If there's one thing that the Americans do really well, it's the whole active lifestyle thing. You can see evidence of this everywhere you go. In particular, the way people dress. When we arrived in January, I was shocked to discover that, even in sub-zero temperatures, a good proportion of the people on the street were swathed in Lycra - leggings, joggers, yoga pants - work-out wear.
With most of my wardrobe stuck somewhere on the Atlantic for the first couple of months we were here and, after weeks of wearing half a dozen or so outfits rotated and re-jigged in every combination, I was looking forward to expanding my American wardrobe. With temperatures tentatively on the rise, it now looks like I can (hopefully) ditch the thermals and snow boots for something a little more chic. The problem is, my 'go to' options are no longer as readily available (and don't get me started on sizing!). So perhaps it's time to embrace a new style? But as I look at the Lycra-clad, sporty-looking types all rocking the 'just stepped out of the gym' look, I begin to feel a bit of a wobble coming on. After all, everyone I've seen so far seems to be beautifully accessorised with stylish sunglasses and headbands and definitely minus the sweaty, flushed face and bad hair that blighted me following any kind of physical exercise.
So what's their secret? On closer inspection, I realised that, whilst it didn't seem unusual to see people dressed this way heading in or out of the gym, or even in Starbucks for their post work-out coffee, the truth is that 'active wear' is not limited to the yoga mat. In fact, it seems perfectly acceptable to slink about in it everywhere - leggings at the library, sports bras on the school run, yoga tops on the train. It seems there are no limits for the Lycra.
Perhaps the English equivalent might be the recent increase in pyjama-clad mums at the school gates or the supermarket. I'll admit, back in the UK, I nipped down to the corner shop once or twice in my slippers, but I drew the line at the curlers, dressing gowns and onesies that were becoming the norm. On reflection, this kind of attire seems more suited for the 'quick pop to the corner shop', which could never happen here because everywhere is at least three miles away and nobody walks further than two blocks.
So back to my predicament... what to wear, when? Let me be clear. I hate shopping for clothes; being vertically challenged usually results in far too long or far too tight... I've yet to find the 'Goldilocks' pair of trousers! Add to this the fact that I've just bought a bike and, after wobbling my way round the local lake in a pair of low-rise jeans, I realised that Lycra might be the way forward if I want to avoid chaffing and builder's bum!
I'll never be able to pull off the 'Lycra chic' look. Fabletics might well be fab for many, but it just ain't my bag. Luckily, an assortment of gym kit winged its way here with me, bought during various bursts of enthusiasm for getting fit. I've cobbled together an eclectic mix of elastic reinforcements that'll do the job for now. I'll cut quite the dash next time I sashay round Costco!