Early yesterday morning I was extolling the virtues of yoga for back care to a friend, and the conversation goosed me to do what I’ve been putting off for a year, buying new workout clothes. Should be easy, no? Everywhere you look are women wearing yoga pants and capris, with oh so cute little bondage straps–err, sports bras.
I’m picky. Yoga gear should be form fitting enough that you can easily check your alignment, and not have everything rolling up, rolling down, and twisting under you. You should be able to move freely in whatever you’re wearing. I had looked online last week. Good grief, $100 for a pair of yoga pants? By the time $60 began to look reasonable, I knew it was time to step away from the laptop. And so I went to the local discount sporting goods store, where I was sucked into the vortex of fluorescent pink sports bras with perfectly coordinated checkered capris. A mere $75 for an outfit. No. Went home, went back online, found some things that were more reasonably priced, and purchased nothing. Better prices aren’t really better if I can’t tell exactly how something is going to fit, if it will actually be comfortable to move in but discreet enough to throw a long t-shirt on top and run the girl to school.
Yeah, I’ve seen some of those inexpensive pieces in person, and they’re barely opaque enough to qualify as tights. And the rest–including some of the very priciest ones–seem to be manufactured and promoted by the same sadists who came up with Spanx. How the fuck am I supposed to execute a smooth downward facing dog if I’m busy trying to force air into my lungs? Now I’m sure the idea is to hold in and hide all the rumply bits you’re trying to smooth away with exercise, but they seem to have forgotten one thing. That excess of skin/cellulite/*gasp*/flab? It doesn’t actually disappear with the bondage gear, just gets pushed up over the waistband and down under the rib band. Thanks, I feel so attractive.
And ah, the sports bras. I get it, if your workout is high impact, you might want something with more hold. But for yoga? With the way most of these things are structured, I expect mammogram results to pop out when I take them off. And why is the choice that either they come with pads thick and durable enough to walk by themselves or no room in the design for nipples, let alone breasts?
When, exactly, did workout clothes become yet another haute couture arena? This may be sacrilegious to say in 2016, but as long as it’s reasonable enough to get on and off the subway in, I don’t care what this stuff looks like. I don’t care if the sports bra matches the t-shirt matches the shorts. Maybe I’d feel differently if I worked out in a gym, or a class, and was being seen by others. Actually, this likely contributes to why I prefer to stick to the privacy of my living room. If you’re headed to an appointment, or date, or work, after you work out, go ahead and live a little by getting dressed in real clothes. They don’t have to be fancy, just yanno, clean–something you haven’t spent an hour sweating in.
So yes, I went shopping in one of the basic discount stores yesterday, determined to be successful. If I don’t care about the fashion statement, how hard could it be? First off, I thought it was the perfect time of year to replace my workout shorts (I like to wear shorts for yoga in the hot weather, sue me). There were indeed two racks of shorts in the clearance racks of the “athleisure” department. Are you freaking kidding me? Lycra microshorts. Just right for the woman who wants her already sagging butt cheeks to fall out during child’s pose. Fine, forget the shorts. I grabbed every sports bra, yoga pant, and capri that I could find that looked like it might fit, didn’t feel like it was made from that magical duck tape/spandex blend, was under $20 and headed to the dressing room.
I could have skipped the early morning yoga session, because just trying all this crap on certainly counted as a workout. Mrs Fringe is not a large woman. That said, as a woman-of-a-certain-age, I’m not as small as I used to be. These things are obviously all designed for the prepubescent among us. In real clothes, I wear a size 6 or 4, depending on the cut and the “designer,” usually need a petite (except in pants, my legs are oddly long for a short woman), and I needed– needed–mediums in this stuff. What the fuck? What about women who are truly curvy? Or, god forbid, a bit more than full figured? Are they banished to the dismal plus-sized rack at the back because they wear a size 12 (which doesn’t necessarily mean more than full figured)? When I came home I saw the brouhaha online about a well endowed teacher in a dress that covered her completely but was, ahem, form fitting. I wouldn’t wear it, but I like things that are roomy. Not sack cloth and ashes, but what I consider breathable. Appropriate for work? I don’t know, but I know for sure that is a woman who would be hard pressed to find something off the rack that fit her without being either tight or tent like.
Wikipedia tells me the goal of yoga is moksha–liberation. Looking at the western yogi-gear offerings, I suspect something has been lost in translation. If you’re wondering, I did wear my new gear this morning and got on the train wearing my new (see above photo) slightly baggy olive-green capris, crayola-box purple sports bra, and big ocean-blue long sleeved t-shirt. I left the falsies behind.