What to Wear to a Pilates Class – 7 Best Outfits and Useful Tips

Christine Steuber
Jul 1, 2022
Are you going for your first Pilates class and don't know what to wear? In my guide, I've put together 7 Pilates outfits.

Conscious and controlled execution of movements, better known as ‘Pilates,’ is one of the most popular recreation types among women today. To achieve your desired results with this training, it’s essential to know how to perform the exercise correctly, which is impossible without wearing proper Pilates outfits. And this is exactly what my guide is about. 

For all of you who have decided to start Pilates, my recommendations and styling suggestions will ensure that you get the most out of your workout and feel comfortable while you’re doing it.

Let’s dive in!

What Is Pilates?

Pilates is a type of body conditioning and exercise introduced by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. Rather than building muscles, Pilates aims to tone them by focusing on the core. 

Pilates’ principles include working on the lower back muscles and abdomen with a high concentration on each movement. Controlled breathing and precise yet flowing movements are the main characteristics of this workout. 

Based on the exercise, you can perform Pilates on uniquely designed apparatus, like a blanket, mat, or a bed-like structure known as a reformer:

The Nix Company via Unsplash

Let’s see how this practice will physically benefit you:

  • If you have the slouching habit, you can achieve body alignment thanks to Pilates. Even the neglected postural muscles, joints, and opposing muscles will get in balance and become stronger.
  • If you are a victim of back pain, Pilates might help you as it targets and strengthens the pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles.
  • It’s not a secret that women need a lot of energy daily. Focusing on breathing will boost oxygen flow, blood circulation, and serotonin levels, and the right way of breathing is exactly what Pilates is all about.
  • Since Pilates increases body awareness, doing these exercises can decrease stress
  • No one likes menstrual pain, and if you dread your time of the month, Pilates will help you.
  • Pilates is about smooth transitions between slow and accurate movements, resulting in better flexibility and mobility.

As you can see, Pilates can be quite beneficial to your overall health. However, there’s also a practice called lagree, which you might also like. Check out my guide on both Pilates and lagree to learn about them in more detail.

How often to do Pilates?

This is an important question to ask before getting started. While it’s easy to stick with the protocol of practicing Pilates 3-4 times per week, I think it’s different for everyone. 

The blog by Susannah Steers has lots of information regarding the matter. She’s a Pilates specialist and tries her best to answer this common question based on the individual’s body goals, learning curve, and other aspects. 

She explains that sometimes, it’s okay to practice Pilates even once a week. Yet, she also points out that this isn’t the best option. In that case, you’ll notice certain minimal benefits, such as gaining some confidence in creating access to your core support.

However, in her opinion, to achieve some noticeable results, it is necessary to work out at least three times a week.

I recommend you read this blog thoroughly to understand what your frequency of Pilates should be.

Tips to Choose Best Pilates Outfits

I hope you are ready to see the appropriate clothing for your first-ever Pilates class, my dear ladies. I’m sure most of these clothing pieces already exist in your wardrobes, especially if you do yoga or fitness, as clothes for these practices are very similar or even the same.

Let’s see what we have here.

Tip #1: Don’t go for baggy pants

While the clothes need to be stretchy, ensure they aren’t baggy. The reason is that your instructor needs to check how your muscles engage and see your bone alignment. 

Plus, baggy shorts tend to ride up, so avoid wearing them to Pilates. Let me show you my favorite recommendation for bottom during Pilates workout:

High-waist leggings for Pilates outfit from Amazon
Credit: Amazon

These thick, high-waist leggings not only lift your hips but also maximize your movements. Wearing these will bring you closer to your body goals by providing the comfort you need. It’s equally best for all kinds of exercises due to the soft, breathable material.

Tip #2: Choose slim-fitting tops

Dress-up for Pilates is incomplete without a conforming top, right? Focus on choosing the super comfy and breathable T-shirt so you can enjoy your training to the maximum. But if you’re wearing a T-shirt, it’s impossible to check your form and ensure you aren’t snagging. 

So, I suggest a slim-fitting top, like the one below:

Crop top for Pilates outfit from Shein
Credit: Shein

This is a practical slim-fitting crop top. The plain top in the burgundy shade is made of high-stretch viscose and elastane. Its short sleeves and round neckline will allow maximum movement.

