What is Technical Clothing? And do I need it?

What is Technical Apparel?

“Technical Apparel” used to describe things designed to deal with extremes - like outerwear for harsh conditions, performance items for athletes, and protective clothing for jobs like firefighting. Now it’s used more broadly - describing everything from activewear to sleepwear.

So what exactly do brands mean when they use the word technical? Broadly, “technical” will indicate functional benefits. 

At Pivotte we want “technical” and “functional” benefits that are applicable to the lives of busy, driven women who pursue many different kinds of activities.

We are guided by the following functional benefits:

  1. Comfort and freedom of movement
  2. Confidence in being prepared
  3. Convenience
  4. High quality for less replacement

Our end goal it to make clothing that provides comfortable confidence, and is worry-free so you can focus on things that matter. We don’t believe in technical for tech’s sake, so if a fabric or detail seems to go overboard - it doesn't’ make the cut in our designs.

Do you care that your pants are windproof up to 160 mph winds if you’re wearing it to bike to your A/C’d office then walking to your spin class? No.

To achieve the functional benefits above, we incorporated the innovative design elements of athleisure, worked with world-class factories to produce technical fabrics that met these qualifications, and designed outfits that have benefits of activewear, but look appropriate for the office and beyond.

What we look for in technical materials:

  1. Stretch AND *Recovery*: Important for comfort and free - movement.
    1. “Stretch” isn’t enough for us to consider it technical. Lots of things have stretch. What makes our fabrics special is that they have great recovery. The way a fabric holds up to being stretched (think tension points like knees, the butt and elbows) and the way it “bounces back” to hold it’s shape is important.
  2. Machine Washability: Important for ultimate convenience.
    1. Who wants to spend time or money at the dry cleaners? We certainly have better things to do.
  3. Iron-Free: Wrinkle resistance is important because again, who wants to spend time doing this stuff.
  4. Sustainability: Something we always consider. Read more about our efforts here.
  5. Additional technical features we consider:
    1. Breathability and Temperature regulation
    2. Stain resistance: Wash less, wear more!
    3. Anti-Microbial: Odor control - and Wash less, wear more!
    4. Abrasion resistant/Durability
    5. UV protection

What we mean when we talk about Technical Design
Materials are only part of the equation for making functional, beautiful garments. The design, fit, and actual functionality of a garment plays a big role too.  We’ve carefully crafted all our pieces informed by the following:

  1. Aesthetics - Our aesthetic decisions are made for functional purposes
    1. Seam schemes - We make careful decisions about the patterns and seams of our garments to maximize freedom of movement and comfort.
      1. Consider this: The placement of seams may be a critical difference in whether you can hail a cab, or if you can’t raise your arms.
      2. Our 24/7 Jacket has a “traditional set-in sleeve” in the front and a “raglan set sleeve” in the back.  This results in a classic jacket with enhanced movement and comfort.
    2. Proportionality and Ergonomic design- All design elements–seams, pockets, zippers, trims–must be functional, but adhere to the design vision. This is quite a challenge sometimes!
      1. For example, the holster pocket of our Vivi Pants is positioned on the outseam and just below your hip crease, which allows for super quick and easy access as it’s right within hands reach.
      2. Another example, the front slant pockets of both the 24/7 and Venture Pants are positioned perfectly for ease of access and tilted for hand entry.
  2. Fit
    1. Ergonomic fit for ultimate comfort and unrestricted movement. A huge part of comfort and freedom of movement comes from the fit of a garment.
      1. We go through multiple fit sessions until we get everything right. We make millimeter-by-millimeter adjustments until we’re sure that our pieces will conform to and lay beautifully on the body
    2. Tailoring & Construction
      1. Bodies are round and fabrics are flat. Part of the magic of great patternmaking is solving the puzzle of making a 2-D material (fabric) conform to a 3-D shape (bodies). The closer the fit, the more comfortable a garment it is.  
  3. Functionality - functionality should be considered not only in the materials and construction, but in actual design - the form
    1. What is more functional than Pockets? We LOVE them! We NEED them! There is no shortage of comments across the internet on the lack of pockets in women’s clothing. So with that in mind, we made sure to design REAL, usable pockets in all our pants styles. The Venture Pants have 6 pockets! 
    2. In addition to designing deep, usable pockets, many styles have cleverly hidden zipper closures. We made sure the zippers are seamlessly integrated into seams or hidden for a clean, polished look.
    3. A recent testimonial: Thank you for making women’s pants with pockets!  I love how the back pockets are zippered, but hidden – such sleek but functional pockets – you have ruined all other pants for me in this regard!