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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.