Sartorial Sins of the Flesh

Leggings, Yoga Pants, and Holey Jeans

Sartorial Sins of the Flesh

I may sound old-fashioned, but I think some of today’s lapses in sartorial style are downright sins. The way we dress and adorn ourselves would surely make my mother and grandmother shudder and shriek!

In Grandma’s day, to walk around without a girdle was the height of sloth. She even wore a girdle and stockings in her apartment under her housedress while eating her morning toast and cleaning her already spotless abode! In my mother’s day, no lady would wear a dress without a slip! Such a slip-up was tantamount to fashion folly! I, on the other hand, don’t own even one slip.

Sartorial Sins Abound

To those decorous dames, the idea of wearing pants that dragged on the ground was ludicrous. Back in their time, one would rather be hanged than go out hem-less! Lucky for me – who can haw, but not hem – my kids live in a world where ragged jeans are “in.”

Nowadays pants with holes and tears are considered “fashion statements.” Hum. I can only imagine the “statement” my mother would utter if she caught a glimpse of today’s hipster jeans. (Although true confession time: I own – indeed over-paid for – a pair.)

Then: never a tattoo. Who got tattoos in those days? Drunken, bad-boy sailors on shore leave! Not “nice” boys! And definitely not girls! Now: how many you got?

Then: pierced ears were a bold fashion statement or foreign and exotic. Now: it’s how many piercings and … where??? Ouch!

Remember when people were appalled at the thought of women wearing pants? Well, we’re obviously well past that, thank goodness, but the ubiquity of leggings and (yikes) yoga pants does give me pause.

The Law of Las Vegas

I get they’re comfortable, inexpensive, and come in an endless array of patterns and colors, but still, they are ultimately tights. Let’s face it. Not all of us should be seen strutting our stuff in tight tights when going to the market, the movies or meandering down Main Street. I’m not debating modesty. That’s a personal choice. But what about style, self-respect, and vanity?

I grew up in what was then small town Las Vegas, where no matter the hour you were sure to run into somebody you knew. My mother NEVER went out with lipstick, earrings, and a lace handkerchief. She taught me to do the same. When I became a television news reporter, a small town “celebrity,” I had to double down on that always dress neatly rule or risk hearing that dreaded, “Gee, you sure look a lot different (better) on TV!”

The Yoga Pants Lament

I know that comfort is now the dominant feature of our “culture,” but still … If yoga pants represent a healthy lifestyle, great. Wear them to the gym or on a run up a steep hill.

But if you’re a hipster, please opt instead for the torn jeans/hoodie look when e-scootering for your artisanal ice cream. And if you’re a middle-aged muddler like me, packing more than a few pounds on your derriere, please, please, PLEASE do not wear yoga pants while doing errands. At the very least, don sweats. It won’t cause you to break a sweat or your neighbors to break out into gales of laughter.

And if you agree with this anti-yoga pants in public stance, please take this solemn pledge:

I will not wear them with my aunt.
I will not wear them while killing ants.
I will not wear them in a car.
Not on a train. Nor in the rain.
This I swear.
I will not wear them talking to my confidants.
Now kindly join me in this anti-yoga pants rant!
(First published September 2018)


As I write this, I worry that I’m becoming an intolerant middle-aged grouch! In Russia, when I studied there decades ago, little old women on the streets used to tap improper youth on the shoulder and scold them for laughing too loud, public displays of affection, whatever. I think I’m at risk of becoming one of those little disapproving old ladies!

It would comfort me to know if some of my fellow middle-aged muddlers share at least a few of my sartorial grievances. Please let me know what clothing and style sins annoy you. Please don’t leave me alone in Grouchlandia! It’s lonely and cold here!


Meanwhile if you’re interested in a fascinating discussion about a recent legging controversy in England, check out this story from The New York Times“It’s Possible Leggings Are the Future. Deal with It.”

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