A decade ago, I wouldn’t have been caught dead in a pair of skin-tight bike shorts. Yoga pants, though, now that was a silhouette I could rally behind. Fitted at the top, loose at the bottom — they were the perfect combination of flattering and comfortable. I wore them daily, one leg tucked into my salt-stained UGG boots, the other falling casually over the boot’s rounded toe. Somewhere along the way, I, like many others, filed my yoga pants away with the rest of the ‘00s trends I once sported. In their place rose bike shorts à la Kim Kardashian, which, until recently, had reigned supreme in the athleisure realm. But, according to a particularly influential member of Gen Z, Emma Chamberlain, yoga pants are on their way to becoming the “new bike shorts.”
“If you style yoga pants the right way, they kind of remind me of the photos of Lady Diana when she’s wearing bike shorts with a sweatshirt and a baseball cap,” Chamberlain told Refinery29 in February. “So I was like, I kind of want to do that, but with yoga pants because I like yoga pants.” Chamberlain made a case for the style on her Instagram by pairing the bottoms with a cropped turtleneck, chunky sneakers, and very tiny sunglasses, another popular trend from the bike shorts era.
On TikTok, the crowd is divided — between, as you could have guessed from the recent skinny jeans debate, Millennials and Gen Z. Under-25-year-olds are posting how-to-style videos, pairing yoga pants with cropped puffers, crewnecks, leather blazers, and chunky boots. Gen Zer Kate Bartlett recreated Chamberlain’s look almost exactly, posting a video of her version with the caption: “Emma Chamberlain decided flared yoga pants were back so now flared yoga pants are back.” Users like Kallie House are a bit more skeptical of the trend: “Yoga pants cannot come back. I’m speaking as a millennial girl — or, I think, a few millennial girls — we can’t be tucking these back into UGG boots.” But, like it or not, the second wave of yoga pants appears to be here, with the style appearing all over the platform. Should we then be packing up our bike shorts and digging out the foldover Hard Tail yoga pants we bought back in the day from storage in preparation? All signs point to yes.
If the last year taught us anything, it’s that trends from the ‘00s are having a moment, be they belly chains a la Paris Hilton or visible G-strings, so it was only a matter of time before the flared alternative to leggings came back in fashion. But now, with Gen Z’s own fashion queen giving yoga pants her stamp of approval, we can say with certainty that yoga pants are, like, totally in.
Shop 2021’s yoga pant offerings, below.
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