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Fashion

LIFT YOUR CHRISTMAS SPIRITS WITH SWEATY BETTY

When Tamara Hill-Norton started Sweaty Betty in the late 1990s, the fitness world was a different place. Wellness was a far off concept and working out was all about gruelling gym sessions and hard-core exercise. In the decades that have passed the brand has become a pioneer in the athleisure world providing beautiful, stylish and comfortable activewear for a wide variety of pursuits from yoga to running. But what has changed is not only the types of sporting activities women have embraced but the wardrobe which now can also be threaded into your everyday lifestyle. Tamara says “When I started Sweaty Betty back in 1998, it was a very bleak landscape for women’s activewear, it was all very dark and boring and the sports industry simply did not talk to women. Activewear was masculine and shapeless, and I thought it was time to create clothes that made active women feel beautiful and powerful, and importantly, that was actually designed for women! Back then, there was a real ‘shrink it and pink it’ attitude towards female sportswear\".

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Tamara Hill-Norton founder of Sweaty Betty.

Renowned for her all-female team based in London Tamara’s mission is to create beautiful active clothes to flatter a woman’s body, especially the area most of us like to hide - the bum. Her team tests everything in-house to check how it performs even going so far as to wear jackets in the shower to see how water resistant the pieces are. Hill-Norton is very proud of her team and cites passion as what unites and inspires everyone, “The most important thing is to be passionate about what you do and surround yourself with equally passionate people who share your vision - it will inspire others and keep you and them motivated.”

The most important thing is to be passionate about what you do and surround yourself with equally passionate people who share your vision - it will inspire others and keep you and them motivated.

Tamara Hill-Norton

As a brand that has trailblazed a path for athleisure the current climate has made women even more tuned into what she has to offer with so many of us opting for yoga pants and leisurewear for much of our WFH wardrobe. She says of the mood, “The most important thing is to feel confident and comfortable in what you’re wearing, whether that’s leggings, joggers or yoga pants. The lines between WFH and leisure are blurring and activewear is becoming ever more an everyday style. As the weather turns colder, it’s all about layering; chunky soft knits like our new Elevate Roll neck and easy-wearing jumpers, like the After Class Sweatshirt, which is perfect for working from home. I will often wear these jumpers with a pair of leggings, like the All Day, as they’re the softest ones we do. We also just launched the Essentials Sweat Set, which is the ultimate feel good tracksuit. It’s 100% cotton, super comfortable and cosy - perfect for winter weather.”

Tamara’s mantra is to empower women through fitness, to help them in their journey to getting fit. While this year has seen so much change and as Christmas approaches she offers her take on her mantra right now, “The festive season is likely to look a little different this year, so we’re focusing on what’s really important. At a time where many of us might not be together, there has never been a more important time to share words of love and support. We’ve partnered with five incredible women to front our Christmas campaign, with five messages of empowerment to help us inspire our community to join us in finding their own unique gift. This could be a message of empathy and support, or it might be giving someone the inspiration to workout, the confidence to try something new, showing them unconditional love or giving them the strength to keep going when they need it most.”

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This active lifestyle is something she feels very strongly about and ensures she puts this into practice for herself and for her family. She says, “As a family we do watersports, cycling and walking. Simon and I want our kids to be brought up with an active lifestyle." During lockdown Tamara says she tried out lots of amazing new classes, “I have a Pilates teacher in New York who I love - Clara from Good Day Pilates – she’s been coaching me on Zoom, and I was doing Secret Sunrise guided dance classes with my daughters and husband, most weeks."

After about a year after starting my business I took up yoga and started running to keep me fit. At the time, I exercised at weekends, because during the week all I could think about was work. But now I exercise throughout the week and have learnt to switch off.

Tamara Hill-Norton

And while keeping active is key she feels it's also important to do “self-care” every day. “Even if it is more about being active: taking the dog for a walk, a cold water swim in the sea, going for a run first thing or making time for a yoga session - that for me is self-care. She also loves delving into books and podcasts too saying, "I’ve almost finished reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle and am loving her confidence to be herself, and fight against the patriarchy. I am about to start reading Girl, Woman, Other, which I’m very excited to get into. But for beauty, I keep it natural - I take Lumity capsules every day for skin and sleep, and I go for a lash lift and tint, and eyebrow tint once a month, so I don't have to wear make up every day! I do love a deep tissue massage every now and again, and an occasional facial."

As Christmas appears on the horizon and thinking about what 2021 holds in store, Tamara is optimistic for the future. “Activewear has grown massively in the last few years and if anything, I think 2020 has accelerated this. People have become more aware of how important it is to move your body - at the beginning of lockdown there was a huge surge in people taking up running, cycling and virtual classes. Our activewear has always been for more than just working out and I think now more than ever, we’ve seen a desire for versatile activewear that provides a composed yet comfortable all-day look - I think it’s in this space that we will start seeing the most growth.

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TAMARA’S CHRISTMAS GIFT PICKS

I always recommend a pair of our Power Leggings. They’ve been a favourite from the start, thanks to their versatility, and are available in a whole range of prints and styles - they also have our famous bum-sculpting technology. The Escape Luxe Fleece Hoody, made from recycled Italian cotton, is also one of my favourites; it’s super soft and in a loose fit style that’s designed to suit everyone.

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