A guide to finding the women’s golf clothing brands that match your attitude, by Katharine Dyson and Susan Fornoff
A man walks into a golf shop, picks out a shirt, holds it up to his chest, and heads for the cash register. But the woman golfer of today faces an incredibly diverse array of golf apparel options, from retro plaid shorts to capris, to shirts of all sleeve lengths and collar treatments, to eye-teaser skorts and even dresses.
That’s good news: No matter what your flavor of the day is, you are certain to find the perfect outfit. The trick is how to marry the fashions and accessories and brands with who you really are, so that you can quickly identify a great find, even online, and not spend hours locked in a converted-closet-now-dressing-room when you could be golfing.
So…. WHO ARE YOU?
Golf Fashion Style 1: LIFE OF THE PARTY
She starts her day —usually late— with a cappuccino then lets the day unfold. Loves it if something serendipitous happens, like an offer to go for a spin on a Harley. She doesn’t mind ordering her own Pinot Gris at the bar and only gets her mojo going after 11 p.m. She watches SyFy and superhero movies.
For Her Closet: Definitely Loudmouth for the course. Cassie Kovacevich at Loudmouth says, “You can’t wear Loudmouth and not get attention.” Embroidered rubber duckies, bright pink flamingos, Jolly Roger skull & crossbones, blueberry pie, disco balls— the list of designs and colors just gets more and more cheeky.
LOP also digs Kevan Hall Sport’s playful dresses that seamlessly shift from swinging on the golf course to swinging on the dance floor. Jamie Saddock is another winner with her daring bling and shimmering fabrics. On cool golfing days she’ll keep warm by wearing Lady Skinz leggings in eye-popping colors and patterns.
Golf Fashion Style 2. MULTITASKER
She’s hip, she’s busy, she’s involved. She helps out with charities, plays tennis, and scrapbooks – all the while maintaining her 10 handicap. She reads to her kids every night before unwinding with a Netflix movie. When she buys clothing, she looks for things that are classic with lasting power so that they still look good after many rounds. Throw in a little spandex and sass and she’s there.
For Her Closet: Kristin Debany, team head of golf apparel at Cobra Puma, says, “Our sweet spot is 35-50, with a youthful mindset and multisport interests. Our DNA brand is bold, graphic, colorful and fun.” Other good bets include Lija Style for form-fitting sports attire in surprise prints and fabrics, and Sunice’s jackets and pants that are beautifully cut and come in solids punched up with bursts of color.
Golf Fashion Style 3. FASHION DIVA
She’s really not that much into TV. Saturday night she’s out with her friends going to dinner or taking in a concert. She shows up wearing Pucci and Prada knockoffs; valet parks her Audi R8; changes her hair color every six months; and is jazzed by the fountains and gardens at Trump’s tracks.
For Her Closet: For FDs who dare to be different, think aDRESSitgolf where stripes and blocks of Mondrian-meets-Miro-like color light up the fairways. CEO Lloyd Eisler says, “We offer lots of reversible tops and dresses with sneaky cap sleeves so they’re course legal.” Our Fashion Diva also favors classy Ralph Lauren and Catherine Wingate’s fab dresses that look as great on the course as in the clubhouse dining room. Among classic brands, look to EP Pro and Bette&Court for even more dresses.
Golf Fashion Style 4. TRADITIONALIST
Our Traditionalist watches “Downton Abbey,” “60 Minutes” and “The Good Wife.” She belongs to a book club; has worn the same perfect-on-her hairstyle for years; volunteers at club benefits; and likes to have her family and friends for dinner. She never has trouble meeting golf course dress codes. Just put her in a golf cart with a bottle of water and her GPS watch and she’s good to go.
For Her Closet: Lizzie Driver co-owner Lorrie Forgatch says, “We’re traditional and classic. Some have called us the J. Crew of women’s golf.” Fresh upbeat colors and classic cuts are safe havens for our preppy Traditionalist, including snappy fashions from Bette & Court, Chase54 and Greg Norman.
Golf Fashion Style 5. FIT-CHALLENGED
She’s talkative and heaps of fun. She loves to cook and try new recipes, and is forever looking for golf clothes that fit her comfortably yet still make her look sharp and sexy. She drinks Prosecco, reads 50 Shades of Grey and the New York Times, and likes to play courses that showcase her long drives.
