Wearing leggings and yoga pants in the gym. Does that fit the standards?
Leggings have become a controversial topic at BYU-Idaho. The dress and grooming standards prohibit students from wearing leggings as casual wear; however, the gym now has a new policy.
“The students’ definition of loose-fitting has changed over the past few years,” said Justin Garner, the activities director for Student Activities. “We saw the trends change, and we saw more and more yoga pants, which was the first transition, and now it is leggings or tights, which caused us to revisit the pants policy.”
Garner said the whole purpose of the written policy is to clarify what is approved and what is not.
“We recognize that fitness attire may not be appropriate for the classroom, but it is appropriate for fitness type activities,” Garner said. “One should never take the opportunity to be immodest, but swimsuits are appropriate for the swimming pool and fitness attire is appropriate for fitness classes and exercise.”
Garner said that along with the transition, there have been complaints coming from both sides of the spectrum. He said some individuals say the rules are too constricting, and others say the attire is too close-fitting.
“You read For the Strength of Youth, and it is made pretty clear what is modest and immodest as far as tight clothes,” said Tony Lee, a junior studying business management. “It says don’t wear tight clothing or revealing clothing. It says don’t make excuses for special occasions or for athletic events.”
Trent Winn, a freshman studying psychology, said he feels differently when it comes to the adjusted pant policy.
“I don’t understand what the big deal is,” Winn said. “It’s important to let girls wear tight pants because it makes them feel confident and comfortable with themselves. People like to show off their stuff.”
Ashley Haymore, a senior studying exercise physiology, said this policy is not about the type of person. It is about the type of pant.
Jason Lee, a junior majoring in international studies, said he strongly opposes the form-fitting pant policy in the gym.
“I think the Church is clear about its standard of modesty, and just because the world is dropping down and it is popular doesn’t mean it is popular with God,” Jason Lee said.
Kelsey Larsen, a sophomore majoring in general studies, said she thinks leggings are great for the gym.
“They are much more comfortable and easier to move around in,” Larsen said. “I think girls will also feel more confident because they don’t have the shorts riding up. As long as they are solid and not see through, then they are perfectly modest for working out.”
Tony Lee said BYU-I shorts with compression shorts underneath work just as well as leggings, which are as tight as clothing gets.
“I’m endowed, and so wearing shorts makes it hard to cover my garments sometimes,” said Maranda Stoddard, a sophomore studying elementary education. “If you can wear leggings, you don’t have to worry about showing the garment, and it makes it to where you only have to get the BYU-I shirt, which makes it cheaper.”
Tony Lee said he does not understand why it is acceptable for girls and guys to wear skin-tight clothes when the Church said not to expose an individual’s body.
“We are not looking to call attention to our bodies,” Garner said. “In fact, it is just the opposite, the change in policy helps standardize the clothing worn and creates an atmosphere that removes barriers to entry.”
Lacey Dudgeon, a BYU-I alumna, said she feels that girls need to be more aware of the hard-to-control effects their dress can have on men. She said the gym is not the place to try to look hot.
“How you dress is a communication to other people,” Tony Lee said.
Jason Lee said it becomes difficult to have the spirit when an individual’s thoughts divert to inappropriate images.
“I don’t think it is fair for girls to be upset that they have to dress a certain way because they are being courteous to guys,” Tony Lee said. “It shouldn’t be a big deal to say, ‘Hey don’t wear something that is too tight,’ because that is how it has always been.”
Winn said people like to show themselves off through their dress. He said it is how people express themselves.
Larsen said she feels that everyone has their agency. She said if they want to wear leggings they can, if not, they do not have to.
“We want everyone to feel comfortable coming to the gym regardless of your shape, size or fitness ability,” Garner said. “The standardized clothing policy and available options should help everyone feel welcome coming to the gym.”