June 6, 2012
What you’ll be wearing this Fall in performance active wear
What makes something trendy, “hot”, the “it” item? Whether you’ve ever attended a fashion runway show in New York City during Fashion Week – this year it took place the second week of February – or read expert commentary in Women’s Wear Daily, a fashion trade magazine – or been privy to the pricey and exclusive WGSN designer trend database – or none of the above, what makes a trend is complicated but there is a definite chain of events and most “hot” new looks and colors originate from the haute-couture and ready-to-wear fashion houses; get adopted and modified by the heavy-hitting innovators in the industry (think NIKE, Patagonia, Adidas); then trickle down to the mainstream mass retailers and boutique (think small and privately-owned) manufacturers and retailers.
How long this process takes depends but a good bet is two years – two years from a model walking down the catwalk in a certain “this season” color to you and me seeing it in retail stores. Once a NIKE or Adidas sees a certain top styling or color they like, it takes them 7-9 months to get it into production and another 2-3 months to get their product line into stores. And then, you have other companies, who look to NIKE or Adidas for trending ideas, color palettes and styling details to incorporate into their own collections. All told, you’ll see variations and modifications on runway trends lasting in the market for 2-3 years. I know it might not seem intuitive at first bat to think that performance active wear would be influenced by the fashion world to this extent. But it is, just as shoes, accessories, handbags and even body products are.
So, let’s chat about what we love best: performance active wear – those clothes that make us sweat, breathe, run & jump easier and feel better when we work-out, play and are keep ourselves active. Here’s what you can expect to be the hot items, styles and colors in performance active wear this Fall. Read ahead.
Color in clothing has trended to neutrals and muted coloring over the last couple of years. Why? The depressed economy and the uncertainty of the recovery has had a profound influence on our sub-conscious and our outlook for the future. We’ve been telling ourselves, “play it safe. be cautious. don’t take too much risk”. This mental outlook has played out in the desire for safe, neutral colors. For Spring, Summer and into this coming Fall, this theme continues though there is more optimism – cautious but growing – about the economy and how we see our place in it. With that rising optimism color splashes around with our basic blacks and grays.
For Spring and Summer, orange, whether bright and bold or a calmer creamsicle tone with buttery yellows make a bold entrance in performance active wear. What fun! With our burgeoning tans, greater outdoor activities and sun-drenched days, come bright, light colors in our clothes. So too, soft orchid, pink and pretty lavenders come into play. These colors have always been popular in performance active wear – they connote life and joy and they are a perfect accent to a healthy, active lifestyle. These orchid and light purples are a soft entrance to us embracing color strongly once more.
To keep these vibrant colors cool and peaceful, performance active wear will retain a strong blue palette. Think: blues with attitude – rich blues, lake blues, ocean blues, deep-water blues, jewel blues, post-sunset blues. Blue has been our friend these past three years but now it’s ready to make us feel both safe and renewed, in all its varied nuances.
On the other side of neutral, we’ve raised our hand to finding something to replace the ever-present black. “Give us something else!” active women are saying in droves. To that end, olive shades of green – pine and dark moss – will be more prevalent options going into Fall. Additionally, brown – dark, rich, reddish browns will be a key color come Fall and into Winter. Here’s our chance to “break out” of tonal black and make a bolder statement about our health – “I’m dedicated to fit” and about our optimism for the future, “I’m ready to conquer the challenges ahead”.
There’s so much going on here but remember, we’re cautiously optimistic; we’re looking toward the future; we want options that are cross-functional and multi-faceted, both to extend our purchasing power as well as to simplify our already extremely hectic lives; we are again remembering our commitment to decreasing our personal and collective impact on the Earth.
For performance active wear tops and bottoms, three innovative trends trump the rest including: color-blocking, texturizing and cross-functional design.
color-blocking: Ok – we are done with the 3 inch color-block band around the top of our pant waistband. Design can and should be more sophisticated than this. To add dimension and eye-appeal to a style as well as creative seam/stitching design with color-blocking can dramatically enhance a body feature (or better still, de-accentuate our least-liked body area). The use of rounded curves, asymmetrical lines, helix stitching while incorporating a complimentary color within these “design features” catches the eye off-guard in a sense, and brings a high level of fashion to a top or bottom designed and worn for performance activities. The effect is two-fold: high style while you work-out and versatility in the function of the clothing (i.e., work-wear to street-wear).
texturizing: We’ve moved pretty dramatically away from prints and patterns in fabric to screen-printing and embroidery of emblems to texture. This is a blending of different fabrications for effect. The arms are in a cotton while the body of a top is in a nylon blend. The binding on a tank’s neckline and shoulders are made in a burn-out fabric. A pair of shorts that has an overlay skirt in a lighter-weight (and even perhaps, different color) fabrication. This is texturizing. It’s an innovative way to design and you’ll see it more and more in performance active wear in addition to every day knit and leisure-wear collections.
