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Maternity wear heads to the gym

Nike and Reebok are forming alliances to create form-fitting yet comfortable clothes. The guiding philosophy: Pregnancy doesn't mean losing a sense of style.

October 29, 2002|Hilary E. MacGregor | Times Staff Writer

Sarah Jessica Parker teetered around New York this summer in spiky heels, stylishly with child. Kate Moss flounced about as well, in flowing bohemian garb that bared her bump (she gave birth to Lola in early October). And Cynthia Nixon appeared very pregnant at the Emmys this fall in a strapless gown by Chaikin. It's maternity chic: With so many celebs flaunting their big bellies, pregnancy is starting to look like the latest fashion accessory.

Now several major athletic brands are branching out into form-fitting workout wear for mothers-to-be.

Liz Lange and Nike began marketing athletic wear for pregnant women last spring, and babystyle has just teamed up with Reebok on a new maternity collection. Reebok brought to you by babystyle, which first appeared on this fall, includes workout basics: bootleg pants, bike shorts, V-neck T-shirts, a racer-back sports bra and a tank top with a built-in sports bra. The breathable, antimicrobial cotton-Lycra fabric is made by Reebok; the designs are by babystyle. The Nike-Liz Lange collection includes workout pants and tops, a zip-front jacket and a yoga catsuit, all in Nike's DriFIT fabric, which wicks moisture away from the skin. "Just because you are pregnant does not mean you lose your sense of style or lifestyle," said babystyle Chief Executive Laurie McCartney, whose online company will open its first store in Manhattan Beach on Thanksgiving weekend. "A big part of that is being active, feeling good, looking good and having a wardrobe of alternatives you can feel like yourself in."

These days, most doctors advocate low-impact exercise such as yoga, swimming and walking throughout pregnancy. But what to wear to the gym as the body balloons?

"Women no longer have to wear their husband's gym shorts and T-shirts," McCartney said. "They can wear body-hugging workout wear."

Lange says the Liz Lange for Nike line is so comfortable that any pregnant woman would want a few items as kick-back basics.

"These days, active wear is much more than just active wear," she said. "It has truly become streetwear. I envision my line both in the gym and out of it."

Lange just announced that she will be teaming up with Target to release Liz Lange for Target, a collection of simple, interchangeable -- and affordable -- maternity clothes. The collection, to be manufactured by and sold only at Target, will be available later this year.

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