Nobody pays attention to your workout clothes

Photo by Brandon Hillier
Photo by Brandon Hillier
Photo by Brandon Hillier

In pursuit of that perfect sideways bathroom selfie, society today is told that simply exercising won’t cut it. We must also look the part as we strive towards a healthier lifestyle through exercise. Companies like Trimark and Lucas Hugh work to prove that a simple pair of sneakers, pants and a T-shirt are not enough if you are in the race for optimal health.

As the saying goes: “If you look good, you feel good.” Since ‘looking good’ often translates to what you wear, it makes sense to find ourselves through the acquisition of material things. As several cultural theorists explain, our identity and experiences today are inherently linked to a price tag. Validating our experiences via consumption is second nature in this wonderful world of capitalism. It is for this reason that the marriage between high fashion and fitness thrives — a marriage that I am firmly against.

With the fitness industry forming a large part of popular culture, it comes as no surprise that corporations are integrating high fashion with fitness clothing. According to these companies, it is not enough to simply get off the couch and exercise; showing real dedication means dishing out the dollars for the trendiest workout gear.

You can now fully achieve your New Year’s resolutions in a pair of $410 Lucas Hugh Leadlight printed stretch leggings and a $235 Rio printed stretch and mesh sports bra. Why? Because swag, that’s why!

I feel that to approach personal goals, like exercising from a consumerist perspective, is both problematic and unsustainable. Integrating high-end fashion with working out pressures us to focus on looking good while we excercise, which strikes me as a tad shallow.

Sometimes we do need that external push to work out, which may come in the form of new workout gear. However, we cannot rely on our killer outfits to keep us focused on our goals. Material possessions are fleeting, and this is one of the hardest things for anyone to truly understand in a world plagued with hyper-consumerism.

More often than not, modern-day goals are defined by someone selling us a profitable pipe dream. What makes this worse is that we are always looking to buy. In this never-ending game, we are often the losers. Consumers are usually left with an unfulfilled emptiness that the latest sportswear product cannot fill — that is, until the next line comes out. The need for a more holistic approach towards our life goals then arises, as we set out to better ourselves.

I probably should mention that I, too, am a victim of the pleasant feeling that new stuff gives me. However, this feelings is momentary, and doesn’t feed my motivation to work out. Goals should be centered on real values that sustain long-term growth. If those values can be bought, then I would reconsider calling them ‘values.’

Hopefully we can work towards not being so easily duped into ‘needing’ what we already have in ourselves to achieve greatness. You definitely have the right to look good while you use the gym, but try not to be too concerned about your looks while you sweat it out. Nobody really pays that much attention, anyway.