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Today's Gym Diva Would Never Cavort in Spandex

February 16, 2001|Jeannine Stein

Dear Fashion Police: I'm a college student in my late 20s, and I like to work out at my local campus gym. Although it's been a few years since I've been actively working out, I find that current gym attire has changed greatly since my early 20s. I've always worked out in spandex, and I still enjoy wearing Danskin's ultra-shimmery tights to work out in. Is it just me or what? I feel as if I'm really outdated or just old. Are those shimmery tights still in fashion? Should I change my workout wardrobe?


Dear Feeling: Are you sure it's only been a few years since you last set foot in a gym? Have you just been playing old Jane Fonda workout tapes since then? Because we haven't seen those shiny tights in a very long time. No, wait. We take that back. A couple of weeks ago we did see a woman at the gym wearing not only shiny tights but leg warmers as well. That sent us into an unpleasant retro tailspin of Olivia Newton-John--"Let's Get Physical" memories that we'd rather leave buried.

Except for that anomaly, shiny tights are o-u-t out. What's in for gymwear these days is dressing down--waaaaaayyyyy down. First, it helps if most of your outfit is black, navy blue or heather gray, especially the tights/sweat pants/leggings/shorts. There can be some design, but nothing major, maybe some stripes down the side of the leg or something. And no short-shorts. Bike short length is good. We've even spotted a lot of those loose, old-style gym shorts. Either way, the fabric should be matte, not shiny, and if you must inject some color beyond the ones mentioned, don't go anywhere loud, like tangerine, turquoise or magenta. Stick with dark, muted tones.

As for tops, go for oversized T-shirts or tank tops, plain preferred over logo-ed. Shirts don't have to be brand spanking new, but they should be clean and hole-less. For colors, see above, but also consider the popular All-American red, white and blue combo, as in blue sweats, red sweatshirt and white T-shirt.

Also, there's no matching going on. No matching of socks to sweatbands. No Nike leggings with Nike tank and Nike shoes--that's been a no-no for a few years now.

If you want to go a touch skimpier, a cropped, fitted tank is OK, but watch out for ones that push your cleavage up to your chin. Very few women wear a sports bra solo. There's usually something over it, such as a tank top. Most people who go to gyms these days do so to sweat like a farm animal, not find a date for Saturday night. Yes, socializing still goes on, but that shouldn't be the main reason you go to the gym. That's why God gave us Starbucks and Jamba Juice, to have some place to go after our workout.


Dear Fashion Police: On a cruise, I saw someone wearing full-length gloves to dinner. Is it proper to eat with the gloves on, or should a person remove the gloves while eating? There was much debate regarding this question.


Dear Cruising: So you've had it with talking about the economy, White House scandals and "Survivor," and you've moved onto dishing people who eat wearing gloves? Good for you.

Wearing gloves while eating is not a fashion faux pas if you're noshing non-messy foods, i.e. picking up a rumaki by its little toothpick. Anything more extensive--like a meal eaten at a table--and the gloves must come off.


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