Quick update for January 2017 with some excellent tops for Pure Barre:
But first let’s tuck sweatshirt* (AA, made in the US) | haha!! Barre Humor 😉
Barre Babe tank (made in the US)
Alo warm-up tank | $41 (I have this in medium – love it)
Nux tank | on sale for $12!!! (I have this in medium – it’s longer, and comes up higher on the neck, which sort of bothers me when I first start class, but I forget about it after a while)
Let’s Get Physical tank (made in the US)
*the ladies at Barre Socks were kind enough to send me the sweatshirt and two tanks to review for you after my not-so-great review of a top by them I purchased at my studio a year or so ago (I’m wearing it in my 250 class photo below). I’ve worn and washed the Let’s Get Physical tank and the sweatshirt with great success. I love them both. Thumb’s up!!
Just want to mention my love of Alo leggings for a second: I have the last three pairs of Alo leggings, and have had the moto pair for more than a year. The moto pair isn’t as high-waisted as the others, but still has a very nice rise, and fits really comfortably. The stitching is starting to come out on the back of my left calf but I just cut off the stragglers. That happens with leggings like this, ones that have stitching/mesh/detailing that can start to wear out faster than regular seams. I also have two of the high-waisted pairs of leggings and I love them too; they feel good and I appreciate that they hold in my abs a bit more. But the coated leggings are almost TOO high-rise. There’s a fine line! I wear a medium in Alo. (and I love that they’re available on Amazon now..instant gratification!!)
In a Pure Barre studio shirt December 2015 – via Instagram
Ultracor leggings – November 2015
(en route to Pure Barre 2014 – wearing Karma tights)
**This post was updated with new content 12/22/2015**
I have done Pure Barre for 3.5 years and am about 700 classes in…I wrote this post originally after about 250 or so and have edited it over the years to reflect new products and reviews. Please visit the “Pure Barre” category for even more Pure Barre posts!
You’re probably under the impression that everyone wears Lululemon and looks the same at Pure Barre. While it is true to a certain extent – there’s a LOT OF LULULEMON out there! – it’s not as prevalent as you might think. A lot of women wear Athleta, Gap body, C9, and if the studio sells workout gear, they tend to wear that also. But I don’t like to look like anyone else, even at Pure Barre, so I have tried to seek out alternatives to mall stores and Lululemon (although I do love the high times pants as a short girl…). I also try to buy “made in the US” as much as possible. ++ here’s a post on exclusively made in the US/sustainable yoga/barre clothing ++
Some advice for what to wear for Pure Barre:
Wear cropped or full-length leggings, NOT running shorts. The idea is to keep as much heat in your muscles as possible. Also, NO ONE WANTS TO SEE YOUR LADY BITS when we’re doing ab work under the barre. Trust me. I love my Lululemon high-times mesh pants, but I mostly wear all things SoLow. I have SoLow cropped leggings, full-length leggings, moto-style leggings, you name it, I have it (I try to stalk SoLow at Shopbop or Revolve until it goes on sale). I have also worn Old Navy’s compression leggings, but I had to size down to a small to get them to be as compressive as I like (I’m usually a medium).
On rotation now to 5x a week to Pure Barre –
SoLow eclon leggings | favorite basic black leggings
Ultracor leggings | VERY good, compressive, made of recycled nylon, find them on sale though
Lululemon high times pants | love these
James Perse yosemite tights | mine are an older style, VERY VERY good and comfortable
Various other SoLow pants
Noli tights | run big I think – and very slick, but I love the patterns
Alo moto leggings | probably my new favorites, nice mid-rise, very comfortable fit
I’ve always worn exercise-specific and technical clothing to exercise in, and I would definitely recommend you do also for Pure Barre, especially in a studio setting. The cotton leggings you wear at home from Target aren’t going to cut it there; they’ll show sweat everywhere (not pretty), which also means that it’s not being wicked away from your body, leaving you soaked and uncomfortable.
