08/29/2014 12:40 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Secret Superpower of Matching: 6 Reasons to Matchy-Match


When I was around 15, I got kicked out of gym class for wearing shorts and a t-shirt that didn't match. Not wearing the gym uniform would have been forgivable, or so my gym teacher told me, as she escorted me from the gym; if I hadn't chosen to wear a t-shirt that clashed so appallingly -- a bright red T worn with the purple uniform shorts. At the time I was pretty proud of myself for that fashion criminality, because I didn't like gym class and I took some pleasure in tweaking my teacher, who didn't bother to hide the fact that she didn't think much of my athletic abilities. I sometimes fantasize about an athletic competition with her now, in 2014 -- me, at my current age and ability; and her, at her then-age and ability.

Fast forward to now. I make a concerted effort to coordinate my workout outfits, often down to the socks and shoes (if possible). Recently, I spent precious time pondering whether I should buy a blue or purple running visor; bearing in mind that I would wear it for all my hot-hot runs, and that I had blue and pink running tank tops and it needed to work with both. I went for purple, and then my partner gave me a fresh-mint colored T (a delectable choice), which has makes me wonder if I need another new visor.

First world problem? Yes, and that's an expression whose content is at once obvious and so fraught with meaning as to be meaningless. Of course, to spend even a moment on coordinating our clothing smacks of frivolity in a world where people don't have enough to eat. But then again, the first world is where I (and likely, you) live, so pretty much all of our problems will be of that world; and to apply a blanket discount to the things that concern us day-to-day, is to discount our existence. To bowdlerize Descartes, I exist, therefore I will continue to make an effort to match. In another blog, on another day, we can tackle the issue of how we contribute to making the world a better place, which is a responsibility I do take seriously, but today is about clothing and how it makes us feel.

It goes without saying that if I'm coordinating workout clothes, I'm certainly aware of my street clothes. But now I must reveal that I am one of those women who also make the effort to match bra and underwear. Not just some of the time, but all of the time. I won't even get into all the nuances of how far I take this mini-obsession. At a young age I took to heart that age-old advice to wear clean underwear with no holes in it, as insurance against the possibility of getting hit by a car, and then who knows who will unexpectedly see your underwear. While I was an early adopter of underwear etiquette, the matching mania came later. Somewhere along the line, I realized that matching my bra and panties, which no one could see or even knew about (okay, so now you know) was like a secret superpower. Out in the world, I feel more powerful when I have on the armor of my undercover togetherness.

I'm not alone in these feelings, certainly not! Perhaps you are already introspecting about your own particular coordination cravings. In an unscientific, anecdotal survey on Facebook, I learned that a significant majority of women coordinate their sweat couture; while the breakdown is about even between women who match their small clothes (sorry, who can resist a Game of Thrones reference) and those who don't.

And so, without further ado, based on my research and a little look inside my own head, here are 6 reasons to matchy-match:

1. You match your non-workout clothes, why wouldn't you match what you workout in? What you wear makes a statement, no matter the activity in which you are engaged.

2. When you look good, you feel good. We all know that more than half the battle in a workout (in life, really) is our mental condition, so why not give your mind (your self-image) the best environment you can create.

3. A good outfit may be the difference between getting out for a workout or not. There are days when wearing my favourite mountain bike shirt is the biggest motivation for clipping into the pedals. (See photo, which doesn't quite show all the cowboy detail, including the notched sleeves and slightly pearl-ized snap buttons, not to mention the placate on the back.)


4. When you look good you inspire others to make the same effort, which repays them in all the ways already mentioned.
5. On top of which, a super-fly outfit might just give you the edge you need on the other competitors in a race.
6. Last but not least, take the outward appearance another level deeper, if you don't already. Matching bra and underwear are a secret superpower. Try it!