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A Case Against Frumpiness

1 ¾ min

In case you missed the memo, yoga pants are now one of the sacred elements of self-expression which must not be condemned.

At least, that’s what Alan Sorrentino recently discovered. According to the Providence Journal, Sorrentino wrote a letter to the editor suggesting that yoga pants aren’t always the most flattering choice of dress for women:

"Not since the mini-skirt has there been something worn by so many women who should never have it on in the first place," he wrote. "Yoga pants can be adorable on children and young women who have the benefit of nature's blessing of youth. However, on mature, adult women there is something bizarre and disturbing about the appearance they make in public."

In return for his comments, Sorrentino was treated to threatening calls and a protest of 300 people in yoga pants in front of his house. Perhaps not surprisingly, Sorrentino now claims that his words were simply a joke.

I wish he hadn’t made that excuse, because I believe his original statements were accurate. In fact, I wish he had gone farther and exposed the greater problem underlying yoga pants. In a word? Frumpiness.

Somewhere along the way we’ve stopped caring how we dress and present ourselves to others. We’ve been told that it’s good to let it all hang out, for in so doing, we express ourselves and enhance our comfort. Anyone who presents a rational reason why frumpy clothing may not be the best idea risks being maligned as a sexist, racist, or bigot.

The funny thing is, the rational reasons for avoiding frumpiness may actually offer a greater path to pleasure and self-esteem.

Think about it for a moment. Is it not possible that the couple who makes the effort to dress up for one another might find greater satisfaction in marriage? Is it not possible that the employee who ditches the jeans and sweatshirt for a more professional look might experience greater self-worth and respectability in the eyes of his employer? Is it not possible that the young person who avoids the “gangster” look may also avoid the attitudes and culture which often accompany it?

Instead of reflexively defending the comfortable, frumpy look, do we need to rationally consider the messages that such clothes convey about us to others?

Image Credit: Jon

Annie Holmquist

Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.

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