What not to wear

“Are these bras to wear under clothes or on their own?” Buh? Bras on their own? Come again? We’re in Lululemon, one of my shopping meccas on Queen West this past weekend. We’ve just come from a workout at the gym down the street where I’ve tried to teach my friend how I workout. She’s doing a fitness challenge at work and one of her goals is run a 5k so I’m trying to help her get there. We’re here rewarding ourselves with a look-see at some workout treats. I’m fighting the urge to not buy the entire store and my friend is asking me the most ridiculous question I’ve ever heard. I suddenly feel like my mother. “Um, where are you only wearing this bra, my dear?” “Running outside in the summer when it’s hot, you know – like a crop top.” I’m sorry – club wear while jogging? See, my friend is hot. She’s naturally thin, is developing a six-pack as she’s lost a bit of weight lately (that she didn’t NEED to) and has discovered that the gym is the place to be after work instead of in her bed watching tv with a bag of cookies, as she used to do. “You JUST started running TODAY. Don’t you think you’re getting a LITTLE ahead of yourself?” “Yeah but if I’m going to be running outdoors in the summer and it’s hot, I don’t want clothes sticking to me. It’s icky.” Icky? Lord love a duck. I didn’t want to sound like some bitter, jaded, jealous girl but so help me… “I’m sorry – are we running to get healthy or are we running to attract attention to our perfect body, because I’m a little confused…” There was some muttering and staring at the floor and examples of how she sees OTHER people run like that and I kind of felt bad but at the same time I didn’t. I don’t get why other people NEED to live up to ideals that they see on their Turbo Jam dvds or those freaks who run down the street without shirts on so you can see their abs of steel glistening in the summer’s midday sun (although, if I’m on a patio drinking a cool beverage and you run on by – hellooooooo sir!). Unless you’re a superstar runner like Paula Radcliffe, et al. and can run a 5k race in under 15 minutes or you’re running in a race like this (which I soooo want to. Anyone in TO who’s up for it, lemme know!), I don’t think sports tops that are “cropped” or look like bras are appropriate for running, ESPECIALLY in race situations (unless you’re going for the kitsch factor a la pride run). Otherwise you’re just looking for attention.
And you’re going to attract the wrong kind of attention from most…and the worst kind of attention from those who participate in the sport with you. Call me a bitter mouse all you want, but share your thoughts with me on this one.


Vickie said...

One of my yoga instructors how is also "hot" (to look at) at age 35 with 4 kids was just talking about this very thing. She said that it was totally appropriate to be bra only at the gym or out running a few years ago - but that time has passed and now it is icky unless it is 100+ degrees outside and then you shouldn't be running anyway. She wasn't just saying this about herself - she was saying that the fad had passed.

ashley said...

I'd agree it is kind of icky when people wear the bras only, but I also think it's icky when guys wear too-short-shorts to workout or women wear super-tight pants.
I'm not one for showing much skin (gym or anywhere), but when I workout, I do love to dress up, regardless of what other people think.

Jennifer said...

Yeah... I don't think that running etiquette includes wearing JUST A BRA. I personally prefer to be fully clothed when I workout, not semi-naked. I definitely don't like to see too much skin at the gym. I couldn't even imagine myself wearing just my Lulu bra during a run. Ick!

Carolyn said...

Well, I've done it. Last year, at my lowest weight, and in a 5k. It was about a billion degrees, and I had worn a black shirt. I felt too hot, and had no original intention of running in only my bra, but when I started to feel sick to my stomach, I ditched my shirt.

I felt pretty self-conscious, but after a while I figured that I didn't give a crap what other people thought, because it was about my comfort, and me running my best race.

I definitely don't go to the gym and workout in my bra, or run around Ottawa in my bra. However, I figure that if someone wants to show up at the gym like that, and it doesn't harm me in any way, who am I to say that they can't do it?

marie said...

Sorry - but if I started to feel sick to my stomach running a 5k race, I'd stop, not take off my shirt.

My health is more important than a PB in a 5k. I can find one next weekend if I want it that bad.

I ran a race at the end of june last year and one in mid-july, both were HELLA hot and one was 10 miles (16km). Never once did I consider stripping down for the sake of cooling off. I did stop at a water station in the latter race though.

Different strokes for different folks.

I do find it odd how you had to mention that you were at your lowest weight though.

Sarah said...

