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Yoga fashion: staying calm about casual dressing

Sherry Roberts

Yoga fashion is something of an oxymoron. I mean it seems rather silly to be concerned about outer appearance while working on inner change. Still, I don't want to scare or gross out anyone in yoga class.

If you ponder the historical wardrobe of yoga, it runs the gamut from loincloths to leotards. As someone who has spent hours writing about fashion and the general trend toward casual dressing in recent years, I can't help but notice that the rest of the fashion world is taking a yoga spin. Casual Friday marched right down the runways of Paris, London, Milan, and New York and into every other day of the week. Even fashions that look breathlessly tight are an illusion; today's fiber technology has created fabrics that breathe, stretch, and caress.

Relaxed fashion — clothes that allow us to move without popping a button is — as valued in the office as it is in the yoga class. You know yoga has gone mainstream when you find J. Crew hawking yoga pants and a bandeau-like yoga bra that only anorexic models can wear without embarrassment.

The truth is you can spend as little or as much as you like on a yoga wardrobe. There are boutiques on the Web selling yoga wear: unitards for $50-$60, shorts for $24.95, tights for $29.95, and spaghetti-strap tanks and t-shirts with yoga, meditation, and chakra motifs at various prices. Or you can dig out an old pair of sweatpants from your closet and one of your daughter's discarded t-shirts from the Goodwill bag. 

focus on fashion

No matter how high-end and high-tech or low-down and grungy you go, there are certain features you're looking for in a good yoga ensemble:

  • Drawstrings. Drawstring pants or shorts and tights with comfortable waistbands are a must. Since breathing is an essential part of yoga practice, it is wise to wear something you can actually breathe in.
  • Bulk down. Think light, loose, free. Unless you are practicing on top of a snowy mountain in the Himalayas, shuck the fleece. You will be amazed at how much sweat you can generate by holding yourself perfectly still.
  • No socks. Forget the cute little yoga/ballet slippers. Barefoot it or you may find yourself sliding out of your Downward Facing Dog and into Flat on Your Face Yogi.

The main thing is to choose clothes you can move in, breathe in, be comfortably still in; clothes that you can forget about.


Looking for Yoga Clothes. See Yoga Pants or Yoga Tops.

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