Give Fit a ChanceApr 16th, 2009 | By Editor | Category: Features, In The Hole!
Yeah, golf clothing needs to look great. That goes without saying!
But it also needs to fit well. And not just because the better if fits, the better you look. There’s also a practical consideration: when you’re swinging your golf club, you don’t want to notice your clothes. You don’t want to feel like you’re showing more skin than you’d bargained for, or like something is binding somewhere.
So whether you shop for golf apparel online or in a bricks and mortar shop, you need to look at fit as well as style.
The key is to be a smart shopper. But what does that mean, exactly?
To find out, we contacted some leading golf clothing design houses to get their thoughts on women’s golf clothing and fit.
Meghan Graves, of Cutter Buck, recommends that women consider cut, design, and versatility. The designer — which we all know as Annika Sorenstam’s, of course — has seen a trend toward clothes that can be worn both to golf and afterward, in the club house or for a luncheon date. Women should keep that in mind when they shop, Megan says. “Women’s golf clothes should be flattering both on and off the course.”
Cutter Buck has also trends that affect fit. “Tops have slimmed down and shortened for a more shapely look,” Meghan says. “We’re also seeing more feminine silouettes. It used to be that a ladies’ golf top looked like a men’s polo, but in a ladies’ size. Now women’s golf clothes are really tailored to be feminine and fashionable.”
Meghan also cites a trend for longer-length shorts and — of course — skorts. “Ladies find them to be comfortable, fun, and sporty,” she says.
Doug Timmons, Partner / Production and Design for PAHR Golf, welcomes the new, more feminine silouette in women’s golf tops. “Hopefully we’ve seen the last of the ‘boxy’ women’s tops,” he says, adding, “I cannot count the times women have come to us and used the word ‘finally.’”
As in: finally. No more boxy tops!
In addition to shape, Doug advises women shopping for golf tops to consider their body length and the garment’s bra-friendliness.
And when it comes to bottoms, it’s all about rise. “We make the majority of our bottoms with a mid-rise,” Doug notes. This, hopefully, helps women avoid (ahem) unwanted exposure during their golf swings.
Doug adds that the contour of the waist band is also very important for fit and comfort (who wants a waist band that digs in, after all?)
The trade-off between comfort and fashion is one that PAHR designers watch carefully. In fact, the “boxy” look for women’s tops was in part a compromise made in the name of comfort. “At least women could move and feel unrestricted,” Doug notes.
The good news: today’s fabrics give designers more versatility. “Fabrics that stretch let us make fit more flattering,” he says. Using 4-8 percent Spanex/Lycra in a garment, for example, is one trick PAHR uses to ensure good fit even for women whose bodies might not be identical to the clubhouse manniken. “The right amount of stretch provides more comfort and allows as much movement as a women golfer needs.”
At Tail Activewear, designer Olga Almeda finds that “fit” is influenced by style as well as comfort. “A woman always wants to look great,” she says. “And regardless of what size she wears, style always plays an important role.”
So a “good fit,” Olga continues, “combines great style and comfort. It’s a garment that enhances your body and makes you look great.”
That’s not to say that Tail’s designs don’t change over time. They do, Olga says — but only after considering the needs and tastes of Tail’s core customers.
Take rise, for instance. “About five years ago, fashion bottoms lay right at the navel,” she says. Tail has responded to that trend: it offers some bottoms today with a contoured waist that sits slightly lower than the navel. “It’s more techy and updated,” Olga says. But they haven’t abandoned women who prefer a more traditional look — and the comfort that comes with it. Tail offers its “Elastique” bottoms for these women; these ride a bit higher.
Tail also offers a couple different options for golf tops: “athletic fit” tops that are more form-fitting, and “classic fit” tops that are a bit more roomy and forgiving.
And what if your body isn’t “average”? “We’ve addressed taller women by making our pants slightly longer than standard,” Ogla says, “so we fit more people.” Tail also offers XXL sizes — and they’re not just smaller sizes scaled up. For instance, Olga says, Tail’s larger tops are also longer.
When it comes to fit, however, the most important consideration is how a specific piece actually looks and feels on your body. “Go into the fitting room with two or three different sizes, try them all on, and determine which garment enhances your good points and hides your bad ones,” Olga says. “That’s the right fit — regardless of the number on the size label!”