Set aside the obvious, yoga pants are great for the practice of yoga, Pilates, running, or any other fitness training because that is where they started to gain traction. No, everybody knows that. If fitness is the only reason to wear yoga pants, that might just be enough. But, I am happy to say that that is only a foundational reason. There are so many others that it is hard to underestimate their value to one’s self-image, attitude, and intent. |
Women Challenging Status-Quo
In a recent article in the Journal of Consumer Research (2010) , Zeynep Arsel and Craig J. Thompson argued in part that when women were faced with a negative perception of a fashion trend by critics, yet their experience with the fashion was positive, women abandoned the critics and built their own marketplace mythologies that tended to place the apparel in question in a positive modality. Such is the case with yoga apparel, especially yoga pants and Capris.
One thing that matters to modern women is attitude beginning with a desire to be taken seriously. It seems that male critics of yoga apparel have all kinds of disparaging reasons that suggest that yoga pants should never be worn outside the gym. Body image is perhaps the greatest critique. If you aren’t a supermodel you ought to feel shame when wearing yoga pants for casual or semi-casual occasions. The tight fit exposes the less than perfect body, they claim. The New York Times even went so far as to claim that wearing Capris in the winter causes all kinds of harm to women’s legs below the knee. Well, to that kind of poppy-cock I call bull feathers.
What women have discovered is that yoga apparel, especially higher quality yoga pants rather than the cheap imports that flood the big box stores imported from Asia, are comfortable as any pair of pants can be, they flatter one’s legs without exposing flaws of the flesh, and they are designed to be sexy, not so bad at that. So women created their own mythology about wearing yoga pants in public suggesting that the newly created myth transfers the burden of proof back to those male critics. It appears that ‘deviant’ behavior (in this case, wearing yoga pants in public in spite of the critique of male reviews is a deliberate act that, among women, leads to inferences about status that suggest that women find the practice of a higher status than their male counterparts. Furthermore, the superior status inference spreads throughout the rest of the population in spite of elite criticism.
The Power of the Myth
Of course, it seems to me that the academic thoughts of Arsel and Thompson, while interesting, fail to capture the real power of consumer mythology. If, as they seem to think, that the myth of wearing yoga pants as a standard clothing is true, it could only have developed because women who wore yoga pants understood several things. First, the yoga pants made them feel good. They liked the way they looked in the yoga pants resulting in the desire to wear them more often. At And Above All Yoga we think in terms of catering to women as they focus on what is good for them, not what others tell them is proper. While that may seem like a fine distinction, the truth is that the fashion decision is sound and is available to women today. What we do is to emphasize style, design, durability, and comfort in everything we do.
In addition, for many working women, there is a level of economic benefit to yoga pants. You can wear them to the gym and to work, you only need a single wardrobe rather than having to invest in specific clothing for specific tasks. Clothing takes on an entirely new meaning when garments serve a dual purpose. Never mind the critique, say hordes of women, we wish to look good at whatever we do.
This attitude, in turn, boosts one’s esteem, contributes to a positive mental attitude, and presupposes an intent on the part of the wearer that she is a person to be reckoned with. While this makes some among us nervous, it is likely as not to be those for whom privilege is taken for granted. Pretty soon, the snobs see profit in the newly created mythology and begin to move into the marketplace themselves.
Citations: Zeynep Arsel, Craig J. Thompson, Journal of Consumer Research, Volume 37, Issue 5, 1 February 2011, Pages 791–806, https://doi.org/10.1086/656389
Hi, my name is Sandy Fischel, marketing director for And Above All Yoga a wholly owned division of The Fischel Group LLC. I am responsible for many aspects of our marketing but most of all, getting the word out about our company. If you have any questions or comments about any of the articles I write, do not hesitate to email me directly. I will almost always respond within one business day to your questions or comments.
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