Ok, at least she looks good wearing just a sports bra... there are women at my gym who have NO business NOT covering their midsections, yet for some reason they think everyone wants to see all their jiggly bits.

I don't really care if people don't cover themselves completely as long as they look good doing it, more power to you! In all honesty I probably would show off my 6 pack if I only had one. :S

ashley said...

I'd have to agree with Carolyn on this one. If you're in a RACE and everyone is there just for running, then wearing just a sports bra is fine. It's not naked!
And what if it wasn't appropriate? Just don't look. I wouldn't do it, bu that shouldn't stop someone else if it doesn't hurt me.
As for Carolyn mentioning she was at her lowest weight- it's not a problem. Heck, if I was at my lowest weight and feeling good and was sweating and racing, I might take off my shirt, too!

marie said...

Now we're attacking "jiggly" people? I jiggle and I'm fully clothed.

I find it odd because it didn't seem necessary. I know her story and she's a healthy weight now and then.

Put down the pitchfork.

Jen said...

*laughs* my jiggly sour mouse!!!

I am completely 100% in agreement with you (though I don't run)...don't they make moisture whicking clothing for a purpose??? and is it not why the tank top was invented??

You will never see a wide expanse of my flesh at any time, lowest weight, running, nudist colony...NOTHING!!! And I have to agree, if I were feeling sick during a run, I wouldn't whip my clothing off, I would run my ass to the nearest air conditioner and water bottle...though I am not judging those who DO it...I do just think there is a bit of vanity involved...

Vanessa said...

To each their own. In the end it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, it's her life and body and she can dress herself however she likes. We all have bodies, so why are we expected to be ashamed of them and hide them all the time?

Amuldoon said...


Marie, are you turned on by the following outfits:

1) My current outdoor attire: spandex pants, red long sleeved tech shirt, pink short sleeved tech shirt, red/navy habs hat with a headband over top to keep my ears warm, black RR jacket, and red mitts. My friend gasped when I took my jacket off at breakkie. My response: WHO GIVES A FUCK.

2) My current gym attire: capris of some sort (I do have one pair of Lulu's! the rest are from Costco... haha) and a tech shirt, with a ball hat of some sort. Usually, I do NOT match. Even better, usually I don't even have shaved legs!

Bottom line: I don't really give a shit what I look like while exercising.

The Bottomer line: I JIGGLE LIKE CRAZY.. and I'm frickin proud of it!

marie said...

I wonder why, wheebs...

We've got people judging the jiggly and then others scrutinizing the six packs.

No one can win.

But I KNOW why SHE'S doing it and it's not the attention she needs.

Amy - I want you in the worst way.

TrixieBelden said...

I agree with Marie ... people don't like to admit when they are wearing things to get attention. It is kinda like saying, "I'm so fat." when you know you aren't. I don't think people do it deliberately, I think it is sub-conscious. At least that's what I tell myself. Now the next question is ... is it totally a bad thing that they are wearing those clothes to get attention? Is it wrong to want that attention? Is it hurting anyone?

marie said...

I ♥ you, trixie.

I think when people dress provocatively to get attention, won’t admit it and then bitch and moan at you that they can’t find a guy who wants them for their brain, then you do have a problem.

I know that was my problem when I used to flaunt the girls...when I used to have boobs.

Le sigh.

katieo said...

"I think when people dress provocatively to get attention, won’t admit it and then bitch and moan at you that they can’t find a guy who wants them for their brain, then you do have a problem. "

dingdingding! I think a lot of women never make that connection.

That said, I know a couple of hardcore athletes (triathlon/marathon ladies) who run occasionally in just a sports bra and running shorts (a la Paula Radcliffe) and I don't even think twice about it.

In conclusion I think most people can usually tell if you're putting out the "attention" vibe or the "Yo. I mean bidness" vibe. I can anyway.

Carolyn said...

I mentioned that I was at my lowest weight because I NEVER would have done it before that!

No other reason than that.

Anonymous said...

Boy this one sounds like a real bitch fest. Looks like if you are slim you can run/work out with just the bra, if you are "jiggly" you can run/workout with a heavy duty turtleneck. For me, this is the very reason out society is sooo judgemental. It does not matter what anyone wears, it does not matter why someone would choose to wear something. What matters is acceptance of others. I have dined with the so-called "wealthy", but I have also dined with the homeless, in either circumstance, their choice of clothing meant nothing to me but their wisdom, humility, compassion, kindness and unconditional love are lessons I will treasure for life.


