History of sports wear


Athletic sportswear has not always been as casual and comfortable to wear as the apparel accepted as the norm today. It must have been uncomfortable to compete in the field and tennis court events of the bygone era dressed in clothes that were prim and proper. It was not until the 1950’s that athletes began wearing sports clothes that were both functional and fashionably designed in the newly introduced synthetic fibers of Elastane/Spandex/Lycra. As this was a stretchy material that gave good support, it was the perfect fabric for making sports and active wear. During the 1960’s men and women began to be seen in co-ordinated tracksuits of nylon and cotton-knit at sports events.

Women’s early attire for sports

At the end of 19th century, women only then began taking part in sports, as this was primarily considered a male activity. The dress code for women was to play in ankle-length dresses, with long sleeves and high necks, and shoes with a heel. Male athletes on the other hand now wore baggy shorts and cotton vests.

Sports wear in 1908

An extract from the rules of the 1908 London Games marathon read,

“Every competitor must wear complete clothing from the shoulders to the knees (i.e. jerseys sleeved to the elbows and loose drawers with slips.) Any competitor will be excluded from taking part in the race unless properly attired.”

Thank goodness times have changed!

At the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, women competed in swimming events for the first time, wearing sleeveless thigh-length woolen bathing suits. This was thought of as being so extreme that U.S. female competitors were forbidden to take part in the games because of the unladylike swimwear worn. Their male counterparts tried out the latest scanty trunks worn beneath sheer swimming costumes, called “athletes.”

During the 1920’s, it became fashionable for both sexes to take part in sports such as tennis, golf and swimming. The moneyed crowd enjoyed polo and yachting, and the new styling of sportswear was designed for ease and comfort.

1920's Sports wear

A comfortable change

The Amsterdam Olympic Games, 1928, was the first Olympics that female athletes were allowed to wear short-sleeved shirts and mid-thigh length shorts. Women’s track and field events were introduced for the first time to the Olympic Games. At last, female athletes are recognized sports participants, and also to wear a more comfortable level of sports clothing.

Phiten Sports wear

At the PHITEN online store, there is a special range of men’s and ladies casual clothing to wear for athletic and other sporting activities that are comfortable and easy to wear.PHITEN online shopping provides you with a quality online shopping experience.