The First Class is a series of posts where I discuss what to bring, what to wear and what to expect when you go to class. While this is aimed mostly at newbies, this is certainly applicable for people looking for tips on how to improve their yoga experience.
I’m going to break it down and make it really simple for you. Yoga clothing doesn’t need to be expensive or all that fancy. Like all workout clothes, it’s more about fit and function. You need to feel comfortable and supported.
When you’re shopping for tops, look for these elements:
- Sweat-wicking material. This is a big one for those of us who get pretty sweaty. You’re looking for fabric that can pull the moisture away from your skin to keep you cool. If you’re wearing plain cotton, it’ll just get soggy and drippy and chafe-y.
- Fitted, semi-body hugging. When you spend so much time in downward dog, it gets really annoying to have the bottom of your shirt flip up so your belly’s hanging out. Worst is when you’re getting into inversions and the whole thing flips up so you’re practically flashing the class. Not cute. Find something that will stay close to your body but not so tight that it’s suffocating.
- Longer length. Shirt flipping is a very real issue, and a longer length top can keep you covered when you’re upside down. I’ll even tuck my top in my pants when preparing for inversions, and having the extra length ensures I’m not fighting my clothes.
- Racerback sleeveless. You’ll be moving your arms a lot in all different directions, so I prefer racerback sleeveless to just keep fabric out of the way of movement. Sleeves themselves end up shifting the whole shirt around from simply lifting your arms.
- Proper support. Ya know, for the girls. Since there isn’t any vigorous jumping going on (at least that I’ve experienced), you don’t need to double up on sports bras. You just want to keep them contained, which leads to…
- Not too lowcut. Again, another one for the girls. Your yoga top will inevitably shift a centimeter here and there as you move throughout the practice. So for forward folds, you have the potential to show the yogi across the room a bit more cleavage than you intended. That’s fine if that’s your MO, but if it’s not, look for a little more coverage.
With all that said, you can find affordable basic racerback workout tanks at Target, Sports Authority and even Costco! I like the Kirkland Signature brand ones that are essentially knock-offs of the Lulu Cool Racerback (similar fit, cut, material, etc.), and they only cost $12.99 compared to Lulu’s $42.
When you’re shopping for bottoms, look for these elements:
- Sweat-wicking material. At one time, I was totally guilty of walking out of class with crotch sweat (gross, I know!) after a particularly balmy practice, but that was before I found good pants with the sweat-wicking material.
- Good stretch. You want pants that will move with you without fear of the seams ripping apart. When you try them on, do some lunges and squats in them to see how well they stretch and retain their shape.
- Snug fit. Yes, you want them a bit snug (not tight, but definitely “hugging”) so that your pants move with you. No saggy butt! Coupled with good stretch, the snug fit will let you move from one posture to the next without having to pull the legs up when you’re moving into a wide leg stance or something like pigeon.
- Comfortable leg length. I prefer capri over full length, mostly because I’m super short and it’s hard to find the right petite length. Also, because I sweat so much, I want my legs to air out somewhere.
Pants are where I am willing to fork out a bit more dough. They take a much bigger beating than tops, and I find them to be the better investment. I have the Lulu Groove Crop as my go-to pant, but Costco’s Kirkland Signature Yoga Pant is a steal at $16.99 for a very similar pant, including the tiny useless pocket and all. I’ve also shopped Athleta, and Gap’s yoga pants are surprisingly comfortable too.
Make sure to read the labels for proper care. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to remind my husband not to wash my yoga pants with towels and other rough materials because they “scrub” the sweat-wicking coating off and cause the pants to pill. And just to throw out some kudos, all the tops and pants I own (Lululemon and Kirkland) stretched right along with my fully pregnant belly last year and retained their shape! I had no real need for maternity yoga wear.
If you’re wondering, I was neither compensated monetarily nor did I receive free merchandise to mention any of the brands and products above. It would’ve been nice though…