We Have The Technology
As for apparel that isn’t as confined by team uniformity or the conventions of organized sports, there are more abstract style considerations to be had. For example, while athletic apparel favors bright colors and color-blocking like its nonathletic counterparts, it also places a heavy emphasis on grays. Lopez suggested this is because gray reinforces the high-tech look of the garment. “Grays have become very important,” she said. “You’ll see every shade, from light grays to dark grays to charcoal.”
She added that the functionality of the piece also affects how it looks. “A lot of meshes are very popular because they’re lightweight and they’re breathable, and they can be added as insets for garment appeal,” said Lopez. “But also, if they’re added to high-perspiration zones, it gives a body-mapping kind of functionality to the garment.” Body mapping is a technique where heat and moisture trapped by the garment is managed by mesh, either as blocked insets on their sides, under the arms or along the contours of the chest, hence why athletic apparel often has color-blocked patterns in those areas. Body mapping can also be engineered into the fabric as a whole, so some garments can possess the feature without the tell-tale blocks.
Strategically placed mesh panels may seem like the height of high-tech gear, but some workout wear is taking it even further, adapted to the latest in portable music players. Lopez mentioned Vantage Apparel has been adding more features, like cell phone and MP3 player pockets, as their use becomes more popular with the exercising public. Some of Vantage’s outerwear is even designed with internal pockets and bungee loops to allow headphone wires to be neatly secured inside the jacket.