Stop spazzing out about the NYTimes Yoga Pants Op-Ed!

This morning, my husband said "The New York Times says women over 30 should not wear yoga pants."  To be fair, he was actually reading a headline from FoxNews which said "New York Times slammed for article saying women over 30 should wear sweats, not 'sexy' yoga pants." As you may know, my background is in journalism, which is a job that calls for a fair amount of skepticism. And as a former headline writer, I  know that headlines serve as bait to get you to read, and they don't necessarily to represent any nuance of the story they promote. I don't want to call anyone out, because I saw the same story on People and HuffPost as well. In addition to the (in my opinion) lazy practice of creating a story out of random people's tweets, these stories were also not exactly representative of the NY Times' piece itself. I'm not here to defend what New York Times Senior Opinion Editor Honor Black (some are saying that's a pen name, a practice I also employ) has to say. But what did she say? (if it was a pen name, who knows if it was even a she? I bet Jim Bob Duggar really wrote it.)

Here's the actual article: "Why Yoga Pants Are Bad for Women." (Shame on you headline writer.)

There is no restriction on the age a woman can wear yoga pants in this article

The offending age restriction on yoga pants actually comes from this sentence:

"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?"

That doesn't sound like women over 30 shouldn't wear yoga pants. I mean, unless your mother said it to you as you were headed out the door in yoga pants.

The New York Times is not telling women what to wear

This is not the actual paper telling you what to do. When you say that, you sound like someone saying that the internet told them leftover onions are poisonous. Its an OPINION piece, written by one person (or the whole editorial staff? Or the sweatpants industry? How far does this pen name thing go?)

In the NY Times piece, Ms. Black writes "It’s not good manners for women to tell other women how to dress." Of course, the second cause of that sentence is "that’s the job of male fashion photographers." Which did make me smile, I admit. Its like the female equivalent of a dad joke. You'd just groan and roll your eyes except it's not quite so innocuous.

The writer continues: "Women who criticize other women for dressing hot are seen as criticizing women themselves — a sad conflation if you think about it, rooted in the idea that who we are is how we look. It’s impossible to have once been a teenage girl and not, at some very deep level, feel that."

Preach, sister! I have three teenage daughters myself, and its been an incredible journey. I don't teach them that  'who we are is how we look,' but like my mother before me, we talk about how their appearance tells the world something about them. It isn't good manners to tell others how to dress, but we should talk about it. That's really all this article is doing.

Yoga pants died about 10 years ago


I don't know about you, but the most out of it I've ever felt was when, a few months after the birth of my twins, I ventured to the gym for an exercise class. It might have even been yoga. I wore what I had in my drawer, purchased probably 5 years earlier, before I was even a mom. They were what I'd call yoga pants: stretchy, form fitting pants with the all important flared bottoms. Not like a big bell bottom, just a fashionable boot cut, or so I thought. Without that little detail, they might as well be paired with a Forenza deep v sweater and leg warmers*, and I would look like one of the instructors on that show from the 1980s, The 20 Minute Workout. I thought I would fit in just fine.



Some time in the mid-aughts, I'm not sure when or how, the flare went away. Yoga pants were just gone. Replaced with leggings or if you were really cool: tights. Not the thick black things with control tops worn with combat boots and denim shorts*, just workout tights. So the NY Times is not with the times if they are talking about yoga pants. I guarantee all of the millennials reading it were like: What?!?! If millennials even read or think in words, not emojis.

*As I described these, I realized that they are dream outfits for at least two of my daughters. I actually wore a cheap necklace I got at the limited in the 90s the other day, and they were drooling over it. "It's so weird to think that you have something actually from the 90s, mom!" I didn't tell her some of my underwear also date back that far

Sweatpants have been rebranded


The author's alternative to yoga pants are something she calls "sweat pants." Recently, one of my kids asked me to buy them a pair of stretchy pants that were body conscious but not form fitting. They were grey and bunched at the bottom. These are now called "joggers." And while no one looks good in sweat pants, they can look pretty fine in joggers. I just bought myself a pair. I plan to wear them with heels and a silk shirt out to dinner.