Why Yoga Pants are for Yoga, Not School

Hundreds wear yoga pants to first day of classes at Cape Cod high school


Tight, figure-hugging yoga pants and “jeggings” — a combo of jeans and leggings — have been co-opted by girls of all ages as standard dress for school — and they are distracting to their male counterparts.

While females of all ages may fuss about freedom of dress and the need for the opposite gender to just “get a grip” and not notice clothes that are little more than a second skin, dads are a little more definite. After all, that’s their little girl wearing next-to-nothing from the waist down.

“My wife lets my daughters wear yoga pants to school, and it drives me crazy,” said one Boston, Massachusetts, father of four. “That’s my little girl! I used to be a boy myself, so I know what they’re thinking. My girls say it’s no big deal and that they’re so comfortable — and my wife buys that line. But I can’t stand it. I draw the line at any writing on the rear end,” he added. “What dad wants his daughter parading around with the word ‘Juicy’ on her behind?”

This concerned dad is not alone. At the start of the 2015-16 school year, many schools across the nation banned the workout wear from their school day. Montana state lawmaker David Moore, a Republican, even called yoga pants “provocative” and pushed a bill to make the pants illegal in his state. (The bill was tossed out by a legislative panel.)

In Massachusetts, North Dakota, and Illinois, yoga pants and jeggings have been deemed inappropriate school dress in many school districts.

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At Devils Lake High School in Devils Lake, North Dakota, administrators banned yoga pants, jeggings, and skinny jeans due to the clothing being “too distracting,” according to NBC News. “In some cases there will be young male teachers and they can’t tell you, of course, that what you’re wearing is distracting,” one student told the network. “So they have to get a female teacher to tell you.”

In Harwich, Massachusetts, students at Cape Cod Regional Tech protested the restriction on yoga pants, pegging their school as participating in “body shaming.”

LifeZette asked some Boston area moms about the great yoga pants debate. Here are some of their responses.

“I only allow my daughter to wear tight yoga pants if she has on a long sweater or T-shirt that completely covers her behind,” one mom of a 15-year-old girl said. “I think it’s ridiculous to say, ‘I hope she meets a boy that really appreciates her mind and her personality,’ yet essentially let her put her body on display. That makes no sense.”

“I’m a mother of a 15-year-old daughter who doesn’t wear yoga pants by choice,” Michelle Goodall Faulkner said. “I would be OK with it if they aren’t too tight and if there are no words on the back. I don’t see any reason to draw the eye there.”

Barbara Noyes-Vieno weighed in, too, saying, “I think yoga pants are completely fine if you wear the appropriate size that fits. A lot of these girls are wearing them too small and too tight.”

Gina Moran, also of the Boston area, said the issue was less about appropriate clothing and more about self-control by the boys. “It’s unacceptable to think so little of boys as to assume they are all distractible or perverted,” she said. “All girls aren’t one way, and all boys aren’t one way. When we tell girls to cover up or change when they’re dressed appropriately for the age and place, we are also putting down the intelligence and choice-making power of our boys.”

Interestingly, two young men had a slightly different take on yoga pants.

“If we’re getting really real, they are totally distracting,” said one 16-year-old Boston-area sophomore. “They are so tight, and, well — we’re guys. I don’t think parents who are saying boys can and should have control of their thoughts understand boys. Me and my friends would never disrespect a girl or be ‘perverted,’ but to think we’re not noticing their daughters’ tight pants — that’s insane.”

An 18-year-old graduating senior agreed with that. “Girls who wear tight pants know they’re tight, so let’s maybe focus on that — issues of perhaps needing attention — instead of boys being unable to control themselves. On some level, girls are saying, ‘Look at me.’ Which is normal, in a way, but so is [the fact of] boys looking [at them]. Moms wearing tight yoga pants isn’t right, either — I’m just going to put it right out there. If you don’t want to be on display, wear looser clothes.”