What to Wear in a Barre Fitness Class

If you're just getting started with barre workouts, it's important to understand that you don't have to spend loads of money on barre fitness clothing before your first class. It's perfectly acceptable to show up in whatever feels most comfortable, whether that's shorts and a t-shirt or tights and a tank.

That said, every niche fitness class has apparel trends that develop partly out of function and partly out of fashion. In the case of barre workouts, yoga pants and close-fitting cropped pants are the most common staples because classes focus on making small changes to leg and body position. When you wear tighter pants, you can see and correct mistakes more easily than if you were wearing baggy bottoms. 

It's also important to realize that barre classes are typically performed barefoot. If you're self-conscious about your feet, consider picking up a pair of studio socks with slip-resistant grips on the bottom.

Once you've attended a few classes and you're confident you'll continue, have fun with your wardrobe selections! "One of the things I love about teaching barre is that there's a predominately female presence in the class," says ​Allison Kimmel, a barre fitness instructor at Equinox locations in New York City. "If there's ever a time to wear a sexier top or express yourself with fun colors, barre class is the place to do it." Luckily, there are lots of cute barre workout tights and tanks that look every bit as good in the studio as they do on the street. 

Start With Beautiful Basics

barre workout apparel
Collage by Laura Williams

When it comes to barre it's important to keep comfort in mind. Jennifer McCamish, a fitness instructor, and owner of Dancers Shape recommends that you wear clothing that's comfortable and easy to move in. She reiterates, “It's helpful for teachers to see body alignment to properly adjust positions for the most effective and safe workout.” Build your barre workout wardrobe by selecting pants in basic blacks and greys that you can mix-and-match with a variety of workout tops.

But don't go too basic. Look for fun features, like the vertically-ribbed mesh of the BELOFORTE La Rein Rib Crop that looks a bit like corduroy, or opt for the twisted, ruched-like appearance of the Splendid Twisted Leggings. Both work great during barre class and can transition to after-workout wear with the right top or tunic. 

Top your favorite leggings with a comfortable tank, like the Splendid Layered Top, which offers extra breathability. And don't forget to select a beautiful, but supportive, sports bra. The BELOFORTE Sofia Bra features laser cut details and mesh paneling to keep you cool and dry. 

Last, but not least, don't forget those slip-resistant socks! The Bar Method offers a variety of styles, but the Open Top Socks are especially cute, offering a ballet slipper-like appearance. 

Add Accessories to Take You to Class

barre workout accessories
Collage by Laura Williams

What you wear during class isn't necessarily all you should have on hand. "Studios are often cold and you usually don't warm up until several minutes into class," says Kimmel. "It's a good idea to have a long-sleeve shirt to start, which you can peel off as you start to feel the burn." The Splendid Hooded Open-Shoulder Sweater is one cute and workout-appropriate option. 

And McCamish points out that you should think about how to transition from your workout to your after-workout activities. "One of the fun things about barre class is that you don't sweat the same way you would in a spin class or boot camp. That means you can make social plans right after your class, if necessary. With a good crossover cover-up or casual dress you can get to your next destination in a flash," she says. For instance, Toad&Co.'s Swifty Long-Sleeve Crew is an easy, close-fitting tunic that layers beautifully over leggings. Just pair with a cute flat or the go-anywhere, water-resistant, vegan-friendly Arcopedico L31D boots for the perfect casual-but-cute outfit. 

You're also going to need a bag to carry your gear. Because barre classes don't call for much, you don't need a heavy-duty gym bag. Instead, opt for a cute backpack that has enough room for your post-workout outfit and barre socks, but is built for daily use, with tech-friendly pockets and padding. The STM Grace Pack is a nice option, featuring a laptop and tablet sleeve, along with a cable routing system that allows you to charge your gear on-the-go. 

Finally, barre classes may not make you sweat like other workouts, but that doesn't mean you can forgo H2O. Carry a water bottle with you at all times, and keep it near your mat during your workout. The 20-ounce Camelbak Chute Vacuum-Insulated bottle is a practical option that keeps cold beverages cold for up to 24-hours. 

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