In womens sports wear , performance calls for clothing that will transfer sweat away from the body, keeping the skin cool and dry. In addition, garments must be insulated against cold environments or wind and water (for skiing, mountain climbing). Many athletes layer their sportswear: a moisture transferring base, such as spandex, is worn next to the skin, then an insulating mid-layer, such as fleece, and finally a weather resistant outer shell piece, such as a rain jacket or wind and water proof pants.
While most men’s and women’s sportswear is designed in the same fashion, there are differences that make it possible to create more functional designs. For example, the length of a skirt or dress, sleeve length, and the location of seams all influence comfort, fit and durability.
Fashion Meets Fitness: Stylish Women’s Sports Wear for an Active Lifestyle
In the 1910s, as suffragettes struggled for the right to vote, female participation in sports was on the rise. Women needed clothes that would allow their bodies to move freely, but also respect the norms of the day. Garments were adapted from daywear styles, with a focus on ease of care and simple active silhouettes. Suzanne Lenglen revolutionized women’s tennis, shedding long skirts and lace corsets for short-sleeved pleated dresses that allowed her to play more vigorously in competition.
Today, Nike remains the leader in women’s sportswear, though Lululemon and Under Armour are challenging it. In addition, the athleisure movement is fueling a shift in the perception of sportswear as more than just athletic gear. Many consumers see it as a viable, if not alluring, alternative to the traditional dress code.