When my friend invited me to my very first Pilates class the first thing I asked was “What do I wear?” I mean, I probably should have asked: “what is Pilates?” Or, “why am I doing this?” But, as a competitive runner, I knew what to wear for cardio, I knew what to wear to the gym to lift weights. But, I honestly had no idea what to wear to Pilates. I mean, I hadn’t even been to a Yoga class at this point! So, after my friend laughed out loud at me she sweetly smiled and said: “whatever you would wear to yoga class silly!”
Now, I really can’t remember if I rolled my eyes at her physically or just in my own head. I mean, I didn’t even know what to wear to Yoga so how would that help me. And, this was over ten years ago so the abundance of workout attire for all the different kinds of exercise regimens was nowhere near today’s range of options.
Today, there is workout attire that you don’t even work out in! There are clothes specific to dance, yoga, Pilates, weightlifting, cross fit, boxing, spin, running and more. Why? Because, not only does it matter how you look, hahaha just kidding, not only does it matter how you feel in your workout clothes they need to help you do the workout you are attending.
Yes, clothes matter. No, you don’t need to buy the most expensive lulus or the newest Stella McCartney. But, you need to be able to do Pilates in whatever you are wearing without worrying about adjusting your clothes, embarrassing see-through moments, showing more than you want or worse, your clothing getting caught on equipment. And, your teacher needs to be able to see your body. Before you worry about having to get a leotard I’m not saying it has to be tight fitting. But, some of those fabulous yoga pants, that even as I write this I am comfortably wearing, are simply too baggy for a Pilates workout.
See, in Pilates, your legs are sometimes up, down, split wide, crossed, bent, straight and everywhere in between. If your pants are baggy they will fall down your legs, shorts too tight they will keep you from being able to open your legs or sit cross-legged.
So, what do you where to Pilates? Are shorts better than pants or should you go barefoot or wear socks? Here are some tips for outfitting yourself to enjoy your Pilates practice:
Men: Shorts are fine, but I don’t recommend basketball shorts. They tend to be too baggy and so when legs go up or overhead they show more than you may want to show or that your teacher wants to see. Also, the waistband is often not secure enough and well, we all know what that can mean.
My male clients often wear compression shorts under their workout shorts so that they can move their legs in all directions and also not feel overexposed.
Tanks or T-shirts are all fine. When you put your clothes on can you easily squat? Round forward? Open and close your arms? LIft your arms overhead? These simple moves will let you know if your clothes are going to work out with your or against you.
Ladies: Function before Fashion! I too love to look like I can go from workout to dinner but most of my workout gear is better to teach in than to Snake in! So, my go-to’s for being able to go from workout to work or to drinks are the Takara pant by Carbon38 (ps it pays to be friends so use LESLEYLOGAN50 to save some $$). This shiny-ish pant comes in almost every color you would want and pair it with boots or tennis shoes and you are good to move and to work.
For tops, I really like to make sure that my shirt isn’t too baggy. So, I enjoy these tops here and tie them on the side (not the back it gets in the way) or tuck them in a bit.
For you Feet: I am mostly barefoot but my clients tend to wear socks. Here’s the deal, if you look at old pics of Joseph Pilates studio they are wearing little socks. And, socks are definitely more sanitary. But! They must have the stickies! My favorites are Toesox! I personally love the Bella’s with the cut-offs. But, any sock with a grip on the bottom will due. Your feet are essential in life and in Pilates. They help you connect to the equipment and while we do have sticky pads for those who show up with regular socks you will feel the difference when you go without or with some grip socks!
Lastly, if you really want to make sure your clothing is en pointe than nerd out with me and other Pilates lovers! Yep, Pilates Nerd, a haven for Pilates gear that shows just how much you heart Pilates.
What will you wear to your next Pilates class? Still needing advice or not sure? Tag me in a picture on Instagram or Facebook of you taking a class online with me or at your favorite Pilates space and I’ll help you out!