We Don’t Look In Our Mom’s Closet Anymore!
by Carlee Kreutel, LPGA, Shadowridge Country Club
Early in the 20th century it was not considered important
for women to win at competitive sports. Clothing was not designed to give
movement that would allow them to excel.
For golf, women wore a very tailored blouse and skirt similar to
clothing worn for business.
By 1910, golf allowed women to have expanding pleats down
the sides of their tweed jackets to prevent clothes from tearing when they made
a golf swing. However, the pleats
could not be decorative. The golf
sweater made its way into fashion as the first casual golf garment. Mass production techniques were applied
more swiftly in America, benefiting sportswear for women, and shorter hems were
common on most American sport skirts.
By the mid 1930’s, it was acceptable for women to wear trousers for
casual use and sports wear.
Functionalism became strongly associated with sports in the 1950’s. The clothes had a job to do, and consumers were noticing
how useful the features were in everyday life. The greater availability of goods in the fifties meant that
consumers could make choices. The
skirt took popularity in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Slowly, sportswear adapted to meet the
real needs of active women. The
trend was a sturdy box pleated skirt or culottes along with a suede
jacket. Fashion designers were
starting to look at trends differently.
They were responding to the demand for better fitting and more exciting
clothing to compliment a woman’s figure while allowing her to play a
sport. Women don’t like to wear
men’s clothes and every woman has a different body type. Clothes need to feel good on your body
to play well. Designers are
realizing that women need to look and feel good while they are on the course in
order to play well.
Golf apparel in the 1970’s was still considered boring. It was all about covering skin and long
baggy pants. More and more women
are designing golf clothes, which has become a huge market. Now, top brands of women’s golf clothing
are very appealing and functional.
The fabrics used today dissipate sweat and give sun protection through
the material. Women’s clothes come
in vibrant colors with elegant combinations and blends.
Today, women’s golf apparel is very trendy. We can thank some of the top players
who endorse these brands. They
have contributed to the appeal of women’s golf, making it cool for young girls
to take up the game.
In the 1930’s in Great Britain, women fought for golf course
equality by dressing as poorly as the men. But before that, in the 1880’s,
women were very impractically dressed.
Common dress included an a-line skirt an inch or two above the ground
and a very tight, well-fitted blouse.
This didn’t allow for a very full backswing turn and the clubs often
caught in the lengthy skirts. In 1904, a women’s golf coat was invented, called
the “Free-Stroke-Coat,” by Thomas Burberry of England. The sleeves allowed more
freedom of movement and Burberry also designed a skirt that could be shortened
by the use of a drawstring. By
1909, knitted sweaters were replacing the jacket and pleats were added to the
back of the blouses for fuller backswings. By 1921, women also had a choice to wear knickers on the
course, like the men, but some courses didn’t allow women to wear pants of any
kind. In 1921, there was the one-piece
women’s golf dress called “The Shirtmaker.” It was standard golf attire for the next three decades. Now, Adidas is bringing it back into
style again. It is available in
golf shops currently. Earlier, the
length of the golf dress followed fashion length requirements. In the 1950’s, it was acceptable to
have the shirtdress length at knee level.
Skirts got a little shorter in the 1960s with risk of over
exposure. We wouldn’t want to show
too much knee! All of these gradual changes slowly allowed more freedom of
A lot of us never liked women’s golf clothes in the
past. Now, there is so much
variety and choice. With the
exception of traditional courses and strict dress codes, almost anything goes
with all the different styles and choices. For example, short-shorts, short skirts or traditional knee
length Bermuda and Capris are all acceptable. As far as tops go, you don’t see too much of the tank top,
yet (and hopefully we wont). That
wouldn’t be enough sun protection, but the “old lady sleeve” is a thing of the
past. Now the sleeves on ladies’
tops have shorter sleeves, or cap sleeves, which obviously is more feminine,
gives more sex appeal and adds to athletic ability. I know many of the young girls taking up golf today would
not like to go shopping in their grandmother’s closet for a golf outfit.
One thing that we never found in her closet was a
skort. Skorts are now very popular
to wear on the course. This is a
combination of a short and a skirt. These are presentable and never go out of
style. There are some people that
think certain lengths are not acceptable.
With the short lining underneath it is not revealing. Different private country clubs’ dress
codes require different lengths.
What we may see on the LPGA tour may not be acceptable at your country
club. Skorts are perfect for
staying cooler at any length. Comfortable clothing is a must.
Are these new fashion trends we are seeing trendy or for
more sex appeal to build ratings?
No longer are we seeing our mothers’ golf shorts on these up
and coming golf stars. The LPGA
tour players are conspicuously attempting to “brand” themselves by fashion
choices. It isn’t a bad thing. It seems to make TV viewership more fun
to watch and more appealing to a wider and younger audience. Given the money available to pros for
clothing, personal branding makes sense.
Along with their talent and the name they have already established
through playing well in tournaments, we will also know some of these great
players by their fashion trend-setting styles.
Today, fashion styles and comfort are most important, so
trends are changing rapidly with lengths, looks and materials used. Ladies’ golfing needs are an image
through fashion used to keep interest and ratings. Fashionable and bold women’s golf apparel is making a
statement along with the women themselves that are making their own statements
and setting records in women’s golf.
LPGA tour players have created a brand for themselves with their own
Some of the top manufacturers are already designing these
more appealing styles to also attract many young girls that are taking up the
game. They don’t want to wear big
giant shorts or long skirts and boxy collared shirts that their grandmothers
used to wear. In fact, some tour
players have their name on a shoe line with Adidas for 2011. These women are athletes playing a
professional sport for a lot of money.
They wear what helps them play their best. People need to adapt to the 21st century. No one criticizes the women’s
professional tennis players in their short skirts. Athletic clothing should be functional and comfortable, not cumbersome.
Fashion trends require picking out what you are going to
wear for a golf game and linking that to your mental game. The mental game is all about confidence
and if we have that, we play well.
We have heard the phrase “ if you like what you are wearing, including
your shoes, you will play better.”
When picking out your outfit and shoes, it is about fit, fashion and “do
I look good in this?”. Women’s
golf is more than a fashion statement.
However, it depends on who you are or where you are playing. Yes, a lot of fashions today do
conflict with many private country club dress codes, but not all clubs. The LPGA tour is a private country club
in and of itself. Players will
wear what will help them well and brand themselves for the Tour and sponsors.
Some courses are very strict on dress code
and some are not. It is always
best to call ahead if you are to visit a course to play. Manufacturers are putting more
marketing dollars in their women’s lines.
This shows a marketing investment in women golfers, such as the tour
players, which will yield a profitable return. We are influenced by what we see on television and we will
go and buy it, especially young girls, who are our future tour players. There is more demand for new and
exciting trends in golf clothing every day.