"How do you want to feel when you run?”
A simple question, and one we often find ourselves asking here at the Nest. Why? Because more and more, we understand the transformative power of clothing. The simple act of dressing for a run can change how we think, feel, and ultimately, what we can do with our bodies. It's powerful. It's empowering. And it’s a conversation we control with ourselves. To learn more about her own relationship with clothes, running, and the process of dressing for a feeling, we sat down with the one and only Lauren Fleshman to talk about how she puts on the powersuit.
MEGAN: HOW DO YOU WANT TO FEEL WHEN YOU'RE RUNNING, AND WHY?
LAUREN: When I run, I want to feel free. Sometimes the pull of work or family or other ways I should be using my time can keep me stuck in the house, in my chair, like cheese on a pizza, and when I get out the door, it feels like I've broken away but there are still pieces of cheese connected, stretching and straining, until eventually they snap. I crave the moment I'm far enough away from the house to leave everything behind me. To have the channels between my muscles and mind be all the way open.
M: HOW DO YOU GET YOURSELF INTO THAT HEADSPACE?
L: I surrender to the run, to the time I'll be out there. "Ok, I'm doing this. 6 miles." I tune into the sound of my feet on the ground, I lighten it. I synchronize my breath with my steps, in for three, out for three. "I watch the surroundings go by and look past them to feel the visual effect of my motion all at once. It's not unlike being in the backseat of a car as a kid, watching the sky as electric poles pass in rhythm.
M: WHAT'S THE ROLE OF CLOTHING HERE? HOW DO YOU USE CLOTHING TO TAKE YOU TO SPECIFIC HEAD SPACE, MINDSET, OR PLACE OF READINESS?
L: Clothing is a big part of the ritual. It's the symbol for the preparation. It's the decision making moment where I'm imagining myself out there doing it. Picking correctly for the weather, to engage with the elements. Which items will help me feel what I want to feel today? If I want to feel fast, if I expect to work myself hard, I am very particular. What will keep me feeling dry, sleek? Warm enough, or cool enough? Which items will essentially disappear from my consciousness allowing me to feel like power and motion incarnate? If I am running to escape work and people and be in nature, to be relaxed and feel my surroundings, I choose items based on their hand-feel and drape. I'm looking for stimulation from the environment, something looser fitting that will move in the breeze, that will exaggerate it slightly so I don't miss it, so I'm cued to look up from the trail at how that breeze moves the leaves in the canopy above, or ripples the water. If I'm feeling rebellious and anti-performance, I go to my graphic tees. And if I need my run to serve as a hug, I always choose lux.
M: DO THESE EMOTIONS, CHOICES, OR CONVERSATIONS EXTEND TO YOUR BROADER LIFE?
L: For sure. Dressing to enhance or evoke an emotion or feeling is as old as time. Even those who have taken a vow of poverty to pursue the work of God, in the many forms this is done, have specific rituals around dress. The more singular the purpose, the more specific the clothing. And when my purpose is or has been highly specific: a presentation; performing music; racing the best in the world; racing for the hell of it; celebrating an anniversary; bonding with my newborn those first tender weeks -- decisions are being made whether they are conscious or not.
M: SHOW US YOUR POWERSUIT! SHARE YOUR FAVORITE #FLYSTYLE PIECES THAT HELP YOU CHANNEL THESE FEELINGS.
L: Of course!
FOR: Long runs, long tempos, or higher volume interval workouts of moderate intensity.
WHY: High performing fabric matches the effort. It disappears on the body. But the symbols of the birds, and the longevity of the style has a casualness to it that is comforting. It makes me feel like this effort is part of many efforts over time and place, which keeps the effort of the day in it's appropriate place.
FOR: Anytime I've got business to take care of. When the job is specific, and hard.
WHY: It locks and loads the girls, regardless of time of the month sensitivity, and I just know it performs for me. Most of the time I'm doing harder workouts in reasonable weather, I take off my shirt to feel as free as possible. To me, the Verrazano looks and feels complete without a shirt on, like a performance garment, not a bra.
FOR: Runs to feel free, runs to escape, runs to renew, and perhaps strangely, when I'm writing.
WHY: It is an extension of the body. It feels anatomical, and minimal, and subtle. It does the job without restricting me in any way.
FOR: Workout days
WHY: They perform brilliantly, stay out of the way, and don't interact with the breeze or any other environmental cues, helping me stay inside my body completely.
FOR: performance + nature
WHY: These fill a similar role to roga shorts as far as performance meets non-clingy, flattering style. But the fabric on these is just a little more flowy, a little more interactive with the breeze. It can dance along the skin as a cue to remind you to look around, to be where your feet are, to interact with the places those feet are taking you.
FOR: feeling like a carefree, badass bitch
WHY: It looks sexy but in a way that is 100% comfortable, made of a fabric in a cut that is meant to please you, not the viewer. Side effects include inadvertent swagger.
FOR: celebrating the human body's range of capability
WHY: The new fabric this season is out of control amazing, and just gets better with every wash. These are soft, a body extension, a compliment. The design lines along the quads speak to the anatomy nerd in me, and the angled cropped ankle feels like a calling to move nimbly, rhythmically, powerfully, like the hands of a pianist. I just love the artistry of these tights, and so I bring them in to all kinds of situations. They find their way out of the drawer a 3x the rate of any of my other tights.
FOR: performance with connection
WHY: like the flyte tops, these shorts are built to perform and disappear on your body without screaming "wind-tunnel tested futuristic nerd-alert." They are a classic design from the early days of Oiselle, an iconic fit and feel, and they make me feel connected over time and space in way that puts me in a good headspace for balanced performance. Not taking myself too seriously, while giving myself every chance to be great.