Course of Style: Oakley's Growth and Lyle & Scott's Return

Saturday June 11th, 2011

The folks at eyewear, footwear and apparel maker Oakley have to be thrilled with their foray into the golf business. Not only do many top professionals wear their sunglasses—including Ian Poulter, Rory McIlroy and 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen—but lately their clothing has been all over the television. McIlroy wore Oakley clothing during his near-win at the Masters, and Keegan Bradley, last week's winner at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, also carried the Oakley "O" on his sunglasses, shirts and belt.

Next year Oakley, which already has a high profile in Major League Baseball (tons of outfielders swear by Oakley shades), will expand its golf lines to include a women's collection.

Storied Scottish brand returns
The Lyle & Scott sportswear brand made the beautiful cashmeres worn by Ryder Cup teams in the 1980s, as well as top players like Tony Jacklin, Sandy Lyle, Gary Player, and Greg Norman, Lyle & Scott outfitted celebrities like Bing Crosby and Bill Clinton as well.

The clothes, noteworthy for their fine fabrics and green- or golden-eagle logo, essentially vanished from the American market 25 years ago after the company changed hands and began to focus on the European market.

Now it is back.

Lyle & Scott re-launched this spring in the U.S., beginning with limited distribution at the Riviera and Bel-Air country clubs in Los Angeles, as well as Desert Mountain and Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. The company has been signing Tour players (including Jesper Parnevik and Chris Wood) to clothing sponsorships and is planning to step up their U.S. distribution beginning in July.

The Brits really know how to do that slightly retro, vintage sportswear look that is popular today, and Lyle & Scott mines this heritage. The collection features full-buttoning (from neck to belt line) golf shirts in cotton pique ($75-$80) and sharp checked trousers, flat front, with nifty little golf-specific features, like tee holders in the pockets ($110-$125). The clothing is also available at trendygolf.com and lyleandscott.com.

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