March was a cruel month for high school students looking to attend classes in comfort. School districts tsk-tsk’d young women clad in skin-tight yoga pants and clingy leggings and sent them home to change. Among the reasons offered: Leggings are considered undergarments, and yoga pants are too titillating to hormonal boys.
The war of the yoga pants has raged in California, Illinois, Virginia, Vermont, and more recently here in Rockport and Weymouth. Girls have been forced to defend their fashion decisions to school committees and principals.
Before I say anything further, I need to state that in no way do I condone yoga pants or leggings as a substitute for pants. Leggings are meant to be layered with other pieces. Yoga pants were made for yoga.
But I can understand why teenagers are unclear about that. They think yoga pants and leggings are interchangeable with actual pants because many of their mothers wear the same thing — everywhere they go. Don’t punish the students, educate their mothers.
“It’s gotten out of hand,” said Betty Riaz, owner of Dedham yoga studio Stil. “You don’t know who’s exercising any more. Women come into the studio to shop and I ask them if they’re registering for a class because they’re dressed in yoga clothes. As it turns out, they’re just wearing what they always wear.”
Riaz’s daughter, Ines, 17, is a student at Dana Hall School and sees the trickle-down effect of these yoga-pant-wearing moms daily.
“Everyone at school wears them, every single day,” she said. “It has come up in a dress code, but it’s generally ignored. The code has something to do with the flare of the leggings, how thick the material is, or if you can see any outlines of underwear. It’s kind of confusing.”
Indeed. Do jeggings count as leggings? Are leggings with leather details and pockets still leggings?
In Concord, Mary Goode, 16, sees nothing wrong with yoga pants and leggings. Look down any hallway at Concord-Carlisle High, and you’ll see leggings and yoga pants galore, Goode says. And, yes, her mom wears them too.
“I know some people complain that they’re not really pants or they’re not that attractive,” Goode said. “But you can wear a cute top or something that makes them look a little nicer.”
Christopher Muther can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.