She’s helped bring more than 600 babies into the world as a doula. She sweats, stretches, and motivates many more each and every week at Blooma, the pre and postnatal yoga studio she founded, now with three Twin Cities locations and one in Nashville. But it wasn’t until Sarah Longacre went through a pregnancy of her own that she really understood the pants problem.
“I was two years postpartum and still wearing maternity clothes,” Longacre says. “I kept thinking something was wrong with my body. But nothing’s wrong with me. What’s wrong is the clothing.”
So Longacre set out to create a new category of yoga pants—because despite the seemingly endless amount of active wear available today, everywhere from discount stores to designer brands, she says the fashion industry has missed the boat with moms. Longacre wanted a “journey” pant that could stretch with women through pregnancy, support them after giving birth, and retain their shape to remain a wardrobe staple once the kids are off to school. After about nine months of research, focus groups, design and manufacturing, Longacre is about to give birth to Navel, a clothing brand for “real moms.” The official due date is December, but moms will get a preview of Longacre’s first product, her ultimate yoga pant, on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Blooma's seventh annual Bellyrama event at the Lake Harriet Bandshell.
The Navel pant comes with a snap-in belly band so women have both high and low waist options. Longacre says the band offers the coverage women crave when lifting their shirt to nurse, and it also provides support during workouts. The belly band is not a new idea, but marketing it to women beyond pregnancy could give Navel a new angle. “I’m saying to women: this is your belly band, for the rest of your life. Don’t feel guilty. You’re perfect.”
Longacre's Navel yoga pant will retail for $70 when it launches on the Navel website and in studio in December. The first 100 shoppers at Bellyrama on Saturday will be able to take home the first edition pant for $35, and are also guaranteed the second edition pant in December at no additional charge. All they have to do is offer feedback about what they like, and what they’d change. “I think the pant is over 90 percent dialed in,” says Longacre, who expects to make some minor changes before going into full production this fall with a U.S. manufacturer. “We’re really curious about when moms are wearing the additional band, and when they don’t.”
Pre-order a pair of Navel pants at Bellyrama for $35, with December delivery.
Meanwhile, Longacre is already thinking about tops to go with her pants. “We’ve had a lot of requests for better breast feeding tops, and tops that offer more support..”
Other yoga centers are already calling Longacre, wanting to sell her Navel pants, but for now, she says, she wants to keep it small and “boutique-y,” and focus on building a community of women who are comfortable with their bodies.
Bellyrama takes place Sept. 10, 9 a.m. to Noon at Lake Harriet Bandshell. Enjoy free family yoga, a dance party, henna, face painting, belly mapping and the first opportunity to try on and pre-order the new Navel pants.