Tip #3: Buy a low-impact or yoga bra

As previously mentioned, Pilates does not involve rapid or explosive movements. But you still have to feel supported up there. Therefore, a low-impact yoga bra is a great idea for this type of training.

Yoga bra for Pilates outfit from Nordstrom
Credit: Nordstrom

Above, you can see a fantastic low-impact yoga bra from Nordstrom. Its fabric is made of partially recycled brushed jersey, an uber soft material, so you’ll feel comfy throughout the workout.

The longline length offers sufficient coverage and provides you with the support you need. I own a couple of such bras myself, and I can confirm how amazing they are.

Tip #4: Avoid tie-back tops

When it comes to Pilates outfits, you should only choose simple clothes. This means that tie-back tops and other unnecessary elements, like belts, need to go away. 

Extra details on your clothes will cause discomfort when you have to lie back. On that note, say goodbye to tassels and drawstrings as well. Remember that these pieces are a major injury risk. To clarify what I am talking about, the example below will show you what clothes you should skip:

Tie-back crop top Pinterest
Credit: Pinterest

I know how feminine and appealing these tops look, but try to resist it and go with plain clothes.

Tip #5: Don’t wear accessories and jewelry

There’s one strict rule – do not wear jewelry or accessories during training. In addition to being a nuisance, you can also injure yourself. 

However, you can still complete your Pilates outfit with some fashion details. For instance, sports hair bands will be the perfect solution, especially if you have long-length hair or a lot of baby hair like I do. I know how annoying it can be when the hair moves everywhere on your face and distracts and blocks your eyes. 

That’s why you should consider buying something like this:

Headband for Pilates outfit from Fore Sport
Credit: Fore Sport

These are breathable, lightweight, and highly flexible hair bands. While you do your Pilates, this accessory will quickly absorb your sweat, leaving you focused and stress-free.

Tip #6: Avoid clothes with zippers and buttons

It’s not only the tassels and tie-back tops you should avoid. The same goes for any clothing having buttons or zippers – they can cause discomfort and even pain during the Pilates movements. 

As an alternative, check out the following leggings:

Leggings with pockets for Pilates outfit
Credit: Nike

These mid-rise running leggings have convenient pockets to store your belongings, such as your phone or iPod. While being smooth and lightweight, these leggings provide plenty of space to move.

Tip #7: Purchase socks with a grip

Since Pilates focuses on balance, people usually do it while wearing socks or barefoot. I advise you to wear socks as they’ll give traction on mats and prevent injuries. 

However, keep in mind that classic socks will slip and fall off easily. What you need for this type of training are grip socks – they have dot-grips made of thin PVC or silicone on the bottom. Various lengths and styles exist, but I singled out these in neutral shades:

Socks with a grip for Pilates oufit from Amazon
Credit: Amazon

These stylish socks consist of combed cotton, while their grip-dots are composed of silicone. The low-cut design, cushioned feature, and elastic crisscross straps make you feel comfy, flexible, and stable during the training. Another perk is that these socks keep your feet clean as they block bacteria.

7 Pilates Outfits to Rock at Your First Class

Finally, we’re at the most exciting section of my guide – what to wear to a Pilates class. I hope you’re ready to take workout clothing inspo notes because I have created seven Pilates outfits after researching what goes best for this practice.

Time to see some stunning exercise clothes!

Outfit #1: Basic attire for all workouts

As I’ve said before, the outfits for yoga and Pilates are quite similar, so I’ve picked the most basic yoga attire that can work equally amazing for Pilates:

Basic Pilates outfit idea

This casual and simple ensemble consists of knee-length leggings and a low-impact bra that will support your bust. These two clothing pieces are flexible and allow you to easily carry out many movements. 

The mid-rise leggings will stretch with your body, while the sneakers in the same grey shade complement the outfit very nicely.

Outfit #2: When in doubt, wear black

Sometimes, women face the same confusion regarding exercise clothes, just as they do with everyday outfits. And when we don’t know what to wear, we choose black, right? That’s why I’ve created an all-black attire for your next Pilates training. Take a look:

Black Pilates outfit idea

At the top, we have a loose and stretchy yoga bra with multiple straps at the back to maximize support. And at the bottom, there are stylish leggings with red and white lines at the ankles. 

This attire will enable you to do plenty of stretching, bending, balancing, and folding.

