In general, I’m a thrifty gal — but I have one weakness: leggings and dresses by woman-owned and BIPOC-owned small businesses! Here is a round-up of my favorite such companies: perfect not only for gift shopping, but also for treating yourself.
None of the links here are affiliates, meaning these are my honest thoughts, and that I’ve supported each brand, myself, with my own purchases. I’m curious which styles you’ll most love after perusing the list, below. Apologies in advance for my ridiculous modeling poses; I’ve never been content with a shot that’s not somehow over the top! Click through to any listing below for my longer article featuring photos and videos of the clothing from each designer.
Woman Owned Small Businesses
Here is a great list of woman owned small businesses to support by shopping: clothing like leggings, athleisure, dresses, and athleticwear that's comfortable as well as stylish.
Princess Awesome (founded by my college classmate Rebecca) is known for its feminist children's clothes, but they also have a wonderful adult line which features leggings and dresses with deliciously geeky designs like dinosaurs, D20 dice, and books... and POCKETS!
Leota New York
Want cute, stretchy, wrinkle-free dresses in a full range of sizes? My Brown University friend Sarah founded Leota in 2010 because she was sick of uncomfortable professional clothes. I wear my Leota dresses almost every day teaching, and for all major presentations. Highly recommend!
Armor leggings -- need I say more? I first spotted Lorica clothing via social media ads, and couldn't get them out of my mind until I tried them. The founder is an Asian-American woman with a fabulous spirit and creative drive, and I've enjoyed every interaction I've had with both her and the clothing. The leggings even come in super-tall lengths!
Rochelle Porter Design
How much do I love Rochelle Porter? This "Red Lala" leggings and crop-top outfit pops up in almost all of my workout review articles! This Black-owned business also makes home decor items like pillows, as well as phone cases.
I've had many nice chats with the owner of Sunia Yoga clothing, and I'm always impressed with how this company, owned by a woman of South Indian descent, strives to combine integrity and beauty into its designs.
Emily Hsu Designs
SPARKLES! Emily Hsu is an Asian-American dancer, and she knows show-stopping outfits! I'm obsessed with these shiny "mermaid" leggings, which also come in other iridescent color options.
Run by a fellow female travel blogger, Wanderbabe has a wonderful combination of earthy designs (including chakra colors and the splendid moons pictured below), and strives for environmental sustainability. Sad November 2021 update: Wanderbabe is now officially closed, which is a striking reminder of how important it is to support small businesses!
Vim & Vigr Compression Socks
Ever since my last pregnancy, I've realized the importance of compression socks in preventing varicose veins in the legs. The good news is that they now come in fashionable and fun patterns, such as the polka dots pictured below, from the Asian-American woman-owned company, Vim & Vigr.
Which of the clothes on this list of woman-owned brands is your favorite? The STEM clothes of Princess Awesome, or the Armor Leggings of Lorica — or something else? Oh, and if you want to branch beyond clothing to support woman-run businesses, check out my friend (and former teaching colleague) Maritere Mix’s educational Black and Latina dolls that teach history! You can either buy them pre-made, or as a sew-your-own project.
2022 update: I have my own colorful clothing line now!
Of course, if I’ve left off any woman-run small businesses that deserve a shout-out, let me know so I can do some fun shopping — er, serious investigative research. Yay for supporting good people!
The author, Lillie Marshall, is a 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 4.2 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!