When I lived in Los Angeles, I worked as a temp slave in human resources (note the irony?) at the corporate headquarters of trendwear honchos Contempo Casuals. The hardest job to fill--literally--was that of “fitting model”--women who served as live clothing dummies so that sewing patterns could be fine-tuned. Before final patterns were sent to Contempo’s in-house crew of low-paid Hispanic seamstresses for mass production, the fitting models would try on clothing prototypes for the express purpose of testing various positions: sitting down, bending over, raising arms overhead, and so forth.
The official job descriptions ("S," "M," and "L") called for precise body measurements, down to fractions of inches. Apparently, it was almost impossible to find women who fit the clothes Contempo planned to sew.
Title Nine Sports’ mail-order catalog of women’s sportswear operates on a completely different mind-set. Specializing in clothes that fit lots of women, its pages feature action photos of women--not models--working out in the clothes, with capsule descriptions of who the women are (“Michele is a project manager for a software company here in Berkeley").
Title Nine prides itself in putting all its potential products “through the wringer.” Finding and testing great clothes to wear is “part of everybody’s job description” at the California-based company, they say. Consequently, this exciting selection of functional, good-looking gear is enough to make any active woman shout, “Finally! Workout clothes that work!”
Consider this copy for the Sleeveless Tee ($19): “They’re great ’cause they offer more sun protection and completely cover a sports bra.” Or the Not-So-Sheer Micromesh Tank ($24) that will “keep you cool when it’s hot out” without “revealing all God gave you.”
Ever wish for an outerwear bra top that covers your midriff? Title Nine has them, in regular and “super-support” ($36-$39). Workout shorts that won’t ride up ($27-$32)? How about a sports nursing bra ($29) or the Women’s Anatomical Cycling Seat ($36)? Title Nine also carries swimwear, undies, running shoes, wristwatches, and more.
I’ve never seen anything like Title Nine’s array of sports bras. An innovative rating system grades--from one to four barbells--the amount of support given. In addition, each bra is described in meticulously functional--rather than frivolous--detail. For instance, the Sportshape Bra ($24), rated at three barbells, “does the job of minimizing bounce without giving you that ‘uni-breast’ look” and “will accommodate a prosthesis.”
Title Nine Sports is named after the 1972 legislation requiring all schools that receive federal funds to provide equal opportunities for females to participate in competitive sports--an action whose positive results can be seen in any high school gym, or Olympic game, today.
You can order products online at Title Nine’s new Web store. However, the site isn’t nearly as nice to look at, or as much fun to browse, as the print catalog.
--Vesna Vuynovich Kovach