Peek-a-boo

03.19.13

Lululemon Discovers What Men Have Always Known: Yoga Pants Are See-Through

The athletic-wear company has recalled its “Luon” yoga pants on account of “sheerness.” But, male and female yogis say, seeing butts in yoga class is nothing new. Misty White Sidell reports.

On Monday night, some shocking news broke: Lululemon was recalling a production run of its women’s “Luon” pants, on account of “sheerness.” Translation—they’re see-through.

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Participants do yoga poses during a YogArt event in Miami Beach. Fla. Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Almost immediately, Lululemon’s stock plunged. But while the company scrambled to stanch the blood, putting out an apology and setting up a website devoted to the issue, yogis around the world wondered aloud: Why all the fuss? Since when are yoga clothes NOT transparent?

“I was confused about all of the hullabaloo about sheer,” a New York City-based consultant and avid yoga practictioner who wished to remain anonymous, told The Daily Beast. “I never thought it was an issue, I thought it was a feature.”

His thoughts are echoed by other male yoga enthusiasts who spoke with The Daily Beast. “Ninety percent of women wear Lululemon and maybe I’d say half of those pants are see-through,” explained Josh Books, a 23-year-old marketing professional in New York City. Jared Greene, a 26-year-old engineer in Washington D.C., agrees: “I see it in every class, it’s noticeable. For sure it’s a turn-on, it’s hot, but no one really goes to class just for that. I’m not going to say I hate it though, it makes [yoga] more fun.”

Women polled by The Daily Beast said they don’t think other women are purposefully wearing sheer yoga bottoms. “I think they are just unknowing,” said Holly Ramey, an instructor at YogaWorks on New York City’s Upper West Side. “You probably can’t tell when you are in the dressing room and then you bend over in class. Unless someone tells you, you really won’t notice—your head is down when your butt is up.”

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“I see it in every class, it’s noticeable. For sure it’s a turn-on.”

Another female yoga instructor who wished to remain anonymous told The Daily Beast: “I think it’s either that [the student] doesn’t realize what they’re wearing is inappropriate or they are just in a pinch and have nothing else to wear at that particular moment.”

Ramey feels that the sheer spandex in yoga is “just kind of something you see all the time, but you see it and then you get over it and move on. It doesn’t affect me in any way, but as a practitioner it’s definitely something I’d want to avoid.”

Some onlookers feel it’s the responsibility of yogis to thoroughly check out their pants’ opacity before leaving the house. “You need to look in the mirror before you leave the house,” said New York City-based costume designer Caitlin McMullen. “If you are going to yoga you are putting yourself in a situation where your clothes won’t hang in the usual way.” But Mickie Meinhardt, a writer in New York, feels that the current athletic fashions make provocative situations unavoidable: “Even if something isn’t see-through then it’s really, really tight, so when you’re stretching everyone is checking out your ass anyway.”

But the biggest culprit in the see-through yoga debacle might be “hot yoga” classes, where studio rooms are heated to 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. “When you leave hot yoga classes everyone’s clothing is see-through anyway because you sweat so much,” explained Meinhardt. The anonymous consultant agreed. “Hot yoga classes look like a scene out of Spring Breakers, everyone is in short shorts and repeating suggestive poses. There’s neon everywhere, and it’s sheer.” But he doesn’t find it troubling. He adds: “It’s good to fish where the fish are.”