The woman I want to be looks something like the woman I saw in a recent Athleta catalog. She’s effortlessly jumping across a babbling brook in a verdant forest—while wearing sleek slate-gray workout tights and a quilted jewel-toned hoodie. Or wait: Maybe I’m the lady doing yoga on the beach in a slouchy pale-pink tank top, who I saw pictured in the window at Lululemon. While I definitely admire both of their strong bodies and what looks like adventurous spirits (as well as their choice of vacation spots)—I also really, really want those clothes.
Confession: I’ve never met a pair of leggings I didn’t love. As far as I’m concerned, if I could spend 90 percent of my life in slimming, strategically seamed workout wear that makes me feel ready to leap and bound, I would.
But it comes with a catch. If I want a piece of new gear, I’ve got to earn it. I have to be out there logging miles, slogging through spin class, grimacing through the ridiculously hard thigh portion of barre workouts. I need to be using the stuff so much that occasionally the items actually wear out and have to be replaced! It’s simple: The more consistent I am with my exercise regimen, the more justified I feel bringing home a new goodie.
Judging from what I wear the majority of the time—note that I work from home—you’d think I was pretty much always coming from or going to the gym. But that’s the point. The last person I want to be is the lady who looks like she is suited up for the gym but whose main cardio is gabbing at school drop-off. Oh, and my little sweat-for-spandex bargain also works once the gear has come home with me. On a day when I’m short on motivation, a cute new top is often what gets me out the door.
Look, I’m not aiming to be the best in the class, the fastest in the park, or even a seven-days-a-week exerciser. I’m only trying to keep myself on track when it comes to my spending, my sweating, and my style. Some people need a prize at the finish line. Me? I need something dangling at the starting gate—something just within reach and preferably ankle-length.