How to wear Yoga clothes all day and look glamorous

Dear women doing everything in their active wear:

Finally the world has reacted to the strange phenomena of you walking around everywhere on your sport clothes, like you are on the way to the gym when maybe you are not… Some clever people out there came up with this active wear spoof and it’s a checkpoint charlie.

I think after this we don’t have a free pass anymore. I have to confess I do everything #inmyactivewear, but I’m a Yoga Teacher so chances are I am doing errands before or after my classes.

(SHORTCUT – Cut the crap and take me to the tricks)

That said, this happens to normal people too. Carrying around changes of clothes is a pain and sometimes there’s just no time to change between sports and life. I’m assuming you are not “doing nothing in your active wear” and you do NOT want others look at you this way right? If that’s the case keep reading. I think active wear is great but that’s why I want to draw the line and write this post.

I try to make my active wear (my work clothes) look classy or trendy so I do not look like the women int he video all the time. Even if I have a reason.  I wear active wear all the time and to me there has to be certain degree of style and dignity. AKA Not looking like a clown.

To me my clothes are a way of self expression as much as a presentation card to my clients and students, so yes It’s pretty important  (Isn’t this the third post on the topic? hehehe) Let’s get started.

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I’m quite sure this is the Selene Hoodie from Nux. Leggings are Rio Capri from the same brand.

I have had occasions where I really didn’t care, but I had others where I had to be able to disguise my active wear for a social event. I did this simply because I don’t think It’s very elegant to dress outdoors all the time like if you were in the gym. If you disagree, I invite you to stop here and read my post about Menstrual Cups for example 🙂

Once I went to an Embassy party after a Yoga a workshop, and I think I managed to pull that out decently… I think…

Where I come from people don’t wear sports clothes unless you are doing sports. Or at least that was the case until recently. Yes I’m from Europe, not from America. From southern Europe, to make things worse, where fashion matters.  Running shoes with dockers are not acceptable even on an office that has dress down Friday guys. Not even in a start up. There they even have an entire separate hipster dress code but it does not include active wear.

For us in the South of Europe not really acceptable to walk around on your gym clothes all day. Funcional yes, comfortable yes, practical yes, but pretty!? Stylish? Elegant? Makes you look like a respectable person? Really, lets be honest: No.

A few years ago people started glamorizing uneducated people on TV, in their active wear. Giving them so much media attention  has the effect of validating it. It makes sports gear socially acceptable. Tolerance by over exposure i call it, and it’s even made it trendy to some extend.

I’m not talking about the ladies in the spoof of the video. I’m talking about Barbie Fitness. This is a Barbie Fitness. If you actually like Barbie Fitness you can also stop reading here.

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Andressa Ferreira (AKA Barbie Fitness): Well done dear, but please don’t go out to a bar like that. Let me guess, your biggest ambition is to eradicate world hunger…

The Barbie Fitness effect

Check point charlie. Don’t call me intolerant before you ask yourself if you would not turn the eyes in shock if you see somebody dress like this in a coffee shop.

There’s an alternative to this. The golden era of Aerobics with those 80s TV stars like Jane Fonda, is way over. And the great news is that the amount of “wearable” street smart exercise clothes that have come out recently is incredible.  It’s actually trendy and you see that’s a very common uniform in Orchard Rd. You don’t have to go on tacky mode.

There’s definitely a boom for Athleisure, so let’s just start stating that you can move from looking like the friends of Vicky Pollard (the hot ones and not so hot ones) to looking like Gigi Hadid very easily.

There’s no need to go all fashion victim on active wear like Barbie Fitness or end up like a Christmas tree of neon Lycra. That’s what I see happening a lot. When Vicky Pollard goes to the gym and wants too look like Gigi Hadid, she becomes Barbie Fitness, or this:

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Suddenly the active wear ladies seem like innocent day time comedy. Right?

SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY ALERT!

Jokes aside. If you made it here, thank you. Now I’m going to make a pause and use the chance to promote diversity online. As I was doing my research for this article, I bumped into some things that made me activate my social responsibility mode. Barbie Fitness is not alone. They are a tribe, the are very numerous and they LOVE showcasing themselves in social media. That gives them attention and validation.

Because of this, they end up monopolizing the stereotype of what a good Yogi or a good Yoga teacher should look like.  Extend this to any fitness instructor. To some extent also to what a “healthy person” should look like too.

I will write another post one day about how a good Yogi doesn’t necessarily make a good teacher in yogamasala.org , but for the moment let me introduce you to DIVERSITY in the yoga world.

This is Jessamyn Stanley, she recently tried cross-fit and it was really inspiring

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This is Bette Calman, also known as the Yoga Grandma.

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And this is my dear Lara Chandrini AKA MintYogini

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Point made.
Now back to the topic.

 


Get going all day on your Yoga clothes (with class and style)

Starting point: Leggings Galore

Leggings… where to start.

If you are anything like me you will appreciate the snug hugging sensation. Yes, the one that controls the wobble of the thighs. Also the lack of any sort of tightness or strangling anywhere. The flexible waistband that doesn’t sink into your belly flesh,  that can accommodate food babies, PMS babies and random water retention babies. It’s kind of liberating.

I firmly believe that leggings are made in the woman section of heaven.

No chauvinism here. In fact my friend @talltreeyogi has a superbly manly collection of leggings and pulls them out like a down to earth pro. RESPECT Andy! But they are SO made for women the market is a bit biased.

The biggest shift you have to make is to stop thinking of them as active wear and treat them like if they were skinny jeans. Leggings are very versatile and if you see them fashion items when you buy exercise clothing it changes the game. You think of what can you wear them with in the context of your entire closet. Not just the sports section.

