I don't think I've ever felt peer pressure. Blessed with an awkward childhood of braces and playing saxophone in a concert band, you'd think I'd be the prime target for peer-related pressures and even worse, bullying.
Cherry on the cake, I also did musical theatre.
My friendships felt genuine and not superficial, and conversations were about creating music or dance rehearsals.
(Hi Liz!!!! And me looking like a tired sweaty mess after dance class.)
Dance rehearsals were about creating art, musical rehearsals were about.... let's me honest a lot more than musicals...
But friendships were real and the focus on authenticity never strayed.
Did everyone enjoy those throwback photos? Ah, teenage years <3
For as long as I remember I've been active. Whether it was youth soccer my dad coached, or lacrosse because everyone else was doing it (yes, I played lacrosse once, believe it or not) or dancing, the focus from the sport rarely strayed. I played with my friends to be social, and danced because I loved it. This is what exercise meant to me. Being with my friends, and enjoying the sport for what it was.
(That's me smelling my armpit on stage. )
But now, at the ripe age of 27, I'm feeling peer pressure for the first time in my life. And it's coming from the gym.
The world of exercise and fitness has taken a turn. And this attitude change manifests itself by what we wear to the gym. What used to be Jane Fonda's neon colored spandex turned into track suits which turned into the latest technology of activewear.
I, however, grew up in the era where gym clothes were cotton shorts and your brother's old T-shirt. Because what you wore to exercise really didn't matter.
When did normal cotton-spandex tights turn into polytech weightless air-wicking microfiber tights?
Of course fashion evolves just like everything else in the universe. But I started to think of how the attitude towards health and fitness has changed over the years as well. What used to be just physical exercise is now a lifestyle. Take the fashion trend Athleisure as an example. For those living under a rock, athleisure is basically defined as clothes meant for exercise are used as casual daywear.
Athleticism is seen everywhere, not just the gym or running paths, but the grocery store, shopping mall, lectures and library.
These people aren't necessarily even considering going to the gym, and power to them because yoga pants > jeans. It's fashion, and I love it.
What initially inspired this post was an evening at Fitnexx. After class, where I typically sport workout crops, I was putting on a pair of pants over the crops to brave the cold walk home. (Side note, these cotton-spandex commuter pants are Nike pants, which were definitely trendy 5 years ago.) As I was putting on these pants, I looked over and saw a girl that couldn't have been over 15 years old, in an all matching, super cute Adidas workout outfit. Her shoes matched her pants, which perfectly matched her top. I swear even her hair tie matched her underwear had I looked closely enough. She was adorable, and I was jealous.
I realized then, that I was probably the only person at Fitnexx who still owned cotton anything. Lorna Jane uses HI-TECH LJ Excel fabric. Adidas has the latest and greatest climalite® fabric in their activewear. Nowadays, the cotton-free workout clothes are lightweight, breathable, and 100% swass free.
I go to Fitnexx 4-6 times per week, which means I'm sporting a lot of the same outfits. I don't own multiple exercise tops and I have a couple good pairs of tights. Repetition is mandatory and I'm OK with that. Until recently. I've never felt pressure to dress a certain way, or have the latest and the greatest handbag or Canada Goose winter jacket. I'm totally content with my backpack and 7 year old Abercrombie jeans. Don't get me wrong, I love new clothes just as much as the next girl, but it's never consumed me to the point where I'd be spending any more than having the absolute necessary amount. Being a broke student might have something to do with that... But my almighty does a new outfit feel flyyyyyyyyyyyyy
I don't know if it was the 15 year old fitness fashionista, or my same four outfits being on repeat for the past few years, but I felt major athleisure envy. I never thought it was possible to go through childhood not feeling overly jealous of someone else's clothes, then 10 years later feel jealous of a 15 year old's clothes. Irony?
Until I get a steady paycheck, I'm going to enjoy my cotton-spandex workout pants and remind myself why I'm working out, and remember what exercise felt like growing up. Working out is a privilege after all... but it is a bit more fun in matching high tech climalite activewear 😉
But seriously, do you remember when workout clothes were made of cotton?