Tee it Up in Style
Author: Linda Hopkins
Gotcha! We don’t recommend wearing tanks and cut-off jean shorts on any course around here…*??
For too long, the terms “golf” and “fashion” have rarely shared the same sentence, at least in a positive sense. Historically, golfers have either been criticized for their dull, stodgy attire or ridiculed for their attempts at fashion (loud-patterned sweaters, white belts and day-glow pants). No more. Today’s fairways are awash with a myriad of colors and styles, thanks in part, to the influence of professional players who dare to express themselves through their wardrobes and the influx of women players demanding a combination of comfort, fit and style.
Let’s hear it for the girls
As golf appears less male-dominated and more woman-friendly, it stands to reason that golf fashion would feel the impact. Style-conscious professional players are bringing some snap to the sport, and women of all abilities are turning to designers who “get it.”
According to Lija designer, Lynda Hipp, “Ten years ago, women’s golf wear looked like miniature menswear—boxy polos and pleated shorts. But women are not shaped like boxes.” So she cuts slimming hoodies, tapered polos, and long, flat-front shorts in sophisticated colors and graphic patterns. Other designers are following suit, and women are heating up the fairways with more than shot accuracy and powerful swings.
As more women take to the nation’s public and private courses, they are drawn to function as well as fashion. Today’s girls who golf will find shirts in flattering cuts with shorter sleeves and a wide array of colors. Shorts and skirts are getting shorter to allow for maximum mobility; but for those who prefer longer styles, knee-length Bermudas, capris or cropped-pants keep the look updated.
Accessories also have been transformed. Cart bags are patterned with flowers, stripes and polka dots in pink, blue, green and gold.
The latest trends in golf apparel are also filtering into the everyday lives of active women who are looking for something stylish, yet comfortable, that they can wear from the golf course to lunch at the club or out shopping. Local vendors agree that the line between street clothes and golf clothes is blurring, attracting more women who saw traditional women’s golf clothing as dowdy. Even the shoes are taking on a more feminine edge—narrower, trendier and often street-appropriate.
Guys just want to feel good
Golf is a sport that requires long hours outdoors, so that means you need to be dressed in something that allows you to look good but also feel comfortable and play well. One of the top trends both nationally and locally is found in the technologically advanced materials that are being incorporated into golf clothing for both men and women. New moisture-wicking fabrics help keep you dry and comfortable throughout your round. You can also find golf apparel in special fabrics that have been created to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
Golf is still a relatively conservative sport. It’s an old game with ideas of how you have to present yourself, and many golf clubs have strict rules regarding appropriate attire. Although some of the PGA Tour players step out of the box a bit, whether for personal expression or entertainment value, an aura of respect still dictates the fashion realm. Tiger Woods has had a particularly strong influence in regard to a modern, yet sophisticated look.
Unsure of what constitutes acceptable clothing for a game of golf? Sticking to name-brand golf wear is a very safe bet. Here are a few additional tips from men’s fashion expert, Andy Gilchrist*:
• Shorts are acceptable, but they must be designed for golf; not gym shorts or cut-offs. They should be no shorter than just above your knees.
A Fashion Don’t on the Golf Course
• Denim apparel is usually not appropriate.
• Pants and/or shorts should have belt loops, but no cuffs since they trap dirt.
• Wear a leather belt. The belts that Tiger wears, with a silver tip, are stylish.
• Golf clothes are often bright and colorful, but you don’t need to wear all the colors at the same time!
• Wear proper golf shoes, not running shoes, or sandals! Just about every country club on the planet has switched from metal spikes to require soft spikes or a “built-into-the-sole” tread design. Bring a pair of street shoes. You may be having lunch or a drink in the clubhouse afterwards. Change into your golf shoes in the locker room, not at your car in the parking lot.
• If you’re wearing long pants the socks should match your trousers. If you opt for shorts, wear light colored socks with white or saddle-style shoes.
• Hats are a good idea. They help keep the sun off your face, and may improve your vision. Either baseball style or straw golf hats are appropriate.
• Dressing appropriately shows respect for the member who invited you, the other members of your group, and for the great and ancient game of golf.
• In a sport where fashion remains an almost fixed constant, it takes a trained eye to pick out the nuances of seasonal trends in golf attire.
Men can never go wrong with a traditional polo or woven shirt, comfortable khakis and a light jacket. The traditions hold true for women, too: Shirts with collars and pants are still universally accepted garb.
Whatever you choose to wear, make it an expression of your own individual style. Your outfit may not improve your score, but a dose of comfort and confidence certainly can’t hurt!
Fashionable Fans are Stylin’ in Hats
Golf fans, hold your heads high! If you truly want to get noticed at this year’s Verizon Heritage, forget the plunging necklines and four-inch stilettos (unless, of course, you feel like teetering around, sinking in the grass and soaking your feet for three days) and strut your stuff under a hat. It’s the unofficial spectator sport of the Heritage, fashion-watching, and headwear makes the ultimate style statement.
“Men are drawn to women in hats,” said Manhattan milliner, Mle Hagen. “If a woman reveals cleavage, there’s something obvious to look at. When a woman wears a hat, there’s a little more mystery—it’s sexy without being obvious.”*
A keynote accessory to spring’s flirty, feminine fashions, you can choose from a wide range of fabulous, fun hats, from the very practical to merely decorative. Trendy styles include fedoras, trilbys and panamas, but that doesn’t mean you can’t raid your grandmother’s attic or comb area consignment stores for a vintage look that is equally striking.
Practically speaking, hats not only give your outfit a sophisticated, finished look, but they offer valuable protection against the elements—shading eyes, protecting tender scalps and, with a wide enough brim, preventing sunburned noses.
If you’re not into the high fashion element, opt for a sassy visor or baseball cap to match your outfit and/or attitude.