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!!
Alo high-waisted airbrush capri | $82
Alo high-waist airbrush legging | $81
Alo moto leggings | $109
Alo high-waist leggings coated | $81
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!!)
Work your Ledge tank by EDJE active (gift for review), see more details on this post! Highly recommend it!
(New sustainable/organic cotton tank by Simulacra – it’s in heavy rotation for Pure Barre since I got it. More pictures and complete review on this post.)
(new addition 1/2016: Karma Malala tee – no longer available, mine is for sale at SLOWRE)
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!
(from January 2014 – wearing SoLow cropped leggings, SoLow cami, Everlane ryan tank, Blake Brody ballet shoes)
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 ++
(after my 100 classes at my second studio – wearing SoLow eclon leggings, SoLow cami, Beyond Yoga top and Blake Brody ballet shoes)
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
Thanks for this post! I have never taken Pure Barre but my rinkydink gym now offers a twice-weekly Barre class and I’ve gone for about 2 months now – we use mats, Pilates rings and a freestanding barre instead of the wall-secure ones in your photos. But I definitely can’t wear running shorts or a big tee – not comfortable, and stuff rides up. I’ve learned and now wear C9 leggings, old American Apparel and C9 bras layered beneath, but my stuff is getting threadbare since I used it for running for a long time. I want to upgrade to 1 nice outfit to save for just those 2 days, then wash (I thought of using a Laundress Sports Spray or something for the 1 wash). Do you think So Low and Beyond Yoga are worth the money more than Lululemon? I have 2 Wunder Under crops and mine pilled after a short while but I never bothered returning them.
For what it’s worth, Target (Gaiam brand) sells a $10 grippy sock with the toes separated – I think it’s the cheapest I’ve found. I’ve laundered them but put them to dry on a rack instead of using the dryer. I like the look of your shoes though.
Grechen Reiter says
yay for you!!
i’ve had those gaiam socks and didn’t like them much – i really really really hate socks, and i think i especially hate feeling stuff between my toes 🙂
i have 5-6 pairs of solow leggings and the oldest pair is a couple years old. some stitching at the bottom left hem on that pair is coming out a little, but not enough that the hem will come out. but other than that, i’ve had no issues, and VERY minimal pilling. my wonder unders pilled like CRAZY. but i think i accidentally dried them. same with the beyond yoga leggings. most of my solow leggings i’ve purchased on sale, or with a code, so they’ve been great prices, but in general though, i think they’d be worth full price. if you’re going to start with one pair, i’d get one of the “high impact” eclon pairs at Shopbop – they’re $51 for the long version or $57 for the cropped – (the cropped is almost full-length on me!) – i have pairs in medium and large and while the large still fits, i like how compressive the medium is. they can feel rather tight at first, and if you don’t like so much compression, then i’d size up.
solowstyle.com also does frequent coupon codes if you sign up for their emails…overall, they’re just my favorite brand. i’ve had good luck with everything, i love that they’re made in the US, and try to be environmentally responsible.
Dang! You look so cute for exercise….which makes a lot of sense to me, really. If you want to feel motivated, dress the part, right? I have always gone the “cheapo” route, thinking, “Oh, I’ll just sweat these up, so whatever!” And so that means I’m one of the ladies with sweaty bits, or what you said… EW!
Grechen Reiter says
i’ve always wanted to look “cute” for exercise – i guess it started as motivation for me…
and the thing is, the technical gear, made-for-yoga stuff? it actually works. it’s easier to move in, it wicks sweat away…and holds everything in that needs holding in 😉
I am equal opportunity with workout wear — lulu, Zella, Gap, Old Navy…all are good. Just last month I signed up for monthly outfits with fabletics.com (kinda like Birchbox for workout clothes). It’s really great! Good prices, cute and stylish pieces — lots of fun, modern colors. I’m only on month #2 but so far it’s a great value.
I’m a firm believer in investing in good technical gear for whatever your sport or activity, I have been much more consistent in my exercise routine since I built a “wardrobe” of clothes in which to sweat 🙂
Great post! I need to try Barre .. there is a studio in my neighborhood, but I always think that I need something harder (like aerial silk that wrecked my old hands!) .. and I probably would have gone to a class in tennis shoes .. so glad I stopped by. I put those cute Blake Brody on my amazon wish list 🙂
MonicaP´s last blog post ..Zara dress with necklace – Return
Grechen Reiter says
oh. forgot about fabletics. i might have to try them. as research of course 😉 looks like good stuff generally…
Grechen Reiter says
it’s funny…one of my teachers in the austin studio is a professional dancer for a company that does aerial silk performances. she was VERY GOOD, and that looks so hard. i’d thought about trying it. pure barre is hard too. just a different kind of hard 🙂
Hello! Glad I happened upon your post. I just joined a Pure Barre studio in town 4 weeks ago. Well I did the whole 1 month $99 thing and realized I was going nearly every day and as soon as that ended I signed up for the year. I’m so glad to hear that you still like it years later because committing to a year member ship was a scary nearly $2,000 commitment. I’ve been gym rat since I was 17 and I’m now 40. Yikes. I took ballet as a teen so this type of work out appealed to me. My regular gym has a Barre class which is nothing like a Pure Barre class and I’ve taken adult ballet classes here and there. I know there are soo many different types of Barre classes out there. I was just curious if you got any trouble from wearing those ballet shoes. They look very similar to actual canvas ballet slippers. I honestly hate the socks they sell. I just ordered a few Toesox but realized that they have the toes cut off and I just read that the reason Pure Barre studio’s require socks is because of sanitation reasons….and hey I’m all for sanitation but I was wondering if I could wear my bloch canvas ballet slippers? I own multiple pairs because I’ve taken Barre type classes for years and they last way longer than socks. I was just curious if you had any thoughts since you have been going to Pure Barre for years why they don’t just have people buy canvas or leather ballet slippers instead of socks? Thanks.
