Street Smarts – Red Hot Athletic Style

It is survival of the fittest in the urban jungle. Fitness is power. Women are increasingly turning to power workouts such as CrossFit, strength training and boxing. There is also an empowering trend in athletic apparel. It is urban inspired, edgy and sexy. I call it Street Smarts.

The lines are blurred between what was once strictly apparel for the gym and casual sportswear. Men and women are mixing the two in a sporty mélange that goes in and out of the gym. “Athleisure” is the new normal in casual; because it is comfortable, durable and empowering. Lululemon and Under Armour were the birth parents, but now it’s pervasive.

Edgy, urban styling is trending in athletic apparel.

Edgy, urban styling is trending in athletic apparel.

Street Smarts mixes lounging tomboy with hormone-charged bad girl. It is feminine and masculine. Think retro boxing gym.

Body conscious leggings and comfy sweats are the key bottoms. Look for “townie bad boy” outerwear like hoodies and baseball jackets. Important details on tops are radical back interest, sheer and mesh insets. Knit dresses are a key element of Street Smarts worn with leggings. Neoprene, metallics and zipper details add a structured, modern city touch.

Graphics include assertive text and smoky abstract prints. Footwear includes high-top and retro sneakers and combat boots, such as Dr. Marten’s. Backpacks, retro gym bags, baseball caps and headbands complete the look.

The color is grounded by sooty black, heather greys and white, but can be popped with an extroverted color like hot pink or citrine or softened with a pastel like blush or lilac.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

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A Letter To Mickey Drexler – What Happened To J.Crew?

Dear Mickey,

We need to talk. I thought you were “the one”. I consider myself a classic girl, the type you can bring home to mother, with an individualist fashion sensibility. After a very long loving relationship with J. Crew, I feel we’re drifting apart. You showed me the love, always wanted to please and surprise me. I gave you loads of attention and spent a lot of money on you. Lately our relationship has gotten repetitive, lost its color and doesn’t fulfill my needs. I’m not faithful to you anymore. Let me be specific on where our relationship lost its way:

1. You missed the athleisure trend. No, I don’t do downward dogs, but am very active at 2 gyms. I have blurred the lines between gym clothes and ones “formerly known as casual” in my wardrobe. Lately, I’m tired of shapeless cotton tees, that get little holes at the waist. I’m buying more substantial, expensive, inventive and sexy athletic tops for everyday use. You continue pushing twill cropped pants, when I am buying knit pants that look like jeans and sweats. I’ve never seen a comfortable knit dress in J.Crew.

I had a big crush on Lululemon, but find myself stalking a new love named Athleta. I’m loving athletic inspired outerwear, too. Who would have thought 2 years ago, I would buy a $500 leather/French terry moto jacket from my new crush?

Great outerwear is dominating athleisure apparel.

Great outerwear is dominating athleisure apparel.

You are the master of the casual playlist, taking classic pieces and pairing them in a hipper way. Somehow you missed the macro trend of mixing quality sport-inspired items into one’s everyday wardrobe.

2. You used take me on quality dates. Lately, you seem to be cheaping out, taking me to “fast-fashion ” places. I would rather pay more for a good meal. Why did the fabric qualities go down hill? I’d rather pay $98 at Lululemon for a relationship that will last, than $58 for a quick hook-up.

J. Crew stores lost the sharp focus of Madewell and became cluttered with junk food. Are you distracted by the Zara and Forever 21 effect? They aren’t your competition.

3. I thought you loved tall girls? Many of your clothes don’t fit me. I’m on the tall side (5’9″) and physically fit. Many of your specs are either too short or cut really small. Your customers aren’t all 24, 5′ 4″ and a size 0.

4. You don’t give me the attention you used to. I would never “trash” your catalogs, and always took your calls. The catalogs arouse me, causing emotionally driven online behavior. I would always buy more than needed. I get fewer catalogs now, so you  stopped “playing me” with your enticing images.

A look from J Crew for Spring 2015.

A look from J Crew for Spring 2015.

5.  Something changed. I trusted you to color my world. Some of the colors got very repetitive and harshly un-wearable. Dirty ochre anyone?

Mickey, I will never forget the good times. I’m definitely willing to give us another chance. I think about you often and still drive by your house. I need you to be the reliable source for key items like tees, shirts and sweaters, but mixed with more exciting quality pieces. You have a special place in the mall. You just got in with the wrong crowd.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

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