Style Diet: Confronting My Distaste of Wearing Athletic Clothes When Not Being Athletic

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Millienium Skate Park


It’s no secret that I’m not into leggings unless one is working out. It’s more than that. Really I’m not into workout wear as a whole when one isn’t working out. It simply does not make sartorial sense to me. That said, like the LuLuLemon bag has advised me before, I’m trying to, “Do one thing a day that scares me,” especially in the interest of personal style.

That brings me to my latest style diet: workout wear edition. Believe me, I was not looking forward to doing it. That said I vowed to get over myself and simply try. This time around, I have established three rules:

  1. Wear athletic clothes, all day, for seven days in a row.
  2. At least two pieces of athletic clothes must be visible.
  3. Each day must be a treated as a complete, fully expressed look (not just the same sweat pants day after day for seven days).

Pros of Dressing Oh-So-Sporty

  • Due to my variety of workouts and activities, drawn out laundry schedule, and Marie Kondo worthy organized drawers, I have quite the collection of athletic clothing. Thus, I didn’t cross my mind to run out and buy something new.
  • I pre-planned my looks based on the week ahead. I had meetings, work errands, a weekend away, and working from my home office. This preparation ahead of time made for quick dressing on the actual day. Getting ready was more of a matter of picking which one of my pre-planned looks for that day felt good (rather than building from scratch every morning).
  • Any style challenge can be refreshing. It was fun planning the looks as I used my pieces in new-to-me combinations.
  • Style inspiration came from Tracee Ellis Ross and Rihanna when I was doubtful. I thought to myself, how would Tracee do it? Or what would RiRi wear? Perhaps foolishly I thought, if they can rock it, why can’t I? Sometimes it takes a bit of fashion inspiration to get me going.

Cons of the Thin and Stretch

  • I am incredibly self-conscious in thin, elastic, tight fitting work out clothing. I kept fussing and pulling and tugging. I was admittedly a bit paranoid that everyone was looking at my tush, my thighs, my body. I know this is my baggage and likely not the actual reality. But it sure felt real to me. This was a negative, consuming feeling that I haven’t felt for a very long time. Simply put, I was neither comfortable nor confident in what I was wearing. This was painfully acute when I was wearing just leggings.
  • All week, I craved fabric with weight and structure. Clothing to me is both armour and a tool. Comfort was found in layers but I did wish I were wearing more individually substantive pieces.
  • Rather than how I feel wearing “regular clothes,” at times I felt like I was wearing a costume. This was personally amusing, but I’m not sure that I could do it, with sincerity, on the regular.

If I dig into the “why” I’m not into wearing athletic clothes when not being athletic is that I often think that it’s inherently lazy. Those clothes are made for a purpose: working out. That's it. Lazy, to me, in unacceptable as I am a privileged person, born Canadian, and I don’t want to waste my opportunity. How dare I? Further, I will not intentionally give off the impression that I take my privileged opportunity as a given. I refuse to act entitled or lazy in the area of dressing. Choosing to dress lazy in public, to me, is a quick visual expression to the outside world – and myself - that I don’t take myself serious enough, or that I care enough, to put on an outfit that reflects who I am and what I want in this life. I will give – and look like I I give - a sh*t.

This thinking may be outdated - or at the very least, part of the minority - as our North American culture is getting more and more casual. This is true in both dress and overall accepted practices; but it’s my truth. I want to look and feel like my best self the majority of the time. That said I don’t want to be the person who takes myself so serious that I can’t relax or stop trying to learn new things. I want to continue to evolve and I feel to do that effectively I need to challenge my own thinking.

Too, I want to support people's choice to wear what makes them look and feel good. I will mention that, for me. that doesn't mean doing and wearing what everyone else is just because. Do you. Experimenting with new things personally is the only way to authentically get there. Thus, I was wore clothes that were tight, thin, stretchy, and synthetic for one week. Just to see if I'm off base in my personal thinking. One week is more than enough as I did. not. like. it.

Moving on, what style diet do you think I should try next?