If you’re new to Pilates, you may be wondering what to wear to class. Having the right Pilates clothes can make a big difference in how much you enjoy and get out of your workout. In this complete guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about choosing the best Pilates apparel.

Understanding Pilates and Its Clothing Requirements

Before jumping into outfit ideas, it helps to understand what Pilates is all about and how that impacts what you wear.

Pilates focuses on connecting the mind and body through controlled, fluid movements paired with focused breathing. The method aims to build core strength, balance, flexibility and muscular endurance through a series of low-impact exercises.

The movements are primarily performed either on a mat on the floor, or using special Pilates equipment like the reformer machine. The reformer uses springs and resistance to allow for greater range of motion and intensity in the exercises.

No matter if you’re taking mat or reformer Pilates classes, the clothing requirements are similar. The most important factors are comfort and range of motion.

Pilates Requires Form-Fitting Clothes for Full Mobility

In Pilates, what you wear can majorly impact your experience and results. Here’s why form-fitting and stretchy clothing is recommended:

  • Tight-fitting clothes allow your body full mobility to move through the exercises without restriction or limitation. Loose or baggy clothing could get in the way.
  • Instructors need to be able to see your body positioning clearly during movements to ensure proper alignment. Fitted clothing allows them to spot errors and prevent injury.
  • Body-skimming apparel helps you better activate and engage the core muscles properly throughout the sequences.

The bottom line is that the right Pilates attire will allow you to get the most out of every pose while staying comfortable. Next let’s look at specific clothing items to choose.

Choosing the Right Pilates Apparel for Your Workout

When it comes to Pilates, comfort and stretch are key for clothing. Here are some top recommended options for both tops and bottoms when choosing what to wear to Pilates class.

Bottoms: Leggings, Capris, Shorts

For your bottom half, experts recommend selecting legwear that is form-fitting and stretchy to allow a full range of motion. Excellent options include:

  • Leggings – Leggings are the most popular choice for Pilates. Full length leggings allow complete mobility without restriction.
  • Capri leggings – For warmer environments, calf-length capris are a great alternative. Ensure they are still stretchy and fitted.
  • Fitted athletic shorts – Shorts above the knee made of stretchy material can also work well, allowing the legs to move freely.

The main factors are ensuring the fabric has plenty of stretch and that the legwear is not loose or flowing. This allows uninhibited movement.

Tops: Sports Bras, Tanks, Fitted Tees

For your top half, experts suggest choosing form-fitting tops made of breathable, stretchy material. Ideal options include:

  • Sports bras – High support sports bras can be worn alone in hot environments or layered under tanks and tees. Opt for thick straps rather than spaghetti straps which may slip.
  • Fitted tanks – Look for snug-fitting tank tops made of performance fabrics with wicking properties to stay cool and dry. Racerback tanks are popular for allowing shoulder mobility.
  • Tight tees – Form-fitting t-shirts work well for Pilates, either alone or layered over tanks. Avoid oversized shirts which can get in the way of movements.

The most important factors for Pilates tops are breathability, stretch, and slim fit without restricting your range of motion.

Important Pilates Clothing Fabric Considerations

In addition to fit, the type of fabric you choose for your Pilates apparel makes a big difference in comfort and performance. Here are some top tips for picking ideal fabrics:

  • Stretch is crucial – Look for tops and bottoms made of fabric with plenty of stretch and recovery. This allows clothes to move fully in every direction without restriction or pulling.
  • Avoid restrictive fabrics – Yoga pants that contain no spandex or stretch can potentially rip or limit your mobility in certain Pilates sequences.
  • Choose sweat-wicking material – Fabrics designed to wick moisture and promote quick drying will keep you comfortable during rigorous classes.
  • Watch thickness – Thick, heavy fabrics may cause overheating. Lightweight, breathable performance fabrics help regulate body temperature.
  • See through is a no-no – Make sure leggings and tops are not see-through or sheer when stretched or sweaty. Opt for thicker, opaque fabrics.

Investing in high-quality, purpose-designed activewear is worth it for both comfort and performance. Now let’s look at footwear and accessories.

Footwear and Accessory Considerations for Pilates

While your clothing is key, having the right footwear and accessories can also enhance your Pilates practice.

Pilates Is Often Performed Barefoot

For mat-based Pilates, going barefoot is typically recommended by instructors for several reasons:

  • Allows the feet full sensory feedback and connection with the ground.
  • Strengthens small foot muscles rather than relying on shoes.
  • Instructors can observe arches and foot alignments to identify issues.

If you need additional arch support, instructors may recommend lightweight Pilates socks with grips on the soles.

Specialty Socks for Pilates Equipment

When using the reformer, Cadillac, or other apparatus, grip socks provide needed traction. Look for Pilates socks with rubber grips on the soles to prevent slipping on the equipment. This helps ensure safety.

Instructors may forbid street shoes on the equipment which can leave scuff marks and debris. Sock allow optimal traction and hygiene.

Optional Pilates Apparel Accessories

While not required, you may want to invest in some of these extra accessories for enhanced comfort:

  • Headband – Absorbs sweat and keeps hair pulled back from the face.
  • Yoga mat – Cushions knees and elbows on hard floors during mat work.
  • Resistance bands – Add extra strength training to your Pilates routine at home.

Additional Tips for the Best Pilates Attire

Keep these extra pointers in mind when selecting clothes for Pilates class:

Layering Tops Helps You Stay Warm

Pilates sequences continuously transition between floorwork and standing movements. Layering fitted tanks and tees allows you to gradually warm up, then shed layers during vigorous portions to stay comfortable.

Take Advantage of Fun Prints and Colors

Activewear allows you to express yourself through bright colors and funky prints you may not wear elsewhere. Take advantage by choosing apparel you feel confident and happy wearing. This can boost your workout mindset.

Now that we’ve covered all the factors for choosing the perfect Pilates outfit, here are some top brands and shopping tips.

Recommended Brands for Pilates Activewear

Today there are more activewear brands than ever catering to every budget and style. Here are my top picks:

High-End: Lululemon, Athleta

For luxury workout clothing, you can’t go wrong with technical fabrics from Lululemon and Athleta. The price is higher, but devoted fans say the durability and performance is worth it.

Budget-Friendly: Old Navy, Gap

The activewear lines from Old Navy and Gap offer great quality and fit at lower prices. Mixing these affordable staples with some splurge pieces can help you save.

All-Around: Nike, Adidas

Athletic giants like Nike and Adidas offer both basic tees and leggings along with specialized performance lines perfect for Pilates. Their brand recognition adds style points.

Best Value: Target, Walmart

Big box stores like Target and Walmart have ramped up their workout wear offerings with functional pieces at wallet-friendly prices. Shop their clearance racks for deals.

No matter your budget, read reviews to help guide your purchases towards high quality items that will last.

Tips for Finding the Best Pilates Clothes for You

Here are my top tips for finding amazing Pilates activewear that fits your body type, style and budget:

  • Focus on stretchy, fitted silhouettes that allow full mobility rather than trends.
  • Carefully read sizing charts and reviews for each item to ensure the best fit.
  • Use filters like “high stretch” and “sweat-wicking” to refine your searches.
  • Don’t be afraid to order multiple sizes to determine what works for your unique body. Many brands offer free returns.
  • Comparison shop across
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