Athleisure attire has long defined the L.A. woman's uniform, dating to 2001 when Madonna helped put Juicy Couture's fitted track suits on the map as street wear, and today is an integral part of wardrobes from coast to coast. According to retail analyst the NPD Group, women's activewear sales grew by 8% last year compared with 2013.
A crop of new shops carrying fashionable fitness wear for the gym and beyond has popped up; some, like Yogasmoga and Graced by Grit, also offer workout classes and healthy snacks to encourage hanging out — similar to Lorna Jane's Active Living Room concept that opens its 10th U.S. outpost this month in Manhattan Beach. In December, L.A.-based label Alo Yoga will join the scene with a Beverly Hills flagship store, fitness studio and juice bar. Take a look:
What: El Segundo-based Fabletics, the stylish and affordable online brand co-founded by Kate Hudson and owned by JustFab Inc., is rolling out six bricks-and-mortar stores nationwide in September, including a Woodland Hills location slated to launch Sept. 17. The store will feature styles for women and men. As on the website, retail customers can opt to purchase individual pieces or to enroll in a monthly membership for discounted pricing. Besides sports bras, tops, jackets, shorts and leggings designed for workouts or weekends, the collection includes all the extras: bags, hats, hair accessories, panties, men's boxer briefs, socks and gear such as yoga mats, headphones, water bottles and even a waterproof wireless speaker. Styles fit women sized 0 to 20; men's sizing runs from XS to a generous XXL. The store's merchandise mix will expand on the collection sold at fabletics.com, but the website can be shopped in stores and, by the end of the year, customers can choose to pick up online purchases. If a customer is indecisive or in a hurry, store associates can email a virtual shopping cart to complete the purchase online. Coming soon: personal in-store fitting and styling appointments.
Where: The Village at Westfield Topanga; 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills
What: Offering a mix of fashion-driven activewear and post-workout layering pieces from around the globe, the Sweat NSK boutique was designed to mimic "walking into someone's closet," says Susana Yee, who partners in the business with Karen Sun and Natalie Fritz. In the mix are California labels such as Garbe Luxe, Trina Turk, Groceries Apparel, Electric & Rose, Solow, Splits59, Beyond Yoga and ChillByWill, as well as finds from farther afield, including Amsterdam-based Zoe Karssen, Vie Active from Bondi Beach, Australia, and Heroine Sport from New York. Along with bra tops, leggings, shorts, tees and jackets with stylish details that work well beyond the gym, the shop stocks accessories and beauty products, from colorful yoga socks and flip-flops to Herban Essentials Yoga Towelettes and lavender deodorant cream by Meow Meow Tweet. The owners are scouting locations for additional California stores.
Where: Brentwood Village; 11731 Barrington Court, Los Angeles
When: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday, open on Sundays beginning Sept. 21
What: New York City-based yoga-inspired apparel and accessories brand Yogasmoga was founded in 2013 by siblings Rishi and Tapasya Bali, who grew up in the Himalayan region of India. Signatures of the men's and women's range of tees, tanks, fitted shorts and pants, sweaters and zip-front jackets are mesh insets, streamlined hidden pockets, stylish prints (from stripes to an arty hand-printed pattern in a limited-edition run) and an array of rich colors that also appear on yoga mats, towels, flip-flops and headbands. Bracelets hand-loomed in remote villages in the Himalayas benefit the company's Namaskár Foundation to assist the craftspeople and their children. All other products are made in the U.S. with proprietary performance fabrics, developed in the Yogasmoga research lab in Long Beach, and eco-friendly dyes. Women's sizing has been extended up to size 18 in select styles. The company's second area outpost opened in July in Beverly Hills — the first store to feature a community space with free yoga classes and an "elixir bar" (in the works) that will offer teas and juices. Three other L.A.-area Yogasmoga stores are slated to open this fall at Newport Beach's Fashion Island, Malibu Country Mart and Girard Avenue in La Jolla.
What: The Solana Beach-based women's activewear brand Graced by Grit, created by entrepreneur Kimberly Caccavo and her former fitness trainer Kate Nowlan, launched in September 2014 and opened its flagship Solana Beach store in late May. The company's vibrantly colored tops, jackets, shorts, pants, skirts (as well as a few accessories) can be shopped by activity, whether it be golf, rock climbing, kickball, yoga, spinning, dance, snow sports or surfing. The majority of the Italian-made fabrics have built-in UPF 50+ sun protection; a Land & Sea collection geared to water sports is crafted of quick-dry, high-compression fabric, while a Skinny Microfleece fabric has a cozy fleece-like lining without bulk for snow and outdoor sports. Named for tough or "gritty" life-defining moments that turn out to build grace, the company's mission is to help women feel stronger and more confident. Part of that is about feeling safe, so every piece comes with a detachable whistle, and waistband pockets accommodate a smartphone. The brand claims to target girls and women "aged 9 to 109," and a group of pieces is fit just for tweens. San Diego businesses and fitness "influencers" (who can apply on the website) partner with the brand to host weekly events, such as free workouts, healthy snack tastings and makeovers, at the store.
Where: 153 N. Highway 101, Suite 103, Solana Beach
What: Launched in May 2014, fashion-forward activewear and leisure wear brand Out Inc. was founded by San Francisco native Leah Hundsness and Australian sisters Lauren Gill and Libby Amelia. Although the company headquarters and first flagship retail store are in Newport Beach's Corona Del Mar, the line is manufactured in Australia. Katherine Heigl and Margot Robbie are among the brand's fans. Signature pieces that Gill says are inspired by street style include strappy bra tops (some with convertible straps for multiple looks in one), drapey semi-sheer T-shirts and shape-enhancing leggings, paired with sleek, machine washable riding-style jackets to dress up the look well beyond the gym. Designed with workouts and travel in mind, the pieces are made of high-tech, quick-dry, stretch fabrics. The store also features feminine bra tops by Canadian brand MICHI, cool swimsuits and bodysuits by New York-based brand Well Kept, and stylish activewear and accessories by tennis-oriented luxury brand Monreal London, whose customers include Victoria Beckham and Pippa Middleton.
Performance compression leggings that smooth out cellulite --Vimmia says it's made them
Smooth away cellulite while you work out, no surgery required? Compression leggings are not new. But Los Angeles-based activewear company Vimmia has worked for three years to develop a new Vimmia X compression fabrication specially designed for performance. The company says its moisture-wicking, four-way-stretch fabric is embedded with bioactive minerals that increase blood circulation upon contact with the skin to regulate body temperature and "reduce the appearance of cellulite and increase skin smoothness" if the leggings are worn for six hours daily on 30 consecutive days.
"A very firm compression garment could potentially redistribute fluid, helping to minimize the appearance of cellulite temporarily," says Los Angeles dermatologist Jessica Wu, who is not associated with the product. "As far as the bioactive compound, it would have to be a high enough concentration to penetrate through the skin and into the fat; I'd have to see studies. But the other benefit of wearing tight compression is that it holds your stomach in like a corset, so you may not want to eat as much, as you feel full faster."
The collection of two Vimmia X leggings and one capri, $125-$172, debuts Tuesday exclusively at carbon38.com.