Sierra Madre Is Making Women’s Golf Apparel Stylish
The Austin-based brand is bringing fashion-forward looks for women to sport on, and off, the course
The old school world of golf is getting a bit more modern. It’s a new era where up-and-coming brands and forward-thinking golf courses are transforming the game not only to be more inclusive but effortlessly cool. Sierra Madre, an Austin-based women’s golf apparel brand, is trailblazing this movement to ensure women are never an afterthought in the game of golf.
For decades, fashionable golf wear for women was not an option, and the “pink it and shrink it” approach to women’s athletic clothing only kept more women off the golf course. Sierra Madre’s co-founder Bonny Riddle experienced this conundrum firsthand when she decided to pick up golf six years ago.
Working as an investment banking analyst in Dallas at the time, Riddle, like most women working in male-dominated industries, was drawn to golf for its social and networking opportunities. But back then, she only had a bland polo shirt and one golf club to bring on her outings.
“I felt not only like an outsider, even though I wore the polo, but the polo made me feel like I was wearing a costume,” says Riddle. “I didn’t feel confident, and the clothes didn’t help, and I think that’s so powerful about clothing. It can really change how you feel about something.”
Between Bonny Riddle’s background in finance and Michelle Anderson’s experience in the fashion industry, the dynamic duo launched Sierra Madre in September of 2022. Named after the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range, the brand’s identity also celebrates the beauty of motherhood.
“I wanted the name to be feminine but confident, and to me, the word ‘madre’ is just that,” says Riddle. “My mother is very important to me, and I lost her a few years ago, and I called her madre. So it was a little nod to her, and she was a badass.”
Sierra Madre’s collection of fashion-forward pieces is equal parts technical, stylish and versatile. With a structured, sweat-wicking, buttery-smooth material, the sophisticated activewear sports a neutral color palette with a mix of earthy tones.
The Ready Mock Neck Tank (a sporty take on a chic neckline!) and the Ready Skort (a flattering, form-fitting piece) will easily become essentials for building a capsule wardrobe. But shoppers won’t find bold patterns and loud colors in Sierra Madre’s current clothing line, and that’s very intentional.
“Patterns and bright colors are huge in golf, which we’re not against, but we’re trying to give women other options,” says Riddle. “We want our designs to speak for themselves and not just be a T-shirt with a print. We want there to be structure and design and that design to have its own integrity. And while color matters, your design should hold up on its own too.”
Drawing inspiration from legendary female golfers, like Laura Baugh, Jan Stephenson, Renee Powell, Michelle McGann and Judy Rankin, the Sierra Madre collection is giving nostalgic trends of the ’60s and ’70s a modern twist. The designs are also heavily influenced by vintage tennis wear and celebrity icons like Farrah Fawcett.
“These women are classy but just sexy in their own skin, and their confidence makes them look captivating… we wanted to make clothes that you feel confident wearing during all facets of your life and can easily fit into the rest of your wardrobe,” says Sierra Madre co-founder Michelle Anderson, who leads the design process as Creative Director.
British PGA golfer Nick Pateman is the Golf Operations Manager at Butler Pitch & Putt, a 9-hole par 3 course overlooking downtown Austin. Pateman currently oversees the women’s league, Butler Ladies Club, and connected with the Sierra Madre founders over their mutual desire to encourage more women to play the game.
Pateman credits Sierra Madre for branching away from the country club attire and proving you can look good, feel good, and golf clothes can indeed be cool.
“If you asked me what ladies’ golf apparel was before, I’d say it was a sleeveless collared shirt, big shorts, and ugly shoes, unfortunately,” says Pateman. “Brands like Sierra Madre are really pioneering the new style for the next generation of golfers. I think they’re really on the sharp end.”
This summer, Sierra Madre is partnering with ShadowGlen Golf Club to host a 9-hole scramble series every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. to introduce golf to women in a casual environment. Beginners and experienced players can sign up for the women’s league on SweatPals.
“I feel like we’re at the front of this tidal wave, which is, let’s make everything more inclusive, and let’s make it fun,” says Riddle. “Let’s give these old sports life that they lack, and let’s break down the barriers to entry.”