Nov. 28, 2012 at 1:52 PM ET
By Kara Reinhardt, Cheapism.com
As yoga has stretched American consumers’ muscles, the apparel industry has stretched their budgets. Yogis and wannabes stock up on everything from figure-hugging jackets to socks with grips on the bottom and individual pockets for each toe. Lululemon, the maker of high-end yoga clothing, expects revenue to top $1.3 billion this year and charges nearly $100 for its popular pants. For less than $20, mass-market retailers sell workout gear that’s still a far cry from gym shorts and a free T-shirt from your alma mater.
Below are Cheapism’s top picks for affordable yoga clothes.
Of course, the cheapest place to find something to wear to yoga is your own closet. While comfort is paramount, clothing that’s too loose may get in the way as you try to get into a pose. A baggy T-shirt or shorts can slide up and reveal your midriff (or more) in a pose such as downward-facing dog or provide an unwitting sight line in a wide-legged pose. Ironically, tighter apparel can prove more modest and allow greater freedom of movement. Clothing that fits closer to the body also makes it easier for a teacher to monitor your form and ensure you’re practicing safely.
Pay attention to the length of the pants you choose. Yoga pants often flare at the bottom, so if they’re too long, it’s easy to get the hem caught underfoot and difficult to see whether your feet are in the proper alignment. That helps explain the appeal of capris and leggings, as well as Old Navy’s fold-over yoga pants. With their three different inseam lengths, they attract many consumers unwilling to spend time and money on alterations.
Consider not only fit but fabric as well. A pair of leggings that works fine underneath dresses and tunics may not breathe very well and stick when you sweat. Cheapism found that one bargain pair proved practically see-through. Quick-drying fabric, like the material of the Champion Double Dry training tank, promises to keep wearers more comfortable than heavy cotton.
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