Why do people negatively judge women who wear yoga pants and leggings?
For the past five years or so I have been hearing it non-stop, people hating on women that wear yoga pants, tights and leggings outside the gym. You hear judgmental men say things like, “they just want attention” or “they are lazy.” You also hear women who do not wear them say similar things.
Are you annoyed too?
Or do you have a misconception as to why women wear leggings?
Ladies and gents, there seems to be some major disconnect about the reason why women wear yoga pants and leggings and what some people think.
This is not an article to make a case as to why a woman has the right to wear leggings because anyone can wear anything they want. This is to share the reasoning why.
Especially us working moms, pregnant and post-partum; we all have different but similar reasons as to why we wear yoga pants. They seem to be the “hair bun” of clothing, women love to put their hair up and forget about it, while people can’t stand looking at the bun.
Men and judgmental women, heads up – we do not care what you think – stop sexualizing everything. We also do not wear leggings or yoga pants for your pleasure or to make any kind of statement. As you read through you will see that getting attention is the last thing on our minds.
For the purposes of this article, I am using yoga pants, tights, and leggings interchangeably – for the most part, I am talking about form-fitting pants.
I spoke to many women, mostly moms and working women about their preferences and why they wear this type of clothing. I did not talk to teenagers or women in their early 20’s, so this does not reflect their opinions.
I also read other articles (negative and positive), read opinions on social media, and basically emerged myself in the world of leggings to research for this article. So read on for a few rules the average legging-wearing woman follows and for nine genuine reasons why women wear leggings outside of the gym.
This gets real.
Yes, we do have unspoken rules for wearing leggings outside the gym
There are a few rules that the majority of women I spoke to live by when it comes to wearing leggings.
The first rule is: do not wear the see-through ones. Some companies are making the pants so thin that bending over results in your behind on full display!
All the working moms I spoke to say they stay away from the transparent ones, most go for a cotton spandex type. If they have had a see-through pair, it was not on purpose – they just did not realize it. This can happen, it’s like the equivalent to having a hole in your jeans – you may not be aware of it until someone tells you.
Another rule most women adhere to is not to wear them at work, if they work in a professional office setting. Although, some women will wear legging like clothing that was specifically made to wear to the office.
This is different for women with active jobs where they squat, bend and move all day. They say it is totally appropriate and wearing other types of clothes makes their jobs harder. The work environment plays a huge factor in acceptance.
Many stay at home moms say they live, eat and sleep in leggings because it is the most natural thing for them to move in while chasing their kids all day.
For many women who feel like the pants are too revealing, they opt to wear a long shirt when they go out in public. A long shirt helps them feel more confident, and they still get the benefit of wearing leggings while out and about. But most women did not feel this way and did not care whether they wear a long shirt or not – they would wear them regardless.
Just stop it!
The one thing that all the moms I spoke to agree on is that people should stop themselves before making assumptions and judging them on what they wear. The consensus for most women is that people, especially men, should just shut up when it comes to how they dress because it’s none of their business.
Let me tell you this is beyond a trend, it is THE clothing for women these days. So expect to see more women wearing them out and about. There are several reasons why.
Now, I am going to share with you the top nine reasons why women wear yoga pants and leggings in order of importance.
#1 Oh crap, let me throw these on
“I never have time to get myself ready, but if my kids look cute and are happy – then I am happy,” said a 28 year old mother of two.
Convenience was not the top answer I received, but those that cited it as their main reason had extremely valid reasons. Leggings are convenient in so many ways. As a mom, they are a godsend.
Moms gravitate towards them automatically and let me provide you a scenario as to why – those of you who think a woman wears leggings for attention or because they are lazy, please read on:
If you are a mom, even with your husband around (although it’s harder alone) it takes well over an hour to get your kids bathed, dressed, and ready to go. Not to mention you also have to pack up the car, get the kids snacks, grab the kids some toys, get the diaper bag ready, gather extra clothes, have sweaters or blankets ready, and if you are like me you also have to make sure the house is doggy proofed before you leave your pets home alone.
It’s a whole production just to get out of the house, so by the time it’s your turn to get ready you have but a minute or two before your child starts pulling the rubber bands off her cute pigtails or starts eating the snacks you just packed.
So what do you do?
You throw on a pair of (maybe clean) leggings, a shirt and put your hair up in a bun, grab your kids and run out the door. Oh yeah and most likely you are still late to whatever event you were going to. Guaranteed, no matter how early you start getting ready.
As a parent, scenarios like these are more common than not. So next time you see a mom in leggings with her kids, instead of judging, think about what she just went through to get out of the house. It probably took more effort to get out of the house than what you could ever have imagined.
#2 They are like a second skin
“They are comfy end of story, I do not care what other people think,” said a 35 year old mother of one.
Over and over again, women explained that they wore the pants for comfort. This was certainly the main reason why women wear leggings.
Do I need to say more about this?
They are stretchy form-fitting clothing that sometimes feels like you are wearing nothing. Let me count how they are comfortable.
