I am woman, hear me roar.
That’s one of the messages better sportswear firms are trumpeting for fall. From prairie-style skirts to ruffles, lace and beading details, feminine looks are key. Vendors said denim separates and stretch fabric bottoms are also taking their place in the spotlight.
While novelty pieces are expected to lure style-savvy shoppers, vendors said they expect basic items to be the “bread and butter” of their business, as value-conscious consumers look for versatile pieces.
Here, a roundup of what’s in store for the better market:
At New York-based Tempo, owner Shawn Assil said he expects separates, particularly stretch fabric bottoms, denim and graffiti prints, to be in demand by better sportswear shoppers.
“After going through the magazines and traveling, that’s what we see is selling,” said Assil. “We do a lot of separate tops, like sweaters and knits, and they have been strong for the last two or three years.” Assil said the versatility of separates is fueling the category’s popularity.
“Ladies don’t want to wear suits to work, they want to wear pants and matching tops,” he said. “Very comfortable outfits these days — that’s what’s happening.”
Wholesale prices range from $40 to $150.
North of the border, at Toronto-based Picadilly Fashions, partner Neil Dombrowsky said he expects shoppers to be in search of a more subdued look for their wardrobe.
“People are going for the basics, and finding them very comforting — they’re not looking for too much glitter and glitz,” he said, adding that the firm’s long-haired chenille and soft Tencel-and-cotton-blend pieces are expected to perform well at retail.
Still, Dombrowsky expects the 21-year-old company’s novelty pieces to fare well, as women scour sales floors for pieces that liven up an ensemble.
“Novelty jackets and sweaters to pair with the basic look will also be important,” he said. “If people are going to spend money in these times, they want it to be special.”
Wholesale prices range from $20 for an acetate and spandex pair of pants to $40 for an open-collar jacket.
At Wakefield, Mass.-based Sigrid Olsen, lightweight fabrics — including silk and matte jersey — as well as prints, ruffles and beading are some of the key elements of the 17-year-old company’s collection.
“There’s just enough newness to keep people interested, and of course, the colors we’re doing are really what’s leading each group,” said designer Sigrid Olsen. “We have a total of nine groups, and each has its own color story. This year, it’s more color-driven than ever.”
The color palette includes aquamarines and soft blues as well as shades of amber, gold, topaz and pumpkin.
Wholesale prices range average about $80 for a knit sweater.
Versatile pieces that may be worn both during the day in the workplace and in the evening at a fabulous dinner are expected to be in demand at Los Angeles-based better sportswear firm Michelle Rae, said Tommy Marchionda, owner of Marchionda Sales, which represents Michelle Rae.
Pieces included in this type of wardrobe include rayon-blend separates, denim pieces and “mixed-media” separates that pull together several fabrics to give a patched, quilted look, Marchionda said.
Wholesale prices range from $22 for a rayon tank top to $48 for a mixed-media, novelty jacket.
Tasha Polizzi, owner of her eponymous Great Barrington, Mass.-based better sportswear firm, described her collection’s look for fall as “modern, but with a nostalgic, vintage feel.”
Included in this aesthetic are plaids, as well as items with fur trim, leather and suede.
She said she washed all the plaid pieces to give them a vintage look, which she expects to perform well at retail, since shoppers are searching for cozy, comfortable clothing.
Lace pieces, as well as the prairie look, is also fueling the 11-year-old company’s sales.
Wholesale prices range from $35 to $65.