In Praise of Shabby Gym Clothes

gymI have one pair of Lululemon running tights. They’re definitely the nicest piece of workout gear I own, and I could only justify their absurd expense because first, I had my last pair of running tights so long they  became transparent  from over wearing them (not because they were the defective lululemons), and second because I received them as a gift. Also, they do truly fabulous things for my butt. The rest of my gym clothes are, if you put it nicely, somewhat shabby. I have great sneakers and awesome ear buds, because those are the accessories that really matter to me-the tunes that keep me moving, and the sneakers that keep me from getting extreme shin splints. While I tried to fancy things up with some new t-shirts and stretch pants, the majority of my exercise gear consists of a bunch of beat up t-shirts I got for free at college events and some tank tops I used to wear in public until they got an irremovable stain.

When I read this piece on The Cut unapologetically defending gross gym clothes, all I could think was, “Preach sister!” Gyms in NYC can be scary, intimidating places (see this article on Gymtimidation). In this city they are full of attractive thin people (who are strangely muscular for their size), in extremely trendy clothes that somehow don’t sweat. For someone who is there because they want to get in shape (and thus may not be 100% loving the way they look), the feeling of competition to look hot while trying to get fitter to look hot can be a lot of pressure. If investing in cute gym-wear makes you more motivated just so you get to wear it, more power to you. But I am just going to second Maggie Lange’s notion, and say I’d rather wear my faded Ram Fan t-shirt and some mismatched socks any day because by the time I finish my butt and gut class I am just going to be a dirty sweaty mess anyhow.