“I’m starting to take up golf — for exercise, for fresh air, for a chance to see my husband on the weekends — but I have no clue what I should be wearing on the course. Are there rules, like in tennis? Are there any chic options for women golfers out there?” —Margo, King City
Never having struck at a tee in my life, I went straight to the fashion top for this question, Margot. I rang up Kimberley Newport-Mimran, the chicest golfer I know. Newport-Mimran is, of course, the founder and designer of Pink Tartan, the sophisticated, classic-with-a-twist primo Canadian designer label set to celebrate its 20th anniversary in business next year.
“Golf is my new favourite passion,” she says. It is also a fashion opportunity: “It’s a wonderful chance to do preppy chic.” And just like that, Newport-Mimran has me hooked. Ah, preppy, the eternal crush of my high school heart. Out of the Petri dish of fashion in that decade — so deftly time-capsuled in the oeuvre of John Hughes, where suburban-interpretive punk met DIY Madonna — it was the clean lines of button-downs, gold-buttoned blazers and polo necks, slim cable knits and shiny loafers that have stood the test of time and influence for me. If golf is preppy, I may just be persuaded to take up irons myself. My golf-bonkers husband would be a very happy man.
It was Kim’s husband, fashion legend Joe Mimran, who first got her onto the greens. It was four years ago, at the Ferragamo resort in Tuscany (sigh, is there more powerful inspo than that?), that she first swung a club. “It was an amazing feeling,” she says about connecting with the ball. “It goes really far!”
“Our daughter was a teenager and suddenly she didn’t want to hang with me in the same way, so I had this open time. I got bit by the bug,” she says of her game, which she now plays weekly, often with girlfriends she met on the links and where she is starting to break 100. “It’s amazing, the camaraderie around doing something positive. You are getting exercise, you are outdoors, you are social.”
Fittingly for the fashion dynasty: “Golf clothes,” unsurprisingly, “are super important for both Joe and me. It is very hard to find nice golf clothes and they are expensive.” As is often the case, though, you get what you pay for. Cheap polos don’t have that crisp feel we are going for here in our Slim Aarons fantasy. And the simpler the design the more that quality counts.
She laments that so many activewear brands on the market make “busy” overly patterned golf clothes and says she seeks out the understated. But understated that doesn’t mean boring: on the links, she says, she is “wearing more colour than I ever have.” She says she generally starts with a white palette and then adds in pops of colour blocking: “Greens, yellows, and a red, white and blue combo all look great against the green of the course and the blue of the sky.”
Newport-Mimran is now collecting polo shirts, for on and off the course. “I love the retro Fred Perry logos,” she says. Lacoste, the brand famed for its tennis and golf gear going back to the 1930s, is also a particular favourite. Founder René Lacoste’s golf esthetic “was inspired by his wife,” she says, amateur golf champion Simone de la Chaume. Their daughter also went on to become a golf champion, so the authenticity in Lacoste’s golf fashion game runs deep.
As for bottoms, Newport-Mimran prefers a pull-on cropped golf pant, in a technical fabric for stretch. “I’m bending down so much,” she says. “You use the force of your body as hard as you can to swing through at the ball, so you are much more comfortable in pants than a little skirt.” Her pants are always cropped, she adds: “I like that little break between ankle and shoe.”
The shoes must be golf shoes, she says. You need the stability of the little spikes, “that extra traction to hold the ground and stay still. That way you can swing and let physics do the work.” She favours Adidas women’s shoes, and has the classic Stan Smith style as well as versions in pink and navy. Another of her shoe picks is the reasonably priced Biion slip-on.
Chillier days call for a sweater, ready to be tossed over the shoulders in the time-honoured preppy fashion. Newport-Mimran sent me a pic of a very cute Fred Perry cricket-style sweater from her closet. There are loads of these on the market, ranging from Lacoste to Ralph Lauren (which has a great golf line for women and men, and is an official partner of the US Open) to Victoria Beckham, who added that retro prep sporty feel to her collection currently in stores. Another great sweater option to keep the prep vibes up pre-, during and postgame is a classic lightweight cable knit sweater.
What about sun coverage? Well, luckily, Joe bought hats from Tilley, the Canadian classic headgear company (which Mimran’s investment company, Gibraltar & Co., purchased a few years ago). And Newport-Mimran is a big fan of its golf bucket hats, which come in an array of colours. As for sunscreen, you will find Neutrogena Ultra Sheer 70 in her golf bag (a Callaway bag in British racing green, if you are wondering). “It doesn’t feel thick or sticky,” is her verdict.
As for Newport-Mimran, her own ladies golf line has long been on her mind — the esthetic would fit in so well with Pink Tartan — but that is not what’s next on the agenda for the fashion star. On the down-low, she is busy in the throes of preparing an exciting creative move for PT coming later this fall. When we get the go-ahead to reveal the secret plan, we promise we will! Meantime, we must all consider taking up golf, as it is such a great chance to indulge in some classic, preppy outfits and trimmings.
Shop the advice
Here are some preppy golf clothes essentials inspired by fashion designer (and passionate golfer) Kimberley Newport-Mimran’s personal golf style
Tilley hat, $95, tilley.com
The Canadian company famous for its hats for exploring has a fun series of bucket hats, and this golf-specific model. Keep cool, keep dry, stay protected from the sun and you don’t have to skimp on fashion.
Fred Perry shirt, $113, fredperry.com
The retro logo adds charm to this lightweight, cotton pique polo with streamlined fit, and twin-tipped collar and cuffs.
Lacoste sweater, $225 (on sale for $135), lacoste.com
Vintage styling of the cricket-style design bring OG 1930s prep feel to outdoor pursuits. Layer when the day becomes chilly, or hang it off your shoulders, collegiate-chic style. Perfect also for post-game cocktails.
Lacoste pants, $165, lacoste.com
Pleated, breathable, ultra-dry cropped pants with a hidden zip fly. Plus the famous green alligator peeking out on the hip.
Biion shoes, $85, shop-cad-biionfootwear.com
This golf shoe innovation is very cool: super lightweight EVA technology that forms to the foot, with vents, massage nodules, traction grip for balance, shock-absorbing and anti-microbial. Plus they are so cute!
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