Seas of neon tank tops and running shorts flood UCLA’s campus everyday as students trek to class. A prominent campus culture has developed with large numbers of students wearing athletic clothes to lectures. From yoga pants to basketball shorts, all forms of workout wear have seized contemporary fashion.
Is this rising trend based on practicality and comfortability, or an obnoxious fashion fad steeped in laziness? This craze has not gone unnoticed by A&E columnists Nina Crosby and Connor Thompson, who discuss the legitimacy of wearing workout attire to class in this week’s “Love | Hate.”
It was 9:30 a.m. and I was sitting in my neuroscience lecture in plaid sweatpants and a Walmart cat shirt. The girl to my left was covered in dark makeup and wore a pair of 5-inch heels, while the boy to my right opted for a more relaxed look with flip-flops and a bro tank. Yet, the only outfits which seem to stir up anger among students are the stained sweatshirts and gym shorts worn by students scattered in the room.
The negative sentiment toward students who wear workout gear to class is completely unjust. As the second fittest college in the nation, activewear should not be seen as a nuisance, but as an integral part of UCLA culture. Whereas students at schools like the University of Oxford have strict clothing guidelines that seem to reflect the old-world class of British imperialism, students at UCLA can wear yoga pants and tennis shoes which reflect the active, outdoorsy nature of Los Angeles.
Another key component of UCLA fashion culture is sports. Many athletes have morning practice, after which they must make a choice between returning to their rooms to change or going to class. For the many student athletes at UCLA, sporting athletic wear to class isn’t a fashion statement, it’s a necessity.
Likewise, regular students save time and effort by wearing activewear. It’s a ridiculous exercise to trek all the way back home to change out of gym clothing, just to put some of the more fashion-sensitive students at ease. And as the 10th most stressed out college in the US, who has the time? Instead of ostracizing them, we should be encouraging students who make time to go to the gym to de-stress.
But, perhaps the biggest reason I love the activewear movement on campus is that it’s cheap and comfy. After a week of pilgrimages from the Hill to class and sitting empty-headed through multiple lectures, the last things I want to wear are tight pants and pressed collars. In a world where a $120 plain white T-shirt by Kanye West is considered high-fashion, I welcome a trend that places comfort and practicality over flashiness.
– Connor Thompson
You live in Los Angeles and you work out, sure.
But let’s all be honest with each other right here, right now. Are you really heading to the Wooden Center after class? Or did you throw on your Nike gear because that’s what’s fashionable on campus?
It seems like there are more students wearing “athleisure” than heading to Drake Stadium. Granted, we live in Los Angeles, a city oozing short-lived fads that thrive off of superficiality. The overwhelming gym-ready fashion trend is intoxicating for some, but I think that’s really where it stops: as a fashion statement, a statement “that’s not really meant to be sweat in at all.“
It’s oh-so-SoCal to be dressed and ready for the next hiking adventure up Runyon or for a jog on Venice’s beaches, when the reality is a Snapchat filter or an Instagram post, not a drop of sweat beading any forehead. And those who do actually go to the gym, but then show up to class with their workout clothes still on, are swimming in sweat and sharing their musk with the rest of the world. We didn’t ask for that. It can’t be too hard to carry a change of real clothes.
Students often develop a loyalty to a brand that supersedes gym ideologies, where athletic attire becomes a mentality rather than an action. I don’t mean to be the fashion police here, but come on. A basic Nike running top and running tights that probably ran you a good $143, or blowing $55 on some Adidas sweatpants? That’s just ridiculous; even Kanye would be hesitant to pay these prices.
As for convenience, jeans and a T-shirt are not as dramatically uncomfortable as some want them to seem. Waking up for a 9 a.m. lecture and dressing casually in jeans and a t-shirt is no more strenuous than the energy required to wear workout apparel. Dressing in head-to-toe Nike comes off as lazy. While my jeans and tee may convince a passerby that I attempted to look presentable to the world, workout gear says you rolled out of bed.
– Nina Crosby