Tutus, vibrant knee high socks, kooky arm warmers, fairy wings and even wigs are becoming a rising trend on the running circuit. This reoccurring trend of calling upon your inner six-year-old to dress like a fairy princess for a big race is not because Halloween is approaching. No, it's because runners and athletes want to ditch the traditional compression pants and slap on a sparkly tutu for a few kicks while racking up some serious miles.
Piecing together a race day outfit
There are lots of online retailers that sell silly race day attire and post blogs about their crazy runners in costume. Hey, why not? One site that is dedicated to making runners smile is Team Sparkle. Team Sparkle is a place for serious runners who have a sense of humor. Instead of jogging in a bland jogging suit, Team Sparkle wants you to put on a sparkly tutu! These “Sparkle Skirts” come in an array of colors and are available in a variety of sizes. Once your derriere is dressed in a runner’s tutu, it's up to you to choose how to adorn the rest of your body. You can ease yourself into the trend like Tasha Malcolm, runner and blogger from Healthy Diva on the Run, who chose to pair a pink Sparkle Skirt with matching shoes and black apparel, "Typically I would never wear a Team Sparkle skirt, but I did last year for the the Girlfriend's Half Marathon in Vancouver. It was a lot of fun and I got seventh place overall. It is by far my favorite half that I have ever run!"
If you're feeling a little more daring, let your imagination run wild to complete your outfit! For instance, pair a camouflage skirt with a green racing top and matching camo Race Legs for an Army look. You could even paint your face and wear a camouflage headband if you really want to go all-out.
Still need more inspiration? Check out Kelly from AccordingtoKelly and her friend Kerry June all decked out in Fireside Girl and Ariel costumes. It didn't take much to make these looks work - just a fun Sparkle Skirt and a little creative imagination!
To find your inspiration, look at all the styles of Sparkle Skirts, Sparkle Sleeves and Race Legs available on the Team Sparkle website. If these aren’t enough costume to make your spirits rise, then perhaps “Racing Wings” might give you a lift. These wings are pretty much what you can imagine—wings in all sizes, styles and colors. Do they increase your speed? Probably not, but do they make you smile? Definitely yes!
Check out a few more of our favorite Team Sparkle get-ups! >>
Have skirts, will travel
That's not all Team Sparkle has in store. Remember those famous traveling jeans that all the teenage girls read about in their years of adolescence? Well, now grown women can take part in a similar affair with Team Sparkle’s Traveling Sparkle Skirts. The concept is similar to the traveling pants story. There is one turquoise skirt and one hot pink skirt that women can write in and request to wear on the day of their big race. After finishing the race, all you have to do is fill out a questionnaire and send it in, along with an awesome picture of yourself wearing the skirt. Then, just ship the skirt off to the next awaiting woman so that the Traveling Sparkle Skirts can continue running around the world! How cool is that?
Don't feel confined by the label
The nice thing about this trend is that you don't have to invest in a whole new racing wardrobe to take part in fun race day apparel. All you really need is a little imagination. Kim Yates, running enthusiast and blogger at RunKimmieRun says that while she's never worn crazy garb herself, she has seen it out on the course, "My last two races were a Color Run & Warrior Dash! I have never seen more crazy costumes: tutus, a prom dress on a guy complete with a tiara, two guys doing Warrior Dash in boxer brief underwear! I love seeing people getting crazy and having fun! I only wish that one day I will get enough gumption to be that crazy!"
Chances are that the guy running in a prom dress didn't lay out a ton of cash to don a dress for the event. Take a cue from him and spend some time looking around your house or your local thrift shop to see what you can piece together. Do you have a bandana and an old flannel shirt? Try putting together a western themed outfit. Or, show your support for your favorite football team and deck yourself out in a jersey and eyeblack!
You can even put your craft skills to work and make your own tutu like Beki Berrey did for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon -- it's a lot easier than it seems, especially if you follow her easy DIY instructions, and it looks every bit as cute as a store-bought version!
Try the trend at your own pace
Wings, arm and leg socks may seem insane for serious runners, but there is a more conscious approach to incorporating active wear skirts into your running routine. Skirtsports.com is designed to help female runners “convert to skirts” when choosing their running wardrobes. Nicole Deboom, the CEO and founder of Skirts Sports, envisioned the idea of an alternative wardrobe choice for women’s activewear other than shorts. Deboom’s Skirt Sport idea has blossomed past the traditional active wear skirt. According to her site, Deboom’s company not only mass-produces running skirts, but running dresses, performance tops, outerwear and much more. So, if you're not quite ready for a sparkly tutu, but you think you'd like to try a sleek skirt for part of a Halloween raceday Super Woman costume, just pick up the red Marathon Girl Ultra skirt and pair it with a blue tank top and wrist bands for a subtly outrageous look.
Look for organized ways to get in on the action
Still not ready to go it alone in a wild outfit on race day? look for opportunities to join in as part of a crowd. Long-distance relay races or team runs are both perfect opportunities to get all dolled up as a group. You could also try to get involved in The Centipede, something race enthusiast Crystal Gauvin from Fun 2 Race is dying to do, "I've never gotten to be a part of one, but I think it would be a lot of fun and a great excuse for coming up with a creative costume theme." Haven't heard of The Centipede? Essentially it's a group of at least 13 runners who run in lockstep while connected to each other by costume throughout an entire race.
So, what is the point of all these athletic inspired skirts and loony running getups? Women want to express themselves in their exercise clothes just as they want to in their street attire. The days of frumpy gym sweats are long gone. Flair is the new norm in women’s athletic wear. Be a woman and run in a skirt.