Want to work out? Cover yourself first

If you thought the uncomfortable conversations regarding your wardrobe choice ended in high school, let me introduce you to Pure Barre.

I’ll start this off by saying I am no stranger to fitness classes. Hot yoga? I’m there. Spin class? Sign me up. Before trying a new studio out, I always check the etiquette section of their website to make sure I don’t make some kind of rookie faux pas on my first day.

Another caveat is that my back sweats. A lot. Sorry if that’s too much info for our first post together.

Anyway, over the years I’ve found an outfit that really works for me. It keeps me cool, covers my lower tummy (yes, even thin girls are allowed to have insecurities about certain body areas), doesn’t ride up or down during any type of class, and makes me feel good.

But I am not allowed to participate in Pure Barre in this outfit. Their website lists the following wardrobe rules:

Okay. I see what they are getting at with the pants — wearing leggings or athletic tights does keep your muscles warm and could help with flexibility. But midriff? If I throw a sheer running tank over this outfit I’d be allowed in. No way that’s going to help me with flexibility…all it would do is be a nuisance.

So, I actually went and tried to join a class wearing my outfit. I entered wearing a jacket over my top and as I was filling out the paperwork, casually unzipped and said “I noticed some wardrobe guidelines online and I just wondered how serious you are about it. I prefer wearing crop tops during my workout. Is this okay?” The front desk girl gave me a sad smile and told me they had tops for purchase. Since I had no intention of buying a $30 shirt for a $21 class, I declined and left. I’ve heard a tale or two of people being required to buy socks before participating — and while I think that’s pretty weird, I guess it makes more sense to me because they have carpeted studios (ew) and socks help absorb some of your foot sweat, prolonging the life of the carpet.

My question is this: Why are these RULES instead of GUIDELINES? Why not suggest pants and full shirts instead of require them? Perhaps I’m not taking this class to increase my flexibility! A blog post from a studio owner in Michigan gave a different rationale for the pants: increased grip when using balls or tubes between your thighs. If you’ve ever felt lycra, I think you know this excuse makes zero sense.

I actually did a google search to see if anyone else was confused by these rules and only came up with a few blog posts of people reviewing Pure Barre. It was generally described as a rule about “modesty” instead of function, which is a misconception on the blogger’s part… or is it?

I sent a request to Pure Barre to explain the midriff rule, and I’ll be interested to see if they respond. In the meantime, I’ll stick to Barre3 where I can wear whatever I want, and the floors are mopped several times a day.

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