I also have a couple pairs of slouchy workout pants I got from Sweaty Betty years ago that I love, but can’t wear to Pure Barre because of the ball work between the thighs (can’t get a good grip). You’ll probably notice that a lot of the ladies wear their leggings long, and over their socks. I’m not sure exactly why this is (I do it too…), except that it’s easier than scrunching your leggings up around your ankles, and because unless you’re super-tall, most leggings will be very long on you (I have gotten some of my leggings hemmed). It also creates a nicer “line” and makes your legs look longer in the mirror 🙂
(in October 2015 in a Barre Socks shirt – don’t necessarily recommend it though!)
I love to layer, and do it at the barre sometimes, but it’s generally better to wear all fitted pieces; a cami with built-in bra like this one by SoLow is one of my favorites, as is any cami by Beyond Yoga (they’re SO SOFT and do not move when you do). As you progress in your practice, you’ll really want to pay attention to your form in the mirror, noticing that your back is flat, your tummy tucked, etc., and it’s harder to do that when you’re wearing a loose layer on top. Not that I don’t do it…I actually love Everlane’s Ryan tanks for Pure Barre because they’re long and don’t fall off my shoulders (DO NOT DRY THEM THOUGH. THEY WILL SHRINK!!!).
Barre Socks makes cute tops, but the one I have (wearing above) did NOT hold up to washing (I didn’t dry it) well at all, it’s misshapen and very short now, so I don’t wear it very often. I also like EDJE tops – bonus because the founders are from Austin and one used to teach at my first studio!
You must wear socks for Pure Barre – I highly recommend sticky socks – and Pure Barre does not allow socks with the toes cut-out; your whole foot must be covered for sanitary reasons. Side note: I hate socks. I don’t even wear them when it’s cold out if I don’t have to. So, I was frustrated with this and tried quickly to get the least sock-like sock I could find!I started with the regular stick socks I got at the studio, then got a pair from Lululemon that I loved (they were thinner), but finally settled on these ballet shoes by Blake Brody which were worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY I paid ($50 via MyHabit) for them.
After two years of 4-5 day a week wear, they wore out in the toes, and I decided not to replace them and just wear socks. Size up one size, they’re supposed to be snug, but they do run pretty small. 10000% worth the investment if you hate socks as much as I do, and go to class as often as I do.
On socks, the sticky eventually wears out (DO NOT DRY THEM), but the pads on the bottom of the Blake Brody shoes held up remarkably well – probably because you don’t need to wash them, just wipe them periodically with a wipe (I do this after class when we’re wiping down our mats).
*edited in 2015: I wear studio socks now and just suck it up, my Blake Brody ballet shoes wore out and I decided not to replace them. I hate socks. I tried the Lucy open socks and didn’t like them at all. I prefer Barre Socks brand, they just seem to fit better on me, and are a little thinner (the company also makes super-cute tops/sweatshirts, but they don’t hold up to wash/wear very well)
Honestly, I don’t wear anything underneath my leggings, because I still have bumps, etc., even with sports undies, and I want a smooth line. Generally, my leggings are opaque, but even if they’re not, I don’t care that much. I do have some c9 panties/boyshorts I got at Target that are better than others, but still…
Other brands worth trying :
Hard Tail – I have a few built-in-bra camis that I like, but they’re not as moisture-wicking as I’d like
Athleta – sort of boring in my opinion, and I’ve never fit into their pants very well
Adidas by Stella McCartney
James Perse – the Yosemite leggings are pretty amazing
Live the Process
Zella (I have tried Zella, but it just doesn’t work for me at all)
Notes on caring for your technical gear:
NEVER dry it. I wash everything on cold water, delicate cycle and hang to dry. I wash all my “technical” gear together, and never with 100% cotton items; there’s less pilling that way and less lint attaching to black items.
Have any other suggestions for workout clothing you love? what do you wear for yoga/barre?
More Pure Barre posts:
A Beginner’s Guide to Pure Barre
Three Years Later : How Pure Barre hasn’t changed my life
5 Things I learned about life from 500+ Pure Barre Classes
Made in the US Barre/Yoga Clothing