Figuring out what to wear to yoga class can sometimes take a lot of time –  longer than your first class itself. When you’re just starting out and have little to no idea what to expect, then how do you know what clothes will be suitable for which movements?

This article will guide you through the decision-making process so you can attend your first yoga class (be it a home yoga practice or in a yoga studio) with confidence.

Key Takeaways:

  • Comfort above all else: opt for something you feel comfortable in. If that’s a pair of pajama bottoms, that is absolutely fine. I’ve practiced in sweatpants, pajama bottoms, and even my partner’s summer shorts before (don’t tell him). You don’t need to buy into the latest yoga wear trends, nor do you need to go down the super traditional route of a dhoti (traditional yoga pants). Something comfy and easy to move in is perfect.  
  • Flexibility is important: not yours, but the flexibility of the clothes. Asana classes will have you in positions you may never have experienced before, so having clothes that are non-restrictive is important. Jeans, for example, no matter their stretch, will feel tight and constraining. Despite popular stereotypes about yoga wear – tight clothing is not a prerequisite to joining a class. Loose t-shirts also belong on the yoga mat. 
  • Consider breathable fabrics: whether you are doing Ashtanga yoga, Yin yoga, or even Hot yoga, you will likely work up some heat. The last thing you want to do is overheat or get distracted by feeling slimy in clothes that don’t allow any breathability. 
  • Easy to care for: Most yoga clothes will be easy to care for – put them in the wash and job done. Some might suggest avoiding tumble drying, though, so always read the instructions.
  • Sustainable: There are numerous eco-friendly and sustainable brands out there. Choose something that won’t break the bank and yet isn’t from the fast fashion mill or that will fall apart in five minutes. Yoga is all about treating the planet with reverence.

*Currently, the links in this article are NOT affiliate links. I intend for this to change soon, and when it does, I will let you know here*

At the top is the title “What to wear to yoga” and below that is an image of someone practising yoga in black pyjamas, white loose pants, and sitting in lotus in loose brown pants next to “keep it comfortable”, “keep it breathable”, and “keep it sustainable” respectively

What to wear to yoga

These days, yoga clothing has fallen prey somewhat to consumerism. You will find all kinds of clothes aimed at yoga students making choosing your yoga apparel quickly overwhelming and disheartening.

This section will look at yoga tops, bottoms, and things in between so you can make a choice quickly and confidently.

Yoga Tops

For many of us, the type of top we wear will be informed by:

  •  cultural and societal expectations 
  • the type of practice 

Practitioners in more conservative countries will turn up in non-revealing tops that at the very least cover the shoulders. My students (in Japan) tend to wear long t-shirts that are either short-sleeved or long-sleeved and rarely form-fitting (and this applies to people of all genders). However, when I practice in studios in my home country (the U.K.) I see women in cropped tops or even just sports bras as this is acceptable in that culture. I am not here to deem one way better or worse than the other. So, let’s look at some options.

Slower practices like restorative yoga and yin yoga might call for long-sleeved tops in winter months as you are less likely to work up a sweat than you would in an ashtanga or hatha yoga class. 

For people who identify as women, a tank top with a built-in bra might suffice, or a top over a sports bra or running bra that provides good support might be an alternative option. Avoid a regular bra as they might not be supportive enough or underwiring might get a little uncomfortable. I generally opt for a sports bra and a reasonably loose t-shirt as this provides a lot of movement and decent coverage of the tum and bum. Beware that you might need to occasionally tuck a t-shirt in, as they will ride up when doing inversions like downward-facing dog or other yoga poses like standing forward folds. 

For people who identify as men, topless is acceptable in some yoga studios, (particularly in hot yoga classes). Most of the time, I’ve seen men in T-shirts or tank tops. Whichever is easiest to move in and the same advice applies as it does for women.

Yoga Bottoms

In hotter practices, yoga shorts (tight and loose shorts for people of all genders) are a popular option (I LOVE these yoga shorts by Ripple), though beware that in poses like Crow Pose the more you sweat the less traction you have. For that reason and more yoga leggings are a common choice as they will provide better grip. 

However, some yoga leggings can feel very restrictive depending on the material and fit. This is not always ideal as yoga is all about focusing on the breath – kind of hard to do when you’re all cooped up in lycra and spandex. I always opt for bamboo organic cotton leggings with a high waistband, like the black yoga pants that Bamboo clothing UK sells. This cotton is a very flexible, soft, stretchy material, and breathable.

