Wading in with Yoga Pants On

Not long ago I sashayed out the door with what could be considered “yoga pants”.  I wore them even though I don’t do Yoga except approximately 1.5 times a year when I’m overcome with all the feels of delusional optimism and thinking “Holy Yoga could probably be magically transformative – making me bendy, AND super spiritual at the same time”. Anyway, that’s not the point.

The point is that I didn’t think twice about wearing said yoga pants because:

a. I had not yet heard of “the controversy”  going in in cyberspace and

b. I am a woman of a certain age who (sad as this might be) does not need to worry that men’s minds will turn to lust when I pass by. BUT if you are a millennial or a Gen x-er this may be something to think about, so keep reading.

In case you haven’t heard, it has been pointed out recently that yoga pants, leggings, jeggings and such are sexy. (They are also comfy like p.j.’s which is mostly the reason we women are wearing them more and more.)

The issue being raised is that they are tempting men to think thoughts they shouldn’t be thinking, and contemplate acting in ways they shouldn’t act. Consequently, women are being encouraged to consider dressing more modestly.  The response from many women has been: “What in the name of sweet baby Jesus??! No! We’re not responsible for the inappropriate, undisciplined, potentially animal-like behavior of men!”

As much as I would not have previously thought yoga pants were an instrument of satanic destruction, I also wouldn’t have expected the passionate pushback to the idea that women might want to help a brother out.

In community we’re kind of like kids at summer camp using the buddy system when they swim to make sure no one gets lost.  We stick together. We look out for each other.

“Do everything… heartily and freely to God’s glory. At the same time, don’t be callous in your exercise of freedom, thoughtlessly stepping on the toes of those who aren’t as free as you are. I try my best to be considerate of everyone’s feelings…” 1 Cor. 10:32-33 MSG

Think about it… It seems like it’s become harder and harder to have folks over for a simple dinner, but I’ve learned to check beforehand to see if there are food allergies or vegetarians, or gluten-free folks that it would be considerate of me to accommodate as I prepare a menu.

In the same way, if you have a friend who is an alcoholic you’re not going to offer them a Scotch before dinner.

Or if a friend is trying to lose weight you won’t dangle chocolate decadence under her nose.  It’s what we do for each other. It’s just considerate.

When we are sensitive to the weaknesses or limitations of others it does not mean we’re saying they don’t have responsibility for their own choices.  It just means we’re trying to help set them up for success instead of being tone-deaf to the realities of how hard it is for any of us with this following Jesus stuff.

In a chapter titled “Fashion Concerns” in her upcoming book,  For the Love Jen Hatmaker writes:
Leggings as pants (LAP) is permissible if the following rule is obeyed: Your privates are covered by a
shirt, sweater, or dress. Privates are heretofore understood as areas north of upper thigh and south of muffin top. I don’t want to see your hinterlands. I don’t want to know the shape of your underwear (or that you aren’t wearing any). I can’t handle this knowledge. I am just shopping at Target and feel like I’ve gotten to second base with you. Unless you are Jessica Alba, underwear-region is not your best zone, pet. The world is already hard; people shouldn’t be forced to circumnavigate our babymakers.
With a long shirt, LAP is fully acceptable and even celebrated because stretchy fabric can be godly.

And here we’re just hitting below the belt!  Let’s not even get started on above the belt issues. It may seem unjust that we women are being asked to consider this when really the only thing guys need to avoid is wearing a Speedo, but there you have it. Life is not fair.

Few of us want to walk out the door looking like a missionary for the Salvation Army, but maybe we could be grace-full enough to stop and consider what we are communicating (even accidentally) by what we wear  and give the guys a break.

If you find yourself being super defensive about this you might want to ask why.

Where do you resist considering others in the name of freedom? Do you think about what you’re communicating by what you’re wearing, or is it a non-issue?


  1. A really great post to bring helpful guidelines to this whole issue which apply beyond yoga pants. It’s a piece of sanity between the “I can wear whatever I want” and “you should cover all your body parts” extremes. I think the point about consideration for others is SO what Jesus would be wanting us to consider.

  2. Thanks Gayle! It’s not clear cut is it? It can be hard to pray and really listen for discernment in different areas that can affect the people around us.

    • Yes, especially in the pervasive “me and my rights” culture we live in. Putting others ahead of ourselves is countercultural.

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