Pilates Workout Clothes
If you’re heading to the Pilates studio for the first time, you’ll want to make sure you’re dressed the part. Pilates is all about perfect form and posture, which means your instructor really needs to see your body placement and muscles at work — sloppy T-shirts and oversized shorts need not apply. Instead, choosing form-fitting clothes that don’t restrict your range of motion is always best, even for a complete beginner.
For women, a fitted sports bra is a must for Pilates. While you won’t be jumping or running, you will be contorting your body, stretching and moving around the floor, particularly on your back. A traditional bra will have metal components that can dig into your body as you move, so look for a supportive bra sans the clasps or wires. As for underwear, both men and women should choose a variety that stays put, since Pilates traditionally requires a lot of leg movement and stretching.
Your instructor wants to see your form, so oversized T-shirts should be left at home in favor of form-fitting tank tops and T’s. While you might notice that Pilates movements are slower than cardio workouts, you’ll still work up a sweat — look for performance fabrics that help wick away sweat to help keep you cool during class. Make sure your clothing is not restrictive in any way, since you’ll need a full range of motion from your upper body.
According to “The Everything Pilates Book: The Ultimate Guide to Making Your Body Stronger, Leaner, and Healthier,” the creator of Pilates, Joseph Pilates himself, recommended that you wear as little as possible to practice. But that doesn’t mean wearing bikini bottoms to class. Instead, look for form-fitting stretch pants like workout leggings, or shorts that expose the leg, like gymnast’s shorts. That way, your instructor can see your body’s alignment as you perform various exercises.
Because foot placement and balance are so important in Pilates, going barefoot is best. You’ll get a better grip on your mat and won’t be thrown off balance by thick-soled workout shoes. If you must wear some type of footwear, go for yoga socks. They’re thin and have grips on the bottom to help give you traction when in various Pilates poses and exercises. When in doubt, ask your instructor what she prefers — she can give you ideas for comfort and function when in class.
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