In the 1920s, French tennis star Suzanne Lenglen shocked Wimbledon crowds by playing in an above-the-knee skirt. These days, sporting similar attire for workouts (running, yoga, Zumba) will elicit compliments instead of scandal. Since most styles come with under-shorts or leggings attached, ladies actually get more coverage from a sports skirt than from other bottoms.
High-tech fabrics and high-fashion touches on these running skirts, skorts and even hilariously named skapris (a skirt-leggings hybrid) make the garments both feminine and practical.
“I think they’re flattering, and you can wear them around town after your workout,” says Elyse Braner, 29, who always slips on pearls and one of her 30 sports skirts to lead the weekly run clubs for P Street’s Pacers and Lululemon stores. “They’re also usually very technical, with pockets for [energy] goo or keys and wicking fabric.” Here are four choices that’ll give you a leg (or two) up on the competition.
Caribbean Mums Capri Skirt
Built-in, contrasting-color leggings mean this whimsical number works well for yoga (no flashing anyone during down dog). The aptly named workout e-boutique sells enough styles (skorts, running dresses) in enough patterns and colors to outfit an Olympic track team. Plus, if you visit the site, a strange little “Skirt Fairy” bot pops up to answer questions.
Core 72 ($62, 5502 Connecticut Ave. NW, 202-686-4258)
Ruched pockets large enough for your hands (or stray tennis balls), a wide waistband and a comfy compression-short liner distinguish this skort, which also comes in purple. Bonus: a hidden key pocket.
Lululemon ($58, area stores and shop.lululemon.com)
Wicking Swift fabric; built-in shorts with grippy, won’t-ride-up elastic; and multiple pockets mean Lululemon’s popular style works well for long runs or Venus/Serena-intense tennis matches. It’s a good fashion-fitness mash-up, too, thanks to its ruffled back side and the color and pattern options.
Athleta ($54, athleta.gap.com)
A super-stretchy polyester/nylon fabric helps this tribal-print piece accommodate big strides. And if the eye-catching pattern doesn’t stop traffic, the anti-reflective detailing on it will.