For Her Closet: Finding flattering golf attire can be a challenge. Those shorts and skorts that look great in the ads on Paula Creamer may not look so great on our girl. But help is on the way. Apparel in plus sizes that have great cut and some give in the fabric as well as longer shorts and elbow-length sleeves can do the trick. Fashions that come in plus sizes by EP Pro, Tail Activewear, Cutter & Buck, Bette & Court, Nancy Lopez and JoFit work, as well as Monterey Club shirts in jewel colors accented by flashes of rhinestone bling. And more good news: Almost all of the bottoms by these brands have stretch, and many are pull-on.
Golf Fashion Style 6. GIRLY GIRL
With a sunny disposition, she laughs a lot and loves surprises. She bakes cookies once a week, lunches with her girl friends and is determined to read all the alphabet books by Sue Grafton in order. Her golf bag and clubs come as a matching set.
For Her Closet: Details like ruffles, ruching and pretty necklines with touches of contrasting color can make all the difference. Take fashions from Roaming Dhabi (offering adorable dresses) or Golftini (with an irresistible lineup of pink and white coordinated outfits). Sweet.
Golf Fashion Style 7. SUN SAVVY
She may have used a reflector in her youth, but today her bronze look comes from a tube. No sun for this moisturizer-loving babe. Hats and sunscreen are a must, but she refuses to sacrifice her great fashion sense and cover up under a nun’s habit.
For Her Closet: Apparel from SanSoleil and Iconic Sport (shown above) uses fabric that is treated to protect you from harmful sun rays. Much of Tail’s apparel is 40+, and the Annika Collection from Cutter & Buck also offers long-sleeve shirts with 35+ UV protection. Hats from Tilley Endurables and Head ’N Home hats have been certified to 50+UPF.
Golf Fashion Style 8. JOCK GIRL
She wears Chaco sandals; drives an SUV with room for her clubs, kayak paddle and beach chair. She likes to walk the course and carry her lightweight stand bag. She watches Golf Channel and relishes settling in a hammock with a good book. Her favorite shows include “Bones” and “CSI.”
For Her Closet: Sarah Marai, global product manager of TaylorMade Adidas Golf, says of the Adidas women’s apparel collection, “Our tagline is ‘Built for an athlete, designed for a woman.’ She’s beautiful, she’s strong, she’s a competitor, she’s fierce — and she’s a fashionista.” (Think Paula Creamer, Anna Nordqvist, Jessica Korda.) Cutter & Buck’s Annika line also kicks in with its sporty, athletic clothing geared to high performance worthy of its namesake. Other contenders include Nike, Greg Norman, Antigua, Sunice, Daily Sports, Tail Activewear and JoFit.
Golf Fashion Style 9. THE JUGGLER
Saturday afternoon she may meet girlfriends for lunch and run errands, while that night she could dig in at home and savor a glass of wine with cheese and crackers. In her dreams she waltzes to Strauss at the Vienna New Year’s Eve Ball but is a happy girl at her club’s Summer Dance. She’s always struggling for balance.
For Her Closet: Haus of Gray co-founder Kelli Marie Riley says, “We like tone on tone—we are a much more subtle brand. We want our line to be something you can wear on and off the course. The last thing a woman wants to do is have a bold look and have people remembering you wore that outfit last week.” Then there are Sport Haley with luxurious fabrics and details, mood-setter GG Blue for upbeat happy prints and plaids, while Nivo Sport marries European style with athletic-inspired designs.
Golf Fashion Style 10. ECO-GIRL
She believes our planet is warming, dabbles with glutton-free diets and uses only organic compost in her garden. She reads New Yorker magazine, votes as an independent and drives a Tesla. EG recycles everything including cat litter. When she travels, she actually goes out of her way to stay at a place with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.
For Her Closet: EG likes AUR Aware classic fashions created in eco-friendly fabrics. She loves 100% cotton shirts like Alibaba pima cotton polos, and looks for the “Made in the USA” label from the likes of Kevan Hall Sport and Lizzie Driver, because she knows that means her outfit’s journey required less fuel. Another wardrobe staple is Kentwool’s Sport Skinny socks made from bamboo and wool, said to last longer and resist odors. Now there’s a challenge!
This article first appeared in GottaGoGolf Magazine, Spring 2015 issue.