High-waisted leggings stay in place, meaning you don’t have to worry about the top of your leggings rolling down and exposing your tum (this can get a bit distracting and will happen during more vigorous practices like vinyasa yoga or ashtanga yoga). Another great choice is a looser bottom along the lines of slouchy capri-style yoga pants, like the style offered by the brand Ripple.

Yoga Jumpsuits

Absolutely one of my top picks when it comes to deciding what to wear to yoga. If you’re a one-and-done kind of girl like me, then it’s the perfect yoga outfit. All concerns about what tops to match with what bottoms go out the window with the option of a jumpsuit. This is essentially a yoga top and bottom joined together at the waist. Why is this a great option?

Depending on your body type, you can go braless (I do) or add a yoga bra.   You don’t need to worry about your tummy popping out to say hello as it will be safely hugged in by the jumpsuit providing plenty of coverage. This can make a huge difference to your practice as you stay more focused on the breath and less on potentially negatively judging yourself. Yoga is all about self-acceptance, and though I firmly believe all tummies of all shapes and sizes are perfect for a yoga class if you are someone who finds yourself getting distracted by leggings rolling down, a jumpsuit takes all that away. 

 You don’t need to worry about matching colors and styles – all done for you. And, (if you hadn’t already guessed), my all-time favorite yoga wear brand makes jumpsuits for summer and winter. If you do get chilly in Savasana, you can always throw on a T-shirt if you need an extra layer.


Traditionally, asana is practiced barefoot, so no need to worry about footwear. However, if you need to opt for footwear (some people do for various reasons), then by all means add a pair of socks.

Personally, in winter, I will put my socks on during savasana for extra comfort so I don’t get distracted by how cold my toes are. Yoga socks add a little extra grip if you find yourself slipping on your mat.

Yoga mats

​Yes, I know, not yoga wear technically but given their proliferation in the West they deserve an honorable mention. Did you know that a yoga mat is only a recent invention? That’s right – you don’t actually need a yoga mat to practice yoga.

However, if you go to a yoga studio that requires you to bring your own mat, then opt for one of these non-toxic mats so you reduce the harm done to the planet and to yourself.

What I wear when I practice yoga

​Here is what I have laid out for my next yoga class:

1. A black pair of high-waisted cotton leggings from BAM UK.

2. A black yoga bra from Queenieke on Amazon.

3. A pink camisole top from Ripple

4. A black long-sleeved cotton top from Ripple (I think I bought this from Ripple’s  “Imperfect” collection – and I have yet to find anything imperfect about it).

4. Some black leg warmers (I can’t remember where I bought these). I don’t know why but in winter they make all the difference.

What I wear when I teach yoga

Teaching yoga is a different fashion game to practicing. My students need to be able to see my limbs more clearly. A loose yoga top therefore won’t be all that helpful as I will often be telling students to pay close attention to where my ribs are or shoulders are – difficult when they are hidden behind a loose-fitting top.

Here is my go-to teaching outfit:

1. The same pair of black leggings because they contrast well with my yoga mat, making it easy for students to see what my legs are doing in floor poses,

2. The same yoga bra from Amazon as listed above.

3. A light colored, form-fitting top from Bam that also contrasts with my leggings. I love these tops as the gathered hem means they don’t ride up exposing my tummy during class.

FAQs About What to Wear to Yoga Class:

What should I prioritize when choosing yoga attire?

Comfort should be your top priority. You don’t need to follow yoga fashion trends or traditional attire. Wear something that feels comfortable and easy to move in.

Do I have to wear tight-fitting yoga clothes?

No, tight clothing is not a prerequisite for yoga. Loose t-shirts are just as acceptable. The key is to wear non-restrictive attire that allows for easy movement.

Are there specific fabrics I should consider for yoga clothing?

Opt for breathable fabrics, especially if you’re doing a practice that generates heat. Breathable materials help you stay comfortable and avoid overheating.

How should I care for my yoga clothing?

Most yoga clothes are easy to care for; simply follow the care instructions. Some might suggest avoiding tumble drying to prolong their lifespan.

Can I make eco-friendly choices when buying yoga attire?

Yes, there are sustainable and eco-friendly yoga clothing brands available. Choose options that are kind to the environment and your wallet, avoiding fast fashion

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