Sara said...

Serious athletes wear next to nothing b/c it weighs less and lets them go faster.

Now I don't give a shit what people wear b/c christ it is just exercise.


I find it funny that the reason given so many times for running in a sports bra or shirtless (let's not forget all those guys!) b/c it is hot outside. It it is hot and sunny the last thing you are supposed to do is expose more skin. That just let's more of your surface to absorb the heat and actually you would just get hotter. So they should really come up with another reason.

marie said...

I was trying to get at that, Sara, by mentioning Radcliffe.

I'm a rec runner. I have no need to break records and wear clothes that are barely there.

I was concerned too that no one was talking about hydration in heat as well, only the removal of a shirt.

Diet Coke and Zingers said...

I gotta add my haler-loo-yah to that one... I hate seeing people who are all about what they look like when they exercise. It just bugs...

Smokinroundhouse said...

Ditto Mouse...I can't even say how many times a chick will show up at the dojo to train in a tank top and spandex shorts...then wonders why the guys in the class stare at her jigglers. For Christ's sake- even the women can't help but stare when they are in your face. These people don't usually last too long though...they don't like to mess their hair up or get dirty.

kerrinhardy said...

Hey Mouse

Really enjoyed your post - and the follow up conversations. No-one's really mentioned whether they find it intimidating. I think that some people feel like someone in 'better' race gear must obviously be a 'better' runner too.

At kdays.com I host the Running Blog Carnival.

This post was included in the Running #2008-06 edition.

Great topic! Enjoyed your other posts too. And what happened about the scrumper ring?



anna said...

yo! i'm with you on this one too! i can't stand seeing a hoochie mama in running shoes! part of me is jealous of her six pack but the other part of me is like "WHY?" is the point of going out running to RUN or is it to attract attention to the BODY?
it's a fine line, eh? i'm always trying to make my body look better so that's part of why i run. and i would love to be able to flaunt some abs (someday?) BUT i don't run to get attention WHILE running.
i'm glad you have a way of setting it straight without offending.

Anonymous said...

I think this post is ridiculous. Why does it matter so much what other people wear? If that's what makes them comfortable and feel confident in themselves, then what's the big deal? Maybe they aren't trying to be "hoochie mamas." maybe they feel confident enough in themselves. Maybe they wear it to inspire and motivate themselves. I'm guilty of buying a pair of pants one size to small to use as motivation at the gym, to work out hard so i can fit in them and look nice.

I think that alot of the people that find women dressing in "mid drift tops" appalling are jealous in some form or another. If you got it, flaunt it. If you feel comfortable running in that, then wear it. Obviously athletic wear companies wouldn't produce the damn things if they weren't meant to be worn. If a girl is bustin her ass at the gym, workin hard to obtain a nice body, to get those rock hard abs, then she should be able to flaunt it.

Hmmm i don't see you complaining about guys running around with no shirts on.

Do you have a problem with people wearing bikinis at the beach versus wearing a one piece? It's pretty much the same thing.

Oh and for the record, sports bras are not deemed "club wear"

Anonymous said...

it's the same anonymous from earlier...

but, i wasn't trying to talk down to you or anything in that matter. you shouldn't hate on others for what makes them feel good.

you are being a feminist, but you're posing the double standard on yourself.

marie said...

Thank you for having the "balls" to post anonymously not once, but twice. So brave.

She said "crop top", not me, hence the club wear comment.

Want to read a little closer before you attack?

But thanks for your input.

Anonymous said...

I ran across your page on google, I don't have a blogspot account, hence the "anonymous" post.

My name is Rachelle. there you go.

And CROP TOP signifies any top that is cropped. Not club wear.

It's you that is attacking females that are strong minded and feel confident in themselves.

You are totally contradicting yourself. Why do you feel the need to lose weight? To better yourself and FEEL good about yourself. Which is exactly why women wear sports bras to run. It motivates them and makes them feel good about themselves.

marie said...

NO - go back and read my story.

I joined weight watchers because my doctor told me I HAD TO LOSE WEIGHT.

I was 26 with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was obese.

But I guess you didn't feel the need to read too many posts back, eh?

And I wrote this based on my friend's account. I know why she wore a crop top the night before and I know why she wants to wear a crop top running.

Anything else?

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