Outfit #3: Simple & comfy style

This time for our Pilates outfits, we have a partial black outfit with a baby blue contrast that looks brilliant. The following combination is for those who like basic clothes without too many details:

Sleeveless blue top black leggings Pilates outfit idea

A blue sleeveless top is slim-fitting enough to observe your body alignment and muscles. It is paired with flexible black leggings showing horizontal blue lines. This modest outfit will allow your instructor to have an eagle-eye view of your movements and watch how your body is progressing. 

There is one thing I want to point out here – although it is recommended not to wear footwear during Pilates, it is certainly a good idea to complete your outfit with high-quality sneakers, which will make your walk to class more comfortable and healthier. Also, if your instructor is doing cardio warm-up exercises before Pilates, such as running or jumping, wear sneakers to avoid injury to your feet.

Outfit #4: Go with a soft T-shirt

If you are not a fan of short and too tight tops, don’t worry. Although you shouldn’t wear baggy pants to Pilates, you can still go with a slightly loose T-shirt. Check out this outfit with one sheer pink top:

Soft T-shirt and leggings Pilates outfit idea

This loose top with mid-length sleeves will be your best friend during the workout and make your body breathe. I would recommend wearing this T-shirt to all apple-shaped ladies who want to hide their tummy.

Plus, the super-stretchy yoga leggings with interesting patterns will add a touch of uniqueness to your overall look. It couples well with the pink shirt and robust sneakers.

Outfit #5: Slim-fitting styling

Let’s go back to all of you who adore slim-fitting tops because this super tight olive green crop with full sleeves will put you right in the mood for Pilates:

Slim fit top and leggings Pilates outfit idea

The low-rise plain leggings make sure that your crop top is in the limelight and make you easily notice the progress on your abs and bottom.

Outfit #6: Pattern your Pilates outfit

Still not inspired enough to choose clothes for Pilates? It’s time for an unconventional yet stylish outfit. Take a look at this amazing combo:

Top and patterned leggings Pilates outfit idea

This might be the most attractive outfit in this guide. Even the sneakers are eye-popping with the bright mint color! Since some women dislike basic outfits, this attire giving tropical vibes is a must-have for your Pilates training. 

A short sky blue low-impact bra with crisscross straps is paired with an eclectic mid-rise legging featuring striking patterns and various colors. And most importantly, the outfit is comfortable and allows easy movements!

Outfit #7: Short it out

Finally, here’s the last workout outfit that will remove your laziness and make you feel ready to burn some calories. The baggy shorts aren’t appropriate for Pilates, but the extra tight shorts are more than a good choice.

Crop top and shorts Pilates outfit idea

Green bike shorts with an elastic band give superb coverage on the hips and thighs, so these features make them look amazing on all pear-shaped and hourglass figures. These shorts feel like a second skin while allowing great stretch without riding up. 

A sleeveless, slim-fitting top does a great job at supporting your upper body. You’ll be able to see your form at all angles throughout the Pilates workout by wearing this outfit.

5 Pilates Class Etiquette Tips to Follow

The final section of today’s guide is helpful for everyone, especially for beginners planning to start their Pilates journey. My tips will help you better understand how Pilates works, what you have to pay attention to, what not to do etc. Let’s go through Pilates class etiquette tips:

  • After signing up for a class, your dedicated spot will be undisturbed until the end. If you’re skipping a day, let your instructor know.
  • If an injury or a movement hurts your body, ask the instructor for a modification.
  • After using the studio’s equipment, put it back in its original place. Plus, wipe down the equipment to clean it.
  • Questions are always welcome, but only ask them when there’s no workout flow. 
  • The best chat times are before and after the class. Don’t chat during the training because you might distract everyone, including yourself.

That’s it! Keep these etiquette rules in mind for your first class, and you’ll undoubtedly enjoy it!

Wrapping Up

My guide on Pilates outfits ends here, dear ladies. To round up, below is the summary of the tips we discussed today:

  • Don’t wear baggy pants, tie-back tops, jewelry, accessories, or anything with buttons and zippers. 
  • Choose slim-fitting tops and low-impact bras.
  • Replace regular socks with grip ones. 
  • If you want to wear short bottoms, go with cycling tights.
  • Train without sneakers, except during cardio exercises.

This is how you can put together different sets of your Pilates uniform. If you like this guide, you can read similar articles on exercise, fashion, and other girly topics on my blog. Happy Pilates!

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