Is the "yoga pants uniform" too revealing for American culture?


When I linved in the West Coast one of the things I was surprised to see was women, walking on the streets, almost all wearing the same pants-- stretch pants, usually black stretch pants. It was like a uniform. And it wasn't just worn by joggers, it was worn by women from all walks of life. And sometimes, it is so revealing that you can see deeply into the crack leading into women's backsides or even the openings of their genitals from the front.

Now, women (and men) have the right to wear whatever they like. This is not Saudi Arabia. But I think this trend leads to a dumbing down of American fashion culture. As a writer in The Washington Post, of all places, says,

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There is a photograph I love of my grandmother and her family at the 1948 Macy’s Day Parade in New York City. She’s dressed smartly for November weather in a black wool coat and a hazel circle skirt. With her red lipstick and hair set in waves, she looks comfortable but elegantThere’s a simplicity and a dignity to the image that speaks to the core values of my grandparents’ generation. Getting dressed wasn’t about vanity (or, rather, it wasn’t just about vanity); it was good manners.

What we wear sends a message to the world. An Hermes handbag makes a statement about wealth and luxury. A pair of four-inch Louboutin heels makes a statement about sex and power. Yoga pants make a statement about comfort and modernity. When we board a flight or run to the grocery store swaddled in cotton-lycra, we are saying to the people around us that our own comfort is our first priority. We are expressing a new kind of modern vanity where dressing down, rather than dressing up, is the power move.

I have to agree. There was a time when most women wore dresses and skirts, and their clothing looked beautiful. Then with the women's "liberation" movement women started wearing pants, but even then, ladies could still look sharp wearing a pair of white khaki's.

But now many women, especially in cities and suburban areas, are wearing indoor clothes outdoors, and I think it cheapens them. The reason it is indoor clothing is because it shows every shape and curve and leaves nothing to the imagination. It's a coarsening of the public dress code. Women (and men) look better when we don't see, in skin tight detail, every curve and contour as if they were completely naked. In some circumstances, where the yoga pants are very tight and revealing, it almost seems like body paint and near-nudity. It feels bizarre to be able to see the outlines of a woman's anus or even her genitals in a casual walk down the street.

Now, once again, I support womens' rights to wear whatever they want. But just because you can, say, wear pajamas to Wal-Mart (as some people do) does not mean that you should. As the WaPo author stated, it shows a vanity, making comfort an absolute priority above appearance, when I feel that anyone with fashion sense should seek out a balance between the two.

What do you think? Are women degrading themselves by revealing too much, or do you think this new form of demonstrative anatomy is good for our culture?



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