Since my blog’s been kind of a downer lately, today let’s talk about clothes!
I’ve gotten kind of picky about what I want to wear to yoga class. I hate doing yoga in loose-fitting clothes; I feel like a baggy t-shirt is always hanging in my face during down dog and riding up somewhere I don’t want it to. Same thing with pants, if they’re too baggy, they get in my way when I’m practicing. And I don’t like long pants, because then my legs get too warm in a vigorous practice, but I also can’t stand shorts (ever). So here’s what I like to wear for yoga. (FYI, gentlemen, you might want to stop reading here.)
Capri/cropped pants, close fitting but not too tight (to avoid the dreaded “camel toe” look), preferably with some flare at the bottom so I can easily fold them up over my knee during practice if needed. Elastic waist – no tie, no zipper, and none of that fold-over fabric thing that’s so popular with the kids these days, since that’s just more fabric to get in my way when I’m bending.
Right now I have four pairs of yoga pants that meet all these requirements. Two of them came from Target a year and a half ago; I looked at Target more recently but everything I tried on was of really thin material and resulted in camel toe. I got one new pair two weeks ago at Old Navy that I love (they even have pockets!). The ON website is down right now so I can’t link ’em but they were in their new GoGA collection (Go Go Active or something like that). I also got a pretty solid pair at Marshalls this past weekend. First I went to REI, felt ill at the thought of spending $55 on yoga pants, and then went to Marshalls, where I found a pair for $14.99 that seem like they’ll be quite serviceable. They also have a cute pattern on the waistband (which does not fold over).
Spaghetti strap tank top with a built-in bra. Because, okay, I hate sports bras. I find them really constricting and uncomfortable, and I honestly do not have enough bulk up front to really need one. When I’m jogging, a sports bra is a necessary evil (although there’s enough room in mine to store my iPod in there (and I even have a big old-school video iPod), and because that thing is way supportive the iPod doesn’t bounce at all!), but when I’m doing yoga, it’s just another layer of fabric. Which is important, actually, because if the room is chilly I don’t want my girls pointing at everyone. I actually feel a little conflicted about this. It’s yoga and I want to wear clothes that are comfortable, which would mean no bra, but I feel like it’s discourteous to be braless and potentially make my fellow yogis feel uncomfortable about the view. Considering my future as a yoga teacher, I feel like it’s possibly not professional to be braless in my workplace? I’ve only had one yoga teacher ever who went noticeably braless, which I was mostly cool with at the time (several years ago), but she was wearing a white tank which I thought was not too classy and was kind of distracting.Thoughts?
So it seems like the best solution for me will be tanks with built-in bras. I’ve been shopping for these a lot lately, and it’s surprisingly difficult to find one that is thick enough to be serviceable in a cold room and that also has spaghetti straps (because one of the other things I dislike about sports bras is the racer back). I have two really good tank tops right now that totally do the job, and are stretchy and comfy and also long enough to overlap the top of my pants and thus avoid getting a draft on my back while in a bendy pose. One of them I inherited from my friend Patty, and one of them is this PrAna top (the pink pattern is really cute in person), which is currently on clearance at REI for way cheaper than you can typically purchase a PrAna top. I know the usual price of PrAna tops because I did some top-shopping at REI this weekend too and didn’t buy anything because while yeah, they make nice stuff, I refuse to spend $48 on a freakin’ tank top. (Marshalls was a bust, no pun intended, in the tank department.) So right now I have two excellent tanks and a bunch of Old Navy basic cotton tanks that I have to wear with a sports bra. Hoping to find more of the built-in kind and phase out the ON tanks eventually. Or maybe look for a sports bra with spaghetti straps instead of a racer back, although I kind of want to stop purchasing sports bras altogether until my running bra falls apart, which shouldn’t be for a while as that thing has structural integrity like you wouldn’t believe.
So, dear readers, what do you find comfortable to wear for yoga? And where do you buy it?
I haven’t gone to yoga much lately, but I usually wear a sports bra and t-shirt or tank top. I agree with the baggy issue, though. I hate having my shirt fall in my face. There might be some non-racerback sports bras that serve the purpose with a tank but aren’t the heavy duty ones. Try titlenine.com ?
“none of that fold-over fabric thing that’s so popular with the kids these days, since that’s just more fabric to get in my way when I’m bending” I have pants like these that I got on Target on sale. I like them but feel like I’m in maternity wear, even though it totally wasn’t from that section.
This is all to say I have no advice but understand your concerns.
I have a pair of those fold-over top pants, and they’re cute pants and I like them generally but not really for yoga. I feel like I’m always fiddling with the fold-over part when I should be in a pose. And yeah, definitely calls extra attention to the hip/belly area.
I have to second the recommendation for Title Nine (.com). They’re great – though they do seem to change their line up every so often, so even if they don’t have what you want now, they might in a few months. I just got a new catalog yesterday.
I’ll try to check out Title Nine, thanks for the recommendation!
Those Fruit of the Loom sports bras that you can get at Walmart for $10 for a three pack have spaghetti straps and aren’t too constricting. I need to get another bunch in my current band size, but I’ll tell you, I can still wear the band size down and it’s ok. They’re comfy, and also pretty inexpensive, but not as cheaply made as some things are.
