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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.[26] 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.[22] 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.[26] 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.[22] 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.[22]
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]
Along with many other designers, Gernreich took advantage of the development in the mid-1950s of upgraded machine-knitting techniques to produce his work.[22] 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.[22][39] 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.[22] 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).[22]
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]
Along with many other designers, Gernreich took advantage of the development in the mid-1950s of upgraded machine-knitting techniques to produce his work.[22] 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.[22][39] 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.[22] 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).[22]
“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.”

Show off your medieval style at your next Renaissance Faire or Halloween party with our collection of Renaissance costumes and clothing. Here you will find exclusive Renaissance clothing pieces that you won't find anywhere else, as well as Renaissance costumes that are perfect for Halloween. No matter what your need, we are sure to have the perfect Renaissance costume in the size, style, and price range that you are looking for. Your friends and family will be impressed with the unique and authentic outfits they think you might have created all on your own. We just want you to have fun!


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]
“I’m extremely picky when it comes to performance gear. It all comes down to comfort for me. I prefer the tighter, slim fit, which is why I’m currently digging Outdoor Voice’s Sunday Shorts. They are the perfect length, extremely comfortable, and not ‘poofy’ on my legs, which is key for me—I have a tough time finding shorts that don’t flare out at the sides due to the pockets. I also love how versatile they are— I’ll wear them during a high intensity workout at my gym, but also while I’m waking my dog or going to the grocery store.
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