“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.”
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.
“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.”
In the 21st century, Italian fashion remains a leading source for sportswear design outside the United States. Narciso Rodriguez, who is known for streamlined and pared down clothing, launched in Milan in 1997, but moved to New York in 2001. Miuccia Prada revived the fortunes of her family company Prada with her top-quality sportswear designs in the 1990s, and continues designing for the firm.
“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.”
Whether the 411 comes from targeted posts on Facebook, influencers promoting on Instagram, or just a new logo on a slick pair of joggers that catches your eye at the gym, there seem to be a never ending amount of brands producing fitness clothing. And with specialty gear comes specialty prices—most of the newer brands are expensive to the point of being prohibitive, even though they've largely not been tried and tested by the general public. How can you know if you’ll regret shelling out the dough for a shirt one of your favorite follows was rocking on the 'Gram?