When I was a kid, I would run out of my house in whatever clothes my Mom had washed, ironed and neatly put away… often just the day before.  (Yes, I did say iron.  This was the 50’s and early 60’s!)

Everything was cotton.  I remember little tops and shorts and pants and especially the little sun-suits with the little ties on the shoulders.  But even way back then, I wanted to be comfortable.  My Mom sewed lots of my clothing and I was very picky about things like seams and elastic.  I wanted to run, jump, play, climb, hop and skip with my brothers and my friends without tugging at seams or feel encumbered by elastic.

If my Mom bought anything for me, I wanted the tags cut out.  I guess I was sensitive to the feel and fit of clothing… and that carried over into my teen-aged years.  I learned to sew just like my Mom, and I made just about everything I wore.  This way, it fit perfectly.  I tried tennis and hit the driving range occasionally with my Mom, but I hated the clothing. And I honestly preferred playing basketball in my driveway, croquet in my front yard, or wiffle-ball in my back yard IN MY BATHING SUIT rather than in hot t-shirts and shorts.

Athletic gear just did not exist back then.  Seriously.

Fast forward 40+ years.  I was a Mom and a Grandma by then.  I wanted to begin running in order to get into some form of exercise.  At first, I borrowed a pair my daughter Jane’s discarded running shoes, pulled on a sweatshirt over a cotton t-shirt over a sports bra (again, Jane’s discarded one), pulled up a pair of cotton/polyester sweatpants and headed out the door.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed running… but not at all surprised at how UNCOMFORTABLE I was.  I felt hot and heavy and wet from sweat (gross!) each time I ran.  I got better and better at running as the weeks progressed, but the gear made me question how I could keep on doing this thing.

That’s when I decided to get some real running gear.  After all, it wasn’t the 60’s anymore.  It was the 2009’s!  I headed to a sporting goods store with my poor husband in tow… and it was the most awful experience.  I tried on dozens of pants, dozens of tops, dozens of sports bras.  Too short, too tight, too loose, too high, too low, too much seam in the crotch (yep), too youthful, too matronly, too restricting, too long, too expensive, too ugly.

This wasn’t me being picky.  This was me being me.

My husband kept coming back to the dressing room with just one more, honey… until I felt like giving up running.  I did leave the store that day with one pair of running pants, one sports bra, one tank top and one jacket.  Not stuff that made me happy.  Just the least of all evils.  That was 2009.  I still wear that same gear.

Enter 4allbyjofit. I was so honored to be chosen for Team4all with my daughter Jane.  I thought it would be wonderful to meet a group of diverse ladies and share experiences, ideas and joys of training/competition.

BUT THEN THE 4all GEAR ARRIVED! Jane and I were together as we opened the box of stuff.  One by one, we took out the capris, jackets, tank top.  One by one we tried them on.  I looked at Jane and she looked at me.  We were saying, “OH, I LOVE THAT ON YOU.  LET ME TRY IT!”

Each piece fit like a glove.  Like it was MADE FOR ME.  The elasticity was perfection.  I could bend, move, stretch… and the pants, jackets and tank top moved with me.  I loved the longer lengths of the jackets and tank top… and actually ran in them that same day.  I LOVED the JO-DRY absorption technology.  I had never felt that dry, that comfortable, that FAST before.  I felt light and airy and DRY.

It might sound odd to say that I haven’t (practically!) taken off my 4all gear since.  I’ve worn the black jacket out to dinner, where I had 3 friends drooling over it.  I’ve worn the capris out and about.  And the tank top… not just a running staple in my wardrobe!  The gear is feminine, sexy, fun and fully athletic.  I need that fully athletic piece because I’m… well, ME about comfort.

Wearing my 4all Thumbs Up jacket while watching the webcast conference with 4all founder and CEO Joanne Cloak.

I think I’ve come fill circle in my search for awesome athletic gear… full circle in that I’m actually taking up tennis again this spring, and to my husband’s delight, golf too!

Thanks, 4all.

About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

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  1. 3.11.11
    Kim said:

    Well first; love those older black and white photos – especially the one of you with the flipped up hair style 😉 I play tennis so I checked out 4AllGear tennis clothing and I really like the skorts and a few of the tops – feminine and look comfortable. May be getting myself a couple soon 🙂

  2. 3.11.11
    admin said:

    That’s my Nana in the middle of the photo… she was 57 years old! I loved her dearly and had her in my life until she was 82. I still think of my Nana every single day. But can you imagine how far women have come in their athletic endeavors in the past 50 years!? (The other two ladies are my Mom’s sister on the left and my Mom’s cousin on the right… and my 2 brothers are in the photo, too.)

  3. 3.11.11
    Sarah said:

    Ms. Sharon ma’am, you were the snazziest kid! I’m not at all surprised.

    I’d love to ask advice of you and Jane and Audrey. I want workout clothes but I hate skintight. I’m already self-conscious about the way I look, which is a big part of why I’m exercising in the first place. I don’t want it to be made worse by the clothes I’m exercising in!

    I’m trying to find a pair of workout pants that are parachute-type-material, cargo-type-style, and – this is the hard part – CUTE. They’re probably also a size large, which makes that even harder.

    Please, please, I know you’re all lithe little athletes, but could you put your heads together and see if anything springs to mind?

  4. 3.11.11
    BARRY said:

    I’m looking forward to getting back into playing tennis with you this year and I’m also looking forward to you joining me on the golf course. FYI… it might be 2011 as far as fashion is concerned but it’s still 1920 at my country club. Women aren’t allowed out on the course on weekends until after 12 noon. NOT my policy…NOT my policy. I strongly protest this by NOT buying a round of beers for anybody on the rules committee.

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