I think people, especially women, are being brainwashed to believe they should be wearing tight clothes! Two times in one week I had sales people try to shoe-horn me into tiny clothes. When I shop for clothes, I find that you cannot trust the size charts. You need a test drive! There is no substitute for trying on clothes. You have to move around and see how those clothes feel. When I intend to buy shoes, I try them on and then walk around in the store for 15 minutes to see what my feet think.
“What Size Bra Do You Wear?”
This is the question a nice sales lady asked me at my local Victoria’s Secret Store. She explained to me that many women are wearing bras that are too big in the ribs and too small in the cups. How do you know your bra size? As I mentioned before, you can’t trust the size charts, so I agreed to have my measurement taken by a trained professional. She told me my size and then helped me find some bras to try on.
Looking at the bra on the hangar, I already had my doubts. For the record, I was only looking for sports bras. There were very few adjustments with sports bras and it had to go over my head to put it on. Let me tell you, it was tough to put on! I couldn’t take a full breath while wearing it and getting it off was even harder! So I asked for the next size up, but I still couldn’t breathe a full breath!
I left without purchasing a bra that day. The nice lady that helped me tried to explain that the new bra size would take some getting used to. I guess not being able to breath takes time to get used to for a yoga teacher.
Touch Your Toes and Check Your Butt in the Mirror
Yoga pants are a special category of clothes because you want them to be tight so that the teacher can see your body, but you need to be able to bend and twist in them also. When I buy yoga pants, I try them on, do a few yoga poses in them and then bend over and look at my butt in the mirror to make sure they are not see-through.
I almost never shop for clothes or shoes online, but I decided to go out on a limb to order some “fancy” yoga pants. Since you can’t trust the size chart, I asked the sales rep for her advise because we know each other in real life. She told me that she was sure of my size and then ordered them for me. When they came in the mail, they looked like they would fit a 7-year old. I told her they were too small, but she just laughed and told me I should try them on because they stretch.
Ok, full disclosure…I got them on and they looked amazing! My husband and daughter both told me to keep them. They didn’t think it was important that I couldn’t take a full breath or bend over to touch my toes. When I sent them back, the sales rep told me she forgot that I wanted the yoga pants for yoga. She explained that some of her clients want the pants to help them hold everything in. What???
Free the Boobs
After the bra and yoga pant fiasco, I was mad. Why are people wearing tight clothes. This seems so unhealthy! I started my research thinking that there must be a connection between tight bras and breast cancer! To my great surprise, I found a bunch of studies that claim there is NO link between bras and breast cancer!
The worse thing most of these studies show is skin irritation and secondary infection from wearing tight bras and other clothes. Some articles talk about a nerve condition that causes numbness in the legs, or acid re-flux if skinny jeans are too tight. All of the articles I read were very laid back and made all this sound like no big deal. I am dumbfounded.
Your Body Needs Space
I understand that most people are not participating in several yoga classes every day like me. Most people might not consider wearing yoga pants as their professional option. Many people have jobs where they sit at a computer for work (or maybe they have a standing desk) and are not required to move their body a whole lot. There are some occupations (like my brother, a plumber, that crawl around under houses or my husband, a roofer, that climb around on roofs) that move their body in lots of ways.
No matter what job you have or how much you think you move your body, your body needs space inside. You need to be able to take a full breath. You need to be able to digest your food. Your blood needs to circulate and you need to be able to pick something up off the ground. (Check out this article on how to choose the best clothes for your workout.)
Real-life Tight Problems
When people come in to see me for their aches and pains, it is a very interesting coincidence that many times women have shoulder/neck/mid-back complaints. This is the same area where their tight-fitting bra has been for decades! The muscles and fascia in their upper back, chest, and shoulders are all super tight.
- My advise: Get the measurement and then try the bra. You need different types of support for different activities, but you should be able to take a full breath in all of your bras! If you don’t find something that works, don’t buy it. Go somewhere else and start over again. You are worth it!
I can’t tell you the number of times that my clients don’t know how to take a good, deep breath. In the past, I just thought it is because they just haven’t practiced deep breathing. Lately, I have been wondering if it is because they are wearing their clothes too tight and they don’t have the space to expand their ribs.
- My advise: Observe your breath many times during the day for 60 seconds. Is your breath shallow? Are you holding your breath? Do you breath through your nose or mouth? Aim for breathing in and out through your nose slowly. If your outfit restricts your breath, get rid of it.
Many of my clients are wearing shoes that are too small or have too tight of a toe box. They have foot and knee pain. When your feet are squished, your balance is worse and the circulation to your feet isn’t as good. Poor circulation = cold feet. This is a clue that your are wearing something that is too tight.
- My advise: Have your foot sized like when you were a kid, but this time measure the width too. When you wear shoes, you should be able to wiggle all of your toes.
Poor hydration is another issue that many of my clients battle with. They tell me that they are drinking lots of water, but their soft tissues are dry. Just imagine trying to hydrate your calf muscles while wearing skinny jeans! Better yet, imagine trying to flush our your lymph system while wearing those new compression garments for women. If you are wearing tight clothes and not moving your body, that water you are drinking will just “go straight through”.
- My advise: Don’t squeeze yourself into anything! Test your clothes. If you feel the need to unbutton your pants after a meal or when you sit, they are too tight. If your clothes leave indentations in your flesh, they are too tight.
Sexy, Young, Happy
I know it isn’t reasonable to suggest everyone wear loose-fitting yoga clothes to work, but give some thought to the images of models you see in the world or online. How do they make you feel? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to be skinny or that you have to wear tight clothes to look sexy, young, or happy.
Healthy is the new black! When you look healthy, you look beautiful. If your digestion isn’t squished, you look healthy. Eliminating back pain from wearing a tight bra, makes you look young. When you are taking good quality oxygen-rich breaths, you glow.
This is free, easy, healthy, youthful beauty! 🙂