5 Instances Where You Can Wear Yoga Pants Outside of the Gym

yoga pants, vancouver, worst dressed city, fashion lists, Canadian fashion

Lululemon's Groove Pant, probably the reason why this hideous yoga trend began. Note that they describe their product as "clothes for yoga, running, working out, and most other sweaty pursuits", not as clothes to wear to work, on the street, and in the bars.

Vancouver was recently named the third worst dressed city in the world (according to MSN) because of the number of women who wear yoga pants outside of the yoga class. My long time readers will know that along with my hatred of leggings as pants, I also despise people who wear yoga pants outside of the gym. (Here’s a clip of me talking about this very subject last week to the CBC on the Connect with Mark Kelley show, skip to 47 minutes. Don’t mind my insane blinking.)

While Vancouver has a lot of very beautiful women (good bodies, great skin), there are not very many who actually know how to dress. So for all of the women out there who have closets full of yoga pants (god help them) here are the five instances you ARE allowed to be caught wearing them, outside of the gym. (By the way, you may also want to read my 5 New Years Fashion Resolutions for Vancouver Women. Lots of helpful tips there, too.)

yoga pants, vancouver, worst dressed city, fashion lists, Canadian fashion

Yoga pants in the city are not cool.

1. On the way to and from the gym, workout, or yoga class. Exercise venues in Vancouver are less likely to have showers and lockers than most cities where people wouldn’t be caught dead in activewear on the street. So yes, it is fine to wear to wear your workout gear to and from the gym. You can also pop into the grocery store, bank, or other short errand after said workout, still wearing yoga pants. Having a long lunch with friend while wearing yoga pants is not acceptable.

2. At home (although I won’t.) Really you can wear whatever the hell you want while you are at home, because no one sees you. Well, your roomates, partner or kids might, so it is up to you what state you want them to see you in.

yoga pants, vancouver, worst dressed city, fashion lists, Canadian fashion

Even if you look like this, you still aren't allowed to wear yoga pants out to lunch or to work.

3. You are extremely pregnant or you just had a baby. At the end of your third trimester, you are huge, and sometimes clothes just don’t fit properly, so it is ok to wear yoga pants (again, I didn’t, but to each his own.) They are also acceptable right after you’ve had a baby. Note this means the first three or four months. Someone told me last week that they’d “just” had a baby two years ago. If you are still slumming it in yoga pants two years after giving birth, well, that sucks.

4. I have a friend who is a nurse and doesn’t need to wear a uniform. During her night shifts, she wears yoga pants. This is acceptable because they look better than the nurse uniform, and when you are working in the middle of the night in a hospital, you just want to be comfortable. So basically, any type of similar job can be done in yoga pants.

yoga pants, vancouver, worst dressed city, fashion lists, Canadian fashion

Ishara, a Vancouver boutique, stating the blatantly obvious: yoga pants are not pants.

5. I also have a friend who is currently undergoing chemotherapy (cue very big sad face here.) She often wears yoga pants because she is tired and sick. To be perfectly honest, no one should have to worry about what they look like during times of serious illness or crisis, and therefore it is ok to wear whatever the hell you want.

p.s. Note that “flying on a plane” is not on this list. I believe in the old fashioned way of looking good when flying. Or at least decent. Even if you have the layover from hell, it is no excuse to dress like you are about to have a workout. And by the way, you will never, ever, ever get upgraded if you are wearing yoga pants. Oh yes, and another exception is if you WORK in the athletics world, then yoga pants can be your work uniform.

Read my rants all day long: follow me on Twitter.

Images sources: purple yoga pants, black pants with pink waist, Ishara window, and yoga pants in the city.

  • Baby_snowpea

    I love your site and I agree that yoga pants are not everyday wear, and I DEFINITELY agree that leggings are not pants.  However, I have to disagree with point #4.  I work in the hospital and hospital uniforms are scrubs, which are essentially cotton pajamas (ie extremely comfortable).  I think yoga pants are inappropriate wear for patient care because they are much too form fitting.  Although scrubs give a sense of casualness to hospital uniforms, yoga pants are just unprofessional. 

  • Fiona

    I like the clip!  You’re a natural on TV.  It’s great to put a face and voice to these words that I read every day.