With this in mind you will notice that the planets have aligned, and now you can get good exercise leggings but with fashionable textures and prints. Remove neon from your mind right now unless you like to go to Zumba conventions all the time. Neon is never going to be glamorous (I hope)

Please note that Active Wear leggings are NOT like normal ones so don’t go cheap here. The cut and the material are different (learn more about this in my last post). Liquido Active has variety for both worlds (glam and zumba) but they are Brazilian after all and they have a slight tendency to think of carnival.

When you re-think of what your work out leggings and you look at them as if they were normal pants you will notice there’s room for basics, prints florals, just in a different way. Just doing this will immediately make it easier on the eye to go around all day on your Active Wear.

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This could be me, when I was 10. I absolutely adore leggings, and I have been wearing them since the 80s. I had two pairs in primary school, with pink or blue flowery patterns. I wore oversized jumpers on top, and White Reeboks or Navy Fila trainers. I did this for years. Credit goes to my mother of course.

If for some reason you think they are really off you can stop reading this right here and maybe have a look at my funny post about Brazilian Waxing instead.
Now that I am a Yoga teacher, I have a professional reason to wear yoga pants all day, every day, and I just love it. YIPPIE!!! This is part of my Liquido Active collection and even these prints work fine on the glam if you combine then with the right tops.

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Mosaic of tiled some of my Liquido Active legging. They are the best because they are buttery soft. Brazilians work Lycra like no other country.

Layer with tops

The key is to layer. Because leggings are so versatile they can be disguised under flowy tops easily. It’s mostly exercise tops that give you away as an active wear fashion victim. Wear a floaty top or jumper over your exercise tank and make sure that’s long enough to cover that infamous Camel Tow. The rule of thumb is that with tight pants you wear a lose top and vice versa. The trashy look is achieved by trying to resemble a neon sausage, hugged in Lycra from top to bottom.

A blouse, a jumper, a light sweater or even a simple and loose v neck white t shirt will do the job, and it will be great with a jacket on top. The next step.

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I have to make a special mention to the top in the cover.

If you find it (Nux, Selena Hoodie) please email me. I think it’s the cutest thing ever. The entire outfit is great, the pony, the flowery hydrangea leggings (also wanted, Nux Rio Capri) and the peekaboo top. ME WANT!

With clothes like this you have the Gigi Hadid look in a moment, maybe not the body but hey, there’s worse things in life. Like Zumba conventions and barbie fitness.

Add a jacket

A denim jacket, military parka, a motorbike jacket, or a chunky cardigan. All of the above make a good combination with yoga pants that you can wear all day in colder weathers. And the great thing is that it doesn’t really matter what you wear underneath because nobody is going to see that.

If you live in the tropics like me, a cardigan is a must to survive the attack of the killer air con blast. You don’t remember what your mother used to tell you when you were little? Don’t go out in the cold all sweaty. after exercising. Here’s the other way around. Don’t go indoors in the air con all sweaty. You will get pneumonia.

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Maybe add a scarf too

If by any chance you still will feel conscious about the camel toe or simple about wearing leggings this is the ultimate trick. Guide the eyes to look somewhere else.

A big or colorful scarf can take all eyes to your neck and away from your yoga pants.  A beautiful scarf makes dress up anything or it can define the entire outfit. Black leggings, black booties and black top? Throw a red or pink scarf around. Print leggings and plain top. A scarf can dress it up.

I don’t need to tell you the use of them in winter, but remember the air con temperature in that expensive shopping mall is always going to be colder than average. Yes that shopping mall we all know, where you need to buy those expensive coffee capsules every week.

Don’t forget the shoes!

You do yoga barefoot, ergo you don’t need to wear trainers. Repeat this 3 times mentally, or out loud if possible. It will help to make it sink in.

Take a deep breath and now proceed to remove the association of yoga pants and trainers. Exercise shoes are optional for your Yoga outfit. If you are American try a few more rounds. Please forgive me, but running shoes are for running. ONLY.

There’s trillions of cool trainers out there these days. They call them street wear, and any of them are going to make you immediately look 10 times more chic than those standard running shoes most standard American seems to have (for some reason I can’t understand). If you have and old pair, maybe it’s time to upgrade and realize that they belong in a Salvation Army box.

That said I do love a sleek cool trainer. I have 6 pairs to be exact. But these beauties below should only be used with jeans or for the gym floor and in case of emergencies like acute foot pain, or heavy rain that will spoil all you other shoes except the Hunters. BTW Wellington boots are actually really cool with leggings – Trainers work on the hipster side, not so much the glam.


Let’s look at other options now. If you are going for the European thing, you will have to follow this and send those ugly running shoes straight away to exile. Now. Resist the trainers temptation and go for sandals, flats, oxfords, booties, and flipflops.


As you can see, leggings go great with all kinds of shoes. Anything works better than trainers, but if you really have to, at least get cute ones.

That’s all folks! It’s really quite simple.

Basically you can combine your yoga clothes with whatever you would wear with skinny jeans. I think it should not be difficult to pull this out, right? If you need more inspiration have a look at my Pinterest album.

Remember that looking like this is really the work a complete team of stylists, make up artists, hairdressers, lighting specialists and photographers. Not just the model.

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Agua Bendita – Active Submarine Jungle Collection

In case of doubt, big black sunglasses add 100 glamour points no matter what you wear.

Until next time!

xx

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Lululemon top with peplum – Out os stock everywhere unfortunately.

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Yoga Capsule Wardrobe

Make your essential Yoga Capsule Wardrobe

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.

Yoga Capsule Wardrobe

Yoga Capsule Wardrobe

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.

4532d8592b893dcc3116fbb5336e0e61 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.

Side note:

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!