Not too long ago, Bag Lady attended her first Zumba class, apparently getting the “this is the next big thing” memo four months too late because, come to find out, everybody is taking Zumba classes.

Oh … not you? I’m so sorry to hear you’re even less plugged in.

Here, if Bag Lady may condense one hour’s worth of exercise into a four-sentence description, is what you’re missing:

Step, step, step, step.

Arm flail, arm flail, arm flail.

Butt shake, butt shake.


It’s not to be entered into lightly. Such three-part precision requires the right footwear, outfit, sports bra and accessories. Decide to showboat it in sandals and a frilly little leopard print nothing and you’re begging for sprained ankles and stretch marks. And, youch.

At the end of an hour, that first class amounted to quite a workout without any side-splitting agony. So if you haven’t tried it and deem yourself step-, flail- and shake-able, by all means, Zumba, too. But first, let’s lace up, stretch out and shop.

• Covington Sport workout pants, Sears, $7.98-$11.98

You make it, um, some number of years, and you think you know everything there is to know about pants. That kind of arrogance is just begging to be set straight.

Enter, Sears.

Choose from yoga pants (long), petal pants (8 inches shorter than yoga, cut at an angle) or leggings (5 inches shorter still). Try them all on for a warm-up.

• Essentials long-sleeve thin poly zip-up, plus sizes, Fashion Bug, $4.98

Blue with green and white stripes or black with purple and white. Very sporting. Pair with:

• Paradise cotton tank tops with crinkled edges, Fashion Bug, $7.99

In purple, white, pink, black or a color so ungodly bright that it will burn your eyeballs. Go yellow and, like it or not, you’ll be the star of Zumba class.

• Sofsole low-cut socks, 6-pack, Olympia Sports, $9.99

More day glo. It’s all feeling very 1983. Flashdance, anyone?

• Reebok DMX Ride gray and purple trail cross sneakers, Sears, $34.99

These beauts were on the clearance rack! Bag Lady loves a clearance rack.

• New Balance 412 white with pink running sneakers, Sears, $34.99

These beauts were not on the clearance rack despite being a steeper discount than the Reeboks. Hmm. Bag Lady also loves a good mystery.

• Hanes sport bras, Sears, $14.99

Hanes took all the work out of this one. On its seamless sport microfiber bra: icons for pilates, yoga and weight training (i.e. no brisk movements for the ladies). On the sport full support bra: icons for jogging, tennis and volleyball (i.e. knock yourself out, or, er, don’t).

• Nordic Track performance tank with shelf-bra, Sears, $14.99

In blue or black, on a rack full of 50 percent off Nordic Track gear. Matching name brand treadmill and absurdly buff bod not required.

• Gaiam aluminum water bottle, 750 ml, Olympia Sports, $14.99

Pretty blue color with yellow flower design. It’s important to hydrate mid-flail.

Best find: Long black workout pants, poly and spandex, various sizes, Fashion Bug, $4.98

Snagging exercise pants and sneakers for under $40? The very definition of bliss.

Think twice: Adidas black princess shorts, Olympia Sports, $16.80

A 3-inch inseam? Please, think it through. If you’ve got the legs for this 1) I’m jealous, 2) Go for it, but princess, don’t join my Zumba class.

Bag Lady’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who are no muss, no fuss pre-workout) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at [email protected]

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