The shadowy backgrounds on these and the next four pages are pictures from past issues of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED blown up big as life. Setting the background scene for the apple-eating model at right, for instance, is a pregame football picnic at Yale. All of which is a visual device for making the point that fitting into the picture is a prime requisite of 1958 fall sports clothes. Knowing what to wear is an important part of the sportsman's know-how, whether participant or spectator. The purpose of this preview is to give sportsmen, male and female, more know-how about clothes as they prepare to dress for fall.
The women's fashions are the work of this year's nominees for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S annual American Sportswear Design Awards. Of 24 nominees, 22 are represented. The other two, Rose Marie Reid and Margit Fellegi of Cole of California, are designers of swim suits and will be represented in a winter preview of resort and winter-sports clothes.
The designs of the ASDA designers are without peer in the world of sport fashion. They are casual clothes that derive from the American sports scene (hence the sportscenic backgrounds) and continue the trend-setting work of the past 25 years from such designers as the late Claire McCardell, Sydney Wragge, Bonnie Cashin and Mrs. Reid, the first four winners of the annual ASDA award for continuously contributing to the American Sporting Look.
If, when you set out for the local emporium, football games are uppermost in your mind, it is good to be prepared for the news in spectators' SPORTS SUITS. These have moved quite away from the expected, practical designs and in some cases are even rather hard to recognize as suits. The WALKING SUIT, for instance (see mole-lined coat opposite) is made of coat-weight fabric and its jacket is almost coat-length, BOX JACKET SUITS are the newest silhouette for spectator sports, and these make a point of the bright pullover visible beneath the jacket. The newest tweeds are the Irish types, which have a bulky look and big colorful flecks.
Closely related to the walking suit is the familiar TOPCOAT, which this year is likely to have a matching skirt. For a complete costume, some of these coats even have matching lap robes, elegant when trimmed with fur and useful for stadiums and sports cars.
Sports skirts are fashionable at three new levels: 1) The ABOVE-KNEE skirt, cut off about two inches above the knee, is the newest and already a stylish alternate to Bermuda shorts. These skirts almost have to be worn with LEOTARDS, knitted one-piece garments which fit like a second skin from waist to toe, and as such are warm, comfortable and glamorous.
2) Street lengths for skirts are shorter this year; 16 to 17 inches from the floor is average. They also are likely to be attached to slip tops, a device which means they hang from the shoulders and skim by rather than fit the waist. With these skirts are worn short pullover blouses or sweaters which end above the waistline.
3) The floor-length DINNER SKIRT, best when done in sports fabrics such as tweeds or plaid wools, is taking hold not only in the hinterlands but in the city as well.
With shorter skirts, the SPORTS STOCKING is now a definite necessity. There are several members of this new little family. There are not only leotards, but above-knee stockings with elastic at the top which come high enough to be worn with short skirts. Stockings in bright opaque cottons can be worn with any sports skirt. Newest and most elegant for the lady spectator are the fancy-knit, run-proof nylon stockings in muted colors which blend in with fall fabrics.
Pants, the mainstay of an active sports wardrobe, are going through changes in silhouette, too. Tapered pants are even more fitted and more tapered, in fabrics which stretch due to inclusion of Helanca yarns. These trousers have built-in heels, or straps to go under the foot, to give a ski-pants look. At the opposite extreme are SLACKS, with flared legs, usually for lounge wear, or with cuffs, a detail out of style for some seven years.