Why leggings are comfortable:
- Stretchy, so they still fit after you pack on a few pounds
- If you get bloated during the day, they do not cut into your skin
- Cotton or other soft material that is heavenly against your skin
- Non-confining, while they are usually tight, it’s not in a bad way like other pants where you can’t move
- Can be long – down to your ankles, or short – above your calves, depending on what you will do be doing
- They breathe well all over while some pants are suffocating and uncomfortable
Have you ever bought a pair of women’s pants?
Most are uncomfortable, incredibly thick and sometimes they never fit correctly. Plus, you have to be a certain body type to fit in pants, or they are always too short or too long (for us shorties). It really is a hit or miss finding a good pair.
Especially women’s formal pants, a lot of them feel like they are made with sandpaper. Most are unflattering as they squeeze your muffin top, are too tight around the thighs, and do not get me started on the lack of circulation in the crotch area (TMI but the truth).
#3 Jeans need to suck it
“Jeans are evil,” said a 33 year old mother of one.
Many women are absolutely “over” jeans.
Wearing jeans during and after pregnancy is the worst. The material is uncomfortable, sometimes they do not button up, and they are hard to move in, amongst other reasons.
Yes, there are jeans with elastic tops, and those are bearable, but the denim material makes it for an uncomfortable day.
According to quite a few of the women I spoke to, the button on jeans, or the denim pokes their C-section scar and irritates it to the point that it becomes painful. While tights, on the other hand, can be adjusted accordingly to avoid touching the scar. Different types of pants are just not that flexible.
Some women wear jeans because they feel more put together. Jeans are often worn when women do not think their leggings are dressy enough. Jeans are definitely not worn around the house or when women are doing lots of moving. Once again it is a preference.
However, a large number of women who cited comfort – specifically said they hate jeans. A notion I definitely agree with. I have one pair that my mom gave me and have never worn them (sorry mom). Other than that it’s been at least seven years since I wore a pair for work a few times.
***Working mama posts just for you!***
#4 Why don’t you gain 10-40 pounds and see what clothes you wear 9 months later?
“I am fat okay? They fit,” said a 35 year old mother of three.
It’s crazy that people think women wear yoga pants to show off their body – when in reality many of the moms I spoke to are self-conscious about their bodies. It is a delicate time in their life when it comes to their shape and weight.
Think about it:
- You gain tons of weight during pregnancy
- Then after you have this pooch where your stomach once was
- Your entire body changes
- All of your body parts go south (at least for most of us)
- Bodily fluids drain and hair grows in odd places
With so many body changes, showing off our body is the last thing on our minds. Being a new mom is also being in a new, unfamiliar body. The body you had prior is gone. You are a stranger in your own body!
So when you are trying to figure out what to wear, the options are limited. Especially if you gained weight. Those cute pants you once owned no longer fit.
My pregnancy took out more than half of my wardrobe – I have tons of clothes I can’t fit into anymore. This is my predicament despite losing my pregnancy weight. My body shape is much different, and I can’t wear the same types of clothing.
I know for a fact lots of women can relate, sometimes their leggings and yoga pants are all that fit at this point. Or they are the only clothes that fit comfortably.
It is incredibly personal, and even a little embarrassing, but many women are going through this.
#5 I can move again
“I may not go to the gym often, but everyday feels like a workout with my kids,” said a 36 year old mother of two.
Moms of babies and toddlers spend much of their time on the floor.
As a mom, you bend about a thousand times a day. You also squat and lift like there is no tomorrow.
Moms must pick up their kids at least 20 times a day if not more. Toddlers want to be held and comforted then a few seconds later they want their independence. As a result, you are lifting them up and down all day.
Here are a few examples of all the body bending things women do for their babies and toddlers:
- Putting them in and lifting them out of the crib
- Changing diapers or putting them on the potty
- Changing their clothes
- Playing with them on the floor/in tent/in playhouses/crawling
- Cleaning up all the spills babies make
- Picking up toys off of the floor
- Teaching baby to walk by holding their hands
- Giving them a bath in the tub
- Walking up and down stairs with them in arms
- Always holding them
Of course, you need flexible clothes! You have to move a ton and need pants that can keep up. Doesn’t the above sound like the types of things people do at the gym?
This is why mom’s wearing yoga pants daily makes perfect sense.
It is a lot of physical movement, mainly depending on how you have your house set up. If you have your baby stuff stored low or ground level, then you bend even more. You will also be bending more if your child is going through a throwing phase aka learning about gravity.
Have you ever been to the restroom while taking care of a toddler? You only have a few seconds to conduct your business. There is no time to button up pants and buckle a belt! So having pants that require no extra fiddling is ideal, then you get to do the things that matter like peeing and washing your hands. Every second counts with a toddler.
The flexibility of yoga pants extends beyond being home
Lifting kids up at the store, getting their strollers out of the vehicle, playing with them in the park are just a few of the things you have to do with your kids. Not to mention running around to keep up with their always moving bodies and curious minds.
