Last week on Project Runway, Heidi Klum commanded that the contestants make her new designs for her active wear collection for New Balance. The wannabees looked at her quizzically. What is active wear? It took until the end of the show when the haughty judges explained what was so terribly wrong with the contestant's creations that I figured it out.
Active wear is basically high end sweat pants that you wear all day long.
Boring, but it does the job. Afterwards, I had a shower and put on the working at home default – jeans and a black t-shirt.
After that show, this active wear concept began to nag at me. What lifestyle is the fashion industry pushing on us today? Who do they think we are?
So, I checked out Heidi Klum's active wear line for New Balance. It's work-out clothes that you can fancy up with a jacket or a dress for your trip to Shop Rite and then you peel down to the workout clothes when you get to the gym.
Argh. It's aimed at people like me. I hate being a type. Heidi Klum isn't the only one who's jumped on the active wear bandwagon. I've been targeted with free catalogs from Athleta, which is subsidiary of the GAP. Their catalog is full of women with bulky thighs doing yoga, drinking green tea, and hiking. Their dresses will take you from the kindergarten drop-off line to a brisk hike in the woods.
Is active wear the new house dress?
In the early 70s, my grandmother used to have some brightly flowered dresses that she would only wear at home. They were light cottony numbers that were close cousins with a nightgown. These dresses were designed to save the good clothes from the the rigors of housework. I wonder how many pairs of Old Navy yoga pants really make it to the yoga mat?
I suppose that there is nothing wrong with active wear. (Except for the fact that the dresses in Athleta are butt-ugly, and Klum's clothes only look good on 20 year old models.) If these clothes are really a sign that more women are exercising, getting out of the house or relaxing on weekends, that's a good thing. But, in truth, I don't meet many women like that. Even I have to make sure that I put "trip to the gym" on the daily calendar or it doesn't happen. Perhaps these clothes are more about how we wish we were.
I think I'll continue to keep my gym clothes separate from the clothes that I wear the rest of the day. But I do need to vary the jeans and black t-shirt uniform, so I've been gazing at these clothes this morning.