Everyone has a different yoga practice, and our fashion choices are just as diverse when we suit up for class. Some of us like to keep things super casual with the most basic sweats and t-shirts, while others prefer to go all-out with the latest and greatest fits and fabrics.
The best part about dressing for yoga is that there are no rules. You can wear whatever you want, as long as it’s comfortable and within the reasonable limits of your gym or studio. With so much freedom, the challenge isn’t following the routines and poses – it’s figuring out what to wear!
Most of us already know what we like in terms of pants or leggings. We usually prefer full-length coverage or capri-style shorts or leggings that maximize our comfort and capability.
Tops are a different story, with so much variety at our fingertips. Just take a stroll through your local sporting goods store or browse online for five minutes – the choice is overwhelming.
That’s why we’re here to provide you the ultimate guide to yoga tops, from the most basic options to the more elaborate and complex designs and styles.
If you haven’t yet found the perfect top to wear to yoga, look no further. This guide will explain the pros, cons, and considerations you should know before making your next selection. Let’s get to it.
Fabric and Fit Come First
Anyone with a knack for fashion knows how tempting it can be to go on a shopping spree without giving much consideration to factors like materials, performance, or longevity. When we get into the zone, we’re only thinking about one thing: this is going to look great!
While there’s nothing wrong with shopping strictly for style, buying yoga gear requires a bit more planning ahead. Yoga is primarily about comfort and performance, and there’s also a safety component to consider. You’ll be pushing yourself physically and mentally during class, and you want your clothes to be up to the task as well.
The truth is that you need to look at factors like fit and fabric when shopping around for yoga clothes if you want to make the best investment for your money.
Sure, you might instantly fall in love with a printed t-shirt or exquisite strappy top, but will that gear stand the test of time and give you the best possible experience during a challenging routine?
Take some time to learn about your body type and figure out which fabrics are most comfortable for your yoga practice, whether it’s steamy hothouse yoga, athletic vinyasa yoga, or a mix of different styles.
What you wear will definitely have an impact on how you perform in a class and how much you enjoy the experience overall, so be aware of the different factors at play when making a selection.
For example, a 100% cotton t-shirt might be an easy and accessible choice, but it’s going to cling to your body and get caught up in all the wrong places when you’re halfway through a downward-facing dog pose.
On the other hand, a polyester shirt might look sleek and stylish, but you’ll be sweating up a storm and giving off some questionable scents that your classmates may not appreciate.
The best solution is to find tops that not only look great, but fit your body perfectly and give you plenty of comfort and flexibility to match. Seek out clothes made from blends of high-quality cotton, spandex, nylon, rayon, and plant-based materials that outperform in every category.
Keep an eye out for features like moisture-wicking and antimicrobial technology, as well as a four-way stretch that allows you to bend in every direction with ease.
Even if you spend a little bit more upfront, the comfort and durability of these items will be well worth it in the long run. Plus, there are infinite cuts and colors to suit your aesthetic, so don’t worry about falling short on style.
With that said, let’s talk about the different types of yoga tops you have to choose from.
Sports Bras and Minimal Tops
Many yoga lovers prefer to take a minimal approach to clothing for their daily practice. In other words - the less fabric, the better.
Whether you like to show that extra skin or not is up to you, but there are some advantages to wearing things like sports bras and sheer tops that reveal the midsection and back.
For starters, you get to experience a near-complete range of motion and dive headfirst into each pose without worrying about getting tangled up with fabric or straps.
Many yoga tops feature a built-in sports bra and not much else, which gives you a huge degree of freedom that definitely has its advantages when tackling the most challenging routines.
It should go without saying that yoga is a judgment-free zone, and you should wear whatever makes you feel the most comfortable and confident. There are varying degrees of coverage with the sports-bra style, so you don’t need to go all-out with the bare midriff look.
There is also a lot of variation in terms of straps and support. Not all of us like the spaghetti-strap look, and sometimes it’s nice to have extra coverage on the collarbones and shoulders.
Put simply, minimal tops can look great and classy without being too revealing, so be on the lookout for your ideal fit.
Tank Tops and T-Shirts
If you want a bit of extra coverage on the tummy, back, or arms, consider yourself among the majority.
Most people who attend yoga classes just want to keep things simple and hassle-free, and a tank top or t-shirt is often the best choice to get into the action.
As you might expect, there are many options in this seemingly basic category of yoga clothes.
You’ll find tank tops with every variant in length, strap type, elasticity, and design. The same goes for t-shirts, with everything from short sleeves to sleeveless and quarter-length baseball-style tops for more protection.
The key factor when shopping for tanks and tees is to find a fit that enables maximum mobility and stretch. There’s nothing worse than being pinched by excess fabric around the shoulders or neck when trying to concentrate on a super technical posture.
With that in mind, most aspiring yogis will find a happy medium with a basic tank top or sleeveless t-shirt that offers full coverage on the back and front with some extra support around the chest and upper back.
You get the best of both worlds here – flexibility in the shoulders and arms and no worries about being too revealing when you find yourself upside down or in a twist on the mat.
If you like a bit of extra exposure in the shoulders and lower back, you can find tons of different creative designs that keep that air flowing along the posterior chain. X-cross patterns, circles, triangles, and anything else you can dream up – it’s out there for the taking.
Just be sure to find tops with a bit of elasticity around the middle, so you aren’t dealing with too much extra fabric mid-session. As long as the material is breathable and cooling, you should have no problem when heating up and pushing the limits of performance.
Long Sleeves, Jackets and Hoodies
Let’s say you’re making your way through a cold winter’s day, and you need to seek refuge at the yoga studio to take your mind off the weather. By the time you enter the sanctuary and roll out your mat, you might not be fully warmed up! That’s where a long sleeve shirt, yoga hoodie, or jacket can save the day.
A long sleeve is self-explained – pick one that fits snugly along your arms, and you’ll be nice and cozy for the entire session.
Hoodies and jackets, on the other hand, are not always so easy to figure out. You want these pieces to be made from familiar materials and offer plenty of flexibility while providing that extra insulation you need while you warm up.
Many yoga hoodies and jackets are surprisingly slim and easy to maneuver while wearing. They aren’t too bulky, fit well over tanks and tees, and don’t have any unwanted straps, zippers, or buttons that distract from the main event.
The best part is that you can toss your hoodie or jacket into the corner of the studio once you start to work up a sweat and forget that winter ever happened!
Freshen Up Your Wardrobe
If you keep cycling through the same old yoga tops and in need of some new styles, check out our new subscription box approach to premium activewear at Yoga Club.
Simply answer some quick questions that teach us about your shape, style, and fitness goals, then await a monthly delivery of a fantastic new yoga outfit tailored perfectly for you.
Never has discovering new activewear been so effortless and streamlined. Find out more about our mission here, and give us a try the next time you’re in need of an activewear overhaul.