Leading bodywear companies are banking on breakthrough styling in ’94 – from zippers and buttons to crocheted fabrics. Here, some key strategies.

DANSKIN: Stylish dance clothing is the bottom line for New York-based Danskin, which is focusing its efforts on its new Dance Pants group. The three styles — a gym shorts look, wholesaling for $23; a sweatpants look for $28 and a palazzo pants style for $36 — step out in black, heather gray or natural cotton and Lycra spandex and sport a natural-color waistband that’s meant to be rolled down over the hips. “It’s inspired by the sexy workout looks worn by dancers,” said Maureen Broughton, the New York-based brand’s general manager. Dance Pants will preview at the Super Show in Atlanta Feb. 4 to 7.

JACQUES MORET: With 500 dozen units booked in each style, this firm is getting a lot of performance from its crochet lace bra tops, crop tops, thongs and bike shorts. For April through June selling, New York-based Moret will merchandise these styles with a new tie-dye group. Come fall, the starting lineup in both designs will feature tank leotards, wholesaling for $8.50; short bike shorts and crop tops for $6.50; tank tops for $5.50, and T-shirts for $7.

WEEKEND EXERCISE CO.: Leggings will have legs in 1994. That’s the prediction of Norm Zwail, president of this San Diego company. “The junior market has dropped this category, which offers bodywear makers less competition,” he notes.
Starting in July, ready-to-wear detailing such as zippers, buttons, special stitching and rib treatments will be the focus in fabrics like French terry, stretch fleece, cotton thermals and brushed cottons. Zwail also expects coverups — one of the firm’s fastest growing classifications — to influence the leggings business. “The two items go together.”

ATTITUDES IN DRESSING: Sportswear designers used athlete chic to put some muscle into their spring collections, and now bodywear designers are returning the favor. This New York-based company, which produces the BodyWrappers label, is giving its long-sleeve snap-crotch bodysuits, boxer shorts, crop tops and big shirts, pull-on pants and oversize jackets a sportswear flavor.
According to president and co-owner Marie West, the first half of 1994 will focus on solid and abstract print items that can be mixed together, a concept that generated a 20 percent gain over previous-year sales in spring and summer 1993, its first season. Principal fabrics are Lycra spandex blended with cotton, nylon or Supplex nylon. Fall colors will include cadet blue, slate, beige and rhubarb. Wholesale prices for the solids start at $10 for bike pants and go to $25 for hooded jackets.