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In Response to “New York Finally Dresses Down”

Last Wednesday, I came across a New York Times article that had me hooked midway through the second paragraph. I proceeded to read the entire piece, smirking and nodding throughout. The headline was New York Finally Dresses Down, which doesn’t initially give away why I so closely identify with the article.

Since reading this piece, written by Bee Shapiro, I’ve overheard multiple people talking about it, including a group of husbands waiting outside the Athleta dressing rooms. How appropriate, considering the article is about how the women of New York now consider it socially acceptable (and encouraged) to wear trendy, athletic apparel to brunch, to do afternoon errands, and possibly for their rest of the day.

Image via New York Normal

“…she’ll pay a full-fare $98 for her Lululemon workout pants, which she’ll wear to Flywheel and Physique 57, the pricey workout studios she frequents. ‘It became a social thing, like you go to Physique and then you go to brunch,’ she said. ‘If you’re going to spend the money to go to the class, you’ll spend the money to look like you belong in the class.'”

While some might consider it crazy to purchase a pair of workout pants that cost nearly $100, I admittedly have a drawer full of both black and neon spandex pants, tops, and sports bras. My workout gear used to share a drawer with my skinny jeans, but the skinnies have slowly been pushed out. And while I put on the neon spandex for my Sunday morning class, that means that I’ll also be wearing it to the grocery store before and to grab lunch after class. On trying to initially sell the idea of wearing workout gear all over the city to New Yorkers:

“It was also lucky timing: private trainers, specialized workout studios and niche gyms were just becoming status symbols among well-to-do urbanites. In Los Angeles, the Lululemon lifestyle message was a cinch to translate, but New York proved a harder sell.”

If you’ve read any of my past blog posts, you know that I visit a variety of “specialized workout studios and niche gyms” about 4-5 times per week. This isn’t unusual for women, or even men, in New York to do. While some stick to visiting the same studio multiple times per week, others race around on the subway to get to classes at different studios each day. Indoor cycling, barre, TRX, pilates, bootcamp. Yes, I am afraid of getting bored. And for each type of workout, I tend to wear different gear. In recent months, I’ve seen a lot of international options pop up in the US:

“In fact, Manhattan, once a bulwark against stretchy pants, is now an entryway for foreign versions of Lululemon, or so their respective press teams like to say…In August, Sweaty Betty, founded in London by the husband-and-wife team of Simon and Tamara Hill-Norton…The company is hoping its European fabrics, which, he said, ‘are finer and have better drape,’ will make a persuasive impression.”

Ahimsa Yoga Tank / Power Run Capris / All Sport Duffle Bag

“Across the country, the field has become as crowded as a weekend Bikram class. Lorna Jane, from Australia, opened its first United States outpost in Malibu last year.”

Tempo Excel Tank / Ying Core Stability 7/8 Tight / LJ Logo Hair Bands

“In late July, Lolë, founded in Montreal, set up shop in Santa Barbara, its first in the country, and has ambitious plans for 40 more locations in North America and Europe within the next five years.”

Silhouette Up Tank Top / Run Capri / Lily Tote Bag

Although I often see women in line at Starbucks and hailing taxis in similar neon spandex, it’s funny to see part of your daily routine pointed out as a growing trend. Does this mean I’m trendy? Hmmm. Maybe we won’t go that far.

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  • Reply Lauren

    I would say more “socially acceptable” than “trendy.”

    I feel like I owe lululemon a debt of gratitude for making it okay to wear comfy pants on the street. Finding out that none of my college sweatpants would be welcome here was…sad.

    Over the past year I have stopped buying casual clothes completely but I keep buying lululemon, because on the weekends I get dressed for my morning workout and then I keep going and just never take them off!

    I just purchased my first pair of lululemon pants that I am going to wear to work. They created them so that you can bike to work and still look good at the office. They look great but I am dreading someone seeing the little black logo about halfway down the calf. Lulu may have conquered the street, but they still aren’t really for the office, especially if they insist on keeping their logo visible. As far as the brand goes, I think that’s their last (and probably next) frontier here.

    October 7, 2013 at 8:02 pm
  • Reply Evann Clingan

    Hi, Lauren! Thanks for reading. I had no idea they made pants that work for a bike commute! That’s pretty smart. I’m not entirely sure I’d wear them to the office (even at an ad agency), but I’ll gladly wear them everywhere else haha

    October 8, 2013 at 6:49 pm
  • Reply Anna

    Love all of these brands. It’s so funny, I feel the same way when I see people wearing this stuff as their daily wardrobe.
    I’d love to hear your thoughts about my latest outfit. :)

    October 9, 2013 at 1:33 am
  • Reply you belong to the city

    you belong to the city

    Hi! I am here in In Response to New York Finally Dresses Down | Evann Clingan, bacause I am a Online Services News WordPress Blog…Very well!

    October 14, 2013 at 10:55 am
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