You may have noticed that the Solheim Cup’s Team USA is looking especially snappy and sporting during this year’s duel with Team Europe. Antigua Inc. is once again outfitting this year’s team at Des Moines Golf and Country Club, as they have in 2011, 2013, and 2015.
“We have had the good fortune to design and develop the Ryder Cup uniforms for the American team back in 1993 and now four times for the LPGA and Solheim Cup Teams”, said Ron McPherson, president and CEO of the Antigua Group. “These opportunities are a great honor and recognition for our brand and company.”
There’s a really good reason for that. Antigua loves the task and they do great work.
For years, women’s golf clothing has often been the bain of the golf industry: it had to be dealt with it, but little was focused on what women truly wanted. Manufacturers didn’t pay much attention to the women they clothed, bailing out to produce watered down versions of men’s apparel, never coming close to providing what real women would embrace. There’s been this Catch-22 syndrome often bemoaned by golf retailers: ‘women don’t buy our clothing so why should we stock it?’ The simple truth is that when you provide something that isn’t attractive or doesn’t deliver, of course women won’t buy it. If women were given functional and fashionable options, this would change…and it did.
After more than 30 years designing golf apparel, it is obvious that Antigua’s designers know that fit and finish are primary factors in keeping women happy. Great care is being taken in creating styles that actually factor into account a woman’s body and how well the design works with various body types, how comfortable it is and yes, what about those undergarments playing peek-a-boo? One style in particular is a tough customer: the sleeveless shirt, which is a staple for many female golfers. Few manufacturers get it right when trying to fit the ladies. Why is this so difficult?
Women come in all body shapes, heights, and ages and not every style is ideal for all women golfers. According to Antigua designers: ‘key factors in developing the perfect fitting sleeveless style include establishing an appropriate across-chest measurement and armhole depth. From the top of the shoulder down to the bottom of the armhole, the shape of the armhole must follow the natural shape of a women’s body, curving in just enough in the right places so as not to interfere with arm movement or even worse, curving in too much and therefore showing the sides of a bra. Armhole depth must follow the “Goldilocks Rule”- a term senior designer and lead Solheim Cup fashion boss Danielle Dellios uses when describing Antigua’s fit policy. “The armhole opening cannot be too deep, nor too shallow, it must be just right.” says Dellios, who uses a myriad of fit models to ensure women of all body types can feel comfortable when wearing Antigua.’
As women age, what used to work often doesn’t. Solheim Cup players and captains range in age from early 20’s to fifty-plus, so this had to be taken into account when choosing competition styles. Women golfers over 40, a fairly large market, begin to notice issues with how their clothes fit and that size 8 or 10 bottoms and Small or Medium tops simply aren’t cutting it any more. Entering our 50’s and 60’s, hormones play games and despite actively working out, eating properly and regularly practicing or playing golf, Mother Nature works against us. We tend to gain weight in the bust, abdominal and hip areas; crueler yet, what were once taut and toned upper arms have become ‘loose’ and our favorite sleeveless tops become too tight and binding, often bringing unwanted attention to areas we’d rather not advertise. Yet, the sleeveless top remains popular, most likely for the freedom of movement. And for those of us who do get tan, those pesky tan lines are less of a problem when opting for sleeveless dress-up duds at more formal affairs.
Should we give up a style we love to wear? Not if we can help it.
According to Antigua designers, ‘the main task in developing a woven sleeveless polo is in the fit of the garment. The design team spent many hours fitting multiple body types to ensure the wearer has enough room to feel comfortable while golfing. On the other hand, to keep the style from looking sloppy and oversized, several steps were taken in tweaking the pattern to provide a more tailored look. Darts at the bust allow for a proper fit at the armhole and chest and curved side slits offer minimal pull lines at the hips’.
Recently, I tested Antigua’s popular Spring 2017 sleeveless styles and to say they delivered is an understatement. Unexpectedly, they’ve actually become the go-to shirts I prefer to wear for almost any summertime function. These shirts are perfect not only for golf, but for family picnics, beach cover-ups, long power walks, both casual and business wear, and travel. As a longtime competitive golfer, function can often trump style, but also as a woman who enjoys being well-dressed, proper fit and appearance are important; however, minimal care is also a must for busy women in the workplace or who devote most of their time to family and friends.
Over the past two months I’ve worn three styles:
The Jewel, in a gorgeous deep cerulean blue, which features Antigua’s unique geometric jacquard Desert Dry moisture wicking knit fabric. The textured face and flat-back fabrication is smooth on the inside, and fashionable on the outside. This top sells well because the fabric gently drapes the body and women of any age find this flattering and roomy where you need it most. One added feature is the hidden ribbon and snap inside the top shoulder seams for holding bra straps in place, normally something top designers include in high-end dresses. We especially don’t like when bra straps keep falling down during the golf swing, certainly a sensation distraction when we don’t need one.
The Trust, eye-catching in hot orange, is a stretch woven style which combines the function of Antigua’s Desert Dry Xtra Lite fabrication with modern styling. The lightweight poly/spandex woven fabric sports several styling details such as pin-tucks at the top shoulder, a covered button placket and rounded hi-low curving hemline, allowing ample room for hip size.
The Avail, in bright lime green, is very soft and slinky, feeling a bit more feminine than a normal golf shirt. This textured diagonal striped poly/spandex fabric runs at a 45 degree downward angle, giving the illusion of a more defined waistline. The open V-neck is a bit more casual and quite comfortable, not overly deep to reveal more than a woman wants to.
All three tops pass muster for any country club dress code. Whether tucked inside shorts or skorts, or worn outside – my preference – they look ‘pressed’, as my golfing friends in Bermuda prefer to say. Perfect for packing, these shirts travel extremely well. They’ve been washed a number of times, dry in a heartbeat, and require no ironing, unless you want a quick touch up. They show no perspiration stains and other grease or grass stains have come out easily. Best of all, they still look brand new, which is huge testimony to any shirt that’s been run through the wringer of rain, sweat, sand, and sun indicative of multiple rounds of golf.
Ladies, you cannot go wrong with these shirts either for yourselves or as gifts for your golfing friends. Men, Christmas is coming sooner than you think and you may wish to consider a collection of Antigua’s offerings. As for me, I’ll continue to wear them as basics in my own golf and leisure clothing collection, mainly to see exactly how long they’ll keep looking fabulous.
Headquartered in Peoria, Arizona, The Antigua Group, through its license sports division, holds license agreements with National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), Minor League Baseball (MiLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), along with numerous American universities and colleges for men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, headwear and luggage. Antigua additionally designs, produces and supplies product for corporate America and specialty retail managed under its corporate division. Its golf division also holds license agreements with the PGA TOUR, LPGA and the PGA of America