Have you noticed that yoga pants are not just worn at the yoga studio anymore? They are popping up everywhere: the grocery store, bank, movie theaters, cafes, classrooms and restaurants, and the trend seems to just keep expanding. Here are a few very telling quotes from the Wall Street Journal:
Demand for yoga gear… is outpacing growth of the sport itself. Yoga participation grew 4.5% in 2013, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
Meanwhile, sales of yoga apparel were up 45%, according to Matt Powell, an analyst for SportsOneSource, a sporting-goods industry tracker…
Lauren Wheeler-Woodburn estimates that she owns at least 25 pairs of yoga pants.
As a graduate student at the University of Southern California and social-media strategist, she says she wears them mostly every day, for class or to work, or just sitting at home lounging.
Twenty-five pairs?! Yikes! Can you imagine wearing yoga pants to go out in let’s say, Italy? It would be considered brutta figura, wouldn’t it? (La brutta figura, by the way, is the opposite of la bella figura defined in a post on August 25.)
The thing I most admire about people in countries such as Italy and France is an exquisite attention to subtle detail. Textures, colors and cuts are all taken into consideration to create sartorial works of art. Because of this, people watching is pleasurable, inspiring and part of the culture. Unfortunately, people’s sense of decorum seems to be rapidly declining here in certain parts of the U.S.
When I hear of women wearing yoga pants daily, I can’t help but think of the 2008 sci-fi movie “Wall-E” in which overfed, under-exercised humans transport themselves around in hovering easy chairs. A tongue-in-cheek article by Ellie Krupnick and Megan Mayer illustrates the similarities I perceive between daily yoga pant wearing and the state of humans in “Wall-E”.
Herewith, 11 reasons why yoga pants are the best pants.
11. They don’t have buttons. Therefore nothing to poke you or pop off.
10. The nonexistent waistband means no squeezing, pinching or muffin tops.
9. They’re the only pants worth wearing when you’re bloated from your period.
8. The elastic is so comfortable, you’ll never want to take them off.
7. You can sit cross-legged comfortably (for a long time…)
6. The knees won’t fade, like with jeans, even if you move around a lot.
5. They can pass for real pants with a pair of boots and a long(ish) shirt.
4. Two words: More. Food.
3. Quick shirt and shoe change? Ready to hit the gym (or just pretend you’re going to…).
2. You can sleep in them.
1. They’re also pretty good for, like, doing yoga.
Okay, this woman could probably express some style wearing a garbage bag. She is a rare exception, although I still think it looks slovenly.
In an online forum for commenting about yoga pants, I was struck by one woman’s reason for preferring yoga pants: her sweats get misshapen at the knees after wearing them three days in a row. Come again?! Who wears the same pants three days in a row?
Yes, we ugly Americans are getting uglier. By the second. And Lululemon is here to help:
The yoga apparel maker’s latest strategy is to get customers to wear their gear not only to the gym, but also in the workplace or during a night on the town with friends. (http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/08/24/youll-never-guess-where-lululemon-athletica-want-2.aspx)
The daily wearing of yoga pants, which is basically the clothing which feels most like pajamas, is the height of laziness. Aside from presenting an element of slovenliness, wearing yoga pants outside a yoga studio is the antithesis of style. That is, since style is all about expressing one’s unique and authentic self. Style is your personal way of being, rather than the adoption of a popular trend.
Yoga pants also lack any true aesthetic. They are devoid of structure and interest of texture. Aside from some with multi-colored patterns, they lack detail. Moreover, their wear is unimaginative and unsophisticated. In these respects, they have more in common with the Snuggy (fleece blanket with sleeves) than most regular clothing.
Filling your closet with yoga pants might save time in the morning, but it certainly does not help you save money. A quick perusal of Lululemon’s current online selection came up with a selection of pants ranging from around eighty to a hundred dollars. Even shopping cheaper brands, you don’t see a difference in price between yoga pants and dress or casual pants.
So, what would I suggest for casual wear? Here are 10 alternatives:
1) My favorite: an above-the-knee day dress
2) Designer or cropped jeans or skinny pants with a dressy t-shirt
3) A middy skirt with t-shirt and sandals
4) A maxi dress
5) If you live by the beach or wish to look as if you do, a pair of shorts and t-shirt with a long, flouncy blouse
6) A body-con or bandage skirt with a dressy/fun top
7) A sundress in summer or sweater dress in winter
8) City shorts and a casual top (and sweater for cooler temperatures)
9) A sporty skirt with a tee and/or sweater
10) Leggings with a tunic
I cannot guarantee you the same comfort with any of these options as you feel in pajamas, but there are always trade-offs, eh? As for effort, if you have these items clustered together in your closet and/or ready to grab in a split second, they require little to no hassle. Alysa (pictured at #9) had to rush out the door to take her son with strep throat to the doctor. She didn’t have time to apply makeup, but she looks quite cute in a skirt she purchased at Title Nine (now on sale!)
As you can see, there are plenty of alternatives to yoga pants when you want to dash out the door. Then you can save your yoga pants for looking great… at the gym!
Afterthought: My darling friend Erin pointed out to me, “The perception in the news lately is that yoga pants are see-through body-hugging sausage casings.” Yes, there is a lot of hype about how “sexy” yoga pants are. (Yawn.) So, they can squeeze a butt into a more rounded shape. (Second yawn.) Seriously, what does that matter when you combine them with sneakers, flip-flops or Uggs? I can think of infinitely sexier outfits with a high heeled sandal or pump which strategically reveal a little flesh here or there. I’m sorry, but the so-called “sexy” factor has gotten way too much press. My opinion is that they are simply unstylish and sloppy. What do you think?