Don't Forget to Stretch
Stretchy fun clothes. Flexi-nice anti-gross apparel. Yoga-dance pilata-cheer stuff. Okay, so the blanket term for this style of athletic apparel might still need some work, but whatever you want to call it, the kind of clothing meant for yoga classes, dance practices, or cheerleading and gymnastics teams is definitely a niche that needs attention.
After all, not every woman works out in the same way, slogging away on a treadmill or stair machine at the gym. There are a host of exercise options, like aerobics classes, pilates DVDs or even low-impact tai chi, popular among women and requiring a whole different kind of athletic performance apparel. A kind of clothing that offers more than just moisture wicking, that features more stylistically than just some color-blocked vented panels. It needs to be flexible while form-fitting, high performance yet comfortable and stylish enough to be worn whether on the yoga mat or out running errands.
START FROM THE TOP
For the right kind of top, look for items that blend athletic and nonathletic style and have a healthy amount of performance features. "The ideal athletic top will be moisture-wicking, engineered for freedom of movement and vented appropriately," said Kirwei Lo, marketing communications specialist for BroderBros., Trevose, Pa. "You often see tanks with built-in support, as well as fitted T-shirts in yoga."
Stylistically, these kind of athletic tops tend to lean toward the designs of their nonperformance peers. Mark Smalley, marketing for American Apparel, Los Angeles, noted that bright, retro colors, as well as designs that have an "80s throwback vibe" to them are popular in this type of athletic apparel just as they are in retail in general right now. Lo added that in some markets, like those related to dance teams or classes, the tops can be quite fashion-forward. "One interesting thing I've seen is that dancers are now wearing clothes that look like simple fashion T-shirts," she said. "I think there is a end-user market there as well."