The Right Pilates Clothes Make a Difference

What you choose to wear to Pilates class will affect your entire experience.  Your clothing choice may seem secondary to your participation, but it can add to or take away from the enjoyment and benefit you receive from class.  If you do not feel comfortable in your chosen clothes, you will not get the most out of the workout.  If you do feel comfortable in your Pilates clothes, you will be able to fully engage in the exercises, not worrying about how your clothes fit or look while doing the exercises.

Pilates and yoga clothes are interchangeable, although clothes for each are specially made.  Any workout clothes will do, but consider the following points before making your choice. Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting clothing for Pilates.


1. Flexible

Clothes should allow you to stretch to your full range of motion.  Clothes should have some stretchy material so that you do not rip a seam or hinder your movements.  Stretchy material is particularly important for pants, as many pants made for everyday wear do not have enough flexibility in the hips for Pilates exercises.  Even if you do not plan on doing the splits in your Pilates pants, they should be stretchy enough to accommodate that degree of stretching without ripping a seam, bunching or limiting your movement.  Shirts should also have stretchy material or be loose enough to move in (but not too loose) particularly in the shoulders.


2. Not Baggy

Pilates clothes should fit close to your skin without being restrictive. Baggy Pilates clothes are a bad idea for several reasons.   If your clothes are too baggy, you may find yourself concerned about revealing too much while in some of the exercise positions.  It is also important for your Pilates instructor to be able to see your form.  If you are hiding behind baggy clothes, he will not know whether you are doing the exercises properly or not, and will not be able to advise you on how to improve your form.


3. Simple Is Best

Avoid clothes with metal parts or bulky seams that could be uncomfortable to lie on for extended periods.  This includes metal or plastic embellishments and bulky fabric, such as belt loops or decorative knots. A small embellishment may be pretty, but if it ends up digging into your back or side during class, you will be uncomfortable and distracted and will not be able to focus fully on the exercises.  This rule goes for undergarments as well. They might  not be visible, but they will make themselves known to you if they have any bows or other decorations that dig into your skin while exercising. 


4. Underneath

Undergarments should be simple and preferably seamless.  Besides being more comfortable, they will not show a line through form-fitting pilates pants.  Metal bra clasps on the backs of most bras can also dig into your skin and be uncomfortable.  A sports bra or one without a clasp is best for Pilates because it will not dig into your back.  A sports bra will also keep you in place while stretching and twisting so you will not find yourself adjusting throughout class.


5. No Slippery Fabric

Avoid clothing made of slippery material like in rain jackets.  Shorts made from this slippery material tend to ride up or down during floor exercises and you will find yourself constantly adjusting them.  Worse yet, you may be worried about exposing too much if they keep slipping down.


6. For Your Feet

Pilates is usually done with bare feet, but some people wear socks.  If your feet get cold, try wearing socks with rubber traction on the bottom to keep you from slipping around on the floor. Or tough out the cold for a couple minutes and your feet will warm up as your body becomes active.


7. Wear Layers

It is wise to go to Pilates class with clothing layers.  You may be chilly at first and wish for long sleeves, but as the class heats up and your blood gets pumping, you may get too warm and prefer a short sleeve tee shirt or tank top.  Some people even wear exercise shorts under their pants.


Final Thoughts

You do not need any special clothes to practice Pilates, as long as your clothing is comfortable and allows you to move without being too baggy. If you wish to buy clothes specifically for your Pilates workouts, some brands that make good Pilates clothes are Lucy and Hardtail.  Clothes made for yoga by brands such as Prana also work well for Pilates. Other workout clothes by Nike or similar brands are also good for Pilates. The single most important thing about your Pilates outfit is that it is comfortable.