Fitness Apparel for Function and Fashion

22:30 October 12, 2014
By: Celeste Turner

From running on the treadmill to running to a business meeting, fitness fashion has evolved into multi-functional active wear offering style, sophistication and comfort.

“A lot of people wear fitness apparel for fashion,” said Barry Smith, founder of First Team apparel, a local brand of athletic wear sold here in Metairie and nationwide. “Our clothing design can be worn to the gym and then dressed up to tackle everyday activities. ‘Gear Up’ is our slogan.”

Today, baggy grey sweat pants and old tattered t-shirts are rarely spotted in the health clubs or fitness centers unless, of course, you feel most comfortable exercising in them. Most fitness enthusiasts dress gym-ready for their workouts and then leave in the same outfit, still looking chic enough for everyday errands.

Lululemon makes technical athletic apparel for yoga, running, dancing and most other sweaty pursuits,” said Renee Ascione, Marketing Director for Lululemon Athletica, a global fitness fashion clothing line, founded in Vancouver, BC., in 1998. “We have a product that is great for super sweaty workouts and a product that will take our guest from studio to street.”

An integral component of the popular exercise fashion is the variety of fabric types and usages. For example, the wonder of moisture-wicking material adds a whole new level of comfort to those sweaty workouts. Both First Team and Lululemon brands have this type of fabric material, which wicks the sweat away from the body and blocks odor.

Another locally-owned fitness apparel, tasc Performance, developed a fabric blend of bamboo fibers and organic cotton that wicks moisture from skin without the chemical additives. 

“I wanted to create a fabric that had softness and breathability of cotton but met all of the performance metrics of modern athletic gear,” said Todd Andrews, President of tasc Performance. “We do not use chemicals to enhance the properties of the fiber-nature has done the work; we have created a process to release it.”

Andrews noted that the unique quality of the bamboo fibers provides such performance features as moisture wicking, temperature regulation, quick dry, odor resistance, and UPF 50+ sun protection. 

With the right fabric, the common thread in fitness fashion today permits more sweat and less worry about any embarrassing stink or skin irritation.  And, not only will the right type of materials increase the comfort for your workouts, but many avid gym members will admit that the fun exercise apparel can do wonders for boosting your confidence levels and participation in a wide assortment of activities. 

“Lululemon hosts in-store events ranging from self-defense to goal-setting workshops, to yoga classes, all led by our community ambassadors,” said Ascione. “Our ambassadors are the most influential, inspiring and motivating instructors in the community…we want to create components for people to live longer, healthier and fun lives.”

To assemble an entire outfit of fitness pieces, prices for Lululemon and tasc Performance tops range from $28 to $50 and $32 to $89 for bottoms. A sporty pullover for women by Lululemon may cost $68 to $120. Similarly, the price of a Tasc long-sleeved top made with the exclusive blend of bamboo and merino wool fabric are generally $60 to $90.     

In addition to active wear, First Team also designs team uniforms and apparel for local road races and special events. First Team has several different choices of material: dri-fit, performance spandex, ring-spun cotton, poly/lycra blends and nylon fabric. 

“We at First Team apparel try to design and appeal to everyone from professional athletes to people from all walks of life like runners, coaches, instructors, housewives, or whoever else has the drive to be FIRST,” said Smith, who is preparing to launch the latest line of First Team apparel after August 30.

So, as our fast-paced lifestyles demand adaptable clothing, you don’t have to spend a fortune to put together a fun and functional fitness wardrobe. These companies offer an array of affordable apparel that will easily transition your gym style to street attire.

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