Stretching the boundaries with women's lifestyle wear

Hits of spandex, see-through detailing and globally inspired prints keep women’s lifestyle wear fun and flirty.

Hits of spandex, see-through detailing and globally inspired prints keep women’s lifestyle wear fun and flirty.

The many faces of stretch
Whether it’s overt in running tights or subtly integrated into denim, stretch is becoming a staple in women’s clothes. Thanks in large part to the athleisure movement—which has given women everywhere license to live in their yoga pants—consumers now demand the comfort-enhancing properties enabled by a little elastane in all facets of their wardrobe, from hiking pants to sundresses. And it no longer has to come at the expense of aesthetics. “While the active, healthy consumer places greater emphasis on comfort over style, she still wants a well-constructed, well-designed garment that looks good,” said Cassie Strid, product manager for Stonewear. “Stretchy materials are able to do a lot more in terms of providing comfort, durability and hold-you-in support.”

Showing some skin
Rooted in advanced yoga and activewear designs, see-through detailing is becoming more prominent. Look for cut-outs, elaborate straps and eyelet patterns to grace a wide range of tops, adding a discreet dash of feminine fun. Mesh also makes an appearance—and not only in strictly functional, breathe-better locations—while selectively sheer cotton tees allow for peek-a-boo details in the weave. “It’s a little something extra,” said United By Blue Product Designer Meghan Palmer. “It’s great for a simpler silhouette because it makes it feel like there’s something fun without taking [women] out of [their] comfort zone.”

Going global
This season, designers are drawing inspiration from the world’s farthest reaches. You’ll find totemic motifs taken from modern and antique ceramics; painted microprints reminiscent of minimalist Japanese textiles; and patterns reflecting traditional native art from the Americas. “Social media has made our world much more connected and debatably smaller,” said Gina Thorsen, president of Stormy Kromer. “Consumers are looking to be inspired by places and experiences. Whether it’s Havana tiles, graphic florals and tropicals or Kimono-inspired prints, warm design details are strong influences.”

Hit the mute button 
Vintage-inspired and toned down, this season’s color palette carries a nostalgic appeal reminiscent of a lazy lakeside afternoon in July. Bold hues adopt a faded warmth thanks to multiple washes and special fabric treatments. “At the end of the day we want colorful, but we don’t necessarily want loud,” said Kate Larramendy, director of design and sustainability with Toad&Co. “That sun-washed approach gives you the best of both worlds.”

With cinched-bottom leg openings and a lace-up drawcord at the waist, prAna’s Midtown Capri (MSRP $89) is the essence of casual chic. Built with the brand’s versatile four-way stretch-woven fabric and moisture-wicking properties, these relaxed-fit bottoms travel effortlessly between fun and functional.


The Jatra Skinny Ankle Pant (MSRP $90) from Sherpa Adventure Gear feels right at home trekking, traveling or just window-shopping around town. Look behind the vibrant colorways and heritage patterning inspired by traditional Bhutanese garments, and you’ll find breathable, quick-drying properties and a wicking finish. A discreet zip pocket provides stowaway space for your valuables.


Hide-and-seek styling updates the traditional V-neck silhouette of Stonewear’s Drishti Eyelet Pullover (MSRP $64). Soft and stretchy thanks to its 97 percent polyester/3 percent spandex composition, this easy-wearing piece is perfect for a casual date or as a transitional top for going to and from the yoga studio.


No time to pick out a top and a bottom? Toss on Woolrich’s Jacquard Jumpsuit (MSRP $115). Featuring archival patterns and functional pockets, this one-piece will stand out from the crowd. A flattering waist tunnel and drawcord enhance this daring fashion statement, and organic cotton rounds out the package.


Clean, simple and stretchy, the polyester/spandex knit Kineta skort from Aventura (#31041E)adds some spunk to the standard yoga outfit. An integrated knit short offers optimal comfort and performance, while a zippered pocket on the back waistband provides a place to secure IDs and credit cards.


This story first appeared in the Day 1 issue of Outdoor Retailer Daily.