What to Wear to Your First Yoga Class

One of the most frequently asked questions I receive is “Okay, I’m ready to go to a yoga class. But what do I wear?!” 

While on the surface this might seem like a funny, or even somewhat silly, question, it’s actually the complete opposite. I believe that in order for people to try yoga, they have to feel safe — and not just physically. Nope, it’s also imperative that people feel safe emotionally, and part of what contributes to that is feeling like you’re not alone and you know what’s going on.

And yep, clothes are part of that — especially for bigger bodied folks like me, who often have an even harder time finding clothes at all, much less ones that fit well, that we like and that don’t cost a fortune.

What I wear and why



My favs

Now that you know what I like to wear in general, I’ll share my favorite brands. These aren’t all the cheapest options on the block. Since my yoga clothes are my primary wardrobe, I find investing where it counts (AKA a bra that works for me) is well worth the up-front cost.

A disclaimer before we begin: this is just what I like to wear (and I’m not getting paid to recommend any of this). If something isn’t for you, that’s perfectly fine. My intention with this post is to share what one curvy woman wears in order to help people think through what they may like to wear. If you have other suggestions, please do share them in the comments below. The more ideas, the merrier!

Onto my list:

Bra: Enell

I came across the Enell bra when I was researching a post on sports bras for yoga. The fine folks of Enell sent me one to try, and I’m pretty sure I heard a choir of angels singing the first time I tried it. I love it because it keeps the girls in place (the first bra I’d tried in my life that did that) — no popping out unexpectedly and trying to put out my eye in Down Dog.

Have you ever seen the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary? If so, you probably remember the scene where we see her gigantic underwear. Well, I often describe the Enell as the bra equivalent — in a very good way.

Word to the wise: they tell you on the purchasing page to be very precise about your measurements, and that is no joke. If you vanity size even a smidge, you’re likely to get trapped halfway in and halfway out of the bra, possibly for weeks. Do yourself a favor and be accurate.

Hair clips: Grocery store brand

I’m not picky about these. I get those packs of 100 barrettes at my local Kroger for like $2, and that works perfectly fine for me. In my longer-hair days, I favored the grocery store hair ties. I’m all about function here.

Tops: Kiyonna

One of my top tips (haha) is to shop outside of the “Exercise” or “Fitness” section of wherever you’re shopping. It’s a rare day indeed that I find a plus-sized fitness/yoga top that I actually like. So instead, I look anywhere — if I find a top that I like and that I think will work for yoga, I wear it.

My criteria for what works include breathable fabric (no thank you, polyester), a snug fit up top, and some looseness around the belly. This isn’t because I’m embarrassed about my belly but because I just don’t prefer skin-tight clothes. They make me feel uncomfortable and hot, and there’s nothing that makes me crankier than those two things (which is not how I want to feel during yoga).

Many of the tops you see me wearing in photos on this site come from Kiyonna. Do you see people wearing these for yoga on their site? Nope. I just like them, and I have good experience with them in yoga, so I keep wearing them.

Leotard: Looking for a new brand!

I have a few leotards that I love from Danskin. They used to carry these in plus sizes, but they don’t appear to anymore. That means that next time I need a new one, I’ll have to find a new brand (suggestions welcome!).

I wear a leotard every time I teach for one reason: I want to be present for my students, not fiddling with my clothes. I also don’t want to flash my students — again, this isn’t because I think they’d die if they saw my big belly, but rather that I think being flashed by your teacher is distracting, and I don’t want that for my students.

I don’t always wear a leotard when I’m practicing (on my own or as a student in classes), but I often do. And my reason is pretty much the same: I like to spend my time focused on my practice, not worrying about if my pants are about to slip down a little too far. 

Comfy Underwear: You choose

I’m going to leave this one up to you. I’ll just say that I’m morally opposed to thongs (okay, not morally, but close) because with all the movement in yoga, it just seems too ouch-inducing, and that I don’t give a rat’s patootie if I have a “visible panty line.” I think that’s just some nonsense marketers cooked up to sell us stuff anyway. And I don’t think anyone should be shocked to find out that I’m wearing underwear anyway.

So yeah, whatever feels good and stays in place is the name of the game.

Yoga Pants: Old Navy

I’m not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed to say this, but I still wear yoga pants today that I got from Old Navy 10 years ago. 10 years! I think they cost like $17, and I’ve literally worn them hundreds of times during all kinds of yoga — even hot (yes, I went through a short hot yoga phase a decade ago).

In addition to the obvious perks of cost and durability, I also give these pants the thumbs up because Old Navy carries plus sizes, and they usually have a few different styles of yoga pants to choose from.

The style I prefer is ankle length and snug. I don’t like yoga pants that are so tight I have to use a crowbar to get them on, but I do like them snug. And here’s why: if they’re too loose, they move around way too much, which brings me back to my point above. If I’m spending more of my yoga time thinking about my pants than my breath, then I’m not wearing the right pants.

More Suggestions

If you have suggestions that you think should be added, please do let us know in the comments below!

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12 thoughts on “What to Wear to Your First Yoga Class

  1. May I just say, thank you. For being so inspirational. Not just about figuring out asanas, or giving us direction on the path to body love (but that too)…but also for these wise and practical bits of wisdom that make all the difference in opening my mind and heart to trying what feels so scary sometimes. Sometimes your posts feel just like a big hug. Thank you.

    1. Oh, thank you so much for this sweet comment, Amy! So glad you found it helpful!

  2. I generally wear forever 21+ leggings and tank tops, with an old navy cotton skirt. I generally feel more comfortable in skirts via pants so it makes sense to keep wearing what feels normal. Also, it’s easier for me to make it to a class if I’m just wearing normal clothes and don’t need to change before hand.

  3. Torrid has some comfy leggings that I’ve used for yoga, pilates, and physical therapy. They aren’t the most breathable fabric (I think they are a poly/cotton/spandex blend), but they have a wide waistband and give more room for my big hips & butt than most brands.

    As for leos, I’ve heard good things about this company: http://www.riversedgedancewear.com/womplussizda.html but I don’t have any personal experience with them.

  4. depending on the yoga pants I’m wearing I’ll often go “commando” thanks for the bra tip….I may order one, I have one that fits well but zips up the front and often unzips during class which is all sorts of disconcerting for me and everyone around me 😉

  5. I wish Kiyonna was more affordable, because I fall in love with every top I see you in, Anna! They’re out of my budget, though. If anyone has advice on similar style tops that are more affordable, please share!

    1. I always get mine on sale! Sometimes there’s even clearance with an additional sale. They don’t come around very often, but you can get some better prices if you keep an eye out on them.

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