Grechen Reiter says
Hi Lizzie! I actually wore Blake Brody ballet slippers for two years to pure barre. They were specifically for studio use so had stickies on the bottom and were really great. They wore out after constant use though And I’ve just been wearing socks since then. I agree with the sanitary issues of not allowing socks without toes, although my studio isn’t very strict about it. It sort of freaks me out a little actually… But anyway I think it would depend on your studio owner and of course as long as the shoes have never hit the street they should be okay…
Hello again Grechen. I just happened to come back to your blog and I’m glad I did as you have updated the information and provided some super cute active wear eye candy. I live in athleasure wear since I work from home. Its crazy but hard not to when there are so many options out there nowadays. I would love to see regular “what I wear to barre” posts from you. I am so impressed that you’ve reached over 700 classes! I’m almost to my year and 43 classes shy of 250 mark. I go 5-6 times a week and although I really enjoy it I find it kind of hard to stay motivated and not feel bored. How do you do it? I still love the work out but I’m thinking of adding different workouts maybe even going back to running and kickboxing to mix it up a bit. Oh and I put my leggings over my heels because during sitting ab work on the wall when you have to drag your heels I find that my socks come off my feet so it kinda serves a purpose. I know when I used to dance ballet back in the dinosaur ages it also kept my ankles warm. I also feel ya about the socks. It sucks that they are soooo expensive too. My kids laugh at me because I go nuts if I’ve lost one in the wash but those things are pricey and when you go 5-6 days a week they wear out fast. I don’t even want to think of how much I’ve spent on socks. I know you probably wouldn’t like Toe Sox but they make a world of difference in certain poses especially plank so I got used to wearing them and even how ugly they are since they’re very functional.
Grechen Reiter says
honestly, i’ve never had much trouble staying motivated for pure barre. i just love it so much, and each instructor teaches differently, and with different equipment, so i know it’ll be a little different every time. and i cannot WAIT for platform!! that’ll mix it up a bit, definitely…do you have platform yet?
i’d like to do more what i wear to barre posts – i enjoy them, but i don’t think most of my readers do…maybe once every month or so??
Thanks for your comment, and yay for 250!! that’s a huge accomplishment in a year!!
Hello. Yes! We have platform. Apparently our studio was the first to launch last year back in November . Its definitely different. The first 20 minutes is intense and all thigh burn with cardio mixed in. Haven’t quite warmed up to it but I like to say with platform you either love it or hate it and it can be as hard or as easy as you make it. It all depends on how much you put into it. I’m 110% type A personality at everything I do and I’m my own worst critic which is not always a good thing. With that said platform to me is hard. I mean sweaty mess,…trying to find my happy place hard.
That is so true that all instructors are different which I love but I tend to go to the same times with the same teachers so the choreography isn’t that different but I do love when they mix it up and use the TRX style split bands.
I understand that barre posts are probably not that popular but it always is nice to meet a fellow Pure Barre junkie. As someone who lives in athleasure and in my 40’s I love to see what’s out there. I saw those Alo motto leggings in black in your previous post and got them because I thought they looked great on you.
Either way I really enjoy your blog! Your a true inspiration at 700 plus classes. Kudos to you!
I’ve been slowly replacing my lululemon gear and have been referring to your Pure Barre posts for ideas! I’ve been looking at the alo highwaist airbrush capris and leggings and was wondering if you own them in black or glossy black or prefer one color over the other? Thanks and have a nice evening!
Grechen Reiter says
I have both! I prefer the tighter fit of the glossy black, but they are also warmer in my opinion. Too warm for platform/cardio in my opinion… and they seem to have a higher waist.
FYI, if you’re still a fan of solow, it looks like the brand is done. I can’t find their website and social media hasn’t been updated since August. Shopbop and carbon38 have dropped them, and Revolve has the line on sale.
Interesting, since the athleisure market has seemed over-saturated for awhile.