Jessica Korda has just relayed a photo of the golf clothes she’s planning to wear in the next day’s round.
“Do you like this outfit?” She texted.
“Well, let’s see what else you have” comes the fast reply from the outfit’s designer, Larissa Grashian, setting off a flurry of texts back and forth and photos that Grashian hopes will result in Korda’s signature mix of sport and sophistication.
“I want to make sure these girls look really great at all times,” Grashian said, referring to the Adidas brand ambassadors on the LPGA tour, which include Jessica Korda, Paula Creamer, and Danielle Kang. “And together they have one of the bigger influences on our line.”
Grashian and Sarah Marai, the brand’s Senior Product Manager for women’s golf, took a break from concepting the fall 2019 Adidas women’s golf collection recently to talk golf fashion with the LPGA Women’s Network. The two have been a team for nearly five years, and Marai’s husband says Larissa sees more of her than he does. The women complete each other’s sentences and often end the answer to a question by turning to the other with, “What would you say?”
Grashian grew up in a sports-minded family and focused on women’s sports apparel beginning in her sophomore year at Otis College of Art and Design. “I was,” she said, “the only one in my whole design class who wanted to go into activewear.” She joined Adidas in 2013 after a stint designing women’s tennis and running apparel for Under Armour, which have given her a unique flair for creating beautiful and functional golf wear.
Marai studied business at George Washington University and got interested in golf when her sister, who worked for Odyssey, introduced her to her future husband, who at the time worked for TaylorMade. She makes sure the fashion conspiracies of Grashian, Korda, Creamer, and Kang meet the needs of the women’s golf fashion consumer. The Adidas design philosophy puts sport first, without forgetting the athlete is also a woman.
“Our customer is a versatile athlete,” Marai said. “She’s not only playing golf, she’s walking with her friends or running with her friends, maybe doing yoga. She needs a lot from her clothes. She wants performance, but she wants to look good. She’s competitive, but she’s a social athlete who is out there to be with her friends.”
So fashions mix performance properties with feminine details – a ladylike ruffle on this skort (such as on the Olympic uniform) or an unexpected notch on that one. “Athletic but still feminine,” Maria said. “I think there’s something beautiful about a golfer and her swing. We’ll continue to dress her as an athlete and as a competitor, but highlight her femininity as well.”
Here are a few more takeaways from our conversation with Grashian and Marai that might influence what you’ll be wearing in years to come.
THE LPGA’S NEW DRESS CODE ISN’T INFLUENCING ADIDAS DESIGNS
Grashian: “I honestly haven’t thought about it when it comes to designing.”
Marai: “I think our goal is to be respectful of the game and respectful of the athlete, while pushing [boundaries]. I don’t think it’s changed much of what we’re doing or what the girls wear.”
Grashian: “We’ve done the whole racerback and then scaled it down a little so not as much of the shoulder blade is showing.”
Marai: “We’re trying to take some chances in key spots. If anything, we’re seeing a trend to shorter. Some clubs still have the 18-inch length requirement, but we’re allowed to push it a little, at 16 and even shorter. I think our shorter shorts are becoming more popular than bermudas or pedal pushers.”
WOMEN NEED TO GET OVER THEIR NOTIONS ABOUT WHAT GOLF CLOTHES ARE
Marai: “Women sometimes wear something on the course in a style they wouldn’t necessarily wear in real life – maybe a print top with a print bottom. They shouldn’t be afraid to mix it up and show some personality, not feel like they need a golf uniform.”
SYNTHETICS ARE THE REAL DEAL
Grashian: “I really geek out on the fabrics. We have some that feel like cotton but are synthetics and so they have performance properties. It wicks, it stretches, and it has this nice cotton feel.”
Marai: “The UPF 50 fabrics are becoming more important to women.”
SAY “YES” TO WHITE AFTER LABOR DAY
Grashian: “Black can come and go, but white is always in a delivery. We try to bring in different neutrals. Navy is still happening. Gray has been strong but it’s starting to go away a little bit. We have this really great plum color coming, kind of a new neutral. But it’s far away.”
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
Grashian: “Today, there was a really cute pair of culottes we saw. I said, ‘Sarah, is this something we could try?’ We’re definitely going to push the new while staying respectful of the game.”
LPGA PLAYERS WILL HAVE A SAY IN GOLF FASHIONS FOR THE REST OF US
Korda, Creamer, and Kang have different styles even while wearing the same brand. Korda prefers long sleeves and a sophisticated, CEO sort of look; she asked Adidas to design a vest to her specifications. Creamer’s a self-proclaimed girly girl and fashionista, and Kang leans toward the sporty.
The night before the final round of the KPMG, Kang got a text.
“What are you planning to wear tomorrow?”
It was Grashian. “I had a feeling she was going to win, and I knew it would be photographed and it was going to be a really iconic outfit for us.”
A sporty polo with white short-shorts took the trophy.
With designers like Grashian and Marai at the helm of women’s golf fashion for Adidas, coupled with Korda, Creamer and Kang influencing designs through their distinct signature styles, we can rest assured that the future of women’s golf fashion will continue to innovate and evolve for the rest of us.