Robin's Nest
Robin Conte is a writer and mother of four who lives in Dunwoody. She can be contacted at

While at the gym last week, I heard two women talking about a Fringe Fighter.  I thought that they were referring to another comic book superhero; I figured that maybe the Fringe Fighters movie would premier sometime between “The Avengers” and “The Justice League. “ But no, they were talking about a headband.

This I should have known, since I, myself, own a Bang Buster.  The Bang Buster isn’t just any headband; it is “performance gear” headwear, a designer piece of thick reversible material that is worn across the forehead and enables today’s female athlete to power through any workout without the threat of hair falling in her face. It’s strong. It’s sassy. It’s stylish.

When I wear it, however, I look like an Arapahoe hippie.

It seems that as our exercise habits have evolved, so has the world of athletic garb.  These days, we make a fashion statement when we sweat.

For one thing, the days of cotton T-shirts and baggy shorts are long gone — modern-day gym wear is way more complicated than that. Today’s athletic tops are Rubik’s Cubes with armholes. Sports bras are sewn into sheer, flowy, racer-back tanks, and putting one on is like climbing into an Escher print. And that’s discouraging, because if I’m not fit enough to get in and out of the workout clothes, how is my actual workout going to go?  Running shirts are made using unstinkable technology, and they breathe and wick away sweat. Basically, my gym clothes work harder than I do.

Still, my workout wardrobe could use a little update, as even my Bang Buster has been discontinued. So I went online to search for a pair of shorts (while eating a bowlful of ice cream) and became immediately demoralized.

I decided that I needed to set a few game rules regarding the performance gear I was browsing:

1. If the model wearing it has a tattoo, it will not fit me.

2. If she has a navel piercing, I need to go to a different website.

3.  If she’s doing a sideways split while balancing on one hand, I refuse to buy from that company, based on principle.

I scrolled past a pair of leggings that looked like they belonged in the Bodies exhibit and I scrolled past everything camo. I found some “sonar shorties” that looked truly stunning on the model, and after a few fanciful moments imagining that they would look good on me,  I realized that they would have the dual effect of creating both muffin top and muffin thighs at the same time.  It would be like squeezing the middle of a toothpaste tube.

You’ve got to look a certain way before you’ll drop $128.95 on a piece of neon green spandex.  If you do look that way, you do drop the cash because those are the rules. If you’re the queen of England, you wear the tiara; if you’ve got the body, you wear the crop top.

Those ads showing three women on safari in yoga gear are not geared for the novices among us — they are for those who have advanced to waif wear.  Starter workout clothes are made of velour or nylon, and they cover the navel.  There is nothing sexy about them, and we like it that way.

All of this is to say that I think I’ve plateaued at headbands.