Feminine & Fierce: How One Brand is Reinventing Women’s Activewear

A few months ago my running partner told me during an evening cardio session that she feels at her most attractive in her workout clothes. With her hair in a plain ponytail, no makeup on, and wearing simple black gym clothes, she revealed this is when she is her most authentic self. Add in those feel-good endorphins that naturally come from working out and she’s on cloud nine.

The philosophy of feeling good while doing something that makes you happy is what a young sportswear company called Nuu-Muu is all about. The folks over at Nuu-Muu believe in empowering women while giving them the tools they need to succeed.

By offering well-made, high quality, no fuss workout clothes that still have a very distinctive feminine look, Nuu-Muu is changing the game in women’s active-wear.

Founder and owner Christine Nienstedt spoke with us about the company, which she launched in early 2008 after realizing the type of clothes she wanted to wear while working out were practically non-existent.

“The inspiration [behind the line] related to my own desire for having clothes that I could wear when I was exercising and particularly doing things that I was really proud of accomplishing,” she says, adding her ideal is “clothing that’s technically appropriate and feels great that also allows me to make a little bit of a statement and have it be truly feminine.”

Tall order to fill, but that’s what Nuu-Muu does. The company makes workout dresses. Yes — dresses in which you run, wear to yoga class, put on for your strength training routine and so much more.

Each Nuu-Muu comes in fun and whimsical prints like florals or camouflage. You can wear it with whatever you want. If you’re headed to yoga class, throw on some tights underneath. Or wear it over your bikini at the beach. For a bike ride, they pair wonderfully with your bike shorts.

So they look great, but how do they feel? Christine’s team was generous enough to send a free sample to our office to try out (dress style pictured here) and I was the lucky recipient.

When Christine spoke to me about the response women have to trying the garments on for the first time, she said it’s often a mix of delight and surprise.

“We even had people kinda squeal,” she remembers of their launch event in Spokane, Washington.

When I tried on the dress, I understood why. The flattering cut streamlined my body but still felt comfortable — which is key for enjoying the workout process. The material was lightweight but durable, and the blue and white pattern on the dress was the most fun thing I’ve seen on active-wear in a long time.

But the gym wasn’t the first place I wore it to. My favorite thing about Nuu-Muu is its versatility: It’s chiefly a sportswear item, but easily doubles as a dress on its own. It is perfect to wear to dinner with your boyfriend, to go to the grocery store, or even to the office — like I did.

I layered with a scarf, sweater and tights and and no one at the office realized I was wearing a workout dress. None of my coworkers could have guessed I was planning to go from work straight to my evening run without having to change into something different because it looked like a normal, regular dress.

“We have hardcore athletes — nationally ranked ultra runners– who have chosen to wear our dresses as their go-to garment” Christine shares. “Then we have the girl next door — you , me, someone who wants to walk her dog and feel good, someone who wants to go to the gym but has to stop by preschool on the way and wants to feel covered up.”

You also feel good on the inside when wearing a Nuu-Muu. By making everything in the USA and taking things like packaging and other practices into account, the brand sticks to a green philosophy. The company even partnered with 1% for the Planet last year to donate a portion of sales to environmental causes.

When it comes to empowering women, Nuu-Muu doesn’t hold back either. That’s why they support Girls on the Run, a non-profit that encourages young girls to develop into confident, caring and healthy members of society.

And then there is the community aspect that Nuu-Muu fosters through social sites such as Facebook, where women from all walks of life come together to talk about their dreams, encourage each other to reach their goals and even share fun stories together.

To learn more about Nuu-Muu, including their Ruu-Muu and Young Girls lines, check out the company’s main site by clicking here.