Controversial

Yoga pants – and manners

I love yoga pants. I wear them all the time. Or let me rephrase this: I used to wear them all the time. No, not just at home. To get groceries, check the letter box, run errands, meet friends.

But something has changed. I read a few books recently that address the relationship we maintain with our clothes, and how it reflects on our overall self-image and self-esteem. To paraphrase: If we just throw on something, anything, that’s convenient, always fits (stretch!) and that never gets wrinkly – what does this say about us, and – more importantly – how does this behaviour make us feel?

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Can active wear stores satisfy all our clothing needs?

To me this meant that I was always feeling casual, no matter what I did. I went to the bank and the doctor in yoga pants. I “repurposed” them for work, with a nice blouse. At one point I looked at my wardrobe and realised that I wasn’t wearing any “real” clothes any more.

I’m a bit on the fence about all this. I love yoga pants. They’re comfy. And they always fit. But I noticed a shift in how I see myself which is inevitably linked to how I appear. Remember the saying: act like the person you want to be, and all falls into place? Well, apparently I acted like the person I didn’t really consciously choose to be, and, needless to say, the universe complied and made me that person. Sluggish, always looking for comfort, maybe a tad too relaxed about everything.

All this made me think of French women. I admire French women. They never choose easy just because it’s convenient – for sure not when they actually want something else. To illustrate the point, French women would rather die than be seen with running shoes and their office outfit. Yes, it’s more convenient to keep your high heels in your handbag (or under your desk) and switch when you’re at work. But how does it make you feel?

I fear that if I always choose “easy” for my wardrobe, my lifestyle will follow suit. This is what I loved about living in Paris: No one chooses easy. You get up and make a commitment to be the best person you can be. Of course looking “put together” isn’t the most important thing in life. Far from it.

But maybe every new, fresh day starts there?

How do you feel about yoga pants? Do you wear them all the time, or just for yoga?

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29 replies »

  1. I am always in my yoga pants. Then when there is a special occasion I have literally nothing to wear! It’s frustrating! I teach everyday, thus I need to wear them to and from. Great post. Must expand my closet.

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  2. I love my Yoga pants, but I’m the complete opposite. I always have the urge to dress semi smart no matter where I go, which I have always found to be strange. It must also be a good thing that you are comfortable enough to go out in Yoga pants and not care too much- plus, they are “fashionable” at the moment 😉

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  3. I would say that I only wear them for sport, but I have also been known to wear leggings under a short dress, mainly as they are warmer than tights, and comfier too, but nowhere near as elegant really.

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  4. I literally just had this conversation on my Facebook page this weekend! I was in a restaurant and every single girl except me was in work out attire. Most of them had laptops and backpacks, so I know they went there to study, but they looked like they had just jumped out of the gym! Which they had not at all. I am all for the jeans and tee look with an occasional styled legging, but a full on workout out fit with your hair and makeup done seems so odd to me!

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  5. Yes, I find myself doing the same thing. Especially with leggings! I typically find myself pairing them with boots and a nice top and some jewelry, and go out to the bars or to dinner. I know exactly what you mean, though, because even though i’m comfy and I’ve “dressed it up” a part of me still feels like I might as well be wearing baggy sweats and a hoodie to the bars!

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  6. You make some interesting points on how what we throw on links to how we appear and even feel. I remember a professor of mine once said don’t ever sit in your pajamas for a phone interview. She said dress as if it was in person because it changes how seriously you take the interview. Honestly, I have never worn yoga pants, not even when I do yoga. I prefer capri leggings because then I can see my ankles. In the mornings I usually get dressed first thing because it makes me feel motivated.

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  7. I started feeling the same way that you have expressed here. For some reason my yoga pants and leggings started to take over in my wardrobe and I have no idea when they won the clothing war. In fact, I started to feel less happy in my jeans, let alone my dresses and heels. So, a few weeks ago I started buying new clothes to tempt myself back to where I was, classy over comfy because comfy started to feel sloppy and lazy. I LOVE my yoga pants and comfy clothes but now only when I am not out and plan on doing a workout. I also realized something else. I feed myself different when I am in stretchy expandable clothes. Ive gained weight. Apparently the yoga pants have different food choices than my skirts and heels do 😉

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  8. I just wear them for yoga – they get me in the right frame of mind & looking forward to class. Don’t feel the need to wear them any other time really. I think it is successful marketing that has made them a fashion statement and of course they are really comfy. It doesn’t worry me that other women wear them when they’re not exercising, but for me I like that they are my special yoga pants 🙂

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    • Yes, that’s it: the frame of mind. It simply meant that I was in a “yoga/relax” frame of mind all the time, which at first was fine (who doesn’t want to feel relaxed) but then turned into this very chilled out “whatever…” attitude…

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  9. I hear you. My life has not been easy and I lost my mind as well as close friends early on. A few close girlfriends either teach or do yoga classes. I did decades of martial arts and sciences. To tell you the truth over all the years I have had lunch with them… I have never actually noticed their pants. I also don’t know after 40 years that is something that women like about me or dont. I may never know. I do live with a 14 year old female cat who never wears any pants. She is currently asleep on the antique coffee table. Gave up on that one years ago

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    • Well, there’s cat and goat yoga now. Clearly, this is a marketing opportunity – people spend a lot on pet products! But I agree – what pants we wear is far from being the most important thing in life. Maybe your solution is best – paying less attention to those kinds of things!

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  10. I love wearing them on weekends! And sometimes can’t wait to get out of them on weekdays. Loved this post though! I’ve seen so many women in Perth wear yoga pants for anything at any time of the day and was beginning to think it had become a new fashion statement perhaps?

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    • I have the same ambiguous feelings about yoga pants – I love them, but some situations are just calling for other types of clothes. And I agree – they’re a fashion statement, but I wonder if it’s just the result of successful marketing? 😉

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