Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yoga Pants and Fashion Statements

My initial topic for this week was politics and how disgusted I am with the ugly rhetoric that has been slung around lately, but what I really want to write about is pants. Specifically, should a 43-year-old woman who’s only slightly overweight be seen in public wearing yoga pants?

Politicians have nothing to say on pants. They are happy to be noncommittal on issues like pants because whatever they say will be attacked by some special interest group and cost votes. No, politicians are NOT courageous enough to provide leadership on pants, though most, I’m sure, are in favor of them in general.

The extremes of fashion blunders are easy to identify and laugh at...just check out the People of Walmart blog. PoW showcases extreme examples of what NOT to wear.

But when does a man or woman’s attire just barely cross the thin line between tastefully comfortable and vaguely unfortunate? I need leadership because I fear I am walking the line and might, just might have crossed it.

My yoga pants cover my lower half quite nicely, and they fit well. Like Baby Bear’s bed, they are just right. But they are also yoga pants, just a tiny step up the wardrobe ladder from sweat pants. I’ve worn them in public a few times but wondered if I looked absurd with my graying hair and slightly droopy jaw-line. I want to age gracefully, and I suspect that yoga pants might be an unfortunate choice for a woman of a certain age.

Am I of a certain age?

No. Just no. Please, God. No.

I’ve rarely thought about clothing style since high school, but Susan Gardner’s blog Friday Playdate, one of my favorites, got me thinking about my wardrobe and feeling, well, inadequate. Susan is much more stylish than I and writes extensively on fashion. I admire her opinions because they are so realistic and moderate. She’s a mom of two boys and has lots of education as well as a wonderful sense of perspective and humor. In fact, I would suspect she and I were twins separated at birth except she is adorably stylish in her short-short hair, is not an ounce overweight, and confidently uses cool accessories that look frumpy on me.

In Susan’s opinion, if a woman buys high-quality yoga pants that keep their shape (no saggy knees or butt) and that fit perfectly, she should feel okay about making a quick trip to Kroger while wearing them. I was also relieved to learn that my pairing of yoga pants with a fitted casual shirt and sneakers met with Susan’s approval.

Unfortunately, my yoga pants came from Target—and thus are not the best quality—and do get a bit stretched at the knee after a while, which is why since I’ve read her article, I haven’t worn them out of my yard.

Yesterday (April 20, 2010), Susan posted a few pictures of her recent wardrobe choices. She makes it look so easy to, in her words, “make a statement.” After showing her adorable pictures, she throws out this request:

“Your turn: what’s your statement piece? And do you save it for a special occasion, or bust it out on a random Tuesday?”

What’s my statement piece? I’d never once thought of any piece in my wardrobe as a statement piece. As I reflected on this, I realized that for winter, my lavender coat certainly makes a statement that fills me with pride and joy when I step out my door wearing it any ol’ day of the week. Any day can be lavender coat day! My sister gave it to me because she never wore it. If not for her gift, I would still be wearing an extremely frumpy, dark gray fleece car coat all winter. My winter statement was made because my little sister made it first. How sad is that?

The only statement my spring/summer wardrobe makes is “this woman never sacrifices comfort for fashion and owns a scary amount of cotton knit.” Right now I have a strong desire to run right out and spend some money on new clothes so my wardrobe can make a more stylish, grown-up statement.

Unfortunately, our bank account took a huge hit on tax day (ouch, ouch, ouch) and now is a deeply unfortunate time to repair my unfortunate wardrobe. I can’t even afford a pair of high-quality yoga pants. Until the bank account recovers, I’ll have to make do with what I have and try to look as inconspicuous as possible.

Time for me to throw out my own request to you. Please share with me and the entire internet what you do to feel good about what you wear. I need all the help I can get.


  1. I get my hands on a Talbots catty and look and see what they're doing that I already have in my wardrobe. Lately for me it has been scarves through the belt loops of my jeans and more jewellry than I've worn since the '80's. (I think I got lazy in the minimilistic '90's and never got out of it.) As to Yoga pants? Well, as I live in Vancouver, my husband bought me a pair of Lululemon's a few years ago and they don't bag. But I don't wear them out unless I'm also sporting a bicycle helmet, and with that I figure anything is allowed.

  2. I save my "cute" clothes for when I'm going somewhere, and since I spend plenty of days at home, I spend plenty of days in a white knit top and black running/soccer shorts--but I would NEVER wear those shorts out for anything but running. It's kinda like how kids have school clothes and play clothes--I put on my play clothes as soon as I get home.

    And I love cotton knit--I wear cotton knit tops virtually all the time. But whenever I go out, I do put on earrings and my rings--that's my "statement," such as it is. I wear lots of cotton skirts, because they're cool in the seven-month Florida summer, but look nicer than shorts. I'd rather be a touch dressed up than a touch under-dressed. I also try to wear cute shoes.

  3. Ooops... your post today wasn't meant for me. I've never been fashion savvy or fashion conscious. I go with what is comfortable and purposefully buy items that can last me a few seasons. In fact, I still have the toga from when I attended dinners hosted by Nero. So, with that, I guess my fashion statement should be dark sunglasses and a big floppy hat to hide behind! LOL.

    Thanks ever so much for your life perspective. I smile each and every time. Now that's something to be proud of as a fashion statement, no?

  4. Being bottom heavy, my style is "redirect the eye" -- just like when I try to distract the eye from a smudge on one of my cards. I own tons of costume jewelry, and have had lots of compliments on my choices. You'd like my collection, Susan--simple, not gaudy. The best part of my wardrobe, however, is a happy smile! It comes from within because of all the Lord has done for me.

  5. awwww Susan--really?
    Unfortunately, my statement garment is my almost busted down and out Levis 505s. Yeah. Really.
    I wear cute shirts and cute shoes and hope that I pass for an "I Don't Care About Fashion" person, but I sincerely doubt it.
    As a stay at home mom for decades, and now a job working with wild animals and pasture loving animals, I live in jeans. I also live kind of out in the country where your clean jeans are your dress-up clothes.
    So, until I loose the weight that my now ex-friend Lexapro slathered on me, nothing current, tight fitting, or that sports a label other than Levis are going on my lower half.
    The End. : )

  6. Wait, I'm supposed to make a fashion statement? lol, I actually own those same yoga pants from Target ~ in fact, I loved them so much I bought a second pair and the same in a capri length! Try as I might, I can't seem to break out of the "sporty" mode as my friend calls me. I mean to wear different and distinctive jewelry but can't seem to take the time to actually change them out... I prefer cotton tops under cable knit sweaters or fleece tops in the winter.. simple I know but it's me...

  7. I followed your links to PoW, which I have visited once before and laughed and cringed all over again. The funny thing was I was in Walmart this afternoon and saw a qualifyer! and had my camera in my bag! No I didn't whip the camera out!

    I really enjoyed visiting Susan Gardner's blog and browsing through what she has been wearing in 2010. I am eagerly waiting for warmer weather as I have been wearing my jeans day in, day out and only giving them a break on Sundays when the dress pants come out and take turns with the two "nice enough to wear to church" sweaters.

  8. Hot yoga pants active wear have several types. Some are long and others are relatively short. You can choose any one of them that can be favorable for your exercise.


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