Tired of wearing old sweatpants to get your flow on? Same. That's why, when we finally decided it was time to upgrade our go-to gear, we reached out to professional yogis in three cities to get their top picks for yoga clothes that perform both on and off the mat. These women run some of the most popular studios in New York City, Milwaukee, and Denver, and they aren’t kidding when they say, “I live in yoga clothes.”
Even if you’re just beginning your yoga practice, you’ve probably realized that there’s no such thing as too many pairs of leggings and that quality and fit vary widely from brand to brand. With that in mind, we’ll start our list with some familiar names and hopefully introduce you to a few newcomers in the fitness apparel space, too.
Whether you’re up for a stylish splurge or down to score a deal, the best yoga clothes are right this way.
Joanna Sesny, operations manager at Yoga Shanti's Tribeca studio, swears by Lululemon Athletica, affectionately known as Lulu by its scores of fans. “I’m obsessed with Lulu’s Align pants because they give me tons of mobility. These pants fit like a glove, but they’re breathable. I love them. They’re the only ones I wear.”
The Lulu love is real for Kathryn Smith, area leader for CorePower Yoga in Denver, who also lives in the Align pants. She explains, “What CorePower does is an intense workout, usually with added heat in the room, and I find the need for something comfortable that wicks sweat without expanding or stretching. The Align pants are super soft. It feels like you’re wearing nothing, but they have a way of smoothing out your leg line that’s super flattering. I own every length and every color. I pick them first and build my outfit around them.”
Lululemon helps people live its tagline, “Less Stress, More Sweat,” with free in-store classes. No store in your area? No worries. Its website features online videos to help you find your zen without leaving home.
Still not convinced? This won’t be creepy at all: Next time you’re in a yoga studio, gym, or coffee shop, look around, and you’ll see the Lululemon logo on the waistband of fitness enthusiasts of all ages. (Fun fact: The curvy A stands for Athletically Hip, Lululemon’s former name.)
When it comes to picking a top, Sesny thinks outside the box with Outdoor Voices, a relative newcomer in the fitness/yoga game. OV is gaining popularity, especially among Instagram-obsessed millennials and Gen-Z workout enthusiasts.
Inspired by the brand's motto, “Doing Things Is Better Than Not Doing Things,” OV fans and influencers post hiking, biking, workout, and dog-walking selfies with the obvious hashtag, #doingthings. Outdoor Voices encourages fun over competition and lets shoppers create outfits by building an OV “kit” with a bottom and a top for $75 to $95.
Believe it or not, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has a thriving yoga scene, and Suzy Weyenberg is a big part of it. Weyenberg, who owns three Empower Yogastudios with two more in the works, swears by Athleta. “I love the diversity. I delight in opening the catalog and seeing women of all shapes, sizes, and ages,” she explains.
Weyenberg pairs Athleta’s Chaturanga pants with Coaster sweatshirts, noting, “I enjoy the fit, and I also really like their fair-trade and sustainability initiatives.” Athleta is known for its “Power of the She” message which celebrates women and their ability to kick butt in studios, gyms, and boardrooms.
Joah Brown is another rising brand in the yoga clothing market. Inspired by the no-fuss clothes in her husband’s closet, Brown started designing functional, comfortable clothes in 2014 that are, in her words, “adaptable and subtly sexy with a tomboyish flare.”
Kathryn Smith agrees, adding, “Joah Brown has great basic pieces, crop tops, and cool fitted tank tops. They’ll take you from classes to out into the day. They can be used for a workout or for lifestyle wear.”
On one of your many (weekly? daily?) Target runs, you’ve probably noticed JoyLab, its stylish line of yoga and workout wear. We love the on-trend patterns and quality material at an affordable price point. Plus, these pieces really hold up wash after wash.
Alo Yoga encourages its followers to take their practice to the street—sometimes literally, as you can see on its colorful Instagram account—but hey, in these sleek and supportive designs, there’s no reason not to!
Saying yes to leg day is easy in Sweaty Betty's colorful line of sculpting leggings. This British athleisure brand has been a favorite across the pond for over 15 years, inspiring women to "find empowerment through fitness."
When it's time to take a break from basic designs, we look to Zella, Nordstrom’s cult-favorite house brand of stylish athletic apparel for women. Its collection of pretty, soft hues in solids or subtle patterns always sparks joy in the yoga studio.
Pro tip: Stock up on Zella leggings and tops during Nordstrom's upcoming anniversary sale.
There are two major reasons we love Girlfriend Collective. The first is that its products are legitimately amazing and come in a wide range of sizes. The second is that it uses recycled materials and supports safe, ethical working conditions (including 125% of the local minimum wage, free catered lunch, healthcare, and exercise programs) for its factory workers who sew these exceptional garments. You can learn more about its mission here.
You might be surprised to learn that Core 10 is a size-inclusive Amazon house label, ranging from XS to 3X. It is also an affordable go-to brand for structured black basics and soft neutrals. Plus, you can have them in your hand ASAP with Amazon Prime shipping, or try before you buy with Amazon Wardrobe.
Finally, every yogi needs a high-quality mat, and Jade mats are Weyenberg’s favorite, both for the quality and the company’s green focus. “When you buy a mat, Jade plants a tree,” she explains. Sounds like a win-win to us!
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions. See our full health disclaimer here.