Earlier this week on Bloomberg TV, Lululemon co-founder Chip Wilson seemed oblivious to the foot in his mouth when he said yoga pants "don't work for some women's bodies." He later clarified that "it's really about the rubbing through the thighs, how much pressure is there over a period of time and how much they use it." Well, that sounds like not every woman can wear your pants, Chip. "No, I think they can. I just think it's how you use it."
Meaning... if you use yoga pants on your chubby, muscular or borderline average thighs, you might distress the fabric to the point of malfunction. If you face the fact that you should be purchasing two sizes above what you normally do, and wear the pants on, say, your arms, however, they work just fine! Or if you're one of the emaciated models posing for the "thinspiration" pins haunting the dreams of half the population of suburban junior highs chools, you're good to go!
It's no surprise a lot of women were outraged by Wilson's comments and have pledged to boycott the brand. But a lot of Interwebs commenters are coming to Wilson's defense for being the first person to say what everyone else is thinking - spandex isn't for everyone. First of all, I believe Kimmy Gibbler was the first person to say that. And second, whether he likes it or not (and judging from later in the interview when Chip talks about how wealthy he is, he does), a large part of Lululemon's success is due to its reputation for producing slimming yoga pants. And you know who buys slimming clothes? Well, all women, probably, but especially women who might indulge in a french fry on special occasions. Personally, I think Nike's are more flattering, but most of my friends swear by their Lulus and claim their butts don't look as good in anything else. Even Hoda Kotbe can't help herself from shrugging her shoulders after every negative story about Lululemon and talking about how much she loves her yoga pants and how thin they make you look.
While "Sure they're insanely expensive, but they make you look skinny!" might not be Lululemon's official tagline, that, along with "Let people know you work out, and you're rich!" are the incentives behind 90 percent of Lululemon purchases, according to me. So I think Chip should either stop participating in the mass production of spandex clothes, if he doesn't think the mass of human women can pull them off, or embrace his costumer base by reinforcing the confidence his magical pants have given them, instead of alienating them and contributing to the dangerously unrealistic "thigh gap" obsession with his bizarre comments.
Maybe because I do happen to love Lulu tank tops, I want to believe Wilson isn't a misogynist - he's just kind of a weirdo... and he needs to find a CEO to look into quality control issues (because he's too busy enjoying his wealth to do it himself)... and maybe a PR director who knows something about media training.