When you’re in the middle of a downward dog, sweat dripping everywhere, you don’t want to be fiddling with a creeping up shirt or low rise (thong flashing) pant. Nothing is more obnoxious then active wear that distracts you from focusing on your workout.
Long gone are the days of shapeless baggy cotton t-s and shorts. Today’s athlete demands it all. A perfect fit, fashion forward style, comfortable and sustainable fabrics, and above all, performance enhancing technologies.
The nearly $30 billion sports apparel industry has us swimming in endless options. Spandex, or Lycra? Moisture wicking and flat seams? I just want a flattering yoga pant!! Whether you’re an Olympic hopeful or a workout newbie you’ll need to navigate the racks of “sweat couture.” Here’s your guide to the 7 top fitness wear trends and how they’ll aide you in creating your most epic self.
I know you ladies out there have heard of Spanx leg and shapewear… a perfect example of how compression has filtered into everyday undergarments. And remember those Fastskin swimsuits worn by the infamous Micheal Phelps in Bejing? Though not the most practical for us gym goers, that’s compression at it’s finest. Fantastic!
What to look for: Keep your eyes peeled for form-fitting and anatomically shaped garments. For example, legging or tights should have the shape of a leg and not just be a tube like pantyhose. Check the label for the level of pressure measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Anything over 12 mm Hg will give the leg more energy. Anything under 10 won’t make a difference.
What to look for: Dig for the label and make sure the fabric is either a cotton/synthetic blend, or purely synthetic. Spandex, Lycra, and Nylon are all great examples. The blends tend to be softer with that coveted luxurious feel.
The real advances are in sports protective gear like plastic mouth guards, and chest and pelvic protectors. A growing number of locker room health threats like staph infections have taken antimicrobial technology to the forefront. Silver, for example, is the only mineral on earth that bacteria doesn’t have much defense against. Which is exactly why the metal has been incorporated into thread and nanotechnology for clothing. More specifically socks, and undergarments.
What to look for: SmartSilver is a product to scope out. It’s currently used in high end luxury cotton lines of underwear, undershirts and socks. In terms of other outstanding products, WIN High Performance Sport Detergent is the official licensed product of the U.S olympic team and will work wonders at getting rid of embedded sweat and odors. Now you won’t have to toss a well loved jersey… it’s all about finding the right soap!
Coconut suppresses odor and dries super quick, while bamboo, aloe and soy keep fabrics soft and able to drape well. The fact that bamboo and soy grow quickly and don’t need nearly as much water as cotton, makes them less harsh on the earth to grow and sustain. Buyers not only interested in cotton alternatives, but organically grown options. Organically dyed, finished and printed are in high demand.
What to look for: Clothing made of any of the above raw materials…coconut, bamboo, soy, and organics. Weigh your options and decide what’s really best for the environment…an organic shirt flown in from China or a locally produced bamboo top?
What to look for: Decide what you type of demands you’ll be inflicting on your active wear as a jumping off point. Need top notch performance? Go for the tight and slimming, yet hardy pant. Want to relax in yoga class? Opt for a loose fitting pant with a fold-over or drawstring waist. The perfect fit has to not only look amazing, but perform on point. So find the dressing rooms because trying on is key.
What to look for: Zippers, and pockets are the key details here. Look for pants that can easily transform into shorts, or jackets with sleeves that can be removed when the sun comes out. Designers are also trying to make life a little easier by inserting small pockets just about everywhere. Store that loose key while on a run, or velcro your iPod securely in place. There’s nothing like wearing stylish yoga pants all day. Talk about a constant reminder to keep your booty active!
What to look for: Tops with longer torso’s that flatter all sizes by elongating the waist. Wide and flat waistbands that don’t dig in. Just like in your everyday wear, create your own style. Find hues that go well with your skin tone and shapes that work for you in all the right places. Companies like Adidas, Lucy, Lululemon, and Danskin are on the cutting edge when it comes to innovative cuts, fabrics and shapes.
Now you are well equipped with all the info you’ll need to scope some killer threads. Happy hunting!