A New Kind of Costume. Wearables Bring New Meaning to Dressing Smart!




What will you be this Halloween?  Social media costumes are all the rage this year with party goers dressed in Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn logos.  Here’s one “costume” that’s sure to make you look smart — and last way past Halloween.

While I’ve never been known for my fashion sense, a story about a polo shirt forever changed my definition of a smart dresser.  I first heard about it about a few months ago when visiting my sister in Georgia.  I was getting ready for the day and had the TV news playing in the background when a very fit tennis player appeared on the screen.   Like most tennis players who are getting ready to hit the court, he was wearing a shirt.  It looked perfectly normal, but was anything but that.  In fact, it was downright smart!

I was familiar with the introduction of wearable watches, wristbands and the like, but didn’t realize that “smart clothing” was almost ready to hit the racks.  While this particular shirt looked pretty awesome (especially on the chiseled athlete), I was in awe of what it could do.  Click here to see for yourself!


This product image released by Ralph Lauren shows the new Polo Tech compression shirt. The garment offers smart technology to send heartbeat, respiration, stress levels and other data to tablets and smartphones. (AP Photo/Ralph Lauren)

The shirt was introduced at the US Open by Ralph Lauren and Canada-based biometrics firm OMsignal.   If there was a smart scale for clothing, this one would take top honors.  And while I’m no fashionista, I’d pay big bucks to see this shirt work the runway.   It goes way beyond fashion to provide functionality that maximizes a workout, and could one day, even save a life.

While I know as much about medicine as I do fashion, I can’t help but imagine the possibilities.  This shirt uses biometric technology and sensors (woven into the shirt) to read your pulse, blood pressure, heart rate and more.  During a workout, it lets you know when to pick up the pace, when to call it quits and everything in between.  The data is stored in a black box that’s attached to the shirt and then transmitted via a special app to the mobile phone or tablet of your choice.

If it’s that smart, what’s to keep it (or future generations of it) from preventing heart attacks and strokes with warnings to get help before it’s too late?  I can think of a number of people I’d like to give that kind of shirt to for Christmas.  You know the type…they refuse to go to the doctor, never check their blood pressure, forget to take their medication, and wait until they feel like they’re about to explode before admitting that there might be something wrong.

The good news is that Ralph Lauren’s polo shirt is just the beginning of what’s yet to come to closets worldwide.  The wearables industry is exploding and many different prototypes are in the works.  In fact, a May 6, 2014, article and infographic posted by Wearable World News (on wearableworldnews.com) projected that the industry will reach $30 billion by 2018.  Countless companies are on board and working hard to convince us that we really are what we wear.   Oh, and we’re talking way beyond shirts to include jewelry, hats, shoes, and so much more.

I can’t wait.  At last, I too can be a smart dresser!  If you could add something “smart” to your wardrobe, what would it be and why?  Post a comment to let me know.



About Mary Jane Kinkade

I am the Director of Marketing and Development at Our Lady of Mercy Academy, South Jersey's premier Catholic high school for young women. I am mom to three amazing kids, married to my best friend, and happiest when at the beach (writing, of course!).
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