Sales of women’s running-specific apparel grew from $275 million in 2008 to $350 million in 2010.
Source: Fastinista! Runner’s World
I recently read this article about what women wear and how we dress for our runs and workouts on Runners World. I saw that statistic and was surprised. Initially. As I kept reading it got me thinking about my running fashion. How have I evolved since I started running some 10 years ago?
When I first started running I ran in t-shirts and shorts. Not always running shorts, sometimes just good old mesh shorts from the Champion outlet. I was 14, playing sports in high school. I was a pretty good athlete in high school, I played sports year round. I swam in the fall, did cross-country skiing in the winter and ran distance track in the spring. My mom was pretty awesome with laundry but it was clear I would need a decent amount of workout gear. I don’t recall a favorite running shirt or an awesome pair of shorts or snazzy sneakers. I do remember the hideous singlets of high school track. As I went on to college the ugly running singlets of cross-country remained, but now with matching shorts that made everyone look 5 pounds heavier. By the time I was a senior in college my running gear was evolving, that was 2008. I finally had sports bras in technical fabric and fun colors. Nike was making running shorts that were breathable, flattering and brightly colored. Tanks and tees were becoming easier to find in bright colors and fun patterns. And running shoes were starting to be more exciting! How has it evolved since 2008?
Since 2008 my running wardrobe has been completely reworked. About 99% of my running clothes, yoga gear and to and from gym wear are all Lululemon. The remaining 1% is Nike running shorts since Lululemon’s are too short and too tight for my build. I have amazing running clothes that now double as my lounge wear. They are fitted, detailed with ruffles, ruching , and reflective logos or designs. My long-sleeved tops have cuffins and thumb-holes to keep my hands warm on cold days. I have hot pink tops for days when I am bright and cheery and darker more calming colored tops for when I don’t feel so vibrant. I can choose from a pant, a legging, a capri, a legging in capri length, a dance pant, shorts, a running skirt.
The look and style of a product isn’t the only factor that has contributed to an increase of 75 million dollars in sales of women’s running-specific apparel. According to the article we are more cognizant of the material and its functionality. It needs to be wicking, potentially hide our sweat and mask our smells so that we can take our running skirts from an 8 mile run to the grocery store and skip the shower. All of my workout gear is made of a specialty fabric. I wouldn’t dream of running in a cotton t-shirt these days.
I’m a busy girl. In any given day I’m commuting an hour to work, working a full day, driving an hour home, getting in a run or heading to a yoga class, then off to do errands, make a healthy dinner, see friends or family or spend time with my boyfriend. Not to mention squeezing in some “me” time for my hobbies (this blog, reading, etc.) If you are a wife or a mother, or a home owner, the list is likely far longer than mine. Being able to go from one activity to another without showering or needing to change helps eliminate some of the stress of trying to get everything done. I like knowing that if I hit a yoga class but am meeting a friend after I don’t need to stress about bringing other clothes to change into. I look pretty cute in my Lululemon gear!
I’m regularly training for a race or looking forward to a yoga event. These are activities that define who I am so it’s important to me to express myself with my clothes, especially since I’m a bit of a fashionista! If I am going to a yoga event I want to look my best, I believe in first impressions. I just ran the Chicago Marathon. I had picked out my race day outfit weeks before the race. I wanted it to be fun and cute but it needed to have the functionality of being comfortable and keeping me dry for 26.2 miles. I chose the Pace Setter skirt from Lululemon with ruffles on the back! It’s sassy and comfortable. I got the Dash Tank II with ruffles and rushing down the back. It’s a pretty purple/blue color. I got a coordinating sports bra too. The tank is also a lifestyle tank and looks super cute with jeans and shorts so I can wear it long after the marathon and outside of yoga and runs. With a price tag of $52.00 the versatility of it makes me feel better about the cost.
As an athlete and a woman it’s great to see these companies understanding our lifestyles and what we look for in a product. Now days just because you’re a runner does not mean your reduced to shorts and running sneakers. We can be just as stylish while performing our sport as we are in our careers and day-to-day lives.