Cross-functionality: Performance wear, active wear and leisure wear and their respective “borders” are becoming finer and finer lines of distinction. All three are blending into one other. Why is this so? We’re busy. Especially women. “Thank our lucky stars for women!” We’re the super mega starlets of multi-tasking: holding down full-time jobs to keeping the family and house in order to pursuing our health goals with competitive or recreational activity – both for our sanity and physical well-being. How do we do it all? We can’t. Put we can pick and choose discreetly. Hey, loads of options are great but not if their overwhelming our already jam-packed life. How about a well-selected choice of active wear clothes that get us to the gym, to work and hey, extra bonus, out for a quick romantic (or at a very minimum, quiet) evening dinner. This is the key deciding factor in what women will buy. Companies are catering to a multi-faceted women – active being a key indicator – and producing clothing that is functional, impactful, supportive, versatile, stylish and at all times, feminine. Stink control is also not low on our list. No woman wants to look like a man or even slightly androgynous. Performance active wear tops should be made good-looking enough so that women can pair it with slacks, wedges and a bauble necklace. Active wear pants should be designed with sophistication and simplicity. Fabrics should be picked for great moisture-wicking, high anti-microbial properties and for shape retention – pants should still look great after more than 12 hours of wear. Tunics and cover-ups should be designed thoughtfully - be feminine and comfortable to wear – cowl necks, fitted slender sleeves, umbrella hemlines, flattering front and back drapes and made long-enough to be worn by themselves or paired with a pant or skirt. Women will find increasingly, the clothes they buy to work-out in, will double and triple as every day-, work- and evening wear, and that’s an on-going trend over the next 2-5 years!
Green, Sustainable, Eco-friendly are all words to describe products that are harvested and produced in a way that saves energy (decreases water usage, petroleum dependency) minimizes man-made waste and/or lowers the planet’s pollution levels. Earth-friendly apparel is not as well-known by buyers as earth-friendly body products, soaps, candles and house-hold cleaning supplies. Mass market retailers offer a dearth of these options and even if they do, the merchandising of this class of apparel and the product knowledge of sales associates, is minimal. But awareness is building and eco-friendly apparel products are proliferating. A report by Ryan Partnership Chicago/Mambo Sprouts Marketing has determined that despite the consumer knowledge and product accessibility challenges to Earth-friendly apparel products, consumers intend to double their eco-apparel purchases this year, from 2011. Women have an increased awareness of green apparel, desire it, are determined to make an impact on their environment through their purchasing decisions and are willing to forego a lesser price point for an earth-friendly apparel choice if quality and design remain equal. That’s a HUGE positive statement on women’s purchasing power and our earth!
What women are asking for is information: product details – what percentage is eco-friendly, what are the included ingredients, how is the product made, where is it made (Made in the U.S.A. has experienced a huge resurgence over the last three years) are all important factors in the buying decision-making process. So what kind of earth-friendly options are you likely to find in performance active wear apparel? Listed below are various types of fabrications that women will find when shopping for clothing:
- Organic Cotton – fiber made from cotton not farmed with pesticides, chemicals or fertilizers.
- Recycled Polyester/PET – fiber made from recycling PET bottles (12 bottles yield enough fiber to make 1 t-shirt)
- Bamboo – fiber made from bamboo stalk extracts
- Charcoal Bamboo – fiber made from the charcoaling of bamboo stalk extracts
- Coconut Charcoal – fiber made from recycling the food industry waste of coconut shell waste
- Soy – fiber made from recycling the food production waste of soy bean hulls.
That said, women are far more likely to find organic cotton as the green apparel option of choice at mainstream retailers. Recycled polyester is becoming increasingly popular and has been incorporated into the production cycles at NIKE, Adidas, Patagonia and other innovative performance apparel companies. Bamboo and Charcoal bamboo rank third most prevalent earth-friendly apparel choice on the market today. Soy products are being produced but not in the performance apparel category, as clothing made from soy fiber is not as strong or as durable as some of the other green apparel options.
Trends: color-blocking, texturizing, cross-over appeal in design and function, growing eco-consciousness in apparel.
