Find your zen without going broke

By Mir
August 14, 2006

Shannon writes:

You know what I crave, oh dear, pretty, wonderful, and fabulous Mir? Yoga clothing that are not so expensive I have to take out a second mortgage on the house. Yoga is supposed to be about centering yourself and finding peace, not having to worry if your family will be able to eat because you have an expensive hobby (finding a yogi who will teach me for trade has been amazing…now if I can only find a not so expensive yoga clothing store to get myself pants and tops for the summer).

So, yoga or workout clothing that is not so spendy…show me that oh wise one.

Ahhhh, the eternal question: If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it make a sound?

Oh. Wait. That’s the wrong question.

It’s the other eternal question: Do you make do with cheap exercise clothes or go for the expensive stuff, and how much does it really matter?

I did yoga for years, and I certainly developed my own preferences for what I found most comfortable in class. But what I like to wear may not be what you like to wear. And please tell me you haven’t fallen into that trap where you believe all of your yoga-wear must be labelled as such or it’s not the right gear for your workouts. That’s bunk.

So. First order of business? Figure out what you’re most comfortable wearing.

You’re going to see women in class who are scantily-clad and women who wear sweatpants and ancient collegiate t-shirts. What will you be comfortable wearing? Start with what you already own, if you own anything that might be appropriate for class. If you own nothing that will work, buy a few cheap items at the cheapie store of your choosing (KMart, etc.) to see what works.

For example: If you’re going to be getting a heavy workout where you’ll be sweating extensively, you’re likely to discover you want non-cotton workout wear. If you’re taking a low-impact class where you don’t sweat a lot, you can eschew the more expensive wicking clothing for cotton blends.

Also keep in mind that you may find one style or another preferable. I have a variety of workout tops. For yoga, my personal preference is a T-back tank, because I find it the least restrictive of the choices. I figured that out through trial and error; I’m not sure there’s another way to do it.

If you don’t take class in a environmentally-controlled studio, you may need different wear depending on the seasons. Or maybe you just bundle up on top of your tank and shorts, in the winter. Think about these issues, as well.

Okay. Next? Figure out how much money you have to spend and how many pieces you think you need.

I used to take yoga twice a week, and I had two outfits. I could’ve managed with one, I suppose, but not having to rush and do laundry between classes was easier and I bought cheaply enough that I could afford to buy two. I suppose I could’ve worried about my fellow classmates thinking I only had those two tops and two bottoms, but, um, I had more important things to worry about, like what I was making for dinner that night.

Also: Consider your body type.

If you’re a large-chested woman, you’re not going to be able to get away with a skimpy cami top with a shelf bra. Don’t even try it. If you’re going to be so self-conscious in bike shorts that you’ll never make it out the door to class, likewise, they’re the wrong choice. You want both what will feel comfortable and will do the job. That job is 1) allowing you to relax and pay attention in class and 2) holding in everything that needs holding in.

Once you’ve dealt with all of the aforementioned, you’re ready to shop.

I highly recommend actually trying on exercise wear whenever possible, because you never know when a tag or a seam is going to bug the everloving daylights out of you. You know I’m a big fan of shopping on the internet, but this is the sort of thing where you may have better luck shopping in person.

Target carries a fairly extensive line of workout wear, nowadays. I see that the online selection is pretty paltry compared to what you can find in the store. Not only will you find good deals on clearance as merchandise turns over, even at “regular” prices that stuff will go on sale regularly. Watch your circulars and stop by the store now and again.

I also like Kohls (available online as well) for this sort of thing, although, again, in-store selection far exceeds what you can find online. Kohls’ regular prices are higher than Target’s, but sales do abound.

Don’t forget your Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, and Ross type stores. Start at the clearance rack; you never know what you might find.

Wanting to shop online? I’ve found awesome deals at Sierra Trading Post on high-end workout wear, in the past. Keep in mind, though, that if you’re taking a class that’s 75% meditation and you’re barely sweating, you don’t necessarily need the expensive stuff. If you’re really doing heavy exercise, spring for the higher- quality stuff; you’ll be more comfortable and it’ll last longer.

I hope this helps, Shannon. Namaste!


  1. Just wanted to say I have found great yoga clothes at Target. Their new C9 by Champion stuff rocks. It’s reasonably priced, comfortable, and holds up really well. Give it a look!

  2. OneHanesPlace carries Champion brand at major discounts, IF they have the item you want.

  3. I love Target for my yogawear. I generally prefer the Prospirit mesh cropped pants and a tight tank. I found an inexpensive cotton athletic bra from Hanes there too that is very supportive of my ample chest. Even though we don’t jump up and down in yoga I find a sportsbra is helpful. I also use a lot of Old Navy ribbed tanks, they are pretty cheap and I can get many colors.

Bargain Hunt





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