    I’m originally from NZ, and sleeveless polar fleece vests are endemic there – not amongst the cool kids, sure, but still.  It is NOT OK.  

  • http://kellebelleca.blogspot.com/ KelleBelle

    I recently wore my yoga pants to my doctor’s appointment because I was having my annual physical. I think for most medical treatments/procedures you should get a pass on yoga pants.

  • Anonymous

    Fair enough. As long as you weren’t going out to dinner straight after. Alexandra Suhner Isenberg

  • http://kellebelleca.blogspot.com/ KelleBelle

    Oh heavens, no! I put on real pants to go get gas, even.

  • Eve

    Just write a book already! So great. Love your commentary and I think millions of others will as well. 

  • Diane

    I love your blog! Also, I think it would be awesome if you wrote an article about how people should look on airplanes. :) 

  • Amy H.

    Have to disagree with #5.  I’ve been upgraded wearing yoga pants.  And for a 5+ hour flight — when I’m most likely going to be sitting in coach, because that is the grade of ticket I’ve paid for — there is no way I’m wearing anything other than completely comfortable clothing.

    Personal rant:  This theory (also found in the current “Makeover” issue of In Style) that an air passenger might be upgraded based on what they are wearing/how luxe/how put together they look is completely out of date.  It’s completely wrong.  It drives me nuts.  Every single airline now has what are called “frequent flier miles” (they’ve been around awhile, actually) and some kind of elite program.  If you have miles and cash them in for an upgrade, then you get upgraded.  If you fly many thousands of miles per year on the same airline and thereby have elite status, you may get upgraded if there are unsold seats in business or first.  This is the only way upgrades happen, with the very small exception of special operations not based on massive flight cancellations due to bad weather (if there are massive cancellations then there are even more people trying to fit in the same limited number of seats on each plane).  But even in those special ops circumstances, gate agents are going to try to keep elite flyers happy, and will upgrade ***them***.  They are not looking around to see who is wearing J Brand dark-wash skinny jeans and Louboutins in order to say, “Oh, we need to put her in First!  She looks so good!” 

  • http://www.camenae-group.com Jill

    Comfort dressing has its place! Most importantly: be individual, not part of the Yoga pants [or other] ‘herd’. Be individual & BE BEAUTIFUL. Effort speaks volumes  … We like the signature blinking ;). Love, CAMENAE Italia

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  • mary

    I just think you all worry too much!  Yoga pants, while at times inappropriate, are no less tacky than many other trends people wear.  Most people look very tacky, almost to the point of looking stupid in skinny jeans, yet i see them all the time.  Women everywhere of all ages have muffin top, yet they continue to believe that low-rise is the way to go. (cringes) Most make-up trends make women look garish.  Ladies, maintain some classy, timeless basics, and then branch out every season with a few trends.  What you wear in your “down time” is up to you!  If people start resisting being seen with you, then you will know it’s time to make a change!

  • Anonymous

    I agree that what you wear in your downtime is up to you, but the problem with a lot of people is that they think that yoga pants are acceptable street clothes, and they aren’t. But neither are skinny jeans with muffin top!

  • Swirlcrazed

    well thank you very much for giving me permission to wear yoga pants when i am sick with the flu and  lying in bed recovering from my neck surgery

  • neucky

    Not sure how often you travel but I find myself on a plane 4-6 times a month and my yoga pants (and work out gear in general) is my go to travel outfit if I’m not headed straight to a meeting or event. I recommend wearing workout gear for two reasons: 1) gym shoes take up a lot of space in a carry-on and 2) my outfit serves as a friendly reminder to get a workout in when I arrive at my destination. Highly recommend to anyone who travels and has difficulty keeping up with their workout routine while on the road.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Ok, I do understand your point about wearing running shoes instead of putting them in your suitcase, as they are super bulky. However, I refuse to travel in workout gear, I always dress reasonably well. First of all, you stand no chance of being upgraded if you wear runners and yoga pants. Secondly, I would never want to blend in with all the tacky people walking around airports and flying in leisure wear. It is simply not an option. If I need to be comfortable, I’ll wear flats, a jersey dress, leggings, and a big cashmere cardigan. Not sportswear.

