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What to Wear to Pilates: Outfit Ideas

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I cannot believe how much I love Pilates. As a runner for 20+ years, I honestly rolled my eyes when my friends would rave about how hard their pilates classes were. I figured there was just no way it was that hard, especially when I thought about how sweaty and worn out I was after a hard run or a Crossfit class. But then, 6 months postpartum and still struggling to feel normal again on my runs, I decided to give pilates a try. I heard great things about how it could help your pelvic floor, (which was one of the main things I was trying to rehab while I was postpartum), and my pelvic floor therapist gave me the green light to start going to classes a few times a week. Let me tell you– it was humbling. I had NO idea how hard (and great) it was going to be!

All of this to say, pilates is no joke, and I tell everyone I know that I wish I had started taking pilates classes YEARS ago. I can’t believe how strong I’ve gotten in my core. Here’s a short reel that shows you a little bit of a recent pilates class I took if you — like me — have no idea what a pilates reformer class entails.

You know what else I love about pilates? I get to take classes with my friends. Since I work from home, working out with friends is the only social hour I have some days. And since I’ve been treating it as part of my social life, I decided to wanted to invest in some workout sets that I loved (and felt cute in) since that’s also part of the experience ;).

In today’s post, I’m sharing what you’ll need to to bring and wear for your first pilates class. I’ll also share some of my favorite workout sets and places to shop for them.

Let’s get right to it!

What to Wear to Pilates

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What To Wear To Pilates: Outfit Ideas

Low impact sports bras

One of the main differences in pilates and running is that pilates is incredibly low impact. And I’ve loved that I can wear less constricting and supportive sports bras. As a runner with a larger bust, I was used to wearing sports bras with lots of support (here’s my current favorite), and wearing a more comfortable bra to pilates has been so nice. There’s no need to strap everything down so tight in pilates classes! That’s not to say that you can’t wear your regular running bras (I did for months when I first started!), but you may want to opt for something more comfortable that’s a little more stretchy.

What to Wear to Pilates

Fitted tanks

Pilates classes typically call for a lot of props, so I prefer to wear a fitted top rather than a loose t-shirt so that nothing gets in my way. You don’t want loose fabric to catch on the reformer machine or props. Another reason to wear form fitting clothing is so that you can check your form in the mirror and ensure your core is engage. Most of pilates is made up of tiny movements that require very specific form and form fitting clothing will help ensure you’re doing everything correctly.

My favorite fitted tanks also act as sports bras since they’re padded. My top picks are the HeyNuts tank and this CRZ Yoga Tank.

fitted workout tank


For the same reason as above, you’ll want to stick to fitted leggings rather than loose shorts when it comes to pilates. My favorites are the Lululemon Align leggings or this pair of VERY similar leggings from Amazon. I own and love both.

Workout leggings

Fitted shorts

If the idea of long leggings for an indoor pilates class makes you want to jump out of your skin, stick to a fitted pair of shorts. These fitted shorts are great option, or this Amazon pair, for a more affordable option. My personal preference is leggings, but you’ll see both in class.


You may do class barefoot or your pilates studio may require that you wear wear socks with grips on the bottom. You can usually buy a pair before class as your studio, but you’ll save money buy ordering a pair from Amazon. There are lots of options, and it’s all up to personal preference. I have friends that like regular socks with grips, but I prefer the toe-less option.

Socks for pilates

Water Bottle

You WILL want one. I know everyone raves about the Stanley cups, but I have to say, this tumbler from Amazon is better. (I have both and always grab the Simple Modern one over my Stanley.) It’s lighter, slimmer and never leaks.

Water bottle

Where to Buy Workout Sets


Believe it or not, I’ve become quite the Amazon workout gear fanatic. I’ve had great success with CRZ Yoga, an Amazon brand, and HeyNuts, another Amazon brand. I find that the quality of both brands is about 90% as good as Lululemon, but for a fraction of the cost.


I mentioned above that I love my Lululemon Align leggings. They’re extremely soft, wick sweat away, and feel a little more feminine than basic running tights. I also love how high the waist is. While I haven’t bought matching sets from Lululemon since each piece is so pricey, I feel confident that the quality would be worth every penny.

Beyond Yoga

Beyond Yoga is on my list of brands to try, since I have a friend that adores it. She specifically loves the Spacedye material. The Spacedye cropped tank does not have padding, so it’s a great option for someone with a smaller bust.


My love for Athleta was rekindled a few years ago when I found some great running pieces there. The quality is top notch and the styles feel little more fun than Lululemon. I wear an XS in almost all Athleta clothes for reference, and I’m a 2/4 in Lululemon.

If you have other brands you like for matching sets, please share! I’d love to find some other cute options!

Bottom line

Like I mentioned at the very beginning of this post, I wish I hadn’t knocked pilates for so long. Now I can’t recommend it quick enough! If you’re local to Winston Salem, consider joining BodyMind Studio — they’re the best!

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