#6 All your money is spent on your baby
“Leggings are cheap and you can wear them like a thousand times and they keep shape,” said a 30 year old mother of two.
You know how I mentioned above how women gain weight and their body changes after having babies? Which leads to not fitting in your old clothes right?
Well, unfortunately, having a baby is extremely expensive, especially here in the US. Some of us spend a few thousand on healthcare and a few thousand getting our homes and all the supplies, clothing, and furniture for our babies (we even had to invest in a family car).
That is why your least concern is you, especially your wardrobe. So what do you do when you don’t fit into most of your clothes, and you have no money to spend on yourself? You buy inexpensive leggings to get you through the rough times. Forget about shopping at the mall or a fancy clothing department store, who can even afford that?
You can buy multiple leggings for the same price as one pair of jeans. If they are a good pair of tights then you know you will actually wear them.
At this time in a woman’s life, sometimes she can’t afford to buy clothing that she will not wear, and it has to fit into her lifestyle, which is precisely why leggings are perfect.
While having a baby is a vast expense, kids do not get affordable as they grow. In fact, most parents agree that kids get more expensive as they get older and having more than one child only decreases your wardrobe budget.
#7 I can wear them out and match them with anything
“They are easy to dress up and match everything,” said a 27 year old mother of one.
Leggings will conform to your needs that is the truth. You have the power to make them what you want or need for the day.
Many women enjoy wearing leggings because you can match them with anything. They are extremely versatile, and you can even create a whole outfit based around your leggings.
What you typically wear with only your jeans, only your capris, only your pants, only your skirts – you can wear all of the above with leggings.
Black leggings are the “little black dress” for your legs. They can basically be worked into any look and look good.
Then you also have all different types of leggings with patterns and different colors. You can now show off your personality with these pants. Are you a cat lover? Just do a quick search for cat leggings, and there are tons of vibrant fun and creative designs.
Some leggings are being designed actually to wear to work and to look more professional. The possibilities are endless.
You can always dress them up or down. Depending on the shoes and accessories you wear can create a variety of looks.
Do you want to look dressy? Throw on some heels and jewelry.
Do you want to be more fashion forward? Throw on some boots, a pleather jacket, and some killer makeup.
Do you want to look casual and cute? Throw on some ballerina flats, a cute blouse, and a high bun (own your bun).
Then the rest of your outfit should follow suit.
#8 I feel good about myself
“I look good in them and my husband likes the way I look in them, I do not care what other people think,” said a 39 year old mother of three.
Some women say their athletic wear makes them feel good about themselves. The way the material of yoga pants compresses the skin and how the high waist tucks the tummy in is confidence inducing.
When compared to wearing other pants, that seem only to exaggerate your faults, wearing a pair of pants that actually makes you feel good about yourself is empowering.
If something makes you feel good and look good, wear it!
For those of you that may be unaware, women can go through their entire wardrobe, trying on outfit after outfit just not feeling positive about their bodies because nothing looks right.
Even just a little bloat from your monthly visitor can alter the way your clothes look and fit – it is not fun and messes with the way you feel about yourself. A little bloat while on your period can be about a thousand times more dramatic than when you are not on your period, and sometimes you just can’t help the way you feel.
Same goes for when you are pregnant, it’s the little things that can take over your mood and snowball for the rest of the day.
Which is why women have their go-to clothes for when they feel bloated or just blah.
For my hubby, not you
There are some lucky men out there! Some women stated that they like the way they look and their husband loves the way they look in leggings, so they choose to wear them.
If my husband told me, “hey you look great in hoop earrings,” then I would definitely wear them more often.
If someone were to tell you that you red is your color – the next time you go shopping maybe you look a little more at red clothing?
Yes, of course, and it is normal for a woman to wear what her hubby likes.
#9 Because I want to
“I wear leggings because I want to,” said a 26 year old mother of two.
Many women stated that they wear yoga pants because they want to, no other explanation.
I can respect that.
Bottom line women do not need a reason to wear what they want nor do we have to explain why we do what we do. However, I do hope these reasons have given you a better insight into why women wear them.
Before you go out and judge anyone on what they are wearing, just keep in mind some people have a legit reason as to why they wear what they wear. This goes beyond wearing yoga pants and leggings. It can also be applied to being judgmental in general. Instead of judging others, take a look in the mirror and think about what gives you the right to make assumptions about someone you do not know.
What is the point of all this?
Be empathetic and stop being so judgmental towards people.
Being pregnant is hard; being a mom is harder, we do things out of necessity and convenience because we devote our lives to our kids. If that means living in yoga pants, a bun, and a nursing bra without makeup, then so be it.
We will do what we must ensure our babies have everything they need and to ultimately raise them right. So we make personal sacrifices at our own expense.
If there is one magical article of clothing that has the ability to make us feel good about ourselves is flexible and fits despite our body changes, then let us wear it in peace. We have enough to worry about already.
***Future mamas read on for more tips***