An issue that divides America: yoga pants

In her New York Times op-ed over the weekend, Honor Jones acknowledged it’s not for women to criticize what other women wear.

Then she criticized the choices of women at the gym, specifically: yoga pants.

Seriously, you can’t go into a room of 15 fellow women contorting themselves into ridiculous positions at 7 in the morning without first donning skintight pants? What is it about yoga in particular that seems to require this? Are practitioners really worried that a normal-width pant leg is going to throttle them mid-lotus pose?

We aren’t wearing these workout clothes because they’re cooler or more comfortable. (You think the selling point of Lululemon’s Reveal Tight Precision pants is really the way their moth-eaten design provides a “much-needed dose of airflow”?) We’re wearing them because they’re sexy.

We felt we had to look hot on dates — a given. We felt we had to look hot at the office — problematic. But now we’ve internalized the idea that we have to look hot at the gym? Give me a break. The gym is one of the few places where we’re supposed to be able to focus on how our bodies feel, not just on how they look. We need to remember that. Sweatpants can help.

Women can conquer the world wearing Spandex, she says, “but wouldn’t it be easier to do so in pants that don’t threaten to show every dimple and roll in every woman over 30?” she wrote.


This is an issue best left undisturbed.

In 2016, for example, a letter to the editor in the small Barrington Times in Rhode Island compared women wearing yoga pants to men wearing Speedos at the grocery store.

“To all yoga pant wearers, I struggle with my own physicality as I age,” wrote Alan Sorrentino. “I don’t want to struggle with yours.”

The letter went viral.

“It was in the face of all this political stuff, with all these really important issues going on, and then there’s this letter about yoga pants,” he later told the Boston Globe.

That was after hundreds — hundreds — of yoga-pants-wearing women paraded past his home.

It was peaceful, although police were stationed outside his home after Sorrentino reported receiving death threats.

Parade attendees do yoga as a police officer looks on during a parade in support of wearing yoga pants in Barrington, R.I., in 2016. Photo:
Courtesy Selena Maranjian via WBUR.