Women: we’ve demanded better; we’ve asked for more and companies are hearing our stomp and roar. Go, women, go. And enjoy the increased options and cross-dimensionality of the performance active wear apparel we’ve made happen.
May 15, 2012
The name Kimber Tank is just that, a name.
It unfortunately, doesn’t tell you much about the styling of the tank.
Our Kimber Tank is styled after a traditional ballet tank – with a scooped front neckline and a scooped back. Our Kimber tank is a modification on the traditional ballet tank in that the scooped back has been “drawn up” and is not so low that a woman couldn’t wear her own bra underneath the tank, without it showing.
We’ve made the tank in our new performance-based fabrication – a 90/10 recycled poly/span fabric. This fabric keeps its shape well, endures rigorous workouts, doesn’t pill, holds up wash after wash and provides good chest support. We’ve included an attached bra-shelf in this Kimber Tank – and the bra shelf provides good, solid support and coverage – with no worry of the ‘gals’ making a showing unexpectedly in a class. It’ll cover and support up to a D cup. I know – I’m a D cup (used to be a C but with the coming of my little lady, Madeline, so too was the richness of my bosom)! Lastly, I love my camis with the spaghetti straps, especially in the Summer months, but sometimes, I like thicker shoulder straps that feel “supportive” and provide the coverage I need on that particular day. The Kimber Tank does the trick here – the straps are about 1″ thick. This tank is one of my personal favorites. Why?
Well, for a couple of reasons:
- The scooped front makes it feminine and not so rigidly “athletic” looking.
- The scooped back accentuates the upper back and shoulder bone structure – listen – anywhere where I can accentuate my athletic frame w/o fat working its way into the limelight, is an area I want to show-off.
- As said above, my “ladies” don’t come toppling out when I’m upside down or performing my 50th chaturanga, and for that, I am grateful.
- I adore the side-body ruching. I find that double-side ruching on the torso makes me feel the top is for someone who is pregnant. That’s just MY impression and I do own double-sided ruched tops but the one-sided ruching is sophisticated, does the trip of “hiding” any minor imperfections I may have with my tummy and adds a nice simple dimension to the tank
- The length if 25″ from top of shoulder to the bottom of the waistline. I’m slightly short-waisted but I’m also 6 foot tall. This top covers me nicely, hits be just below my hip bones and keeps me covered throughout my 1.5 hour Prana Power Yoga class, without much of any tugging and fussing.
That all said, let’s get down to answering the questions at hand.
Why does the Kimber Tank have its particular design?
I am always thinking about femininity and functionality.
- It is a feminine tank
- The side-body ruching offers a sophisticated look as well as ‘hidden’ coverage of the tummy
- The asymmetrical line across the bodice de-accentuates the size of the breasts – so a great top for C and D cupped women
For which activities is the Kimber Tank best worn doing?
- Gyro tonics
- The Barre Method
- The Dailey Method
- T’ai Quan Do
- Spending a relaxing day at the spa in comfortable yet sporty clothing
What body types are best suited for wearing our Kimber Tank?
- Curvaceous – hour-glass figures
- Pear-shaped women
That’s it for today.
Next blog post on “how do you wear and for what?” we’ll demystify the Chill Relax Pant.
February 16, 2012
Feeling like taking an exotic and spiritual adventure? Take one with Redback Travels – they are the India experts! http://www.redbacktravels.com
February 3, 2012
Just overheard at the gym, “ohhhh….I LOOOOVVVE spandex. What a delight.” Thank god for work-out wear to wear.
January 25, 2012
Getting your gut involved with life
Passion. What is it? For me it was being good at something. Loving the thing I was doing. Enjoying the hard-work involved in doing that activity. Doing that thing for me and not for any external reward. Being happy in the moment and at the end of the day, having a sense of happiness and fulfillment emotionally, from engaging in that activity. What is it for you? I ask because I truly believe that passion is that yummy juice of our life. We need to set time aside and identify what are passion is. And it doesn’t have to be singular. Not in the least! If you can identify what passion(s) drives you, you have a fundamental core to work from and out of; and a foundation that will weather all life’s personal and professional high-winds admirably.
That is what I mean by directing our thoughts intentionally: to become familiar with ourselves, to know what drives us, to acknowledge that we have passions that are personal to us; is the first step to realizing the life, the business you want to have and the person you want to be. All the steps in between will come after this realization; this understanding.
January 20, 2012
Settling our yo-yo brain
We all have ideas; all day long. Our minds in continual motion, hash over what we saw or did yesterday or just an hour ago; scenario-out what we must accomplish today and often “dream” about what will happen tomorrow or later in the year or even in twenty-five years. Our minds are churning thoughts all day long, so much so that we are often not aware of these conversations we are having with ourselves. The running dialogue becomes our white noise.
