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The Ultimate Yoga Clothing Guide

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Long before fashionistas dreamt up the athleisure wear concept, it seemed like yoga moms and celebrities were wearing their yoga pants everywhere. In fact, savvy yogis were rocking athleisure wear before anyone coined the phrase.

In years past, celebrities were seen and photographed in their yoga pants, paired for better or for worse with other fashions ranging from workout clothes to Gucci bags. Of course, back then, all yoga pants were black, and Manduka’s clothing line was the best kept secret in yoga.

This year has seen an evolution in athleisure wear. No longer confined to yoga studios, workout routines, or running errands, yoga clothing has stepped out onto the street, into the club, and even into the office! New fabrics, innovative fabric cuts, and stylish designs have put athleisure wear on the map as more than simply workout clothing. Versatility and new markets have added to the buzz, which will certainly carry through into 2018 and beyond.

Here is a list of things you should know about the athleisure wear and yoga clothing, so you can don your favorite yoga pants or crop top with pride!

Fashion That’s Functional

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Rule #1: Athleisure wear is functional. Fabrics that move smoothly with your body and allow your skin to breathe are the staple of workout clothing attire. Pockets, outerwear and accessories are accenting the traditional pants and tops, giving them a look that’s great for out on the town, in the office, or around the house.  New designs include unobtrusive cell phone pockets that blend right in with the clothing without zippers or awkward waistband bulges.

It’s functional, but still fashionable! This year’s athleisure wear has been very easy to mix and match with other items in your wardrobe for any event, from the grubbiest of chores and errands to meetings at offices and even upscale dining.


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Mesh and net are in style, which has been great news for yogis all over! This breathable fabric looks good on the street, too, and can pair nicely with either a casual outing or dressed for a night on the town. It definitely provides a look that’s both sporty and lacy, giving classic articles of clothing a thoroughly modern feel. Mesh panels on pants or tops are another big trend going forward into next year.

Shredded Look

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Another method of ventilation during workouts is the shredded look and cut-outs. The parallel slits that have appeared on sleeves and leggings are not only look chic, but also allow the skin to breathe, which is especially handy after a session of hot yoga or a jog on the beach. Shredded legs, shoulders, and sleeves as well as cut-out tops and leggings are all over the gym and studio, but they’re also giving women a strong, powerful look on the street. These can be paired with jeans and other casual wear for a look that rocks.

Bold Prints

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Yoga pants used to be almost exclusively black, but that has changed. Bold bright prints, such as tropical flowers, mandalas, or even skulls, give yoga clothing a more personalized look. Camo prints in various colors have also made their appearance in the studio, in everything from muted greens and blues to black-and-whites and even pinks. Finally, don’t underestimate white as a bold statement; lots of yogis are turning up in pristine white cami tops or mesh pants.

Panelled Sections

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Rather than large, whole pieces of cloth, some designers have been releasing clothing that is designed in sections. This has a lot of advantages. The style has a little variety because of the different panels of cloth. Some panels can be in other styles, such as mesh or shredded, allowing for breathability while covering and protecting the body. Yoga is about bending and stretching, and panelled sections rather than a whole piece of cloth actually makes this easier because let’s face it—your body bends in sections, too!

Panelled sections also look great on the street. With panelled section yoga pants, you can pair with a wide mix of tops. Add on a heel and a biker jacket, and you’re ready for a night on the town!

Not Just Yoga Pants Anymore

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The traditional yoga pant used to be like a structured legging, but even that is changing. More variety is being introduced to yoga pants besides just fabrics, panels and prints. Harem pants are making an appearance in the studio and the street, with a variety of prints both muted and bold, for a comfortable look that gives you plenty of room. For something more form-fitting, stirrups are also back in style. Capris can feature cute cut-outs or stay classic. Even yoga shorts are becoming popular. The only rule is to wear what you want, when you want.

Bralettes & Crop Tops

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Once upon a yoga class, bras were of the sports variety only. Not so much now, as bralettes and other clever designs have become staples of the athleisure wear look. Crop tops, paneled bras and dainty bralettes are highlighting girl power all over the mats. Gorgeous colors and patterns accentuate bold cuts and new designs for a traditional article of clothing.

Can we say comfort? Bras are not traditionally comfortable, but these bra designs are made to support during yoga, offering that extra bit of protection an active life needs! Another plus is that your shirt won’t bunch up under your chin when doing poses like Downward Dog.


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Leotards have long been comfort garb for active people, because they are literally designed for movement. Think of their primary wearers—gymnasts and dancers, both of whom rely on a wide range of movement to perform feats of strength, agility, balance and endurance. It was only a matter of time before one-piece articles reached the mainstream, but they’ve gone beyond gyms and studios this year. From the classic leotard to singles with long sleeves, legs, or both, yogis have been posing in sleek garb and then throwing simple pieces over them for after the workout. A casual skirt or wrap can become a great outfit for the beach, while a more formal piece with a blazer can get you through that sales meeting after lunch.

Men’s and Kids’ Styles

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It’s not unheard of for men or children to do yoga, but it seems like most yoga clothes are for women. The past season, however, has seen an increase in sharp designs for our male yogis, incorporating all the great things that have made this season great for the ladies. More designers are producing and marketing men’s fashions for yoga, which giving men some yoga fashion of their own! Also benefitting from the upswing in athleisure wear are the kids. As yoga gets more attention as a way to keep fit, parents (and even schools!) are encouraging their kids to do it. Designers have responded with great designs for our child yogis!

Casual Office

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Since the Centers for Disease Control recognized yoga and other such exercises as beneficial to our overall health, many offices are holding on-site yoga classes. Studies prove that this helps cut health care costs and improves the overall atmosphere both in the office and for employees at home. Being among our co-workers is one of the primary times we want to look great, which is why we don’t wear sweatpants to the office, so why would we wear them to office yoga? The lastest designs are versatile (“athleisure” is a combination of “athletic” and “leisure,” after all!) and can be worn in almost any setting, including the office! With articles such as sweaters, dusters, and scarves available, any piece of athleisure wear can complement your office outfits, or even become the center of one.

What This Means For You

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With all the new looks, the great designs, the comfortable fabrics, and the opening into men’s and children’s wear, there are multitudes of options for yogis young and young-at-heart to choose from. This means positive vibes for what we’ll see in yoga studios all over the country in the year to come.

However, the influence of athleisure wear on fashion outside the studio cannot be ignored. As athleisure wear finds itself in offices, clubs, and casual gatherings, it is transforming the way we see other styles. Yoga pants in the workplace is no longer be a fashion faux-pas. This is great for when you have to squeeze your workout into your workday.

No matter what your look, athleisure wear has you covered. Every yogi anywhere can find a look that works, from the sassy and sleek to the classy and chic!

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