A Rhode Island man is about to rue the day he decided to write into a local newspaper to express his disdain for adult women who wear yoga pants in public. Those very women he targeted are now organizing a peaceful protest — a Yoga Pants Parade scheduled to take place this Sunday, right on their grouchy neighbor’s block.
Jamie Patrice, the organizer of the parade, tells Yahoo Style she was “shocked that our paper posted such a nasty letter shaming women for their wardrobe choices, and felt compelled to act.” The letter, written by Barrington, R.I., resident Alan Sorrentino and published in the Barrington Times, read, in part, “Yoga pants can be adorable on children and young women who have the benefit of nature’s blessing of youth. However, on mature, adult women there is something bizarre and disturbing about the appearance they make in public … To all yoga pant wearers, I struggle with my own physicality as I age. I don’t want to struggle with yours.” He even said yoga pants on adult women provide “an unforgiving perspective” that’s “inappropriate for general consumption.”
Understandably, Patrice was so disturbed by Sorrentino’s brashly judgmental letter that she posted it to her Facebook page. “So happy that with the national election, local election, school start times change and new middle school bond and all the other serious s*** happening around us — THIS s*** was given ink. Shame on you Barrington Times and F*** you Alan Sorrentino,” the bold yoga pants-wearer wrote.
That’s when someone suggested organizing a parade to protest women’s rights to wear stretchy pants in public, if that’s what they damn well please. “Being from New Orleans, I can never resist a parade,” Patrice joked, but she’s serious about standing up sartorial freedom. So she set up a Facebook event, Yoga Pants Parade, inviting women from the community to join her in taking “a leisurely walk down Knapton Street wearing our most comfortable pair of yoga pants!” Knapton Street is, of course, where Sorrentino resides.
“I want women of all ages shapes and sizes to know that it is okay to wear whatever makes them feel comfortable,” Patrice, a Providence resident, said of her decision to arrange the event. “And I thought a peaceful walk down Alan’s street was a great way to gather in comfort, and draw attention to a body positive movement.” She’s even detailed a parade route that will begin on the front lawn of a local Hampden Meadows school.
Like many women for whom athleisure is a way of life, Patrice has a personal affinity for yoga pants. “I work from home, overnight — so my wardrobe consists of many pairs of yoga pants.” Surprisingly, though, she admits that she doesn’t often wear leggings in public; she says she prefers to pull on a pair of jeans when she’s leaving the house. That said, “I’ll be damned if some 63-yr-old grumpy letter writer is going to tell me what I should wear,” she told Yahoo Style.
So far, more than 700 people have RSVP’d that they either will or might attend the parade, and a sometimes funny yet empowering dialogue is opening up on the page. “I’ve recently gained some weight in all the ‘wrong’ places. So I’m super excited to wear my most unflattering pair of yoga pants that would have Trump wanting to police my cellulite in addition to my female organs!” wrote an empowered Candice Trismegistus. Some even see it as an opportunity to give back. “I just saw this event on a friend’s page and wanted to suggest something … You could also make it a yoga pants drive to give to shelters. All women deserve to be comfy,” wrote ViolaCay.
One woman, Amanda Perry, doesn’t want the gravity of the cause to be lost on the lighthearted nature of the event. She wrote on Facebook, “This is part of a much bigger problem with our society where people (particularly men) think it is their place and duty to tell people (particularly women) how they should look, mainly in regard to their weight and fashion. If this is your first time noticing this, now you won’t be able to ‘un-see’ it. Once you are enlightened to this fact, you will notice it everywhere. It is each individual woman’s decision to look how SHE wants to look! Your weight, body fat percentage, amount of muscle mass, clothes you wear, what color or style your hair is, etc are all your own decision based on what makes you feel good about yourself.”
Patrice is aware that there will be some negative response — “I know there are trolls out there, and have been doing my best to keep them out of our event page,” she says. “I am focused on the positive, that hundreds of women are willing to walk together in comfort and solidarity — and to show the world that men can not dictate what we wear.”