Eye On Apparel: High Expectations
Today’s women know what they want from their clothes
Who says women can’t have it all? Well, actually, a woman did. Anne-Marie Slaughter, the first female director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department, concluded in her 2012 article in The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” that when it comes to high-powered careers, marriage and motherhood, it’s almost impossible to do it all well at the same time.
While complex societal forces mean women may feel they must temper their expectations, they won’t compromise when it comes to what they wear. Women want clothes that work as hard as they do—and look and feel great as well.
Marcus Davis, product development manager with Hanes (UPIC: HBIINC), says, “Women expect more from their apparel. They want comfort, style and performance—including sun protection or wicking.”
And since the athleisure trend continues to dominate the apparel industry, according to Davis, “Women want apparel that can go with them throughout the day. And fabrics with a soft hand are increasingly important.”
Women don’t want apparel that looks anything like men’s clothing, says Ty Cannon, national business development manager at Cutter & Buck (UPIC: CUTT0001). “While men are generally comfortable wearing a polo shirt, most women would prefer to wear anything else,” he says, so Cutter & Buck is coming up with new women’s styles that incorporate more feminine design details, like a cowl neck.
Davis says Hanes is including pastel colors and more feminine details on its women’s apparel, such as V-necks rather than crew necks. And he says retail inspiration is key. “Tanks continue to be a trend-driver at retail, seen more and more as a core style that can be easily layered.” Hanes’s women’s X-Temp tank, for example, is designed to cover all the bases: it’s lightweight but with full coverage and feminine styling, moisture wicking and a wide variety of color options.
Steer your clients toward branding women’s apparel that goes the extra mile in design, performance and comfort. Because when it comes to clothes, make no mistake—women want it all.
Accepting The Challenge: Apparel That Appeals
Orion This fashion-forward 100-percent polyester pullover features two zipper pockets, thumbholes and a heat transfer tagless label. SPF 30 and moisture-wicking capabilities give it serious outdoor workout credibility. Also available in a men’s quarter-zip version.
Fossa Apparel UPIC: FOSSA www.fossaapparel.com
Performance stretch legging Designed with performance in mind, these leggings are made of sleek performance fabric that breathes to keep you cool and comfortable during any workout. Add a custom Xpression Waistband to complete the look, or take it to another level with full custom Allover Xpression.
FPS Apparel UPIC: FPSAp664 www.fpservicesapparel.com
Highland Park cowl A cowl neckline and tonal stripe set this top apart. Add its straight hem, open sleeves and moisture wicking, and this 94-percent polyester, six-percent spandex blend is a great option for women. It’s available in sixes XS-XXXL.
Cutter & Buck UPIC: CUTT0001 www.cbcorporate.com
TriTec™ racerback tank This scoop-neck racerback tank features a drop tail for extra coverage. Inherent moisture wicking keeps the wearer cool and dry, while the modern fit with feminine contour adds comfort and style. It’s available in sizes XS-2XL and in seven different color variations.
Expert Brand UPIC: Exper698 www.expertbrand.com
Cotton sarong This lightweight sarong is indispensable attire for beachgoers, but versatile enough for use as a sun scarf, shawl or beach cover-up. While its bright and festive colors attract admiration, your logo enjoys the spotlight too. It’s the perfect way to accessorize your brand on a sunny summer day. Choose from six color combinations: pink/white, lime/white, orange/white, turquoise/white, red/white and royal blue/white. Due to the hand-crafted coloration process, each wrap has a unique appearance.
Towel Specialties UPIC: TOWELSPEC www.towelspecialties.com
Embossed polo A subtle honeycomb pattern embossed into the fabric makes this premium-look shirt stand out. Made of 96-percent dry wicking poly pique and four-percent spandex, this snag-resistant shirt also boasts the best no-curl collar in the industry. It’s available in black, navy, red, French blue and hunter.
AKWA Apparel UPIC: AKWA www.akwa.com
Aubrey knit funnel neck This super stylish lightweight cotton/polyester gauze knit is ultra-comfortable. Featuring a funnel neck with a matching drawstring, it also has a pouch pocket and rib knit cuffs and waistband. It comes in sizes S-2X and four colors, graphite, lilac, mint and orangeade.
Heritage Sportswear UPIC: HERI0002 www.heritagesportswear.com
X-Temp® V-neck t-shirt Balancing the comfort and softness of ring-spun cotton with wicking power of polyester, the X-Temp® tee is lightweight and has a super-soft feel. The 60/40 ring-spun fabric has the softest hand in the performance category.
Hanes/Champion UPIC: HBIINC www.hanes.com
Scoop neck sweater A modern silhouette and short sleeves give this smooth, soft cotton-blend sweater feminine appeal. It embroiders easily and is available in red, white, navy and black in sizes XS-3XL.
Edwards Garment Company UPIC: EDWARDSG www.edwardsgarment.com
Unstructured licensed camo with soft mesh This bright camo cap is perfect for ladies who love to be stylish and sporty. Unstructured with a pre-curved visor, the cap has a Velcro® closure to achieve the best fit.
Kati Sportcap & Bag UPIC: KATI www.katisportcap.com
COSMIC fleece This quarter-zip fleece is constructed of 100-percent spun polyester fleece fabric with contrast-colored pocket openings and a zipper with reflective tape strip. Thumb-hole cuffs, a front pouch pocket, and an extended back length check off all the important boxes. It’s available in sizes S – 2XL in seven colors.
J America Wholesale Blanks UPIC: Blanks www.jamericablanks.com
Ladies’ fan football jersey Women love to feel like one of the guys in retail-inspired fan shirts that are fitted and fun. Made in the USA, these 95-percent rayon, five-percent spandex V-neck shirts have a smooth touch, contrast color stripes on the sleeves and are available in more than 35 colors with any color combination.
MVP Sportswear UPIC: M562092 www.mvpsportswear.com
Online Store Solution
Distributor: Lizard Apparel & Promotions, LLC. (UPIC: L576440)
The Client: KaiaFIT, a 54-location, women-only fitness center that specializes in delivering personalized training in a group atmosphere.
The Challenge: Reinforce company branding by creating two online stores for streamlined product ordering—one store for owners to order uniforms and bulk promotional wear to give to women who complete six-week workout programs called “Brik Sessions,” and a separate store for KaiaFIT customers to order their own branded workout wear.
The Solution: The distributor curated a list of great women’s workout wear options to feature on the sites and implemented an “item of the month” promotion and baby items for future KaiaFit clients based on requests from pregnant program participants.
The Result: Individual store owners appreciated having a pre-chosen selection of items and an efficient ordering system for promotional items, and the customers took advantage of the wide variety of branded items that went beyond working out, such as scarves, hats, blankets and bags.
Julie Richie is associate editor for PPB.