This sounds brilliant. I’m basically looking for the equivalent of a built-in bra but sold separately, so this might work really well. The other plus is that I don’t have to go find any new stores (although my local Walmart is a little scary). Thanks!
they’re pretty great. Just remember to err on the side of larger on your band size, and you’re golden.
I do Sivananda, which encourages loose clothing with shoulders fully covered, so I wear loose jogging bottoms and a baggy T-shirt. I like their policy because it minimises body-consciousness during class. I also find I tug a lot less at baggy things than at formfitting ones, so there’s less fiddling during class, which minimises distractions. In summer, I tuck the T-shirt in before inversions, which takes a matter of seconds (and almost everyone in the class is doing the same thing at that point anyway, including the teacher if s/he is going to demonstrate the pose). Sometimes the teacher will actually remind people to do this. In winter, I wear a cotton vest (I think you call them undershirts in the US) underneath the T-shirt, so then I tuck the vest into the jogging bottoms and just let the T-shirt hang loose during inversions, with no risk of exposing my bra. I don’t find that the material gets in the way or is uncomfortable.
As for bras, my cup size is such that concealed bras normally don’t provide enough support, and I never find they sit quite right anyway. I wear a cotton underwired bra, preferably full-cup and as plain as possible – I find lace etc interferes with the fit and is often scratchy. Pretty much everything I wear next to my skin is 95%+ cotton – there’s just nothing like it for comfort and convenience.
Thanks for your input! I didn’t know that Sivananda yoga had requirements about dress, that’s really interesting. It’s important to keep body-consciousness in mind too; no one should ever feel embarrassed about how they look while doing yoga! Definitely agree about cotton, too. 🙂
i’m so conflicted about yoga clothes. i’ve been mulling over whether or not to even reply to your post because the topic is so fraught in my head.
things i do not like about yoga clothes: overcommercialization, overpricing, difficulty of knowing who really does ethically source materials & labor… you get the idea.
things i think about when i buy yoga clothes: where is my money going? can i spend a little more on something that might last longer and be ethically sourced? do i really need this or is it just about convenience or feeling trendier? can i keep everything where it’s supposed to be while upside down?
companies i have bought from that have worked on the mat: avani (i LOVE my avani capri pants, which were around $35), be present (expensive, but sturdy – i’ve only bought tops thus far but would like to have their pants)
companies i am curious about: lucy, zobha, blue canoe, hyde
Oh man, I hadn’t even THOUGHT about the ethical sourcing issue. But… do you buy your regular street clothes with that in mind? All the time?
One way I’m thinking about it is that I’m not buying into the yoga overcommercialization thing. I’m just buying workout clothes. When I shop at Marshalls or Old Navy, it’s just workout clothes.
Another way to think about it is that I’m buying WORK clothes. So my yoga pants are technically equivalent to dress pants, or even the sweet business suit I got at Express last year. But then, if I think about it that way, I should be willing to spend a little more to get good quality stuff, because I would spend a little more on dress pants for the office. Hmm.
I worry about “is this just for feeling trendier” too. But I worry about that with all the clothes (and shoes) I buy. The tank top thing is sort of a convenience/do-I-really-need-this issue for me – I can get by just fine with the cotton tanks and sports bras I have, I just don’t want to. I want it just to be a comfort issue, but you’re right that there’s a lot more involved.
I was especially interested to hear your thoughts on this, thanks for responding.
I’m trying to treat all the purchases that I make with care. Financially and culturally, it’s very difficult and sometimes feels impossible. I don’t actually buy much clothes – I get maybe a half dozen new tops in a year, some new underwear, maybe one pair of pants, maybe a skirt or dress, and a couple of workout pieces. i do need to do a little bit of wardrobe overhaul in the near future, but i’m trying to do it slowly and conscientiously. when i have to replace something unexpectedly, i frequently end up sacrificing ethics to price, which. oh.
at this point, i do want to treat my yoga clothes a bit like work clothes – they should be comfortable and somewhat stylish. I should not feel frumpy when I’m doing yoga – which is not the same thing to me as being trendy necessarily. part of feeling comfortable is feeling good about how you look. i used to practice in baggy t-shirts and such. i don’t anymore.
my kitchen-ware is starting to be where i want it to be. i’ve replaced most of my plastic tupperware with glassware. (heavier to carry, but no chemicals leeching into my food is worth it!) i’m working not on replacing my pots and pans with cast iron, one piece at a time as they wear out. my linens will be the next big project – non-synthetic sheets & towels here i come.
anyway, despite how incredibly difficult it is, i try to make as many of my material purchases as possible reflect the fact that i do not want to monetarily support companies that don’t adhere to my values (on paper at a bare minimum). i figure that my dollar is far more important in this country than my vote. if i can get my vegetables from the farmers market, i do. if i can go to a local coffee shop rather than a chain, i do. don’t even get me started on bath products – i need a major bathroom overhaul. if i’m planning to purchase some new yoga pants, it’s worth it to get them from a company that has some ecological awareness and that uses resources like bamboo, which is sustainably renewable (at least as far as we can tell right now). plus, my bamboo yoga pants are my fave. 🙂 it doesn’t always work the way i want it to, but change happens in stages.
this is one long and rambling comment.