Lululemon Recalls Yoga Pants: “Too Transparent”


Pants not for showing off recalled for showing off too much.

Popular pantsmakers Lululemon have issued a recall on their “Luon” style of yoga pants, citing too-thin fabric that becomes transparent if it’s stretched–say, if the person wearing it is doing yoga, for example.

Faithful Good Men Project readers may recall our recent yoga pants controversy, a lively back-and-forth on the subject of whether women wear yoga pants with the intent of working out comfortably, or of flaunting what Mother Nature (and yoga, presumably) gave them in the derriere department. If pants are being recalled for being too transparent, that suggests that indeed, they’re not about showing anything off.

GMP editor and yoga pants wearer Joanna Schroeder had this to say:

Yoga pants are important because if you’re serious about your practice, you don’t want to be distracted by your clothing slipping, bunching, or riding up in the crotch. I know a few serious yoga practitioners who are female who wear the same kinds of shorts male practitioners wear (like the baggies at Lululemon made for men), but most prefer a slimmer, tighter fit so that when they lift their leg up during class, you can’t see up the shorts.

I am incredibly conscious of transparency, in fact for 15 years I’ve known that before buying yoga pants, you need to bend over in front of a mirror to test transparency.

For me, the idea that yoga pants are sexy to guys is literally the last thing on my mind when I’m going to yoga. Everyone else wears them, I’ve been wearing them for 15 years, even a lot of guys wear equally-tight shorts in the most advanced classes.

And, naturally, Cosmopolitan wanted to weigh in with their two cents, agreeing that yoga pants are not about serving the male gaze, unlike the 30 articles Cosmo runs every month on “How To Better Serve The Male Gaze”. It seems that even the stalwart defenders of 101 Ways To Drive Him Wild insist on there being comfortable workout pants that aren’t for ogling.


Photo—lululemon athletica/Flickr

About Noah Brand

Noah Brand is a writer and editor, and quite possibly also a cartoon character from the 1930s. His life, when it is written, will read better than it lived. He is usually found in Portland, Oregon, directly underneath a very nice hat.


  1. What is the hardest task in the world? To think

  2. wellokaythen says:

    Has anyone pointed out the obvious and unpopular fact that NOT ALL WOMEN actually look good in yoga pants? Call me shallow and insensitive, but let’s not pretend that all butts are equally appealing in tight pants. I’m not a hypocrite — I wouldn’t subject the public to MY ass in tight pants….

  3. Well, I’m glad we have proof that women have never worn yoga pants because they make their glutes look good.

  4. Mark Neil says:

    While I don’t particularly care to get into the debate again, I do need to point out, once again, that the original Yoga Pants article was discussing the motives for wearing yoga pants OUTSIDE the gym, so their functionality inside the gym is irrelevant (except in those cases where the wearer is traversing between locations) to that discussion.

  5. wellokaythen says:

    Clearly the manufacturers and marketers of yoga pants think that some women buy them for the way that they look. These things are sold to women not only for how they feel and their practicality but also because some women think that the look is flattering. Maybe these corporate marketing decisions are totally out of touch, but I suspect they have some sort of consumer feedback suggesting that some women buy yoga pants for the way that they look.

    In the interest of getting to the bottom (ahem) of this, I consulted one of the “active women’s wear” catalogs my wife receives. In it I find several pages of yoga pants-like options, sold as things that are comfortable and practical, but at least one (made by Soybu) advertised with this slogan: “make your backside your best side.” Women apparently buy them for multiple reasons, but the look must be a factor in some cases.

    On an unrelated note, I wonder if some colors of yoga pants would be less noticeably transparent than others. Maybe black pants would be safer than white?

    And, a point of clarification — transparency is not exactly the same issue as being too form-fitting. Having totally opaque fabric will not save you from the danger of camel toes, an all-too-common phenomenon with very tight pants. I very much doubt that camel toes are an intended effect of wearing these things except in extremely rare cases. Surely this is an unintended consequence?

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      The black ones in this case were the worst. White yoga pants are incredibly rare. Never seen them before.

      The problem isn’t the color, but the nature of the stretchy element of the fabric.

  6. As an avid male yoga practitioner, I completely buy the utility argument for yoga pants. They look fantastically comfortable and don’t seem to get in the way at all. Honestly if it was socially acceptable for me to wear only compression shorts to class (like I do at home) I totally would! God knows it sucks to have to break out of your flow to rearrange clothing and pull shirts down and stuff.

    However, this recall does strike me as mildly humorous. Specifically the concern that the pants are see-through and that people’s bodies might be on display. What exactly did everyone think those pants were leaving to the imagination in the first place?

    I mean if the goal is to prevent people from knowing what you look like naked, spandex/yoga pants just don’t do the job very well.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Because you can see EVERYTHING. I would go into detail here, but I think it would get really graphic.

  7. Joanna Schroeder says:

    LOL about Cosmo.

    What bothered me most about the Cosmo article was that the author seemed to be saying that people don’t care if their pants are see-through.

    Actually, I think MOST people care if their pants are see-through. Even I care if your pants are see-through, because I have looked up in a crowded yoga class one too many times and seen actual vagina. I could guarantee you that 90%+ of the women whose actual vaginas are showing through their pants didn’t know it was happening and would be horrified.

    Hence the massive recall.

    My headline for this article would be “Lululemon Loses Tens of Millions of Dollars, Proving That Women Do Not Wear Yoga Pants to For the Purpose of Giving You a Boner”

    • “My headline for this article would be “Lululemon Loses Tens of Millions of Dollars, Proving That Women Do Not Wear Yoga Pants to For the Purpose of Giving You a Boner””

      That was pretty funny, Joanna. 🙂

    • wellokaythen says:

      This makes me think of an earlier GMP conversation about how imprecise the term “vagina” has become. Presumably you mean “actual vagina” in the more general sense, the way that people use it loosely to refer to the whole external genitalia? If you literally saw vagina, that is fabric that’s not only tight but actually invasive….


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