What to Wear to Yoga: A Definitive Guide

editor@purewow.com (PureWow)

Whether you’re a confident yogi who’s been practicing for years or you’re inclined to disable your video during Zoom class so you can sit in child’s pose for 15 minutes, there’s one thing we can all agree on: We find so much more Zen when we’re not fussing with our leggings or worrying about flashing anyone. And that sentiment rings true now that fitness studios are slowly starting to open back up across the country. The last thing we want is to have a faux pas during our first Vinyasa class back in public.

But what is an acceptable yoga outfit these days? Do you have to bare it all in a sports bra and tiny bike shorts? Are there rules? We tapped yoga instructor Claire Bilavsky of Alluem Yoga in New Jersey to set the record straight once and for all, below.

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What to Wear to Yoga Class

“You can always find me in a pair of Lululemon or Alo high-rise leggings and comfy cropped tanks or tees—something easy to breathe and move in, but also nothing too exposing, especially when I’m teaching,” says Bilavsky.

“I always tell people who are new to yoga to wear anything they feel comfortable in and not care what you look like—it’s all about how you feel,” she explains. “With each practice, you’ll figure out what’s best to move in and what makes you happy.”

Bilavsky also said your outfit can depend on the type of yoga you’re practicing. If you’re going through fast-paced Vinyasa flow, look for light, form-fitting clothing that won’t get in the way, bunch or sag. If you’re doing hot yoga, look for sweat-wicking, high-performance fabrics that keep you cool and dry. And if you’re in a restorative class, looser-fitting gear can be a comforting and relaxing addition to the experience.

Do You Wear Socks to Yoga?

While Bilavsky doesn’t practice yoga in socks, some people like to (especially in the winter). She suggests looking for socks with grips on the bottom that can help with stability in faster-paced classes, or just going ultra-comfy for restorative classes to harness those relaxed vibes.

What Should You Not Wear to Yoga?

“On the other end of the spectrum you don’t want to wear anything that distracts you from your practice,” Bilavsky goes on. “If you’re worrying about whether people can see this or that while moving, if it’s itchy, too tight or falling off...your outfit might not be right for you for your practice,” says Bilavsky. “You don’t want the clothes to take away from the benefits of yoga. So just wear anything that makes you comfortable and feel good,” she adds.

For us, that usually means an easy pair of squat-proof leggings (that won’t go sheer in the bum), a sports bra and a fitted tank with minimal seaming to prevent chafing or digging. Without further ado, here’s a detailed breakdown of what to wear to yoga class.

1. High-Waist Leggings

Whether you’re in downward dog or goddess squat, there’s one thing you don’t want to be: overexposed. Yoga is supposed to help you unwind and that’s kind of hard to do if you’re constantly worried about flashing your fellow yogis. The fix? Slip into a pair of fitted, high-waist leggings that are squat-proof. The high rise is sure to stay up, no matter what shape you’re contorting yourself into, and the snug fit will prevent you from fussing with droopy fabric. It’s also important to note that while leggings are meant to be form-fitting, they shouldn’t be suffocatingly tight—you want to be able to move and stretch freely.

Shop High-Waist Leggings:

Core 10 Women's All Day Comfort High Waist Yoga Legging with Side Pockets

These Amazon leggings are praised for their ability to stay up through any workout—yes, even in a headstand when gravity’s against you.

$29 at Amazon

Available in sizes XS to XL

Zella Live-In High-Waist Leggings

Quite possibly Nordstrom’s most reviewed product, these high-waist leggings rival pairs twice their price—and they’re available in standard and plus sizes.

Buy It ($59)

Available in sizes XXS to XXL

Lululemon Wunder Under High-Rise Tight

Don’t let the cost deter you. These Lululemon leggings are made with minimal seams for utmost comfort and they’re rugged enough to last for years.

Buy It ($98)

Available in sizes 0 to 14

2. Sports Bra

Sure, cutout sports bras with a tangle of thin straps may look cute, but they aren’t always functional. Whether you’re a 32B or a 40F, you’re going to want a bra that keeps everything tucked in and doesn’t leave any room for wardrobe malfunctions. That usually means opting for a style that comes up slightly higher in the front (no nip slips here) and a fit that’s secure but not rib-crushing. You want to be able to breathe easily in any pose, even savasana.

Shop Sports Bras:

Zella Studio Lite Longline Bra

The slightly longer hem on this bra makes it feel more like a crop top and less like you’re doing weird poses in your underwear in front of strangers.

Buy It ($39)

Available in sizes XXS to XXL

Lululemon Energy Bra High Neck Long Line Rib

If you're looking for a little more lift, this bra offers medium support and high coverage, perfect for yoga sculpt workouts where you might be jumping around a bit more than, say, a slower-paced Hatha yoga class.

Buy It ($68)

Available in sizes 2 to 12

Natori Yogi Convertible Sports Bra

We’re obsessed with Natori’s regular underwire bras, and their sports bras offer the same amount of support. This one features cross-back straps for extra lift and a minimal design that won’t pinch or dig uncomfortably.

Buy It ($69)

Available in sizes 32B to 40G

3. Fitted Tank

If you prefer practicing in just a sports bra and leggings, then stop there. But if you’d rather a little more coverage, add a fitted tank on top (you can always remove it if you get too hot and sweaty), which may be less restriction on your arms than a short- or long-sleeve tee. We suggest looking for a longer style with a little bit of stretch that stays in place and won’t ride up on you while flowing from chaturanga into upward-facing dog.

Shop Fitted Tanks:

New Balance Transform Racerback Tank

This sporty style works for hot yoga, but also morning 5Ks and weekend hikes.

Buy It ($40)

Available in sizes XS to XL

Year of Ours Ribbed Sporty Tank

Curve-hugging and waist-defining, this ribbed tank will become your new go-to for yoga and post-class mimosas.

Buy It ($48)

Available in sizes XS to XL

Alo Rib Support Tank

This tank features a built-in shelf bra, so you don’t even have to wear anything underneath if you don’t want to. Need a little more support? It’s just as comfy layered over a sports bra.

Buy It ($72)

Available in sizes XS to L

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