What happens when we decide we’re going to “listen” to what our minds are saying? The first observation you may have is how jumpy the thoughts are: we may think a couple of thoughts about one topic and then, just as quickly, we’re onto another entirely separate idea and we’re not quite sure how they relate, how we changed “thoughts” or why any of this is important, for that matter. It’s running dialogue but not directed or intentional.
How do you make the conversations in your head intentional; directed? You dig down and you clarify for yourself what you want in life – personally and professionally. You take an assessment of what gets you going; what floats your boat.
November 16, 2011
Who cares what fabrication their clothing is made of? Do you?
What is a fabrication?
To be honest, I didn’t. Not before I started OMALA. Not a clue, I had.
I knew when a piece of clothing felt good on my skin. That I registered. “Hmmmm, that’s kinda yummy.” I may have glanced at the content label. Maybe not. Even if I did glance at the content label, that’s about as far as I went to understanding what the content was. If I saw a new word I didn’t know, like “Modal” or “Tencel” then I’d think, “cool, some kind of new fabric that feels soft!”. Most times though; it didn’t register.
So guess what? I’m going to write this blog about what you are going to start wearing the next time you buy a NEW OMALA piece of apparel. Exciting stuff, I say!
You’re probably thinking, “I don’t care. Not really. I’m going to read just one or two more sentences here, and then I’m jumping off to some other thinga maggiga (that’s a kind of Dr. Seuss reference: my mister universe!)
Here’s a NEWS FLASH!!!!!
OMALA has introduced a NEW FABRICATION to its collection of women’s active wear. We used to make all of our clothing in a bamboo/cotton/spandex fabrication. 65% of the total fabric was made from a bamboo rayon thread (it’s pretty easy to find out the other 35% of the equation – go look at the care label on one of your OMALA pieces). Women loved this fabrication. OMALA has loyal fans because we design and produce in this fabrication. And…we haven’t stopped making clothing in this fabrication. Some of our best-sellers and most of our tunics and covers, will remain in this bamboo fabrication. That’s the good news.
Some women though, felt a little taken aback by it. They wanted more! More grip. More support. More “coverage”. More, I don’t know, hiding the not noticeable cellulite on their legs, more!
I listened. I heard. I fretted over what to do about this situation. I mean, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the feel of the bamboo fabrication. It’s awesome. it’s awesome feeling. It’s super light-weight, extremely breathable but also curiously enveloping and contrary to some beliefs out there – it wicks moisture very nicely off the skin. You can’t come out of a Bikram yoga class and feel instantly DRY; nor should you climb high, steep and tall mountains and camp above the clouds in a bamboo active wear shirt but….all the same, the fabrication is delightful.
But, I wanted women to not only love OMALA’s designs but the fabric that we bring the designs to life IN!
That’s where OMALA’s NEW fabrication comes into play. This month, and going forward, when you buy a practicing top or bottom on http://www.omala.com, you’ll likely see that the top and/or bottom is made in a Recycled Poly (ester) Spandex fabrication. 90% of the threads or fibers in this fabric is a recycled polyester. Recycled from what? Recycled from PET Bottles. 100% of the Recycled Poly comes from plastic PET bottles. Super cool, right? I mean SUPER DUPER cool. I think it is, anyway. The other 10% is spandex – that stretchy stuff that allows you to move and twist and turn.
We like this fabric. Our customers are telling us they like this fabric. A lot!
Well, it’s a more traditional feeling fabric – in that – it offers a heavier hand-feel, feels “grippier” on the bod’ and more supportive. Women feel like it holds them in better and covers, let’s just say, “non-perfect” spots in a more flattering way.
We like the new fabrication because it is good for the earth (i.e., decreases waste, uses less water to produce the fiber). There are other benes too, though: the fabric washes and wears really easily; your pants and shirts will not experience initial shrinkage after the first wash; color holds nicely and because of the nature of poly(ester), it makes it easy for you to sweat a lot and to perform more competitive (high performance) activities in the clothing.
But, I want to make clear – just because we added a new fabrication to our OMALA line, this recycled poly/span fabric doesn’t feel like our competitors’ fabrics. We still prize good design and good feeling clothing. Our recycled poly is really beautiful, high quality and not ultra-thick. And, our designs are supportive without making you feel like you need to stop eating and drinking water just to squeeze yourself into the clothing.
Try our new styles. Try our new fabrication. We think you’re going to like what you see (and wear)!