I don’t need excuses to go shopping, but I still make them anyway.
The first thing I did after signing up for my Yoga Teacher Training Course was (of course) to make sure I have enough Yoga clothes to make it through the course in style. I went to my Yoga drawer to do a stock inventory and I found that I had a few good pieces… but I did not have 5 full Yoga specific outfits to make it through the week.
Heavens! I had to go shopping! #firstworldproblems
(SHORTCUT – cut the crap and take me to the list)
You could say I have my priorities right… or not. Honestly, a bit of vanity is not incompatible with Yoga. Keep in mind I also had to look like a reputable Yoga Teacher after the course, so the expense was more than justified.
It was, It is important that they are Yoga specific outfits. The other stuff in the drawer had been abandoned years ago because it just doesn’t do the job so well. If you are not convinced about this yet have a look at my post “Why having good Yoga clothes is important“.
But before going shopping I had to do a small little eco-friendly ritual I have. Send the old pieces to Salvation Army. For everything new that comes in, something I have not worn in a long time has to go. Ok, that’s it, now I’m ready to hit the mall.
WARNING! Shopping for Yoga clothes is a bit like going to the candy shop!
They are all so pretty! Your eyes start widening and glistering… The bright colors, the patterns, straps here, straps there… and that’s how I ended up with and impossible mix of prints and pinks. I had to plan in advance this time. I had to first find out what I actually needed. That’s why I came up with my Yoga Capsule Wardrobe. I went shopping only for the pieces I was missing. This way you stay focused and make smarter choices. Personally I needed some basics.
This selection has 13 pieces will give you enough to survive the week of TT, and set a base of sanity for future visits to candy store.
From top to bottom: The first three leggings are all Luluemon. The nude top is from Cotton On Body Active. On the second set, the fucsia top is my beloved Scoop Tank from Lululemon again. Strappy bra model is Free to be Serene, The navy bra+tank is too old for me to remember. Leggings are Liquido Active. On the third group: striped top from Cotton on Body Active, black tank from Forever 21, white tank from Gap Fit, purple leggings from Lululemon and maroon soft bra from Forever 21.
Ideas to make your own Essential Yoga Capsule Wardrobe.
13 pieces, 5 outfits.
You might wonder…Why five outfits? It’s for ecological reasons. I do laundry once a week only, with a full load. So I needed one set for each day of the week of TT. If you are not in my position you probably need less.
An Essential Yoga Capsule Wardrobe should contain 80% basics
It should have pieces that you can easily combine with each other, and it should have variety as well. For example on the length of the leggings and the shapes of the tops.
My selection contains:
- 5 Leggings: Black, block color, grey, black and white, and one with a funky print.
Crop, long, extra long and 7/8. I live in Asia, where people tend to be more modest and very few wear shorts and crops for Yoga. Even back home, I do not think I would wear shorts for yoga, so they are excluded from my list. Sorry!
- 5 Top combos:
2 tops with built-in bra: One with thick straps, one with thin straps. Thick straps and built in bras are better for vinyasa classes, where you sweat more, move more and need more support.
3 bras: One neutral, one dark, one bright. One soft, one strong, one strappy and fashionable.
3 tank tops: One white, one black, one striped. They will go well with any bra and with most of the leggings. You will need change one of the tanks for short sleeved t-shirt here if you do Aerial Yoga, to avoid rubbing from the hammock.
How to pick the right clothes for your Essential Yoga Wardrobe
1- The must-have Yoga leggings
The first thing you need is a good pair of black leggings. That’s a basic essential. A minimum requirement. I would make that a pair of Lululemon High Times pants. Long and high waist. Thicker or thinner depending on the weather where you live. They are so worth the money. Just as much as buying a good yoga mat (more about this in my last post) You can always get them on sale or even consider second hand. Good Yoga clothes are meant to last so they stay in good condition for long. I buy second hand often myself.
All sorts of neon tops that are so trendy right now will go well with back leggings if that’s your thing. Personally I’m more into deeper or pastel shades.
If you like to spice it up go for black leggings with mesh windows, extra long legs, ombre ankles or pants that come with some texture.
You also need something a little softer. Light or dark grey leggings. Plain, with salt and pepper pattern, or any other small self print. See below. You can use them as normal clothes too. Expense justified right there! More about this in my next post.
I also recommend having one block color that’s easy to match. Navy blue, dark green, maroon or purple. The tanks in the capsule wardrobe will go well with any of these.
Finally, you need oneblack and white print. Monochrome is always safe and easy to play with. If I could get my hands on those feather leggings from LuLaRoe… they seem to be sold out everywhere online!
Once you have the basics covered you can indulge yourself with the funky prints. Oh the prints! My weakness! You need only one for the Yoga Capsule Wardrobe, but they are difficult to resist. Beware you can become a Liquido Active junkie like me, and that comes with an additional set of matching tops, so you are warned… 😉
Here are my favorite prints from the Brazilian brand. They have a unique combination of materials that make them the softest thing you’ll ever wear. On top of that, I think they are just art stamped on Lycra. I confess I actually have most of these. From Pure Yoga or Carousell. I’m now teaching Yoga full time, and make two or three outfits changes per day,so I do need more than just a capsule wardrobe. Stay focused!
