The precursors of true sportswear emerged in New York before the Second World War. 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". Garments were designed to be easy-to-wear and comfortable, using practical fabrics such as denim, cotton, and jersey. McCardell in particular has been described as America's greatest sportswear designer. Her simple, practical clothes suited the relaxed American dress code, neither formal nor informal, that became established during the 1930s and 1940s. McCardell once proclaimed: "I belong to a mass production country where any of us, all of us, deserve the right to good fashion." 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. 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.
After the Second World War, the emergence in Paris of the luxurious "New Look" popularised by Christian Dior, with its emphasis on accessorising and femininity, was in direct contrast to the relaxed, easy-wear American look. Sally Kirkland, a fashion editor at Vogue and LIFE, noted that McCardell and others had already been thinking along the lines of longer and fuller skirts and fitted bodices, but that unlike Dior's heavily stiffened and corseted designs, they used bias-cut bodices and lightweight, easy-wear circle or pleated skirts to reproduce the same silhouette. Unlike traditional made-to-measure French couture fashion, designed for specific silhouettes, American sportswear was designed to accommodate a variety of body shapes and enable freedom of movement. With the lifting of fabric rationing and restrictions following the War, American designers were able to use unlimited fabric and the development of permanent pleating meant that pleated dresses and full skirts were easy to look after. In addition to this, American stores had begun to recognise the commercial value of separates, with LIFE reporting in 1949 that separates made up an all-time-high of 30% of clothing sales in the States that Fall.
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.
Jeans are a staple in any wardrobe, and Walmart carries a wide selection of brands and cuts to ensure you find the right fit for your unique style. Some of the popular jean fits are regular, straight, relaxed fit, skinny fit jeans, slim fit jeans and comfort fit. Our selection of jeans also come in various washes like rinse wash (dark denim) which is great for a dressier look, light denim, and even patterned jeans.
“Having boxed my whole life and being involved in the culture, I love what roots of Fight is doing. While being comfortable and stylish, they pay tribute to the fighters who helped build the sport and paved the way for fighters like Floyd Mayweather and any up and coming fighters. My favorite is the Mike Tyson sweatshirt that says Brooklyn on it, because that’s where I’m from.”
“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.”
“I enjoy wearing Lululemon gear. My favorite piece is their Metal Tech Vent long sleeve shirts. I'm a fan of long sleeve workout tops and this particular shirt fits perfectly around the body and arms. It allows me to move without any restriction and it also feels good—which are my top two most important qualifications for workout gear. Not to mention, I like how it looks on me.”
In the 1950s and 1960s, designers continued to develop the theme of affordable, practical and innovative sportswear, producing clothing that focused on wearability rather than fashion fads, including Anne Fogarty's coat-and-dress sets and dresses made with removable waistcoats to alter their look. The film costume designer Bonnie Cashin, who started producing ready-to-wear clothing in 1949, is considered one of the most influential American sportswear designers. She was known for her extremely practical layered ensembles inspired by ethnographic garments and textiles such as the Japanese kimono and happi, ikats, and the South American poncho. Her designs incorporated leather bindings, pockets with purse clasps, hooded jersey dresses and tops, and industrial zippers and fastenings. She put a brass clip resembling those used on dog leashes, on a long formal skirt so that it could be securely hitched up to enable the wearer to run up and down stairs, and her ponchoes and hoods (which could be rolled down to form elegant cowl-collars) were originally designed for driving on cool mornings. Cashin became one of the first American designers to have an international reputation. Alongside Cashin, Rudi Gernreich emerged in the 1950s as a key name in sportswear design, first becoming known for his swimsuits, but then expanding into geometrically cut, graphic clothes and knitwear that Kirkland described as the epitome of the "new California."
Chances are you’re intimately familiar with this mega-brand if you’re a gym rat, athlete, or even if you don't watch sports on the regular. But there’s a good reason that it’s the top dog in sports. That means the brand is always innovating with new technologies like Flyknit and Dri-FIT, which keep getting upgraded and integrated into more of its stellar gear.
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. 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. 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.
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“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.”
“I’m a fan of minimalism and understatement. No Bull apparel and shoes are not flashy, yet have a bold, unique design with quality material that doesn’t intrude on your performance. Living in a time where your appearance and activities often reflect your values and identity, I strongly identify with the brand’s message of no BS and putting in the work. I feel their products inspire and allow you to do just that.”