Finding the Right Yoga Pants

I bet in heaven you’re allowed to wear sweatpants and eat cake pops and bacon every day.

My new fascination with baking requires me to invest in a new wardrobe — specifically, one that maximizes opportunities to wear knit pants with an elastic waistband.  This blog isn’t rated for mature audiences so I won’t post a close-up of my belly here, but you can trust that I have tested and maybe had a third helping of everything I’ve posted here.

All this to say that in the past few weeks I’ve become a bit of an expert in lounge wear. I’ve been known to wear exceptionally hideous clothing when no one’s looking, but 1) my expanding waistline demands more elastic waistband time, in public even, and 2) I live in California so I have to consider earthquake risk: that there could be a day where I might be stuck for some time in a single outfit.  Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1) Stick with black. I’ve been tempted by the occasional charcoal gray, and my biggest mistake was a heather gray which can only really be described as inappropriate — kind of like giving people a peep show of what your lower half might look like in black and white TV. Black masks a lot of detail, and you have a lower risk of the dreaded camel toe if you stick with black.

2) Heavier fabrics are more forgiving. Knits notoriously show off every little detail. Think fondant versus regular frosting — you’re  more likely to get even coverage, and again, reduce the probability of camel toe. I prefer fabric blends that contain some percentage of elastane.

3) Vertical seaming is very, very good. Any vertical details elongate the leg and are generally slimming. One pair I have has a really subtle extra vertical line of stitching about three inches behind the normal side seam, and it makes a huge difference.

4) Other butt detailing is generally bad. I tried on a pair that claimed to be “butt-lifting” and had concentric semicircles of black stitching on the rear like a padded bike short would. While someone from very far away might think I had a very lifted, rounded butt, anyone within 30 feet of me would wonder why I was wearing a very large black diaper.

5) Cut matters. I find that the most flattering pairs skim your thighs just enough to accentuate the shape without being tight. I generally prefer a straight leg, or one that flares very subtly at the bottom.

6) Know your inseam. When stand up and look in the mirror, with shoes on the back of your pant leg should be about 1/2 inch off the floor. Too long and the leg will start bunching up in the front, making you look chunkier and once again risking camel toe; too short and it will look like you didn’t bother updating your wardrobe after puberty.

7) Get a bargain. You don’t have to do this — they’ll still look good of course if you pay full retail, but I always think it’s fun to get a $45 pair of yoga pants for less than $20 — like I’m actually making money. I’ve found really good Adidas, Puma and New Balance pairs at Costco (wear a skirt so you can just try them on right then and there and spare yourself the returns line) and discounters like Marshall’s and Nordstrom Rack.

I would love to be able to branch out into other colors, actually….does anyone have tips on how to find a decent pair? If so, and if you have any other tips to add, please share! Stay comfy, everyone!




  • Jenny
    February 19, 2012 - 6:13 PM | Permalink

    As a fellow elastic waistband wearer, I completely concur on all points. I also like Lululemon Wonder Under Crops. I have a pair in black/grey heather (check the store, not avail online anymore) that are amazing. They’re thick and not too tight. I wear them with cute boots and you wouldn’t even know they’re technically workout pants. More cake pops and bacon, please! By the way, when is Epic Cake Pop Day? Photos?

    • February 19, 2012 - 9:35 PM | Permalink

      Ohhh…thanks for the suggestion! I found the link online, but no heather grey — and you say those don’t look indecent? I have a pair of these crops from Athleta that I like a lot — they’re nice and cottony but with good stretch. As for Epic, we are working on rescheduling a day, hopefully soon!!! Worst case I will make them on my own, but would need to make a liquor run beforehand. I think you would be particularly helpful during such a run.

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  • Patricia
    February 28, 2012 - 1:58 PM | Permalink

    Yoga pants are indeed comfortable, but the undergarments you’re supposed to wear under them are not! Any recommendations???

    • February 28, 2012 - 2:53 PM | Permalink

      I KNOW what you mean. I should probably worry about that more, but 1) I figure that no one is really spending a lot of time looking at my butt anyway, and 2) if they see panty lines, so what if they know I’m wearing underwear? Against all logic though I still try to hide them; I’ve tried these from Jockey and in the nude color, they’re great under white pants too. The other thing I’ve noticed is that my yoga pants have cotton linings inside, as if to hint that you don’t need to be wearing underwear at all. I haven’t tried that yet though!

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  • May 16, 2013 - 6:36 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for the post.Truly thank you! Will study on…

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