Why We're Happy '90s Yoga Pants Are Making a Comeback
They're baaack, and we're not mad about it.
The flared yoga pants that were crazy popular in the '90s and early aughts were arguably the beginning of the athleisure trend. You might be rolling your eyes right now, but hear us out. Back in the day, these once-ubiquitous bottoms were more loungewear than anything else, although some people did occasionally wear them for what they were meant for: yoga. As the activewear industry evolved into what it is now, the flared pants we once wore gave way to sleeker styles, more practical for working out. (Here's more on the future of athleisure, if you're curious.)
Lately, though, these bottom-heavy silhouettes have been making their way back into gyms and brunch hotspots across the country, and we're really not mad about it. Here are five reasons these throwback workout pieces are actually awesome.
1. They're flattering on many body types.
Here's the deal: Skinny-cut leggings are awesome. They're ideal for getting your sweat on, since they're way less likely to get caught on things. Sadly, there are a lot of things that flared yoga pants are *not* great for when it comes to working out, like spinning, running on a treadmill, or using a stair stepper. That being said, the flared silhouette has one thing going for it: it's ultra-flattering on many body types. Not super curvy? They can add the illusion of wider hips and more shapely backside. Bigger on the bottom? Those flares actually balance out your shape, creating an optical illusion that highlights your natural proportions. They really truly look great on everyone, which is pretty incredible. (The Yogasmoga Classic Slimmie Pant, shown above, is a perfect example.)
2. They're comfortable and convenient.
In the same way you have a tough time getting your sports bra off after a super-sweaty workout (the struggle is real) it can be hard to get leggings with really narrow ankles off. Luckily, flared yoga pants solve that problem. Trendy active brands like Alo Yoga and Splits 59 are starting to reintroduce these in their product selections, but more mass brands like Old Navy never stopped making them. Clearly, there's always been a market for these styles since they're so easy to wear.
3. It's less obvious that they're workout wear.
If you find the right super-dark pair with a non-fold-over waistband, flared yoga pants can pass for workleisure. It might take some work to find exactly the right pair, but when worn with a longer top (like an untucked button-down) and the right shoes (ballet flats, loafers, or white sneakers if your dress code allows them), you can absolutely get away with wearing them to the office. (For more workleisure styles, check out this activewear you can actually wear to the office.)
4. They're totally nostalgic.
If you were around the first time these guys were popular, you probably remember everyone from Paris Hilton to Britney Spears sporting them. In the same way all trends eventually make their way back to the mainstream, yoga pants are making the rounds again and that means that wearing them gives you a retro-cool vibe. (BTW, Brit still wears them when she works out. Scope her gym style and steal these exercises from her routine.)
5. They double as loungewear.
For those who love hanging out in their activewear without ever making it to the gym (no shame), flared yoga pants are pretty much a dream. There's really nothing better for hanging out on the couch or spending a self-care Sunday at home in bed. These styles are generally forgiving in terms of fabrics, so you can chill out in total comfort!