What to Wear to Pilates: 30 Best Pilates Clothes and Accessories 2024

“Once you start taking [the practice] consistently, you’ll begin to feel a deep connection with the body on and off the mat,” says Jacqui Kingswell, founder of The Pilates Class online platform. Essentially, regardless of what method of pilates you’re practicing (mat and reformer pilates are the most popular), Levi notes you can see comparable improvement in core activation, flexibility, strength, posture, and overall body awareness. “Performing the movements on a reformer can require more stability and you also have access to the machine itself that introduces more resistance than doing a mat workout,” Levi says. “With that said, you can mimic exercises and movement patterns from the reformer on the mat by using resistance bands and light weights.”

Ready to try pilates for the first time or reintroduce yourself to the practice after a hiatus? You’ll be needing a few essential styles. “Pilates fashion can be fun as you have more versatility in wearing fun styles since the workout is not as high impact like a high-intensity class,” Levi explains. Here, we break down what to wear—along with the fitness accessories that might come in handy.

What to wear to pilates

Sports Bras, Tops, and Tees

A lightweight sports bra is great for low-impact workouts like pilates. Try the one from Free People if you like a cami style; otherwise, we’re fond of Beyond Yoga’s super-soft style. Consider your trusted workout tops great pilates clothes too—just try to avoid something overly flowy or anything that might limit your range of motion. Ideally, you select a top where form meets function—specific to your body type and comfort level. While you can certainly opt for a sports bra, you can also pick something that feels more like a T-shirt or crop top.

Lululemon

hold tight ribbed t-shirt

Bottoms

“You don’t want anything too tight or low-waisted,” notes Kingswell. “It’s all about feeling comfortable.” A high-waist legging design in a soft fabric with a stretchy fit would be ideal for medium-to-high impact workouts. (Phillips points to Alo leggings as a staple in her pilates wardrobe.) Not into a pant legging? Short styles are excellent for pilates, too. Look for compressive and lightweight styles that won’t ride up during your workout.

caught in the midi leggings

Jumpsuits & Unitards

Instead of activewear separates, you could select a onesie to take the guesswork out of exercise dressing. With the rise in fitness and lounge apparel in recent years, we’ve been seeing plenty of iterations of the workout unitard that emphasize comfortability with effective movement. Those who typically workout in a legging might opt for jumpsuits that crop right at the ankle. (Phillips counts Year of Ours as a go-to for a beautiful jumpsuit.) There are also romper styles designed in biker-length silhouettes, many with buttery soft fabrics and a built-in bra.

Socks

If you’re headed to a pilates studio or simply prefer not to workout barefoot, Carruthers recommends having a pair of grippy socks on hand. From Alo Yoga, Pointe Studios, or Bombas, these ensure you won’t slip during your workout thanks to performance grips lining the bottom of comfortable, breathable fabrics.

Lululemon

powerstride no-show socks

What you need for an at-home routine

Unable to head to the studio? Our experts say you can easily practice at home using just your body weight or with an assortment of fitness accessories to enhance your workout. “First, you should invest in a good mat,” says Carruthers. “This would preferably be something non-slip and thicker than your traditional yoga mat.” Phillips also points to props such as the magic circle, light weights, and resistance bands to elevate your moves. “These accessories give a similar feeling to being on the equipment and can be extremely effective at building strength and increasing mobility around our major joints,” she says. That said, no pressure here—oftentimes, your body weight is sufficient, particularly for beginners. For those who need music to power through a workout, wireless headphones or a mini portable speaker are great to have on deck—especially if you like to workout outside or want to take your accessories with you on a trip.

How often should you do pilates?

All of our experts agree that pilates seamlessly complements other exercises too, for those not ready to part from a beloved cardio workout, weightlifting, or yoga. For an intensive workout, Kingswell recommends practicing pilates four to five times per week; otherwise, incorporating it two to three times is amazing for beginners. As for how long you can see results: “Within a week, people are starting to feel muscles they may not have felt before and it just gets deeper from there,” Kingswell explains. Per Carruthers, after 30 sessions, you can expect to literally feel that your body has increased mobility—or what she calls having a different body.


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