Editor’s note: Even sans the note it should be obvious that today’s is a guest post. Thanks to Samantha Wheeler, our topic is one seldom covered on this blog: sports fashion. Enjoy!-Rob
For most of its brief history, women’s golf clothing has been notoriously uncomfortable, not user-friendly and detrimental to the performance of women. Unlike men’s golf clothes which provided some performance enhancements, ladies of the game have suffered the pain of restrictive and non-expressive golf garments.
With the massive construction of golf clubs, came the emergence of stringent clothing restrictions. Victorian ladies were required to play in high-necked, long-sleeved blouses, bowler hats, full-length skirts, and button shoes. As you can imagine, none of these clothes provided any physical benefits to the female player. It would be like playing golf in a straight jacket.
The breathable and light-weight materials seen on the links today were over a century away from being developed. Hours of playing golf in the heat with a cotton shirt and wool blazer pushed women away from the sport. Golf is a difficult sport as it is, the last thing players need are clothes that hinder their performance even more.
Women players had to live with the clothing handicap for over sixty years before a glimpse of hope emerged in the sixties. The shorter and looser skirt was taken from tennis and put on the golf courses. Women were now provided the mobility and comfort they needed to focus on their game. This is what powered the comeback of women in golf.
Not everything was perfect for the women golfer. Clothing may have increased the overall performance of women on the links but many of the styles remained masculine. Only serious female golfers looked beyond the fashionable drawbacks of golf to prove themselves with their success and not their looks. However, this mentality was not enough to put the 13 player LPGA founded in 1950 on the map.
Only in the 90s did Nike and adidas bring top quality clothing to the female golf market to provide women a benefit from wearing their clothing. With technologies such as ClimaLite and Dri-FIT, women were free to focus entirely on their game and not their clothing. Nike and adidas’ successes could be attributed to pairing their clothing with talented women who would prove themselves on the course with their ability rather than their beauty. Today, the LPGA’s powerhouse athletes like Michelle Wie and Amanda Blumenhest can in part be credited to this overdue disregard for standards of feminine beauty that are incongruous with an athletic lifestyle.
Freelance Writer, Lija Style