Yoga pants are the new housecoats.

An older lady who lives down the street appears to have a uniform. Every time I see her, she’s sporting some sort of housecoat/smock and a men’s t-shirt. Her legs are always bare, even in the bitterest cold, and this worries me. But she smiles from behind her huge red glasses and calls me “Hon.”

At first glance, it’s easy to look at Neighbor Lady’s ensemble and think, “Oh, brother.” Let us be honest: the men’s t-shirts are neither flattering nor coordinated with the housecoat/smocks. And sometimes there’s both a housecoat and a smock, and the patterns don’t go together. Comfort seems to be the focus here, not high fashion. Nor low fashion. Ahem.

But judge not lest ye be judged! Because today, I was feeling an ugly little bit judgey … while walking my dog in yoga pants, a green fleece with a broken zipper, and a t-shirt that was of another, totally not complementary green. I was Clashy McClasherson. I was just walking around the block and picking up poop, so who cares?

Let us celebrate our freedom from fashion!

Neighbor Lady was just picking up sticks in her yard. Who dresses up for that?

And then it hit me. My grandma had an assortment of housecoats. They were comfortable and to be worn around the house only. Neighbor Lady is just stretching that window of appropriate venues a bit.

And I have an assortment of yoga pants. They’re comfortable and to be worn in yoga class only. But, since most of us don’t go to yoga class, they’re to be worn at home only. But like most of my peers, I’m stretching that window of appropriate venues a bit.

Yoga pants are the new housecoats. Which is all hilarious and fine until we fast forward about 40 years. The lady people will be wearing whatever the third generation of housecoats will be. And they’ll look upon us yoga pants-clad octogenarians with a mix of disdain and pity. Just how I’m looking upon my housecoat-clad neighbor.

But really? Neighbor Lady has one up on the women of my generation. Housecoats can hide a multitude of sins. And, they have pockets.


But yoga pants? Ain’t no secrets nor storage when yoga pants are around. Yoga pants show the world your business whether you’re 40 and in pretty good shape or you’re 80 and have parts hanging everywhere.

The housecoats have the upper hand here, obviously. Gen X women, we have made a tactical error.

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  • Reply smalltownme March 17, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    You are so right.

  • Reply Heather Nelson March 18, 2016 at 1:13 am

    Third-generation housecoats = jeggings. Gods help us.

  • Reply Karen (formerly kcinnova) March 18, 2016 at 6:26 am

    I'm having a Homer Simpson moment now, and you are making me anxious for warm weather and the ability to wear skirts and sandals so I can ditch the yoga pants (which I like to pair with a cardigan with pockets to hold my phone and keys).
    Of course, maxi skirts are just a dressier form of yoga pants because I still wear a solid colored T-shirt with them. In other words, I am totally that old lady.

  • Reply Kari Wagner March 18, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    So I shared this on Twitter and said that we used to call them "duster's".
    I meant that when I worked at Kohl's back in the late 80's and early 90's. in the sleepwear and "intimates" department, they sold housecoats or "dusters" as they called them.
    We used to laugh and point and make fun of them, grandma coats, we called them.
    But now, I realize, they made complete sense.
    And you are right, they are our generation's version of the yoga pant.

  • Reply Candy Adams March 18, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    (hahahahahahaha) my sides are hurting from laughing at your words, but here I sit in yoga pants, t-shirt and, get this, Eileen Fisher sweater with pockets just having come in from following 2 labs around the yard — me with blue poop bags in hand. I wish I had a housecoat & at my age I should since I am your auntie — maybe a trip to the Goodwill store down the road will prove eventful in the way of having a rack of dusters ( we are in a gated community area!) I promise I will update my early morning attire prior to your visit in August!!!

  • Reply Cha Cha March 18, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    This is clearly the end of days.

  • Reply Cha Cha March 18, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    I'd never considered the maxi skirt that way, but you are totally right, Karen!

  • Reply Cha Cha March 18, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    It's like I've been stalking you, Candy! I think the addition of a nice sweater with pockets takes your ensemble to another level – that's a complete outfit now. I mean, there are layers! No need for a duster on my account.

  • Reply Becky March 18, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    I had a conversation with two middle aged friends the other day in which we proclaimed the glory of the housecoat and how we all want to move in that direction. I can see it happening.

  • Reply Green Girl in Wisconsin March 24, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    I am 100% down with bringing back the housecoat. It's the only reasonable thing to do after age 60. (I see old ladies wearing tight stretchy "yoga pants" sometimes and it is NOT flattering.)

  • Reply Jennell Austin May 24, 2016 at 3:19 am

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  • Reply Jennell Austin May 24, 2016 at 3:21 am

    I want to be buried in Yoga pants. When i go to my eternal slumber, I'm not going to be dressed in heels and uncomfortable clothes. I'm going in flip flops and yoga pants!

  • Reply Unknown May 24, 2016 at 3:21 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply Genbin Wu March 9, 2017 at 2:47 am

    Yoga is my favor fitness exercise.The Yoga pants in the article is attracted. It is hard to find the budget and fashion women Yoga clothes.You are good at discovering fashion.I found the Gearbest women Yoga clothes is fashion and its price is good.What is your idea?

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