October 5, 2018
When I go to the PGA Merchandise Shows in January, the fashion side of the huge convention is focused on the upcoming fall and winter seasons.
So you may be able to see what’s described in this column by going to the pro shops and online golf apparel outlets right after reading it. You’re very welcome.
During the 2018 Show I reconnected with Deb Miller, vice president for merchandising and design for Oxford Industries, and a fellow University of Delaware alum. Oxford is a major player in the US fashion industry, with well-known lines including Tommy Bahama, Lily Pulitzer, Southern Tide, and Oxford.
“We had a good launch last year, especially in the men’s specialty stores,” Miller said. “Our branding combines the performance fabrics with lifestyle appeal.”
As with other apparel makers, Oxford now uses more fabric blends to take advantage of the qualities of each element. For example, the Haywood Polo ($89 SRP) uses a mix of their Dri Release performance fabric, cotton, and lycra in a heather pique style. The combination looks a bit more muted than a performance fabric option, while still providing moisture wicking and anti-microbial benefits.
Miller said they are selling more prints in Dri Release, along with jacquard and tone on tone options.
For the layering required for fall and winter golf, Miller showed me the Oakdale ¼ zip long sleeve pullover. This lightly quilted look uses cool max performance fabric, cotton, and spandex in a heather pique double knit ($125), in a variety of muted tones. It is only one layer, and has a soft jersey finish on the inside. These pullovers would look fine on the course or off it, which is one of Oxford’s design goals.
I also liked the Ottley vest, which provides good protection from the cold without the added bulk of sleeves ($159). It has multiple pockets, a full zip front, and is made of water repellant polyester. One nice feature is the interior knit collar lining.
Several apparel companies at this year’s Show displayed full button front polo shirts, which may be the harbinger of a new trend. Miller showed me Oxford’s Winfall long sleeve button front polo ($115). This is a cotton/wool blend in a brushed oxford pique style, sold in four colors. “These are very versatile piece for on or off the course,” she said.
I also met Kristen Klinze, a Villanova grad and Cobra/Puma’s global head for golf apparel.
Klinze showed off a new fabric her company calls Fusion Yarn on a nice print polo shirt for men, with muted tones you might expect to see in October or November. The softer color scheme is achieved by using 15% cotton with 85% performance fabric. The dying process colors the performance fabrics and leaves the cotton alone, and the cotton tones down the perceived colors in the final print.
It also feels very nice. Klinze said, “We’re combining the comfort of your favorite T-shirt with what you get from performance fabrics.”
Regarding women’s golf fashions, Klinze said her company is really pleased with the popular response to their PWRSHAPE golf pants, in both full length and Capri styles ($75 SRP). “We developed them from our experience with running and fitness wear,” she said. “We use a high-waisted, high-stretch polyester spandex knit with bonded seaming.” The rest of the pant is a lightweight stretch fabric treated with the company’s DRYCELL moisture wicking technology.
As for fit, Klinze said, “We worked really hard on the fitting and design of these pants.” She commented, “Our golfer will get all the comfort of a yoga pant with the polish and structure of a woven.”
Andrew Lawson, a New Englander who works in the shoe division of Cobra/Puma Golf. The enthusiastic sales rep described several different Puma models for both men and women.
Lawson said a major innovation for their cleated golf shoes for 2018 is that the soft spikes are “decoupled” from the outsole and are instead attached to the shoe at the midsole. He said this method permits each cleat to “articulate independently” and therefore provide a “better ground feel,” he said. “They combine a spikeless feel with cleated traction.”
The tops of several shoe models, such as the Ignite PWRADAPT ($150 SRP) use waterproof material separated from a thicker booty cover outer material through which the laces run. Lawson says the separation between the two fabrics helps give the wearer a “locked in feel.”
Lawson then showed me a few of the women’s models, starting with the Ignite Blaze Sport DISC ($140 SRP). The disc in the model name refers to a twist knob closure system used to tighten the shoe in place. Lawson stressed that Puma uses “women specific lasts” for the outsole, with narrower heel shapes that should provide a better fit.
I also saw the SummerCat Sport and Monolite Cat models. These are waterproof and spikeless, and retail for $80. These shoes seemed to be aimed at golfers who may not play as often as others, but want to look good on the course and off it.