How to Buy the Right Yoga Clothes
The best yoga clothes will align with the type of yoga class you take, your fashion preferences and your lifestyle.
These days, yoga clothing isn't just for yoga or working out. It falls into the category known as athleisure, a combination of athletic and leisure, and it's a fashion trend that revolves around performance, comfort and style.
Maybe you're looking for yoga clothes to practise in a studio or just want to mooch comfortably around town feeling polished. Whatever the case, it's important to find the right clothing that aligns with your fashion sense, lifestyle and the type of yoga you enjoy.
Common Types of Yoga
If you're new to yoga, there are many different types that can influence the kind of clothing you decide to purchase. The high heat and intensity of a hot, 40-degree Bikram yoga class, for example, may influence you to choose moisture-wicking fabrics. Loose, tapered trousers, however, might be a more sensible option for a non-heated, restorative yoga class.
Here are some common types of yoga class to help you better understand what kind of clothing to wear.
- Hatha Yoga: This is one of the more popular styles that is offered at gyms and focuses on breathing, holding postures and being aware of your body. Classes are not heated, so you may not sweat as much as in other yoga classes.
- Vinyasa: A dynamic way of "flowing" or transitioning seamlessly from one posture to the next; Vinyasa classes may or may not be heated. Regardless, Vinyasa tends to involve a higher intensity level.
- Bikram Yoga: Also known as hot yoga, classes are conducted in a very hot room, usually over 40 degrees Celsius. Hot yoga classes follow a sequence of 26 poses tied to breathing. You will probably sweat to the point where your clothes are drenched.
- Iyengar Yoga: Great for improving posture, this type of yoga focuses on spine alignment in a slow, methodical way. Poses are generally held for a minute or so. Classes are generally not heated.
Opt for High-Quality Fabric Blends
Before you go to class, prepare yourself for the poses and temperatures you will encounter. The wrong kind of clothing may cause chafing, poor breathability and physical discomfort. As yoga requires you to hold postures, fiddling with drawstrings, pulling up sagging trousers or a waist that cuts into your midline can be distracting.
The best yoga clothing is comfortable and made from stretchy, buttery-soft fabric. You don't have to adjust it much during your stretches. This usually requires a blend of polyester, elastane and nylon, materials that respond smoothly when you're in a Downward-Facing Dog or lunging forwards.
Synthetic fabrics that include a combination of materials such as elastane, cotton, wool or bamboo are also a great option to consider. Synthetic materials can be designed to be durable, eco-friendly and provide temperature regulation.
Must-Have Yoga Clothing Features
- Moisture-wicking fabric that dries quickly. Nike Dri-FIT Technology is an innovative polyester fabric designed to wick away sweat and disperse it across the fabric's surface, letting you comfortably work out harder and for longer.
- Form-fitting garments. You don't want clothing that rides up or hangs over your head when you're upside down.
- Support and stretchiness. For sports bras, look for ones that provide enough support with stretch. Avoid sports bras that are stiff, as they are difficult to get on and off, especially if you're sweaty.
How to Choose Yoga Trousers for Women and Men
Generally speaking, it's best to wear tight-fitting, full-length yoga trousers to provide grip, in case you have to get into poses that require you to hold your calves or ankles. Three-quarter-length trousers leave your ankles bare and make it difficult for you to do this, especially if your legs are slippery from sweat.
There are also tapered, loose yoga trousers, which might be great for yoga that focuses more on breathing and meditation rather than intense movements such as those required for Vinyasa.
High-waisted yoga trousers provide lots of mid-section coverage and generally tend to be more flattering on many different body shapes. One thing to note is that yoga trousers aren't the same thing as leggings. Leggings are meant to be worn for comfort only and may not be the best option if they're made from cotton, as this fabric tends to absorb moisture and make your clothing heavier, rather than wicking it away.
For men, styles for yoga trousers tend to be looser-fitting and look more like joggers, but still provide secure waistbands and flexibility without sagging. Some men choose to wear compression trousers with shorts over them or a pair of breathable shorts.
For ladies and gentlemen, always do the bend test when you're trying on trousers—you don't want your trousers to rip during class. Some fabrics may appear to be opaque, until you stretch or bend over.
Yoga Shorts for Both Men and Women
Depending on the type of yoga class you're in, you may or may not choose to wear shorts. Hot yoga classes, for example, may cause extra-sweaty legs, which make it harder to get into certain poses.
If the class isn't hot and you want to wear shorts, choose some with a built-in liner to provide comfort and peace of mind for coverage when you're in a forward bend. For men, knee-length shorts may provide more coverage in upside-down poses, like a headstand, for example.
Stay away from shorts that are too short, thin or are see-through.
Choosing the Right Yoga Top
Pick a sports bra based on the amount of coverage you need, as you'll probably be twisted and going upside down. In sweatier classes, it's normal to see women wearing only their sports bra on top. A tank top with a built-in sports bra could be another comfortable option.
Many yoga enthusiasts prefer form-fitting tank tops or T-shirts. Loose-fitting T-shirts may fall over your head if you're bent over or in an upside-down pose. Tank tops are also a good option since they allow your arms to move freely.
Avoid choosing tops with scratchy tags behind the neck or at the side of the waist.
Additional Yoga Gear
While many people prefer to be barefoot in class, some wear yoga socks with non-slip grips to keep their feet from slipping on the mat.
To help avoid slipping while barefoot, consider a non-slip mat or a lightweight yoga towel to place on top of your existing mat.
The last part of class requires you to lie down on your back—called Corpse Pose or Savasana. This is the cool-down period and arguably one of the most important poses in class.
If the yoga class was especially hot and sweaty, you may choose to put on a long-sleeve top or yoga jacket. This helps when you exit class and step outside—extra layers can prevent you from getting cold, especially if you're sweaty.
Yoga Clothes to Fit Your Lifestyle and Body Shape
Choosing the best clothing for you will probably come down to style preference plus price point. Most yoga clothing brands have items that are inclusive of diverse body shapes and sizes, too. Nike has its Plus Size line, which includes yoga clothing.
If you work out on a daily basis or enjoy lounging around in yoga clothes, choose articles of clothing that are durable and will last for many washes. If possible, hang your yoga trousers to dry rather than putting them in the dryer—this may prevent them from shrinking and the colour from fading. Wash them in cooler water.
Go for a fit that is functional and able to wick moisture away quickly so you can stay dry and comfortable whether you're working out or hitting the town.