THE TRUE STORY OF THE BETTER BODIES CAMO TIGHTS
February 26, 2019
The year was 1986. She walks through New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, on her way to the gym. Her head is high, her back straight. It’s not arrogance, but confidence. She looks strong and fit, but not for anybody else; She trains for herself! She was not to be messed with, and something about her walk projected that to those around her. Men might have catcalled her as she walked by, but if they did, they’d have regretted it. She was independent, and had no need for anyone else to make her feel complete.
It was this persona of a strong, powerful, female New Yorker in the late 80s that the designers at Better Bodies wanted to channel when they decided to create the first camo tights in 2016…
Better Bodies tights were already a best-selling category, and at the time, there was a brand-wide effort to begin reconnecting new pieces with Better Bodies’ original New York heritage, (read the story about the birth of Better Bodies). The designers wanted to create a new pair of tights that the female New Yorker persona would have wanted to wear, and try to inject her confidence and attitude into the women of today. According to designer Donna Bruns, “we wanted to channel their inner badass.” How were they going to do it? Camo. “when it comes to looking at camo, we think it’s a vital part of the brand,” says Bruns, “It gives the feeling of our roots, and where we came from in Chelsea.”
Our New Yorker from ’86 would have worn camo, and the Better Bodies design team hoped that today’s strong, independent women would love it as well. Thankfully, they did, and the camo long-tights became Better Bodies’ best-selling tights almost immediately. “There is something about the camo, when I put them on and I’m heading to the gym, I feel like a soldier going to war,” says Better Bodies ambassador Kamilah Powell.
Adding to their popularity was the fact that they were squat-proof. Women noticed, and the positive reviews began to pile up.
After releasing the original white camo tights, other colors followed, and eventually, other styles as well…
CAMO HIGH TIGHTS
Next was the camo high tights. Women had been asking for the camo tights that were high waisted, and Better Bodies obliged. Starting with green camo, the selection soon included new colors, even a more subtle look of black on black camo with glass printing. The new high tights offered something extra, as well. Donna Bruns explains, “we changed the material to a lighter, looser material, and added compression, so they don’t just look amazing but there is a functional component as well.” Women noticed and appreciated the adjustments in the fit that were offered with the high tights. “They fit in all the right places, and I can do any exercise in them,” says Better Bodies ambassador Karianne Bentzen, “and up until then I’d always had a problem squatting in tights.”
The success of the camo tights over the past several years has had a drastic impact on the Better Bodies brand
As their popularity grew, they were seen more and more often outside of the gym. “You do see this progression of gym wear into athleisure and streetwear,” Bruns says, “but I was pleasantly surprised to see how easily adapted the camo tights were to streetwear.” The ambassadors may have lead the charge. “I wear them all the time,” says BB ambassador Ashley Jenelle, “inside the gym, outside the gym, wherever. I live in them.”
The camo tights link the old to the new, the gym to the street, and the women who wear them to the brand’s New York heritage. Not only are they one of the most popular pieces in the Better Bodies lineup, but they’ve influenced the trajectory of the Better Bodies brand. The styles and colors will continue to evolve, but one thing is certain: the camo tights are an iconic piece of the Better Bodies story, and the story of the women who wear them.