Fashion: Are Yoga Pants Appropriate Attire To Wear In Public?

By on May 8, 2016

Submitted. She comes in the coffee shop like she does every day. In every shape and size and age. She just worked out, she just had a baby, she just got out of bed, she’s headed out for the night, she is running errands. She is every woman—she’s you and she’s me. And she’s wearing yoga pants.

“There’s just not much left to the imagination,” thinks the guy sipping his coffee. “Not much extra room for the Holy Spirit.” He works hard to exercise discernment and accountability for the issues he had with porn in past years. He has a wife who isn’t getting younger. He has a fiancée with whom he is trying to maintain purity. He is inundated with flashy ads intended to wire male brains to think one thing about the female form. He is every man—he’s you and he’s me. And he’s surrounded by women in yoga pants.

The question of whether yoga pants are appropriate attire to wear in public has swirled online in recent years, following the garment’s rise in popularity as a casualwear staple. For millions of women, yoga pants are “the new jeans,” worn well beyond the yoga studio and gym.

Among Christians, these form-fitting pants get wrapped in the modesty debate, most recently with a viral post from a blogger sharing her conviction to stop wearing yoga pants and leggings. Then came responses with treatises on freedom and morality and lust and modesty culture. And defenses. And cynicism. And hysteria. And spite.

And here we are, fighting about yoga pants.

Rather than taking sides and settling for boundaries or restrictions, we—as women and men—can talk about what it means to approach these conversations with a biblical ethic that respects the people involved, their bodies, and their sexuality, all of which were made by God and declared good. As a girl and guy following the back-and-forth, we see how parts of this debate aren’t actually up for debate.
Our Words and Tone

Whether we are referring to the women wearing yoga pants or the guys who wars to keep his eyes on the proper things in the proper times, how we enter this discussion matters. It’s less about pants, no matter how thick or how tight, than it is about people—people who choose what to wear each day, who weigh their personal comfort and social responsibility, who negotiate liberty and care for others.

Debates over what women should and shouldn’t wear tend to frame female “modesty” and male “lust” as dueling principles, often at the expense of these real-life people involved. Modesty refers to what’s “appropriate,” an explicitly contextual word. Any discussion of modesty depends on the setting, so it’s difficult, perhaps even impossible, to declare universal rules.

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