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…

Before I even begin, 
You can...
Call me prude.
Call me old fashioned.
Call me bossy.
Call me ridiculous.
Call me a control freak.
Say I can't be the "fashion police".
Argue with me if you want to waste your time.
None of this will phase me. 
     I believe I have a valid argument. When I'm in public, I don't like seeing peoples underwear, butts, crotch (camel toes), or excessive cleavage. It makes me uncomfortable. 
     Now you can say, Bailey, you’re over sexualizing body parts that aren’t that sexy. I suppose I’m complaining about seeing body parts that shouldn’t be sexualized. Perverts will be perverts and when you let them have a private viewing to parts of you that they’d love to see without a thin, stretchy layer of spandex material that leaves little to the imagination over the top of said parts, they will get off on it. You’re probably wanting to scream into the computer, BAILEY! STOP IT! A butt isn’t sexy! Your argument isn’t even relevant! Okay, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but through history, parts of the female anatomy that guys drool over have changed. Take a look through recent history. In the forties and fifties, seeing ankles, calves, and shoulders was sexy. In the sixties, full length legs went from taboo to totally sexy. In recent years, boobs have taken center stage only to be recently replaced with butts. Celebrities are such a good visual source of what’s sexualized today. Who are the sex symbols of the 2010s? Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj, and Jennifer Lopez have some very famous booties. Nicki Minaj even has a hugely grossing song called Anaconda whose lyrics go a bit like this, “My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hun”.
Credit to newspost.com 

Brains Before Beauty? Heck, it should be “Brains Before Booty”

      In writing this post, I’ve done a lot of people watching. I’ve watched a lot of girls in leggings and guys reactions to their outfits. If you favor the booty drooling reaction some outfits get, disregard all of this. Personally, it’s demeaning being seen as a butt before a person. Dillon Cheverere, in his article “American Icons: Yoga Pants Inventor Ryan McLatchy” takes the freedom to tell the internet about the first volleyball game he went to in high school. 
     “[I]n that instant, trancelike tunnel vision set in as my eyes fixated on one of the greatest goddamn innovations man has ever created. I’d seen spandex before, but never in this form. There was 16 to 18-year-old volleyball tail scattered around, seemingly nude from the waist down with painted on royal blue shorts. It was beautiful… I doubt I could have identified a single girl on the court, as my line of sight never drifted north of the navel region”. 
     I’m not saying put on a formless sack so you drown your curves, but ladies, really ask yourself what you’re going for – who are you as a person? What are you okay with? If you don’t mind a few looks at your butt, fine. I’m glad you’re proud of your body. I don’t think everyone notices the attention they get. Even the shyest clam will be looked at and given an up-down. It’s human nature; we’re curious and social animals. If you are like me and see a wolf whistle not as a compliment but as a form of harassment, I hope you understand how you dress. I don’t care about “you can’t judge a book by its cover”. That’s bullshit. The first time you meet someone you are instantly unconsciously judging them. How you dress is a direct reflection on who you are. The clothes you choose to buy – even a white tee shirt or pair of jeans – say a lot about you. Why we choose one thing over another is a fascinating topic. Different styles of clothing are associated with different people. The people that wear what you wear are associated with you. You would wear the jersey of a sports team to be associated with that team. That’s the same with anything else you wear. When you wear leggings, you are associated with the turf of leggings. Wearing pieces appropriately is what can change the connotation to the piece of clothing. That’s why I believe that there are common courtesies that one should abide by when getting dressed. 
1. Consider your environment. 
Are you at school or a night club? Are you at the gym or on a date? What's appropriate for that setting? School is a tricky setting because there are so many different styles you can portray. I prefer to treat school as my job. I dress up. I dress myself for success. I personally don't understand the people who wear pajamas to school. If you dress to fall asleep, you will fall asleep. If you dress to break glass ceilings, you will do just that.
2. Try to make underwear as invisible as possible
Mistakes happen. Maybe you didn't realize your bra showed through your shirt before you left the house. Maybe you don't want to buy a razorback bra. I know the struggles of having a cute skirt that is super tight and entirely see through and no matter what you'll have an obvious underwear line.

A really easy fix to underwear lines is wearing a body suit or a leotard. Leotards were featured last spring in InStyle magazine (I don't recall what issue) & since seeing it, I've been so inspired. I haven't purchased one yet, but I've been in the market. You can find them on Etsy (if you want vintage), Forever 21 (edgy), or you could even buy a dance leotard (higher quality). 
What makes me insanely uncomfortable is when I'm walking behind someone and it's basically a front row seat to their underwear. Do they know I can see underwear? Should I mention it to them? Remember what I talked about before? What exactly are they going for? Worse yet is when I'm walking behind someone who isn't wearing underwear and their leggings are see through. I work at a formal dress store, believe me, I’ve seen a lot of things I didn’t need to see. But when I’m walking down a hallway or aisle, I don’t want to see every body part you could possibly show while wearing a shirt and shoes for service. It seems unwarranted. It’s inappropriate for the setting. It’s not tasteful.  Even the smallest and fittest butt is not a pretty sight jiggling back and forth as you walk. If you cover your tush, you’ll instantly make your outfit more respectable, even if you’re running to the grocery store for some milk and fruit snacks. Yeah, you can be lazy and comfy and still look respectable! Woohoo for you! 
Credit to Buzzfeed
   A few things are discerning to me in regards to leggings. I have this theory that leggings are the next mom jeans. According to Urban Dictionary user Emily Scarlett, mom jeans are ”Often seen on the 40+ crowd, mom jeans are too high, too tight, tapered leg jeans which manage to showcase any bodily flaw the wearer has. Possible outcomes: The butt will be compressed so it doesn't stick out, it will instead be pushed to the sides, making it look far wider than it actually is. The genital triangle will be emphasized and outlined…The hips will look wider because of the butt compression and the tapering of the legs. In addition, mom jeans are often light in color, which further emphasizes the outcomes mentioned above. They also come in the elastic-waist variety which further defines the genital triangle”. Mom jeans evolve as the decades go on. While considering this idea of mom jeans evolution, I thought, skinny jeans will surely be the mom jeans of our generation. Then I realized that jeans have been replaced with yoga pants. Yoga pants (which are already popular with moms) have been replaced with leggings. Leggings are the next mom jeans. Moms are notorious for not dressing hip or for wearing today's styles incorrectly. Can you imagine moms wearing leggings to their kids’ soccer games, complete with a flannel and pair of converse? This very idea keeps me up at night and fuels my vow to make my name a regular on prominent fashion magazine mastheads. I love fashion because I believe I can help people. I truly hope I’ve given the world a new outlook on dressing. There’s surprisingly not a lot of talk about athleisure on the internet though it grosses over $20.4 million dollars a year according to Nicole Soyka.
Some other interesting essays/articles to read are as follows:

 One last thing, remember you’re a brain and beauty before a booty.
All opinions are my own. 


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