re doing yoga or showing up for a HIIT class. Nike seems to have an item to make sure you maximize each workout, assuring functionality and comfort—all without compromising the fact that their clothes look great, too! Look good, feel good, perform great—that’s what always keeps me motivated and a loyal brand customer.”
“I grew up on Nike and they’re still consistently coming up with new ways to be innovative. They’re making clothing that allows me to focus on my training movements, being very specific to the personal details of their material and design, whether you’re doing yoga or showing up for a HIIT class. Nike seems to have an item to make sure you maximize each workout, assuring functionality and comfort—all without compromising the fact that their clothes look great, too! Look good, feel good, perform great—that’s what always keeps me motivated and a loyal brand customer.”

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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Many of the first sportswear designers were women, including McCardell, Potter, Elizabeth Hawes, Emily Wilkens, Tina Leser, and Vera Maxwell. A common argument was that female designers projected their personal values into this new style.[10] One of the few male designers at this time was Tom Brigance, who by the late 1930s was regularly ranked alongside Potter as a leading name in mid-range priced sportswear.[20] Like Potter, Brigance understood how to design smart and fashionable clothing for mass-production, which made his clothes attractive to manufacturers as well as to customers.[20] Two other notable male designers of sportswear at this time were Sydney Wragge and John Weitz.[21]
Martin has observed that in America, prior to increasing worker freedoms from the mid-late 19th century onwards, leisure had been a luxury available only to the leisured classes during the Industrial Revolution (c.1760-1860), and before that, Puritan America had condemned leisure for all. He cites the 1884 Georges Seurat painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte as an immobile, "static and stratified" depiction of leisure in "direct antithesis" of the relaxed, casual American equivalent.[4] T.J. Clarke notes how La Grande Jatte illustrates people from the breadth of Paris society taking advantage of their free time by going to the riverside to show off new clothes, but that the act of removing one's jacket or otherwise loosening garments as a signifier of actually being at leisure was almost never done.[9]
The curator Richard Martin put on an exhibition on sportswear in 1985 at the Fashion Institute of Technology, in which he described sportswear as "an American invention, an American industry, and an American expression of style."[4] For Martin, American sportswear was an expression of various predominantly middle-class aspects of American culture, including health ideals, the concept of democracy, ideas of comfort and function, and innovative design which might refer to historical concepts or leisure attributes.[4] The establishment of a five-day working week and an eight-hour working day in America in the mid-20th century led to the need for clothing which enabled the fullest possible enjoyment of such increased leisure time, and was designed accordingly.[4] A subsequent exhibition of 1930s-70s sportswear, also curated by Martin, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1998, was introduced by Philippe de Montebello as showing pioneering garments, whose modesty, comparative simplicity, and wearability treated fashion as a "pragmatic art."[5] de Montebello carefully explained how significant American designers such as Norman Norell, Pauline Trigère, Charles James and Mainbocher, were not considered sportswear designers, as they were not dedicated to the design principles of versatility, accessibility and affordability in the way that Claire McCardell or Emily Wilkens were.[5]
“Outdoor Voices shorts are just the right length—gotta love split shorts to show off those running legs—and have all the pockets you ever need when you're out on a run. I can hold my MetroCard, cash, keys and gels without the shorts falling down. The brief liner is also super comfortable even when things get sweaty. The Merino Longsleeve T-Shirt is great for those colder mornings and later nights to keep you warm, but it’s also still breathable and wicks away moisture.”
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