Fashion trends show up on a runway and soon after make it to the masses through a wide variety of options from high-end designer stores to less expensive but still fashionable retail outlets. These trends might include the currently popular military styling or the hints of animal prints that are always around. But unfortunately, in the golf world many of these trends do not make it into the clothing or they take there sweet time getting there. However, the world of golf apparel is changing. There used to be ‘clothes for the golf course’ and ‘clothes not for the golf course’. This has been changing as fashion sense and lifestyle have become a more important part of the golf apparel industry (well at least for some).
The Golf Industry
The golf industry does have trends. In women’s clothing this year thankfully the short short/skort trend seems to have moved on as many spring 2011 lines are showing skorts and shorts just above the knee. As in other industries some companies have made the shift to eco-friendly or organic fabrics in some of their lines including Lela, Nike and Adidas to name a few. Patterns (stripes, checks, polka dots and of course argyle) continue to, and likely will always be important in the golf apparel market and bright colors continue in some lines such as Jamie Sadock and EP Pro. Overall the clothing continues to focus on the ease of transition from the golf course into everyday life. This is true even with companies that started designing traditional women’s golf clothing many years ago.
Companies to Watch
If you want to be on top of the trends in golf apparel there are a few companies that we think are the most important to watch. For women’s golf apparel LIJA is definitely our number one. LIJA is owned and operated by Linda Hipp who is also the principal designer. She started the company in 1997 as Hyp Golf with much needed fashion alternatives for the women’s golf market. She has stayed on the cutting edge of fashion ever since. In 2000 her line caught attention in the US golf market and in 2004 the company was rebranded from Hyp to LIJA. Now with distribution serviced by 4 Canadian, 16 US and 4 International agencies and an expansion into tennis the premise still remains refreshing, stylish, feminine fit styles. Another more trendy company is Mexx. You have likely seen their retail stores but they also make a golf specific product. The only trouble with this line is that the cuts are sizing are much smaller than average.
Men’s Golf Apparel
For men’s golf apparel it really boils down to two things the ‘fashion’ market and the ‘technical’ market. Some guys are looking for the shirt that is stylish and can easily go from the golf course to dinner while others are more concerned with what the shirt can do for them. Scores of men’s golf shirts really do look the same but it is ‘special’ properties such as moisture wicking, UV protection, wrinkle resistance and the water resistant vs. water repellent debate that may set them apart. A few companies that stand out in this men’s technical market are Ping Apparel, Nike and Adidas. But the men’s golf fashion market can be a difficult thing to pin point. There are companies like Ian Poulter Golf Clothing (after Ian Poulter) and LoudMouth Golf (John Daly Apparel) that appeal to a small sector of the market and there are fashion experts like J. Lindeberg that offer very fashionable golf apparel but it does not fit the shapes and sizes of the majority of the men out on the courses. There are companies that suit the ‘traditionalist’ like Ashworth and the ‘traditionalist with a very slight edge’ like Greg Norman but not the golfer looking for new trends. Straight Down is one clothing line that we found can be worn by the average golfer and offers some technical choices as well as some slightly more fashionable pieces all at a reasonable cost which has become more of a concern in the golf market recently. The Straight Down product line is simple and durable but with style (Jeff owns and wears a number of their pieces). In Canada Straight Down is distributed by the G & G Golf Company and makes its way into many of the local golf retail shops.
What is clear is that golf fashion has made the move to more lifestyle apparel. There really is no excuse for your dad to be wearing his golf shirt untucked over a pair of cargo shorts (’cause he likes the pockets) with white socks pulled halfway up his calves.