The evolution of women’s golf wear has been on a steady rise and golf fashion has come a long way. As someone who studied Fashion Design and History of Fashion, I appreciate the changes that women’s golf wear has undergone. Traditionally, golf has been rigid with its rules on attire. Those rules of course have changed in the past 10 to 15 years. Golfers are more colourful, daring with their attire, and even funky. The women are leading the men in that regard but there are also those guys that stand out like Rickie Fowler, who caught my kids’ eyes earlier on in his career purely because of his colourful gear. They started to watch him play and wanted to see what he would wear next, which was then followed by them wanting to see him win and loving his game. He grabbed their attention just by looking like someone they could relate to on the golf course. I could mention a few other names of really stylish male golfers but I am not here to speak about the men. This piece is dedicated to the ladies.
The women’s golf wear trends are possibly the fastest growing trends in fashion at the moment. The choices have shifted and changed drastically from the conservative old-fashioned look and have entered a new school fashion trend. Women have become adventurous with colour choices, shorter shorts, tighter shirts, and the introduction of the skort (a personal favourite) over a decade ago by Golftini. The skort in my opinion, is a sexy edition to women’s golf wear. What is arguably the greatest thing is how comfortable the gear has become too. The fabrics that designers are using – me included – are durable and super flexible. This is one of the most important factors because, in spite of trends and wanting to look good out there, it is still a sport and one must try and perform at the highest level without interference from unsuitable gear.
The other trend I find appealing is the golf leggings – tights seen on the likes of Michelle Wie. Michelle has been one of the biggest trend setters in women’s golf fashion. She has been voted the most stylish female golfer several times. Her outfits have landed her into some trouble and may even be banned on some greens but the younger golfers ‘get it’ and love her bold style. Other female golfers I find extremely stylish are Korean golfer, Soo Jin Yang and Russian golfer, Maria Verchenova, who both have their own golf clothing ranges. Someone who always catches my eye here at home is our very own colourful Tijana Kraljevic. I find that many of our South African lady pros are still very conservative with their women’s golf wear.
We now enter the topic of body shape and the struggles of finding women’s golf wear that is suitable for my body shape as an African women. We require a little extra room around our hips and my research has shown me that most women’s golf wear has been made for a typical European size, figure and shape. I have found this to be one of the biggest problems for the amateur lady golfers and my friends, who might be a 32 waist but a 36 bottom. Hey, the heritage calls for it and it is pride for us, but it is a disadvantage when trying to find suitable and comfortable women’s golf wear. I also realise that in the past not many women with this type of figure, if any, played golf, so it is to be expected that we will only find European-sized garments at any golf shop.
Yes, it is a huge problem. We have had some brands that are actually trying to cater for and understand the African woman’s figure like Greg Norman’s range and the Clubhouse Collection. Most women I’ve spoken to have to go to a regular retail store to get a pair of shorts for a guaranteed fit. The problem with that is you then lose all the necessary details needed for golf gear, like the extra pockets and tee holders. There is still a lot of improvement and necessary changes that need to happen with regards to sizing. More often than not, it takes a person who understands the struggles of a situation to change it.
I know, through my own experience that most times when I’m out there looking good, feeling comfortable, I’m going to play some good golf and I’m pretty sure some of the ladies will agree with me.