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COLUMN: Squamish’s tight fit Should yoga pants become Canada’s national dress?

There have been loads of fashion changes over the years, but this one took me by surprise upon my return to Canada. Perhaps it’s just a Lower Mainland or a Squamish thing – the yoga pants or leggings phenomenon.

Women are wearing them all the time, everywhere, as they are becoming the go-to pants for ladies. I figure if I had to pay around $90 for a pair from Lululemon I’d rock them all the time too. From what I understand they are crazy comfortable, very supportive and available in many colors and designs. I often catch myself peeking. Yeah, guilty as charged… sorry.

Do I see anything wrong with wearing yoga pants? Generally speaking, no I do not. Yoga pants are functional and serve a purpose. Besides, women have been wearing tight-fittin’ pants for years. Some can think back to the old Jordache jeans, the hip-suffocating bell bottoms, the ’80s polyester short shorts (and knee-high, three-stripe socks).

What’s the difference? I’m sure when leggings became fashion there was a gradual change, a change I wasn’t aware of when I was living in the Gulf (otherwise I would have invested in Lululemon stock), so coming back from a conservative region this was a bit of a head turner.

On the Arabian Peninsula the local men most commonly wear an outfit called a dishdasha and the women wear an abaya. They are also comfortable to wear, come in different colours, but they are a lot more free-flowing.
  In Oman, the locals don’t have to wear these outfits. They can wear what they like, but they wear it because it is their national dress and they’re proud to showcase their national identity and not for any religious purpose. Imagine all Canadians wearing a similar outfit to show how proud we are to be Canadian! However, they are still a modest people and I don’t think the yoga pants trend will be as prevalent as it has become here – although women do wear them over there while they are at home or when they do actual yoga.

Could yoga pants be something we can all get behind as a national dress, perhaps? It seems even men’s yoga pants sales are on the rise. I don’t think I’ll be rocking a pair, but I do love my track pants. I wear them everywhere mainly for the same reasons you ladies wear your leggings. Although when you drive around downtown Vancouver the suit and pencil skirts is still the norm, whereas here in Squamish leggings can pass as professional attire.

It seems we are ahead in a cultural shift in the way women are dressing and how they’re approaching their work style. Companies in North America have started to shift toward more relaxed environments and adopting policies to make room for a more casual wardrobe. Add in the recent wave of designer fitness apparel lines, and it’s no wonder women –  especially those who have a mix bag of a day that includes desk work, errands and taking care of kids – are wearing their yoga pants from breakfast until bedtime.