  • g

    Rofl who gives a shit; knowing ppl like you don’t like it just makes me wanna wear them all day errday.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Go ahead. But you’ll look hideous.

  • Disappointed.

    You’re not nice. Who are you to tell someone what to wear and what not to wear? People like you are the reason I’ve lost faith in humanity.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    People like me are the reason you’ve lost faith in humanity? Wow. I would have thought the dictators, murderers, the greedy, and those who have no respect for human rights would have been responsible for this, not someone who says yoga pants shouldn’t be worn to a coffee shop. No one is forcing you to read my blog, but I am presuming that you are upset because you wear yoga pants and maybe think they are fashionable. Well, they aren’t. That doesn’t make you a bad person, but it certainly doesn’t make you a stylish one. Sorry.

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  • Steph

    I wear my yoga pants every time I go to the doctor and get infusions every 8 weeks. Now of course I’m not trying to impress anyone there, but I do think they still look cute. Also, it seems very different for a grown woman to wear yoga pants compared to a teenage girl like me. Does age make any difference to you on this trend?

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    I’d say it is fine for tweens to wear yoga pants, and of course if you are going to the doctor, at any age, they are fine. But if you are in your late teens, and when you aren’t at the doctor, I’d suggest you start getting used to wearing non-yoga pant clothing. Get some nice stretchy jeans!

  • MsSanDiego

    First of all, yoga pants have been around for years n years. What is the sudden fascination with them? Secondly, I say wear them wherever the hell you want. There are NO RULES to where you can and can’t should or shouldn’t wear them. What kind of b.s. is that? I wear them everywhere. I also teach ballet. I wouldn’t say I hang out in them 24/7, but I definitely don’t feel the need to say to myself “oh dear…what will people say”?!

  • sarah_annette

    The thing is, that’s completely subjective. I found this article extremely funny, personally. I’ve never seen someone take such offense at the clothes people choose to wear. Also, there were some grammar errors that bugged me (it’s *to* and from, not too, my dear). But anyway, while I enjoy looking put together, there are those who feel happy and beautiful in yoga pants. That does not make them hideous. In fact, I found this whole article pretty conceded. And that, to me, is hideous.

  • sarah_annette

    Here’s the thing. 1) you’re not going to get upgraded based on your outfit ( see comment above, and 2) I know this is horrible for you to face, but, no one is going to notice you at a bloody airport. Everyone is too concerned with what they’re doing to get on the flight or reading on their iPad to keep from getting bored, etc. to pay attention to you. You seem like one of those people who thinks that every eye is on you. Well guess what, it’s not. And if someone happens to glance your way, they won’t stop long enough to scan your outfit. If it’s guys that your worried about, I wear yoga pants to the airport all the time, and I often get picked up on. They don’t exactly care what you’re wearing at an airport, in fact, they probably don’t think to notice. And if they do, it’s because they like the way your butt looks in the pants.
    I understand that not wearing yoga pants is your personal choice, and that’s great! Way to go; you do what it takes to make yourself feel beautiful, which is what matters!! What I disagree with here is the way you seem to be putting down those who feel beautiful despite their yoga pants, or value comfort over style. This whole article has an air of superiority, and does not only state an opinion on the appropriate times to wear yoga pants, but implies a negative opinion on the individuals who wear said yoga pants. On top of that, you state your opinion with complete

  • sarah_annette

    (cont.) On top of that you state your opinion in a very rude manner. There are ways to state what you want to say nicely and still persuade your audience of your opinion. What you did was not one of them.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Sadly, I don’t have a copy editor so sometimes grammatical errors get made. But don’t use that as a reason to put down my article. I presume you are new to the whole concept of fashion blogs, because that’s what a lot of them do, take offense at bad fashion. And yoga pants are exactly that. BAD FASHION. They are practical items for wearing to the gym, not for “feeling beautiful” in. If that;s the way you feel when you wear them, then good for you. But that means you have bad taste. And yes, of course this article is subjective, this blog is about “fashion & opinion,” MY opinion, and that is why people read it.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Um, yes, you DO get upgraded based on what you are wearing. That’s one of the criteria (not the only one, but certainly a factor.) They aren’t going to put some Ugg boot, yoga pant, bad orange fake tan girl in first class when they can put a well-dressed woman/man in there instead. Speak to someone who works for an airline.

