Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Comfort First Mix-and-Match Look, More Versatile Clothing Crops Up at the Gym

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Comfort First Mix-and-Match Look, More Versatile Clothing Crops Up at the Gym

Article excerpt

IN THE OPULENT 1980s, dressing for a workout was a workout in itself.

"Your scrunchy had to match your socks and everything else in your outfit," recalls Juli McCammon, who has been teaching fitness classes for 12 years.

Only a perfectly coordinated ensemble would do for the Jane Fonda wannabe. But just as Fonda has gone on to yoga, activewear has evolved, too. "The emphasis in the 1980s was on thinness; today it's on fitness," McCammon says. And what's now working up a sweat is a mix-and-match look of a sports bra, bike shorts and a third layer of a leotard, T-shirt, tank top or some type of coverup. Women are participating in greater numbers of sports, which is influencing their need for multipurpose activewear. Between 1992 and 1994, for example, women's frequency of participation in mountain biking increased by 260 percent; for in-line skating, 233 percent; treadmill use, 145 percent; step aerobics, 98 percent, and freeweights, 58 percent, according to a survey of 15,000 households by American Sports Data for the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. Women need clothes that feel and look good through a session that might include a class in aerobics, and some gym time on weights, a stairclimber or stationary bicycle. They also want to be able to go straight from the gym to other tasks. Wendy DeBell, 45, likes the comfort of a sports bra and bike shorts, but covers the outfit with a sleeveless tank top in summer so she can go straight from the health club to "400 errands and two kids." The Englewood, Colo., woman also finds that the outfit works for running, cycling and hiking, but wears more sport-specific clothing for golf and tennis. Bike shorts with a mixture of Supplex and cotton were cited by instructors and workout regulars as being the key ingredients for comfort and performance. …

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