4.25.2016

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, do these yoga pants make my butt look small?

A discussion of athleisure and a code of ethics in day to day fashion

Credit to Respoken Magazine
     In the early 2000s (arguably one of fashion's dark ages), fashion was embracing the revolutionary idea of athleisure, athletic clothes that you can wear outside the gym. Juicy Couture's brightly colored velour track suits (made popular by celebrities like Paris Hilton and Jennifer Lopez) and technological textile advancements with spandex had the world embracing the "I just went to the gym" look. The transition of sportswear into the wardrobes of those who haven't run a mile since high school was a huge turning point in fashion. Fashion started embracing looking healthy and dressing like you just got done with yoga class or another health guru merit badge worthy activity. Soon the wardrobes of Americans were swarmed with leggings and athletic inspired clothing. One could be completely against the athleisure bandwagon and still find a piece or two in her closet that was touched by the suffocating hand of athleisure. The trend evolved as cheaply made yoga pants made their way to the rack of fast fashion/mass market stores, bringing athleisure to an even wider audience where the idea of comfort rested soundly, especially in the minds of busy moms. 
     In my middle school years, yoga pants became increasingly popular. My line of sight walking down the hallway was flooded with neon colored waist bands and PINK logos. Yoga pants quickly evolved into leggings by ditching the flared hems, and voila, here we are: 2016. Today, it seems like you can buy leggings in literally every print, not to mention color, imaginable. Emoji printed leggings anyone? 90s trends managed to survive through the next two decades as athleisure grew more and more popular. Skater skirts and baby doll dresses- 90s cult classics- remained available for anyone with at least $5 in their pocket. 90s favorites and athleisure are two completely different style routes a teen in the early 2000s could chose, but they shared a common price tag. As I said earlier, mass market / fast fashion brands continued to cranked out pair after pair of “cheap to make” yoga pants. The stretchy and easy to move in material combined with a tiny price tag helped to popularize athleisure styles, especially leggings. Cheaply made clothes are, well, cheap and their low prices definitely appeal to the younger generation who prefer quantity over quality. 
      The younger generation also embraces paying more for covering less.Yes, people have the freedom to wear whatever they want, but when I see short, short skirts on preteen girls, I think, how are you comfortable? When I see someone in daisy dukes, I want to scream, how is having denim up the crack of your butt at all times comfortable?! Now, I don't wear clothes to be comfortable. I feel out of place in sweatpants and a tee shirt. But I sure as heck don't feel comfortable when people can see my underwear, bra included. It’s been ingrained into my brain that underwear (bras and panties) are meant to stay hidden under clothes. Why else would we call those garments underwear?
The combination of cheaply made clothes and a love of showing young skin make teens a hot spot for less than classy outfits. It’s no secret that teenagers are some of the biggest offenders and most likely to become fashion disasters. Teens are finding who they are and they are experimenting with their style. The current trends, on the other hand, aren’t making it easy for teens to dress appropriately for school. If you take a peek at current teen trends, you’ll be mobbed with outfits like the photo to the left. You can take apart this whole outfit and complain that only certain people wear outfits like this, although you can’t deny owning 0% of that outfit. 
I’ve been ripping on leggings a bit, haven’t I? Leggings are not the problem; it's how people wear them. Leggings are nothing new; they were super popular in the eighties. Then again, the eighties were over three decades ago and materials definitely change over time. 2016 leggings are very different from leggings circa 1985. We wear them in different ways then the legging trailblazers did in the era of big hair and Madonna.
On a daily basis I ask myself, has the American society completely abandoned the idea of modesty? I’m going to be blunt here, I really get ticked off when I’m out in public and see a protruding pubic bone or butt crack. It’s not flattering and it makes me sad to see people struggling to look nice in a truly versatile and easy piece of clothing (leggings). I truly believe there is a code of ethics that everyone should follow while getting dressed…