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In the realm of "things to dress for," I've never given much thought to what I toss on for working out. Functional, sporty-type apparel has never appealed to me (I'm not a sporty person at all) and my career in PR and writing has always placed me close to the fashion world, which has even further prejudiced me against gear created simply for working out. People who spend all day in yoga pants? I simply do not understand how they could bear to miss out on all the high-waisted, tailored, flowy, cozy, amazing pieces of "real" clothing out there in the world. But back to me and my disdain for workout gear. In the past few months, I've acquired some nicer-looking gym pieces through a friend who designs some really neat active apparel (I had no idea compression leggings could feel so good!). Wearing technical fabrics, it turns out, makes your workout a lot less soggy; chalk one up for Dri-FIT. Along with these rad high-waisted leggings came some fun, brightly-patterned sports bras and a reversible crop top, which I immediately relegated to the back of my drawer. 

You see, I have two young kids and have very, very little time to actually exercise, though I feel like I'm always in perpetual motion chasing them around. This spring and summer were particularly sedentary due to a foot injury, so I was, how do you say, feeling chubby after a few months of zero gym time. As someone who's always been mostly slim, I really felt those extra pounds around my middle, which were partly due to inactivity and could also probably be attributed to copious amounts of treats and wine consumed all summer long (see above, two kids). There was no way in hell I'd be letting it all hang out in a crop top at Ground Control, the new, wretchedly intense core class I'd signed myself up for when school started in September and I was, finally, free for a few hours each day. The instructor is a goddess of strength with lithe, slim limbs and the class is generally full of bodies of similar wispiness. My size eight, muscular frame has always felt strong and capable to me, but I've never exactly felt svelte in barely-there leggings and tight tanks. During this especially padded time in my life, I'd taken to wearing a boxy tee over a supportive sports bra to camouflage my extra-ness, which did the trick. I could see my core while doing mat work, but it wasn't front-and-center with its gentle layer of flab. 

Then, one Monday morning after an especially hectic weekend where laundry was forgotten, I had no clean tee shirts to wear to class. Not a single one. After roughly rummaging through every single drawer in my bureau, I turned up with the reversible crop top, the one I'd literally not thought about since it had arrived in my room and disappeared under layers of jeans and socks. It was clean, it was appropriate for the task, and my class started in 20 minutes. Thankfully, the leggings I'd pulled on were high-waisted, which boosted my confidence (and compressed the lower pooch of my abdomen). About three inches of my midsection were exposed, which felt scandalous. I'd not even worn a two-piece swimsuit all summer, so dissatisfied was I with the state of my tummy. So while my limbs were golden brown, this slice of stomach was a very pale, oatmealy olive. You guys — this was not my finest sartorial moment, nor a particularly empowering transformation, but I was late and needed to hustle the 15+ block walk to the yoga studio. There was no time for wallowing. 

Arriving with literally 45 seconds to spare, I grabbed a mat and set up my props in the last available spot in the studio (in the back, thank god). Quickly shedding my outer layers, I didn't even have time to think about my crop top-ified look because I needed to immediately get moving. And you know what? It was awesome. Having my midsection exposed meant I could really look at my abs when working them so intensely, and that actually helped me isolate my movements and get deeper into twists and tucks. I was also decidedly not as hot and sweaty as I usually was in my cotton tee, which felt great. By the time the 60-minute class was over, I'd completely forgotten that I'd done something that was revolutionary (for me, at least). And, of course, no one else noticed that my tummy was not Insta-ready, and if they did, I realized I totally didn't care. 

It's now a month later, and my abs are in significantly taut-er shape. I've worn that crop top again at least twice, reveling in the trimmed-down silhouette of my shape each time. I never thought I'd say this, but I even bought another one. I still haven't worn it though. Let's not get crazy.