    I used to travel a lot, and people DO notice others in the airport. But I don’t NOT wear yoga pants so I can get noticed by men. This always seems to be the argument from people who disagree with me, they always bring up men. Well, I am not dressing to impress men, I dress to feel good and in order to do that, I need to feel like I look good. Impressing men and women is a side effect of that. If you are the type of woman who attracts men who like women in yoga pants, so be it. Good for you. When I was single, the type of men whom I sought out were the types who had taste, and would never chase after a woman wearing yoga pants in public.

    And the excuse about your butt looking good? If you have a nice ass, ANY tight pants will make it look good. Hell, why don’t you just wear a bikini, then you can show off your whole body? THAT’S classy.

    You’ve caught me in a very bad mood (contesting a parking ticket) so I may be a little harsher than usual, but it is one of my fashion missions to express my disgust of people who think leggings and yoga pants are fashionable items of clothing that can replace bottoms in public. In Vancouver, morons wear them to the opera. I believe in a bit of decorum, class, and some sense of tradition. If we all start wearing yoga pants, why bother getting dressed at all? Let’s just wear our pajamas all day? If you think wearing yoga pants out and about is acceptable and looks good, then fine. But just know there are hundreds of us sneering at you because you have bad taste.

    And lastly, I do have an air of superiority when it comes to fashion, I’ve worked for some of the best brands in the world and this blog has a big following because people respect my opinion. Yoga pants are for THE GYM (and for the other places I mentioned.) Not for the street. Not for the airport. And certainly not for picking up men with any sort of class or taste at all.

  • sarah_annette

    Oh, I’ve read plenty of fashion blogs. But I’ve never read ones as snobbish as yours. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do a simple grammar check. Improper grammar does detract from the professionalism of your blog, whether you like it or not. As for my personal opinion, feeling beautiful has nothing to do with your clothes, and I would hate to depend on clothes like that. That doesn’t mean I have bad taste. In fact, that wording is exactly what makes you sound so conceded. There’s no such thing as “bad taste.” There’s stuff you don’t like, but that doesn’t make it bad. I suggest you check out some other fashion blogs and learn to pick up on the nuances of language and how they effect your tone. Because honestly, you sound like a bitch, :)

  • sarah_annette

    After reading your response I’m left wondering if you’re ever in a good mood–I don’t think I’d like to find out!

    But let’s talk about “class” for a second. To a certain extent, class does include fashion. And no, yoga pants are not exactly classy. But you, my dear, fall very short of class. 

    Class, traditionally, is about the way you hold yourself. It’s about subtlety. Your post had no class whatsoever. For one, if you were so worried about class, you would have edited your writing. 

    Furthermore, a classy women would never publicly say that a major group of people “disgust” her. Honestly, you should read what you wrote. It’s your “mission to express [your] disgust of people…” I’m not sure you should be talking about class, of all things.

    Now I’d like to note that you completely misread what I wrote, or else jumped to extreme conclusions. 

    1) I never said that a girl should wear yoga pants because they make her butt look nice or show off her butt. I said that guys probably only notice that you’re wearing yoga pants because they like the way your butt looks. Those are completely different. IF I wear yoga pants out of the house (which is actually very rare, though my list of acceptable places is a bit broader than yours, and I only use it for myself, that is, I don’t judge others based on what they choose), its not because I think that’s classy or because I want men to stare at my ass. It’s because at that moment, I’m valuing comfort over style.

    2) I’m glad you’ve found someone who suits you. Personally, the type of man I sought after was one who saw the *person* in the clothing before the actual clothing. One who did not jump to conclusions based on someone’s appearance. One who had taste in much less superficial things, and would never, ever devalue someone based on what they chose to wear. That being said, it is nice being picked up on, and it happens whether you’re wearing yoga pants or not. That’s the only point I was making (I wasn’t saying that those men are always worth chasing after).

    3) I only brought up men because that’s an argument that I’ve heard from many people like you. I never said that that had to be the reason you like to dress fashionably. And if you have found that you have to dress well to feel well, then go ahead and dress well! (Personally, I make it a point to feel well no matter how I look, but that’s besides the point). I never attacked you for wanting to dress nicely. I think that’s wonderful. Don’t forget that it’s you who attacked people for valuing comfort over style.

