By Peggah Navab
Last week during a morning session of media ingestion I stumbled on a story in the City Pages about Yoga Pant wearing teens running amok. The next day it had made the front page of the Star Tribune, and could even be found on the Huff Post, Fox News, and the UK’s Daily Mail. Apparently Minnetonka High School principal Dave Adney put the kibosh on the trend.
Though I can’t pull off the black leggings and silk blouse pairing myself, I know it’s been a fashion mainstay for several years. The yoga pants and t-shirt look, however, comes as a surprise. I’ll admit I’m a bit skeptical of its aesthetic appeal. Parents across the greater metro area, who find the skin-tight exercise gear much too revealing, aren’t so pleased either.
After receiving about a half-dozen complaints from concerned parents, Dave Adney responded with a call to arms. The principal wrote a letter last Monday to parents asking them to discourage their kids from wearing such “distracting” outfits. In his message to students he took a no nonsense approach: “Cover your butts up—I’m just gonna say it straight up,” he admonished. Adney got lots of positive feedback, receiving more than 70 e-mails and phone calls from supportive parents.
To say that the yoga pants uproar is over the top would be stating the obvious. The Star Tribune lampooned it along with its front-page feature. When I spoke briefly with Minnetonka senior Kristen Teresi, she was underwhelmed and hardly seemed scared off by Principal Adney’s warnings. She assured me that most girls aren’t particularly revealing about their choices of pants. They have no lascivious intentions; they’re just prioritizing comfort over style.
In his e-mail, Principal Adney made no mention of yoga pants. He called out all “tight-fitting leggings,” and the news reports seemed to blur both garments together. However, the distinction is crucial. Yoga pants are workout clothes. Leggings look perfectly chic under a long blouse or dress. It sounds like teen girls are veering in the right direction, but they’ve slightly missed the mark. American Apparel and Urban outfitters both offer great, affordable leggings. As for actual workout attire there are some wonderful local options:
Foat Design, owned by yoga instructors and twin sisters Kaja and Zoe Foat is an independent yoga-ware business. The duo makes unique and sustainable items. You can shop their designs online or at their studio in the Warehouse District. (1828 NE Marshall St., Ste. 11, Mpls., 1-800-658-1448)
If you’re looking for something more hippie than hipster check out Soul Flower, an online boutique with a warehouse in St. Paul. They also have options for men and children.
So parents might be off about calling yoga pants salacious, but they have a point about asking their kids to wear real clothes instead of sweats. Most people would probably argue that what we wear has no bearing on how we learn or work. But if school is preparing kids for life, then for better or worse the “dress for success” adage should hold sway there too. This doesn’t have to mean vanity, or a ruthless rat race for the most expensive brands and trends. It’s simply a way to distinguish our days from our nights, our public from our private selves, and a subtle reminder that the way we spend our waking hours deserves to be taken seriously. At 6 a.m., the thought of rolling out of bed and stumbling into the office in my pajamas is comforting, but I wouldn’t want to test it out.