Choosing what to wear to a yoga class can be a challenge to some people, especially if it’s their first time attending one.
If you feel like you’re one of them, worry no more.
Here are some experts’ insights to help you find the ideal clothes that will help you stay comfortable throughout the entire class.
Brooke Davidson, RYT200
Founder, Brooke Davidson Yoga
So you’ve signed up for a yoga class. You know the studio will have extra mats and that you won’t need to worry about wearing shoes, but how do you decide what clothing to wear?
When determining your outfit, it pays to think first about the type of class you will be attending.
Clothing for Class Type
Vinyasa or Hatha
If you’ve signed up for a vinyasa or Hatha class, then you will want to wear clothing that is comfortable to move in. Tighter clothing is recommended in this context as loose or flowing garments can get in the way or impede movement.
Yin or Restorative
If it is a yin or restorative class you’ll be attending, then looser clothing can be extra cozy. Consider also throwing in a sweater as your body might cool during those longer holds.
Alternatively, if you plan to take a hot yoga class, then leave the layers at home. Again, tighter-fitting clothing will benefit you here but consider ensuring that you have on long pants/leggings which will help you nail those arm balances even while sweaty.
Clothing by Brand
Once you have determined which style of clothing will best serve the class you’ll be attending, then you can start to consider clothing brands. The crowning brand of yoga clothing for both men and women is Alo.
Although their workmanship and styles are truly second-to-none, you certainly do pay for it. Men’s and women’s separates start around $70 and quickly go up from there.
Lululemon is a step down from Alo price-wise and still offers a fantastic line of clothing for both genders. The prices are still notable, though, so if you aren’t quite committed to yoga (and yoga clothing) yet, then maybe consider brands such as Champion or C9 which sell far more affordable athletic wear.
You won’t get as high of quality or as yoga-specific of clothing from such brands, but if it makes yoga more accessible then that is all that matters.
Ultimately, don’t let the fear of what to wear keep you from attending class. Despite what the fashion industry might have you think, yoga has never been about the clothes anyhow.
Julie Turner, RYT
Owner, Chesapeake Yoga and Wellness
I’ve seen all types of clothing worn to class – from jeans to baggy pants and shirts; as well as bathing suits and shorts. My biggest tip is, it’s not a fashion show.
Wear something that you feel comfortable in moving. While yoga pants are not required, they can allow for freer movement. However, I suggest a few tests:
The Down Dog Inversion Test
- Does your top/shirt ride up over your head disabling the view of your hands?
- Does your top firmly support your chest so that you don’t “spill” out?
If you say yes to either of these, consider a top that is more supportive. Many sports clothing brands offer tops that are quick-dry and offer more support for the body. Some that are more form-fitting may not slip as much from the hips causing the mid drifts to be exposed.
The Lunge Test
- Can you comfortably do a low lunge without a tight feeling around your legs or hips?
- Can you see the angle of your knee?
Tight clothing that doesn’t allow the body to move is restrictive for both movement and comfort. However, something that is too loose doesn’t allow you, or the teacher, to see good alignment of the leg.
Qualified Yoga Teacher (Level 3 Yoga Diploma, ActiveIQ Accredited) | Owner, Firefly Yoga
The most important thing when deciding what to wear to yoga is the comfort. There are some many options out there there’s bound to be something that you find comfy.
For women, the most popular choice is leggings
Personally, I like cotton or other soft blend leggings over synthetic materials. I find these much more breathable, especially for Hot Yoga.
Tracksuit bottoms are also a good option for those not comfortable in tighter attire. I even have a few ladies at my classes who wear loose-fitting jeggings.
Synthetic, running short type materials are often too restrictive for wide-leg poses. There are also lots of option on the market for male leggings now – if you feel comfortable in a tighter fit.
Tops are pretty much the same for everyone, t-shirts or vest both work great but I would suggest a vest for comfort and keeping cool if you’re going to a hot class – or are just someone that runs hot.
Writer | Yoga Teacher | Founder, A Force of Nurture
Wear something that is not only comfortable but allows you to really embrace how their body feels
Sometimes clothing that’s too tight will constrict in certain poses and it can lead the mind toward a subconscious place. Sometimes clothing that’s too loose gets in the way of transitioning from asana to asana.
Perhaps those things don’t bother every yogi, but it’s important to know if they bother you.
One of the greatest benefits of yoga is using it as a space of self-expression – physically and mentally.
Choose the best piece of clothing that will allow you to fully express yourself without worry or hindrance. Choose clothing that enables you to truly dive deeper into how each pose feels in the body rather than how just how the clothes feel on the skin.
Wear whatever will make you love your body and love your practice.
RYT-200 | Wellness Writer | Energy Medicine Practitioner
The key for both men and women is finding comfort.
There’s no need to spend hundreds on fancy leggings. My personal go-to is high-waisted cotton leggings from TJMax and a non-restrictive t-shirt.
For women, I recommend either leggings, bike shorts, or loose-fitting pants that have elastic around the ankle
These options give you peace of mind in poses like pigeon or happy baby and give your body room to breath and flow. I like to tuck a tank-top or fitted t-shirt into my pants so it’s not falling in my face or showing my belly during down-dog.
For men, I’d avoid loose basketball shorts, unless they’re wearing some kind of compression shorts
For all, shorts put students at risk of being uncomfortable (or fumbling to find coverage if exposing poses!) pulling them out of the practice altogether.
Again, I find men who practice with a tighter shirt or tucked-in t-shirt, like a French tuck, have a better experience.
Know where you are in your practice
Do you have bad knees? Why not wear long pants to give them a little extra padding.
Do you have a long torso? Try high-waisted bottoms to avoid having to pull them up during class.
Do you run hot? Try bike shorts.