How to Choose Pilates and Yoga Pants

Young girl practising yoga
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When it comes to workout clothes for women, Pilates and yoga pants or shorts (which are essentially the same) can be a big challenge. Form-fitting pants are best so that you and/or your teacher can see what your body is doing. But that puts the demand on you to find a style that both looks good and feels comfortable.

The Best Pilates or Yoga Pants

The criteria for judging which pants are "best" will vary widely from person to person, but here are a few features to consider when choosing the ones that will work best for you, with a few brands you might want to try.


Black is generally flattering, but if you are ready to stretch beyond the colorful fold-over waistbands out there, try Margarita Activewear. They do have a lot of black backgrounds, but bold, colorful graphic designs make this a top choice for those looking to put a little wild in their workouts. Also, the ​Divine pant from Hyde comes in a bunch of great colors and Beckons yoga pants line has a bright blue and a searing red.


This is a two-part category. Some companies make pants with a more forgiving fabric and looser cuts, and some make form-fitting exercise clothes usually reserved for toning types of exercise. To find cuts and lines that go with curves, Fila, and Danskin are popular choices.

Design Features

You don't want flared-leg designs that will bunch up when you do inversions or raise your legs above your waist.

If you choose yoga or pilates clothes that can go from the studio to the street, avoid those with adornments, straps, ties, rivets, bows, or other decorations that can get caught on equipment or will be uncomfortable when lying down or on your side. Simple, clean lines with flat seams are best.


Workout clothes can be pricey. There's no reason you have to bust your budget just to get a little exercise. There are several clothing stores that offer perfectly nice yoga and Pilates pants for a lot less than you'll pay for designer wear.

The Old Navy Active line has a wide variety of different sizes, and Target has a fitness line that's high-quality and inexpensive. You can also shop online at Amazon if you're not too worried about trying on your workout pants before you buy.


Try organic cotton and "green" workout clothes. Organic cotton may hold moisture more than certain tech fabrics, but it still feels wonderful. The new recycled fabrics are surprisingly comfortable as well. Try the Cozy Orange brand for recycled fibers. As for organic cotton, Hyde is a good source, as are Beckons and Gaiam.

Shopping Tips

has been the leader in this yoga and pilates gear for a long time. Other companies in this category include and PrAna—both of which do a great job with their cross-over studio to street styling. But you are wise to get an overview of what is available before spending your hard-earned cash.

Ask what others in your yoga and Pilates classes prefer, and what the instructor wears. Whatever your criteria, before selecting workout clothes, which can be expensive, check out how they look and feel before you buy. That way you'll avoid getting stuck with trendy clothes you may not like. 

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