I have worn so many brands of yoga clothing over the years I really had to stretch my memory to think about the good, the bad and the ugly. Personally, I think I’ve tried to forget the ugly (poor fitting or poor quality) ones and just focus on what has worked. Through my personal practice and education in textiles, I have learned that you often get what you pay for. I’ve found things that work and those that didn’t. I’ve spent far too much money on yoga clothing that stretched in all the wrong places, wore out quickly or squeezed and pushed my body into places I didn’t want them to go. I’ve gone cheap, thinking I could save a few dollars only to find my bargain became expensive when I only wore it once or twice because it didn’t hold up to even a class or two.
I’ve found some companies that make clothing cut to fit my body shape and that has been most important to me. Secondly, I really pay attention to fibers. I’m sure I’ve had plenty of sales associates thinking I”m looking at price tags when I’m really reading content labels – just like I read personal care product labels and food labels. I want to know what I’m eating, wearing and slathering onto my skin because it all matters. Clothing fiber content matters because yoga clothing in particular is worn close to our skin. Our clothes are being washed and residue enters our water supply. Flame retardants along with dozens of other contaminants have been found in blood samples. Choices that we each make affect everyone around us, beyond our workout.
Recycled & Engineered Active wear in general has become “man-made” with the advent of tech-fabrics, nylon & polyesters are the foundational fabrics which have been engineered to even resemble cotton. Some polyester fibers are even made from recycled soda bottles.
Feels like cotton Here is a tank I received from Soybu to try. I would definitely compare their quality of this bombshell tank to Lululemon and Athleta. I received an XS, equivalent to Lululemon 2, although it didn’t seem as snug as a compression tank from Lululemon. What I liked about Soybu is the simple design, the bombshell tank moves freely with your body, no bunching in funny places, although it did ride up a little during my sun salutation. I’m not sure if it’s because of the fabric or because I don’t have many curves for the cut to hold on to. The ruching on the sides give a flattering fit for most tummies. I like that Soybu is committed to providing eco-friendly fabrics like organic cotton, bamboo and recycled fibers and they have a huge line of clothing including cute dresses, accessories and more.
Organic Fibers are Best I absolutely love organic clothing, sometimes my body just craves the feeling of soft cotton fibers next to my skin and it needs a break from the man-made fibers which really don’t breathe. Organic fibers have a more casual fit if they don’t have spandex. Add spandex and you’ve got a great combination of a natural tech fabric that holds it shape during your vinyasa. Here are some more eco-friendly companies that are definitely worth trying with your sun salutations:
Soybu Sustainable fibers and eco-friendly company located in Denver, Colorado. Natural, inspired performance clothing that is versatile for workouts and play. A nice variety of clothing, dresses, yoga apparel and accessories for active women.
Cozy Orange A new company to try out in eco-friendly yoga gear. Cute line of yoga clothing, jackets, activewear and accessories made with organic cotton, bamboo and recycled fibers.
Blue Canoe is a company that produces some nice organic cotton clothing, their active line has some spandex to help retain the shape.
Soul Flower is an eclectic source for unique organic yoga clothing and lounge wear.
Earth Yoga Clothing made in the USA of organic cotton and bamboo. Cute capris, yoga pants and t’s for a comfortable yoga practice.
Prana Supports many green organizations that are working for a better planet. They use natural, recycled fibers and offer men’s & women’s active clothing in addition to a full line of yoga-wear.
Ibex, Smartwool and Icebreaker are all companies that offer quality active gear made with naturally anti-microbial and odor resistant merino wool. I prefer these natural fibers over synthetic odor control chemicals which are embedded into the fibers.
These are some key factors to consider when choosing yoga clothing:
Fit is key if you don’t want to expose anything in yoga class. Your fellow classmates will also appreciate your choice of clothing that does not reveal. There are so many yoga clothing companies, many with great style, make sure you don’t sacrifice fit for style. Many yoga pieces shift or stretch a little so it is helpful if you can bend, stretch and move as much as possible in the fitting room. If you are uncomfortable in the first few minutes of a fitting, it will only get more apparent. When you practice yoga (or any exercise for that matter)you want to be able to focus on your movement, not wondering what your clothing is doing.
Fiber content organic clothing is the purest option in yoga wear, so if you have sensitive skin to any chemicals this is your best bet. The only downfall to pure organic knit fabrics is they don’t keep their shape well (unless they have lycra added for stretch). If you go 100% organic, the best styling would be looser fit pants and tops that don’t rely on form fitting fashion to be comfortable and functional. If you are practicing yoga, clothing that is comfortable, yet loose enough to move in is ideal.
Odor Control Obviously, odor control is important when it comes to workout clothing, especially if you are working out over lunch and your gym clothes stay in your gym bag until evening. My simple fix is to wash clothing with 4-5 drops of a Purifying essential oil blend. This blend works magic in removing odors, even in my teenager’s lockers and shoes where the odor is enough to knock you out. I would stay away from yoga clothing that is injected with “odor-controlling” fibers, this should be your first clue that it contains chemicals. Engineered chemicals like microban are not in alignment with pure living principles. Some companies have created active and yoga clothing with silver nano-technology in which the verdict is still out as to the long term effects of wearing these fibers next to your skin. Wool is my favorite choice for natural odor control. My husband is a runner and comes home with shirts soaking wet. Every once in a while he wears cotton again and it is saturated with sweat odor. This never happens with merino wool, even if it sits overnight!
Cost is a factor for most of us. While it shouldn’t be the only factor, it’s important to keep in mind quality of your clothing. Spending $50 on a yoga top is expensive if you only get 4 or 5 wearings out of it before it pills, fades or loses it’s stretch. I’ve found this is a common problem with some name brand sports apparel that is fine for other sports like basketball, football, soccer, or everyday wear. I have Athleta yoga pants that have lasted 3 years without pilling or fading. At first it was tough to cough up the $60 (on sale) for a single pair ($80 regular price), but now I’m convinced and a believer of quality activewear for my yoga practice. You really do get what you pay for.
What is your favorite piece of yoga clothing and why? This is the piece that you would buy one in every color (or maybe you already have) Please share 🙂
If you own an eco-friendly yoga clothing company not listed here, please list your link! We’d love to learn about new companies who make eco-friendly clothing made in the USA.