Dear women doing everything in their active wear:
Finally the world has reacted to the strange phenomena of you walking around everywhere on your sport clothes, like you are on the way to the gym when maybe you are not… Some clever people out there came up with this active wear spoof and it’s a checkpoint charlie.
I think after this we don’t have a free pass anymore. I have to confess I do everything #inmyactivewear, but I’m a Yoga Teacher so chances are I am doing errands before or after my classes.
(SHORTCUT – Cut the crap and take me to the tricks)
That said, this happens to normal people too. Carrying around changes of clothes is a pain and sometimes there’s just no time to change between sports and life. I’m assuming you are not “doing nothing in your active wear” and you do NOT want others look at you this way right? If that’s the case keep reading. I think active wear is great but that’s why I want to draw the line and write this post.
I try to make my active wear (my work clothes) look classy or trendy so I do not look like the women int he video all the time. Even if I have a reason. I wear active wear all the time and to me there has to be certain degree of style and dignity. AKA Not looking like a clown.
To me my clothes are a way of self expression as much as a presentation card to my clients and students, so yes It’s pretty important (Isn’t this the third post on the topic? hehehe) Let’s get started.
I have had occasions where I really didn’t care, but I had others where I had to be able to disguise my active wear for a social event. I did this simply because I don’t think It’s very elegant to dress outdoors all the time like if you were in the gym. If you disagree, I invite you to stop here and read my post about Menstrual Cups for example 🙂
Once I went to an Embassy party after a Yoga a workshop, and I think I managed to pull that out decently… I think…
Where I come from people don’t wear sports clothes unless you are doing sports. Or at least that was the case until recently. Yes I’m from Europe, not from America. From southern Europe, to make things worse, where fashion matters. Running shoes with dockers are not acceptable even on an office that has dress down Friday guys. Not even in a start up. There they even have an entire separate hipster dress code but it does not include active wear.
For us in the South of Europe not really acceptable to walk around on your gym clothes all day. Funcional yes, comfortable yes, practical yes, but pretty!? Stylish? Elegant? Makes you look like a respectable person? Really, lets be honest: No.
A few years ago people started glamorizing uneducated people on TV, in their active wear. Giving them so much media attention has the effect of validating it. It makes sports gear socially acceptable. Tolerance by over exposure i call it, and it’s even made it trendy to some extend.
I’m not talking about the ladies in the spoof of the video. I’m talking about Barbie Fitness. This is a Barbie Fitness. If you actually like Barbie Fitness you can also stop reading here.
The Barbie Fitness effect
Check point charlie. Don’t call me intolerant before you ask yourself if you would not turn the eyes in shock if you see somebody dress like this in a coffee shop.
There’s an alternative to this. The golden era of Aerobics with those 80s TV stars like Jane Fonda, is way over. And the great news is that the amount of “wearable” street smart exercise clothes that have come out recently is incredible. It’s actually trendy and you see that’s a very common uniform in Orchard Rd. You don’t have to go on tacky mode.
There’s definitely a boom for Athleisure, so let’s just start stating that you can move from looking like the friends of Vicky Pollard (the hot ones and not so hot ones) to looking like Gigi Hadid very easily.
There’s no need to go all fashion victim on active wear like Barbie Fitness or end up like a Christmas tree of neon Lycra. That’s what I see happening a lot. When Vicky Pollard goes to the gym and wants too look like Gigi Hadid, she becomes Barbie Fitness, or this:
Suddenly the active wear ladies seem like innocent day time comedy. Right?
SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ALERT!
Jokes aside. If you made it here, thank you. Now I’m going to make a pause and use the chance to promote diversity online. As I was doing my research for this article, I bumped into some things that made me activate my social responsibility mode. Barbie Fitness is not alone. They are a tribe, the are very numerous and they LOVE showcasing themselves in social media. That gives them attention and validation.
Because of this, they end up monopolizing the stereotype of what a good Yogi or a good Yoga teacher should look like. Extend this to any fitness instructor. To some extent also to what a “healthy person” should look like too.
I will write another post one day about how a good Yogi doesn’t necessarily make a good teacher in yogamasala.org , but for the moment let me introduce you to DIVERSITY in the yoga world.
This is Jessamyn Stanley, she recently tried cross-fit and it was really inspiring
This is Bette Calman, also known as the Yoga Grandma.
And this is my dear Lara Chandrini AKA MintYogini
Now back to the topic.
Get going all day on your Yoga clothes (with class and style)
Starting point: Leggings Galore
Leggings… where to start.
If you are anything like me you will appreciate the snug hugging sensation. Yes, the one that controls the wobble of the thighs. Also the lack of any sort of tightness or strangling anywhere. The flexible waistband that doesn’t sink into your belly flesh, that can accommodate food babies, PMS babies and random water retention babies. It’s kind of liberating.
I firmly believe that leggings are made in the woman section of heaven.
No chauvinism here. In fact my friend @talltreeyogi has a superbly manly collection of leggings and pulls them out like a down to earth pro. RESPECT Andy! But they are SO made for women the market is a bit biased.
The biggest shift you have to make is to stop thinking of them as active wear and treat them like if they were skinny jeans. Leggings are very versatile and if you see them fashion items when you buy exercise clothing it changes the game. You think of what can you wear them with in the context of your entire closet. Not just the sports section.
