• Hazel Commane

What to wear for Pilates?

Be comfortable!

The most important thing is that you are comfortable. You don't need expensive gear or specialist clothing. That said, there are a few things to avoid.


Avoid fabric that doesn't stretch. Your joints are going to be moving and experimenting with range of motion in your session, so your clothes need to be able to move along with them. So jeans aren't ideal. You should also avoid belts or anything that's going to restrict your movement - or your breathing. More on that later.


You won't need trainers. Bare feet are best. But I know that sometimes in the British winter, that can be a bit cold! If you have to wear socks, please get some with the grippy bit on the bottom to help stop you slipping. A good grip creates a great stable base to work from to strengthen and mobilise from.

I'm a big fan of toe-sox - these are socks that work like gloves for your feet so you can move each toe. I can supply these for you if you'd like some.

Bare feet are best.


For a long time, I thought that because Pilates was exercise, the best thing to wear was a supportive sports bra - like the kind I wore for running. It's a sports bra, right?

There's two reasons this isn't ideal. One is that these kinds of bras usually have a clip on the back which is really uncomfortable when you're rolling around on the mat. So go for one without a clip.

The second, and arguably more important reason, is that these sports bras are usually really tight. Wearing a tight band around your ribcage interferes with how your breath is working. We often have a tendency to breathe forwards into the front of the body or up into the shoulders, and forget to use the whole of our lungs to their full capacity. Pilates is going to help you become more balanced and breathe better - including into the back and sides of your ribcage. A tight rigid band (maybe with metal wire) that's fixed around your ribs is not doing you any favours for your breath or your range of movement. Instead, choose a soft bra that still allows you to breathe wide and deep and full. Pilates isn't a high impact exercise - you won't be jumping or running on the spot - so you don't need a sports bra in the same way as you might do for sports like running. Instead go for the lightest, softest, stretchiest and most comfortable bra you can. And enjoy moving and breathing in it.

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