Yoga pants beyond the mat: Fabulous or faux pas?

CorrespondentMarch 12, 2014 

Exercise is more than just a healthy lifestyle habit for me. It’s my bread and butter. Between training clients, teaching group exercise classes, working at a running store and my own personal running training, a spandex-free outfit is the mark of a truly special occasion in my world.

So for me, yoga pants are not just pants to work out in, they are career wear. And I’m not going to lie, this is one of my very favorite job perks. Let’s face it, yoga pants are second only to not wearing pants at all when it comes to comfort and versatility: they flatter a diverse cross-section of backsides and their appearance is consistent with the current skinny pants trends of non-workout clothes fashion.

But there is some controversy surrounding the validity of yoga pants as “real pants,” though I am personally struggling to find a downside to wearing them regularly and in public places. Allow me, if you will, to share with you my rationale as to why yoga pants should be embraced as socially acceptable out-on-the-town attire.

First and foremost, a good pair of yoga pants, let’s say from somewhere like Lululemon or Athleta, will most likely set you back $80 to $100. Coincidentally, this is also the average cost of what my mother would call a “nice pair of slacks” from a store like Banana Republic. I don’t know about you all, but for me, $80 to $100 is a pretty big investment. If I find a pair of pants, yoga or otherwise, that are worth sacrificing my grocery budget for the month, you had best believe that I want to show off said life-changing pants to the world.

Furthermore, at least to my untrained eye, the tight, form-fitting variety of yoga pants are COMPLETELY INDISTINGUISHABLE from the leggings that seem to be in fashion these days. In fact, I am pretty darn sure that “yoga pants” and “leggings” are EXACTLY THE SAME THING!

So here’s a little pro tip for you: Put on your fancy $90 yoga pants and go take a nice relaxing yoga class. Then just shimmy on your tall boots and a nice top, and presto – instant out-on-the-town outfit! I just saved you from spending a second $90 on a fancy pair of “going-out leggings.”

You’re welcome.

Ellen Moss of Durham is an avid runner who writes The Fast and the Fabulous (, a blog that critiques workout apparel.

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