Refining a downward dog or trying a new balance pose at the yoga studio is challenging enough on its own, but it’s made even harder when you’re fiddling with sagging, too tight or uncomfortable yoga clothes. That’s why it’s important to purchase clothes that are breathable, flexible and comfortable.
Your yoga clothing purchases will depend largely on personal preference, as well as the style of yoga you plan to practice. But at a high level, here’s what to wear to yoga (see below for a more detailed discussion of these yoga basics):
Breathable, flexible bottoms like yoga pants or shorts
A breathable, narrow- or form-fitting top that won’t hang over your head when you’re upside down.
For women, a sports yoga bra or built-in shelf bra that offers enough support for the type of yoga suit set you’re practicing
A comfortable, warm top layer for end-of-class savasana (corpse pose) or after class when you’ve cooled down
What to Look For in Yoga Clothing
Many yoga clothes are made with polyester-nylon-spandex blends, and for good reason—these fabrics offer the right balance of comfort, breathability and flexibility:
Comfort: There’s nothing worse than practicing yoga in an uncomfortable piece of clothing. As you tune into your body, you don’t want to focus on itchy seams and tags, saggy or too tight waistbands, or fabric that binds and chafes.
Breathability: Depending on the type of yoga you practice, you may sweat a little or a lot. Particularly if you’re sweating a lot, it’s important to wear breathable and moisture-wicking materials to keep you cool and comfortable. Tank tops, shirts with cutouts and yoga pants with mesh pockets will all improve breathability and venting. Avoid cotton, which holds moisture, makes you feel hot and damp, then leaves you prone to chafing or getting chilled when class winds down.
Flexibility: Yoga involves bending, stretching, binding, lunging, reaching and rolling. Your clothes need to be able to keep up with these movements, which means they’ll probably be made with at least 15 percent spandex.
What to Wear to Yoga Class
Yoga clothes belong to a category often referred to as “athleisure,” which means that people now wear yoga suit as a matter of fashion, not just function. As such, you’ll now find yoga gear with pockets, mesh cutouts, bright colors, wild patterns and more. While all of this is fun, if you’re planning to wear your clothing to an actual yoga class, remember to pay attention to function: When you’re trying items on, consider doing a few yoga poses (downward facing dog and high crescent lunge are great options) in the dressing room or at home to test out the garment’s flexibility and comfort.
A typical yoga wardrobe includes:
Yoga leggings/pants: Yoga clothing brands offer multiple styles of yoga long pants with varying lengths and fits. As with all yoga clothing, look for yoga pants or leggings (terms that are used somewhat interchangeably) that offer a good combination of breathability, flexibility and comfort. Nylon-polyester-spandex blend pants are a good bet, as they move with you through postures but also wick moisture.