With this in mind you will notice that the planets have aligned, and now you can get good exercise leggings but with fashionable textures and prints. Remove neon from your mind right now unless you like to go to Zumba conventions all the time. Neon is never going to be glamorous (I hope)
Please note that Active Wear leggings are NOT like normal ones so don’t go cheap here. The cut and the material are different (learn more about this in my last post). Liquido Active has variety for both worlds (glam and zumba) but they are Brazilian after all and they have a slight tendency to think of carnival.
When you re-think of what your work out leggings and you look at them as if they were normal pants you will notice there’s room for basics, prints florals, just in a different way. Just doing this will immediately make it easier on the eye to go around all day on your Active Wear.
This could be me, when I was 10. I absolutely adore leggings, and I have been wearing them since the 80s. I had two pairs in primary school, with pink or blue flowery patterns. I wore oversized jumpers on top, and White Reeboks or Navy Fila trainers. I did this for years. Credit goes to my mother of course.
If for some reason you think they are really off you can stop reading this right here and maybe have a look at my funny post about Brazilian Waxing instead.
Now that I am a Yoga teacher, I have a professional reason to wear yoga pants all day, every day, and I just love it. YIPPIE!!! This is part of my Liquido Active collection and even these prints work fine on the glam if you combine then with the right tops.
Mosaic of tiled some of my Liquido Active legging. They are the best because they are buttery soft. Brazilians work Lycra like no other country.
Layer with tops
The key is to layer. Because leggings are so versatile they can be disguised under flowy tops easily. It’s mostly exercise tops that give you away as an active wear fashion victim. Wear a floaty top or jumper over your exercise tank and make sure that’s long enough to cover that infamous Camel Tow. The rule of thumb is that with tight pants you wear a lose top and vice versa. The trashy look is achieved by trying to resemble a neon sausage, hugged in Lycra from top to bottom.
A blouse, a jumper, a light sweater or even a simple and loose v neck white t shirt will do the job, and it will be great with a jacket on top. The next step.
I have to make a special mention to the top in the cover.
If you find it (Nux, Selena Hoodie) please email me. I think it’s the cutest thing ever. The entire outfit is great, the pony, the flowery hydrangea leggings (also wanted, Nux Rio Capri) and the peekaboo top. ME WANT!
With clothes like this you have the Gigi Hadid look in a moment, maybe not the body but hey, there’s worse things in life. Like Zumba conventions and barbie fitness.
Add a jacket
A denim jacket, military parka, a motorbike jacket, or a chunky cardigan. All of the above make a good combination with yoga pants that you can wear all day in colder weathers. And the great thing is that it doesn’t really matter what you wear underneath because nobody is going to see that.
If you live in the tropics like me, a cardigan is a must to survive the attack of the killer air con blast. You don’t remember what your mother used to tell you when you were little? Don’t go out in the cold all sweaty. after exercising. Here’s the other way around. Don’t go indoors in the air con all sweaty. You will get pneumonia.
Maybe add a scarf too
If by any chance you still will feel conscious about the camel toe or simple about wearing leggings this is the ultimate trick. Guide the eyes to look somewhere else.
A big or colorful scarf can take all eyes to your neck and away from your yoga pants. A beautiful scarf makes dress up anything or it can define the entire outfit. Black leggings, black booties and black top? Throw a red or pink scarf around. Print leggings and plain top. A scarf can dress it up.
I don’t need to tell you the use of them in winter, but remember the air con temperature in that expensive shopping mall is always going to be colder than average. Yes that shopping mall we all know, where you need to buy those expensive coffee capsules every week.
Don’t forget the shoes!
You do yoga barefoot, ergo you don’t need to wear trainers. Repeat this 3 times mentally, or out loud if possible. It will help to make it sink in.
Take a deep breath and now proceed to remove the association of yoga pants and trainers. Exercise shoes are optional for your Yoga outfit. If you are American try a few more rounds. Please forgive me, but running shoes are for running. ONLY.
There’s trillions of cool trainers out there these days. They call them street wear, and any of them are going to make you immediately look 10 times more chic than those standard running shoes most standard American seems to have (for some reason I can’t understand). If you have and old pair, maybe it’s time to upgrade and realize that they belong in a Salvation Army box.
That said I do love a sleek cool trainer. I have 6 pairs to be exact. But these beauties below should only be used with jeans or for the gym floor and in case of emergencies like acute foot pain, or heavy rain that will spoil all you other shoes except the Hunters. BTW Wellington boots are actually really cool with leggings – Trainers work on the hipster side, not so much the glam.
Let’s look at other options now. If you are going for the European thing, you will have to follow this and send those ugly running shoes straight away to exile. Now. Resist the trainers temptation and go for sandals, flats, oxfords, booties, and flipflops.
As you can see, leggings go great with all kinds of shoes. Anything works better than trainers, but if you really have to, at least get cute ones.
That’s all folks! It’s really quite simple.
Basically you can combine your yoga clothes with whatever you would wear with skinny jeans. I think it should not be difficult to pull this out, right? If you need more inspiration have a look at my Pinterest album.
Remember that looking like this is really the work a complete team of stylists, make up artists, hairdressers, lighting specialists and photographers. Not just the model.
In case of doubt, big black sunglasses add 100 glamour points no matter what you wear.
Until next time!