    4) I’ve been upgraded to first class in yoga pants, as have others that I know. Perhaps it’s you who needs to check her facts. (Also, I too travel a lot, and I live in Southern California of all places. In my experience, people don’t stare at each others outfits at all. Weird.)

    I’d like to conclude by addressing the “hundreds of [you] sneering at [us] because [we] have bad taste”. First, I’d like to note that I do not dress in yoga pants in the interest of style, therefore it has nothing to do with my taste, but rather to do with the fact that I’d like to be comfortable at the moment. That is therefore my personal preference. For all you know, when it comes to fashion, we have very similar taste. I would never wear yoga pants to look fashionable. Second, I don’t really care if you’re “sneering” at me. In fact, I find that a bit pathetic. I would hate to spend so much energy looking for things about others to feel superior about. I’d much rather find positive things around me to enjoy and look for things to like in others. It’s much more rewarding, not to mention less depressing! But again, that’s just my personal preference. 

    Since when does enjoying fashion have to mean putting down others? I can enjoy fashion without making it a mission to make others feel badly and disgusting because of the choices they make about their life!

    Like I said, you missed my point. My point was, you attacked the people wearing the yoga pants and made your point in a rude, conceded way. This post could have had creative alternatives and used humor and an endearing attitude to make the same point, and I would have thought that it was brilliant! But instead, it was rude attacking, and not effective in terms of making an argument at all. You didn’t change any minds with this, you only fed the fire of those who already agreed with you. That’s the sign of a bad blog post. Again, I strongly advise that you check out some other fashion blogs, because there are some really creative, talented, lovely people out there who are doing a hell of a job with their blogs. You might learn a thing or two. Though I doubt it. Someone who feels so superior hardly ever tries to improve. What a shame that working with major brands could keep you from being open to learning more. (And just so that you don’t misread that too, please take special note in the word “could” in that sentence. I’m not saying it has or will, but it’s likely that it could, and that would sincerely suck). Oh well.
    You should try the whole not-judging-a-book-by-it’s-cover thing. I used to be like you, and then when I stopped assuming I was better than other people because I looked nicer, I met some really amazing people. You might be surprised with what you find in others. Who knows, maybe they won’t disgust you so much after all.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Yes, I totally agree on the grammar and if you look through my blog, you’ll notice it isn’t rife with errors, but it happens sometimes. This isn’t my full time job and I don’t get to spend as much time as I would like editing, etc…

    You are bullshitting when you say that clothing doesn’t make you feel good. I don’t believe anyone who says that a slobby pair of pajama pants and an old t-shirt can make them feel as good as a perfectly fitted dress or a super flattering pair of jeans. We live in a society where appearances count, and well-fitted clothing that we feel flatters us is part of feeling beautiful. It is a lie to say otherwise.

    In my opinion, there is bad taste. And that’s what this blog is about, my opinion. And a lot of people think I sound bitchy on this blog, but I’m not writing to impress the yoga pant lovers, I am writing because I am disgusted about how the industry has become a platform for tacky celebrities to peddle their “designs,” designers are expected to produce 6+ collections a year, and people have become so lazy with their clothing that they deem sportswear to be acceptable on the street. If you think I am bitchy because I speak out against these things without sugar coating it, then so be it.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    ” This post could have had creative alternatives and used humor and an endearing attitude to make the same point, and I would have thought that it was brilliant! ” LOL. I’ll be sure to take your advice on board, because you are clearly the type of reader I am trying to attract. The one who writes 5+ paragraphs defending yoga pants. And with regards to your last point (“I used to be like you”,) you don’t know me and I highly you’ve ever been like me given the type of comments you write. This blog is ONE side of who I am, and I come off as bitchy and judgmental because that is the persona I have created on the blog. While I believe in what I say – and stand by it at all times – I don’t actually spend all my days walking around thinking I am better than people. I am too busy living my life.

