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Women's golf apparel gets one-stop online shop

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ShiShi Driver

Combine khaki pants and a collared shirt ... and bingo! In one fell swoop, men can piece together an outfit and look like a golfer.

The same feat is not so simple for females and this is one of the first obstacles for golf to overcome as it looks to connect with the female demographic.

A question I am asked all the time as a female in the industry is, 'Where do women go to buy clothes for the golf course?' Most of the time my response is, “Well, I like brands X,Y, and Z,” but to tell you exactly where you can purchase them – that’s where it’s tricky.

The most obvious location is your local golf pro shop. The problem there is that often times sizes are scarce and styles limited. There’s also the golf superstore. They have a larger, wider variety, but it’s rare to find full coordinated outfits for women that actually pull together one uniform look. For men, a basic color match is all that is needed. For women, that’s not how it works. Women look dumpy, frumpy, and bottom line unattractive if our golf attire is not well thought out or well-fitting.

In the day where cyber shopping is more popular than ever (online sales of apparel and accessories are growing faster than any other ecommerce product segment, a projected $224.2 billion in 2012 according to an April report by eMarketer), a simple Google search of the desired brands is a good start. However, the issue I face, again, is often not having my size in stock on a particular seller’s site, having to begin a new search to find the offering somewhere else, and then I’m bouncing all over the place.

For mainstream fashion, online retailers like Shopbop, Net-a-porter, Bluefly, and Piperlime have gained major traction for fashionable women looking to pull together outfits and purchase key wardrobe pieces for occasions that range from a casual weekend to a formal wedding. They are one-stop-(online)shops for finding fashion trends and purchasing the look at competitive rates.

Golf fashion blogger Elizabeth Noblitt picked up on this move to online retail for women, and launched a retail website named shop.shishiputter.com in October where women can search and purchase high-end women’s golf designer apparel that spans from dresses and skirts to jackets, tops, pants and shorts. The website organizes garments by body shape and style to help site visitors find the perfect match within seconds. The descriptions of each item even include tips on how to wear the piece off the golf course, so women can easily move between fairways and greens to social and business settings.

“Everything is designed by women who found it challenging to find active wear that fit their style,” says Noblitt. “As a result, each designer has created a very distinctive look that fits seamlessly into a woman’s life and her wardrobe.”

Attracting more women to the game is a major push right now, evidenced in part by the PGA of America’s “Connecting with Her” initiative. In order for women to feel connected to golf they need to feel comfortable in golf clothing.

“Choosing the wrong golf apparel can have a negative impact on one’s professional image,” says Noblitt.

Noblitt’s philosophy is that women who golf, particularly for business, should have a consistent style from the office to the golf course and should feel confident that they look their best whether attending a charity tournament or having a drink in the clubhouse.

With not only a wider array of clothing to choose from and more tailored sites like Noblitt’s, I hope the game of golf will become more welcoming for women who enjoy the sport and want to look great while playing. I finally have a good answer for my girlfriends looking to take up the game. Now let’s get them to the course!