The genius who first mixed spandex with cotton is my hero. I’m serious. What’s one of my secrets to surviving momhood? 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. Then I wore them for another six months until I was able to fit back into my jeans.
How, you wonder, can one pair of pants cover a 40-pound weight gain and loss over one year? Spandex. The elastic fibers can stretch up to 600 percent without breaking, and, in fact, can snap back to their original size over and over again. 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 nonporous. Spandex, on the other hand, breathes, is more durable than rubber and doesn’t turn a woman’s undergarment into her 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—that cotton/spandex combination somehow accentuates curves while holding in the mommy flab. Not as well as Spanx (pantyhose with built-in super control—today’s girdles), but who wants to wear those everyday? Just getting them on is like stuffing sausages.
I’m such a yoga-pants freak that I divide my six pair 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 just fine with a cotton sweater and clogs for driving carpool, going on school field trips and wandering around Greenlife. Dress-up yoga pants are my newest additions to the closet and in the best shape. They are smooth, supple and supportive. With a blazer or flowing empire-waist top and boots, I can wear these pants anywhere in Asheville. And they never need ironing.
Of course, the flowing empire-waist tops that are so “in” these days can be problematic because those of us who are done with childbearing don’t ever want to look pregnant again. Nor do we want to look like we’re wearing a pillowcase. But the easy drape of the tops over the spandex control of the yoga pants hides those loosened ab muscles while imparting a youthful feel to the outfit. The empire-waist tops also emphasize the chest, which, with the help of a push-up bra, can make any middle-aged mom feel sexy.
But back to the yoga pants. Remember when most moms ran around in sweat suits? Remember the baggy, shapeless cotton, the primary colors, the bunched ankle bottoms? We’ve come a long way, girls. 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 pick millions of toys up off the floor.
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 child-free event, feeling confident and cute in our yoga pants.
Until we realize they’re splattered with baby barf.
Anne Fitten Glenn is a freelance writer based in Asheville. She covers a number of topics (including parenting) on her blog, www.EdgyMama.com.