  • sarah_annette

    Glad to know you don’t walk around with an air of superiority. With the comments YOU had posted, it wasn’t exactly a far leap to imagine that you did (people DO notice you, they sneer at you, etc, etc).
    I’m sure that I’m not the type of reader you’re trying to attract; I never said I was. The type of reader these posts attract are those who already agree with you. How convenient! (Though I must say it’s rather lazy, safe, and not at all daring–funny coming from someone in the *fashion* industry.)
    As for me, you missed the point again in your quick jump to summarize me. I didn’t write 5+ paragraphs defending *yoga pants*, I wrote 5+ paragraphs defending *people*, which to me, is very worthy of my time. In fact, I would write a novel defending people if I felt it had to be done.
    Furthermore, YOU don’t know ME. You can assume who I was or am based on the comments I write, but that’s exactly what you chastised me for doing later on in your comments. I suppose you’ve never experienced a shift in your world view, but believe it or not, it DOES happen, and thank god too! I’m a much happier person now that I don’t spend my time judging people. Because the fact is, whether this is a persona or not, you DO spend an awful lot of time judging people, which is miserable. Maybe you should try what you say you do, and live your life.

  • sarah_annette

    Sorry to know that you think I’m bullshittting. I don’t think we’ll end up agreeing on this, and here’s why: you’ve obviously never experienced what I described and you’re clearly not open to it. Believe it or not, I have learned to control my feelings, and I don’t let them depend on superficial, constantly changing things. I’m deliberate about what I think, and because of that, I don’t need to depend on clothing to feel good, despite how society says I should feel.
    As for your last paragraph, I have no qualms with you speaking out on your opinion. What I dislike is that you’re attacking PEOPLE themselves, and not their clothes. Also, there’s a difference between not “sugar coating” something and being blatantly rude. Don’t let not wanting to sugar coat something be your excuse for being mean. What you’ve written far exceeds not wanting to sugar coat. (I mean, if you’re going to be so rude, at least accept it and own it! Don’t try to justify it).

  • D

    It’s “conceited,” not “conceded,” my dear.


    Bitch I will wear my damn yoga pants any where I want to, you don’t tell me what is or isn’t allowed. Also, excuse you. I wear yoga pants every time I fly and I am comfortable so you go ahead busting through the line all fucking fancied up to get on a damn plane. I will show up in front of your face and chuck yoga pants at you, bitch. Telling me i’m not allowed to. What are you. 75? Stop judging people for what they wear, because you are obviously not us. Why do you even care so much like no one likes this article. Acting like you high class shit making us feel inferior, sit your ass down. That must be why you’re so uptight, because you never wear anything comfortable. You always have your prep clothes shoved up your ass crack 😉

  • Yoga pants are the shit

    HAHAHA that’s fucking hilarious how you ranted on how leggings should not be used as pants, and you just told us all that you wear them. A jersey dress isn’t actually a dress, its an over-sized t-shirt so you actually are wearing your leggings as pants, darling. Also, you’d be the tacky one because no one gets fucking dressed up to go on a plane, bitch.

  • Yoga Pants

    Lol this is not blogging, you’re obviously old. Try tumblr.

  • js

    well, i worked at a hospital lab and i wear my lululemon pants for work. why? simply because it is more comfortable than wearing a scrub or dress pants. 8 hour shift standing, walking,sitting and doing all other stuff together makes my life easier. I think wearing a lululemon outfit from head to toe is a big no-no for work. Pants is acceptable if it’s paired with a decent top and not with a workout top.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    See point 4: if you have a job like yours, or any job where comfort is an absolute priority and there is no need to be dressed in “particular” attire, then yes, yoga pants are ok. So in your case, it’s fine. But not to any job, and certainly not an office job, even if it is with a decent top. Anywhere you shouldn’t wear jogging pants, you shouldn’t wear yoga pants.

  • Guest

    What a psycho judgmental bitch you are with such a hideous self absorption and gross personality.

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    I take it from your anger that you are the type who wear yoga pants as pants?

  • 1234

    This pretty much sums it up

  • Anon E. Mouse

    I know several women who look amazing in jeans, but not so good in yoga pants. I think the jeans can shape a little better (not give) and if you’re a little wide up top, the yoga pant’s super skinny calves just accentuate the difference. It’s a trend that can’t fade soon enough.