I’m too sexy for my shirt

pilates clothing

While yoga, dance, and other forms of exercise claim a name to certain types of clothing (ex. yoga pants, bike shorts), pilates students are sometimes left in the dark when it comes to finessing their pilates wardrobe. I’ve never been able to walk into a store and buy ‘mermaid leggings’ or a ‘teaser sports bra’….although there might be something close to that at Victoria’s Secret, who knows? Anyway….the point is, there is enough that may be intimidating for a first time pilates-goer; what to wear should not be one of them.

In order to thrive at Studio Be, all you need is a good attitude, a willingness to try, and while it is required that you wear clothing, (please!) no one cares what you wear.  You can don your brand-name fitness gear, a six-dollar pair of pants from the Target sale rack, or your favorite t-shirt from your first Sting concert. 🙂 Studio Be is an equal opportunity clothing studio.

With that being said, here are a few tips that might help if you’re just beginning. Let’s start with…..

What Not to Wear – Pilates Style

When doing pilates you want to be able to focus on the exercises and principles, not worrying about your clothing. The most important thing about clothing for pilates is the fit.


pilates clothing

Some ladies like to reveal a little cleavage but remember that in pilates you move around! What once began as revealing a little cleavage might result in letting it all hang out. Tops that are too low-cut will end up begging for your attention, as you’ll be more concerned about not revealing yourself than what you paid to do – pilates. So when selecting a top to wear to your pilates session think about how functional the neck line will be for your particular size. Try doing a bit of the rowing series in the dressing room to make sure that everything stays put – just keep the breathing to a low volume so you don’t raise any suspicion.

The front of a shirt is not the only factor for buying – in pilates you spend a good amount of time lying down. Make sure you pay attention to the back of the shirt too. When I first started out I remember I got a very cute, heather gray, extremely soft, short-sleeved shirt that I thought would be perfect for wearing to pilates. Not only did it seem functional but it had an adorable fabric tie over my back, between my shoulder blades. It only took me a few exercises lying on my back to realize that having that lump of fabric pressed into my spine did not feel good! Cute shirt – yes. Cute shirt for pilates – no.


pilates clothing

It’s generally a good idea to look for pants or shorts which are comfortable and not too loose. Gaucho pants are comfortable but you should try to steer away from them:  they have too much free-flowing fabric that can easily get caught in the springs of the reformer and when doing inverted pilates exercises they reveal too much of the southern hemisphere. ( i believe you know what i mean )


Whether or not to wear shorts to a pilates class/session is really your own call. If you feel comfortable revealing those legs – then let them shine! ( i tend to keep mine covered to spare Carla from having to look at my unshaven legs over and over again…. sorry TMI ) Just be cautious when choosing your length of shorts that you won’t be enlisting yourself in a tug-of-war game with your shorts. No one wants to see those butt cheeks (regardless of how cute they may be) hanging out – so do another movement test in that dressing room before you pull out your credit card.

Undergarments – Function vs. Appearance

Without getting too intimate… undergarments do matter! Have you noticed those very embellished undies in the window of Victoria’s Secret? It’s probably best to save those for someone who’s really going to appreciate them because I can assure you that you won’t when you roll over them for the 6th or 7th time…. ouch!

Same goes for the clasp of a bra. Some women don’t mind this and some do. Personally I think there’s a reason why they made special bras for sports….

Enough said about what’s underneath. 🙂

So… What Do I Recommend?

pilates clothing

You have to be able to move so that you are not thinking about your clothes. This means that your clothes fit well and you feel confident about what you are wearing. I lean towards clothes which are made up of a blend of natural fibers and a stretch material – the natural fibers “breathe” while the stretch material helps the clothing move with (not against) the body.

I also recommend going to the studio in layers. Sometimes Studio Be will seem a little cool in temperature from the previous person’s workout (the fans might be running on low.) I recommend throwing on a light sweater or jacket that can easily be removed once your get your blood flowing.

The critical ideas are comfort for you, and visibility for the instructor. ( or lack thereof ) You don’t want to wear something that is restrictive of movement, but rather something that is comfortable and easy to move in.

As you deepen your practice with pilates you will gain insights regarding what you like and don’t like to wear – in many ways it’s trial and error – and after a while you’ll find the most important thing you’re wearing is an amazing core, toned muscles, and an incredible body….can’t think of anything more comfortable than that.

 pilates clothing

Suite 215 | 4211 Fairfax Corner East Ave., Fairfax, VA 22030 | Phone: 703-222-0122


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