“Do you ever wear normal clothes?” A question I’ve been asked more than once. I am that girl. The one who’s always dressed like I’m about to workout or like I just came from practice, which is actually often sometimes is the case.
Women are constantly being judged by their appearance and especially by what they wear and ironically more of this judgment comes from other women rather than from men. It frustrates me that if I were a guy, I could strut around in a t-shirt and some athletic shorts all the time and no one would even think twice about it.
Truth is, I do live a grand portion of my life in this attire and I’ve learned to not only accept but to embrace the scrutiny. So since this world seems to demand reasons as to why I would choose to present myself this way, here they are:
1. It’s the most comfortable clothing I own
You really can’t beat a soft, cotton t-shirt and a stretchy pair of leggings.
2. Everything goes with everything
I’m no fashionista and I have enough self-awareness to know and accept that. While no one will be ogling my gray quarter-zip or my NCAA jacket and envying my sense of style, at least I know that with athletic clothes, I won’t be putting together too atrocious a combination.
3. I have so much of it, might as well put it to good use
Some of us poor college students don’t have a ton of money to be spending on clothes and if you’re on a varsity college team, then you get a fair amount of new, free athletic gear every year. I’ll admit, occasionally I do dress up when I go to class (keep in mind that my version of dressing up consists of either a casual dress or some sort of denim bottoms accompanied by a pair of shoes that aren’t sneakers and a non-sports-bra that has padding in it).
This phenomenon, however infrequent it may be, tends to happen more and more often as the weather gets warmer and this is largely because warm weather clothes are way cheaper than cold weather clothes and as a result I am much more likely to be wearing long-sleeved sweatshirts, sweatpants, leggings, and jackets (courtesy of USC athletics) in the winter months.
4. Sweatpants and sweatshirts have tons of pocket space
Pencils, cell phones, earphones, phone chargers, money, snacks - just a few of the magical possibilities contained in the deep pockets of athletic clothing. Who needs a purse when you can have a sweatshirt with a pouch! (this year they gave us one with zippers! Well done, Nike, you've outdone yourself.)
5 .They tend to act as a barrier to stave off unwanted male attention
If you’re trying to friend-zone someone like - I don’t know - maybe your entire class, have you tried dressing like you just don’t care? Athletic clothing functions similarly to having hairy legs. Boys either assume you’re already taken or that you might be a lesbian. Regardless of whether either one of those is true, if keeping a distance from flirtatious creepers is a goal of yours, dressing like an athlete can achieve your desired effect.
6. Professors tend to automatically expect laziness and a generally low quality of work
Which then gives you the opportunity to pleasantly surprise them by actually doing the work. I once got a quiz back that had a 100% on it next to a comment that read, "You are very smart for athlete!"
7. Along the same lines, classmates tend to stigmatize you as the “dumb-ass athlete”
And then they are shocked when you actually say something intelligent, which is kind of fun and entertaining. That’s right. I own my stigma.
8. It doubles as pajamas
In case of a boring class, always wear something you’re prepared to fall asleep in
9. Sweatshirts and hooded jacket can hide headphones
Whether you’re eager to catch yourself up on all your favorite shows or you just want some background music while you’re working on homework for another class, I have found this function of my athletic garb to be particularly useful. I once watched an entire season of Game of Thrones during one particularly boring GE lecture course. I would have made it through two seasons, except that in a Southern California spring, it eventually becomes too hot to justify wearing a sweatshirt.
Warning: not recommended for discussion sections or courses with less than 50 people.
10. It’s my body
I don't need a reason. I can dress it how I want!