Back in 2007, I wrote an ode to yoga pants. For some reason, lots of folks still remember the column and often talk to me about…yoga pants. Turns out that not just moms, but most women, love yoga pants, and guys seem to appreciate them as well (though don’t Google that because Rule 34 holds true).
Because there are a whole group of new moms and new Ashevillians who never got to read about my abiding affection for yoga pants, I’m republishing this one—with updates and edits. Because one of the most awesome things to happen in the past few years is that yoga pant technology has improved! We may have been deep in a recession; the world may be going to hell; polar bears may be dying by the dozens; but some amazing people have taken the time and initiative to make yoga pants even better. Thank you, baby Jesus.
Here are my thoughts on the matter.
The genius who first mixed spandex with cotton is my hero. I’m serious. What’s one of my secrets to surviving mom hood? Yoga pants.
Yoga pants rule.
They’re fitted yet stretchy. I had a pair that I wore up until I gave birth to my first kid, which was uncomfortably two weeks past my due date. I wore them for another six months until I was able to fit back into my jeans. Then I wore them until the holes in the crotch necessitated another pair of pants underneath them—so I reluctantly threw them away.
How can one pair of pants cover a 40-pound weight gain and loss over one year? The answer is Spandex, also known as Lycra. These synthetic elastic fibers can stretch up to 600 percent without breaking and snap back to their original size over and over again. The technology is both magical and revolutionary.
When it was introduced in the early 1960s, spandex changed our moms’ lives. The fibers were primarily used in “contour undergarments” — in other words: girdles. Before spandex, girdles contained rubber to hold tight the jiggly bits. Rubber is hot, breaks down pretty quickly and is not porous. Spandex, on the other hand, breaths, is more durable than rubber, and it doesn’t turn a woman’s undergarment into her own personal crock-pot.
Depending on my weekly beer intake, I typically do fit into my jeans, but I wear yoga pants five days out of seven anyway. They’re comfy as all get-out — and the Lycra somehow accentuates curves while holding in the mommy flab (why guys appreciate yoga pants). Some of my new yoga pants include this amazing technology where the fibers are woven in different directions, which means I can chase my dog down the street screaming like a harridan and there will be NO jiggle. Seriously, they’re jiggle-proof. But these pants are still comfortable, unlike Spanx (pantyhose with built-in super control). Just getting those on is like stuffing sausages.
I’m such a yoga-pants freak that I divide mine into three categories: workout, PTA mom and dress-up. Workout yoga pants are the ones I’ve worn and washed 8,000 times and are a bit faded (although they can withstand lots of washing and drying). PTA-mom pants have only been washed 2,000 times. The Spandex is still snappy and the pants look fine with a sweater and clogs for driving carpool, going on field trips and wandering around Ingles (because I don’t actually attend PTA meetings, though I do appreciate the PTA). Dress-up yoga pants are the newest additions to my closet and in the best shape. They are smooth, supple and supportive. With a jacket and boots, I can wear these pants anywhere in Asheville. And they never need ironing.
Remember when most moms ran around in sweat suits? Remember the baggy, shapeless cotton, the primary colors, and the bunched ankle bottoms? We’ve come a long way, moms. Now we get practicality plus style. We get the comfort and movement that the sweat suit gifted us — we can chase babies through grocery stores, vacuum Cheerios out of our cars and even work (most places in Asheville).
But with yoga pants, we don’t look dowdy. We can do the Superwoman equivalent of the quick change by ripping off the T-shirt we’ve been wearing all day and throwing on a filmy top. Then we can spin out the door to a childfree event, feeling confident and cute in our yoga pants.
Until we realize they’re splattered with baby barf.