2- What you should know about Yoga tops
You have two choices: Built in bra, or separate bra and tank top. Actually there are three options. Now they make tops that look like two pieces but they are stitched together.
I have a couple of those and I always get tangled getting in and out of them. I don’t think I will buy more. They also expose a bit too much of my back fat rolls.
That said, this little number from Vivre Active is VERY very nice. They are on the “maybe, one day, if the rolls go away” list.
THE TANKS WITH BUILT IN BRAS – Getting into a yoga tank top with a built in bra requires strength, and patience! It’s not easy and they seem to make them more complicated by the year. Will we end up wrapped in bandages?
All these Lululemon options below have good bras, good support performance. The brand offers 15% discount for Yoga Teachers worldwide. Even on top of an already discounted item so that makes them more attractive even.
- The first on is a body-con model. Watch our for this. For me this is a complete nightmare to get into. Looks fab, but when you are in a rush… go for the next one. I just didn’t read the fine print on the label that said it is a body-con model when I bought mine. I was too distracted with the white and grey snake print.
- The second one is a newer and finer version of the fabulous Scoop Tank. The scoop tank remains my all time favorite Yoga top. Even if it’s discontinued, I buy them on eBay. It’s a ‘hassle free, don’t worry be happy’ top. Keeps everything in place, nothing shows, soaks all the sweat.
- The last one is sort of loose at the bottom. I have one that looks like this and it feels a bit like maternity top. This cut works better with decently breasted women, and I’m in the ‘barely anything there’ category. It’s good to keep for the future… It looks flowly and graceful in Barre classes but I don’t use it for Yoga unless I’m teaching Prenatal.
The Y tank (below) is probable the most popular design by Lululemon, and it’s iconic. My first ever Yoga top was one of these. It’s 7 years old and in mint condition. This is definitely a winner in the basics category so it deserves a special mention.
THE BRAS – The poor things… most people just hate them.
For people that love wearing unwired unpadded bras, a sports bra is a horrible torture device. People that can’t live without full nipple coverage, pads and proper structure find that Yoga Bras are flattening and unflattering.
A sports bra is for what is is, but the most important thing is to put it on properly.
When I started wearing Yoga bras much more than regular ones, I noticed that my armpits and all the area around them started accumulating fat. I was getting slimmer everywhere else except there.
My masseur told me one day (to my utter shock) that it was actually tissue spreading out from my breasts! There’s no emoji to describe my face and the begging that came later to change my massage to a boob fixing massage straight away. It’s the same phenomena that occurs when you wear a bra size that’s too small for you. You end up covering only the main part of the gland with the bra cup and pushing the rest to the side.
I have noticed since then that this happens to a lot of Yoga teachers. To prevent or correct this this you must pull the flesh under your armpits inwards, towards the outer side of your breasts, and make sure the bra holds it there. Re-adjust as often as needed (not in the middle class …)
Also, try to wear wear normal bras that have a wide enough band to do the same and hold it in place. Else you will do and undo the the job all the time. Consistency is the key.
Back to the topic. The first two bras below are from Lululemon. The last one is one of me favorites, from Forever 21. They make inexpensive and very soft bras. They are so comfortable and affordable that I have a few. I buy one size smaller than mine to add a bit more support. Low Impact – Y-Back Sports Bra
Yoga bras are meant to be shown or to peak from the top, so don’t be shy with the colors or textures. Do not buy a white bra. It looks too much like underwear and they don’t remain white for long, lets be honest.
THE TANKS – Honestly, this is a loose category. You could wear any tank you have on top of a sports bra. Cotton, Lycra or any material does the job because they will always have enough flesh exposed to evaporate sweat. But there’s a difference between normal exercise tops and Yoga tops.
Tank tops that are specific for Yoga have a thicker but lighter texture. a bit like a sponge. That makes them stick to the leggings and stay put. They don’t move from there so there’s no accidental reveal of flesh.
Unfortunately very few brands make these kind of sticky top. So all the ones below are from Lululemon and Pure Apparel. I think Old Navy does but it’s not available in Singapore.
A running or fitness tank top can be used for Yoga too. But watch out for two things. I found this ‘so called’ active top in Cotton On COAR the other day (first one below) to match some patterned legging I have and It was a big disappointment. Instead of evaporating my sweat, it soaked it all. The top became heavy and swang back and forth, dripping for the entire class.
Interestingly, the basic tanks from sister brand Cotton On Body (second) are really the solution to all my matching problems. A complete super start of tank tops! The third one is a very pretty Lululemon essential tank in Tiger Space Dye Black White. The little pleat on the back drives me crazy. This is a hybrid. It stays in place but it’s not fitting. They do miracles at Lululemon.
THAT’S it for now. I hope this guide is useful for choosing your Essential Yoga Capsule Wardrobe, and that you learnt a thing or two about Yoga clothes. Feel free to comment and give feedback!
Coming up shortly: How to wear Yoga Clothes all day and look glamorous.
Until then, NAMASTE!