Choosing The Right Pair Of Yoga Pants That Work For You

Flattering? Check. Versatile? Check. Just as comfy as sweatpants? Check, check, check. Yoga pants are a must whether you're doing a downward-facing dog pose on your mat or out running errands. Live The Process founder Robyn Berkley told The Zoe Report that the garment first made its way into wardrobes everywhere in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when the style was fitted on top and slightly flared at the bottom.

Today, the Y2K silhouette is making a comeback, though there are plenty of other versions to try if stretchy bell bottoms aren't your thing. As Vogue points out, there are skin-tight yoga leggings and cropped styles to consider instead. You can also choose from different colors, prints, fabrics, and other details.

The options can be overwhelming when it comes to yoga pants — and slipping on a pair is supposed to make you feel relaxed and ready for savasana, not stressing over whether you chose the wrong style. Follow this guide to pick the right yoga pants for you.

Material matters when choosing yoga pants

One point that sets yoga pants apart is their materials, according to The Yoga Nomad. Yoga pants should be opaque and thick enough to prevent visible panty lines while offering stretch and breathability.

When shopping, check the pants' interior tag. Body+Soul explains that bamboo and Tencel are perfect for hot yoga and other sweat-inducing workouts because they're moisture-wicking and good at regulating body temperature. Cotton is soft and absorbent — ideal for everyday wear, though not a great match for workouts. Nylon and polyester are highly breathable, and for stretch, be sure there's some added spandex.

Choose compression styles for added support

Compression pants — including compression yoga pants — are thought to support muscles during exercise, speeding up recovery and improving overall performance, according to Medical News Today. They may not be suitable for people with delicate or weak skin, but most others can benefit from a little compression in their yoga pants.

Shape notes that compression products are unregulated, so even though you'll see terms like "light compression" on labels, what matters most is how they feel on your body. Opt for support, not restriction. You should be able to freely move your body between poses.

For length, try a slight crop

Standard yoga pants are usually full-length, but different lifestyles and body types may call for different lengths. Activewear brand Alo Yoga breaks down the most common options: capris (great for petite women and hot yoga days), full length (hits at the ankle for women of average height), and the "goddess" (an extra-long cut that scrunches at the ankle).

Another popular choice is 7/8 length pants, which The Sports Edit says "have an inseam which is 1/8th shorter than a full-length style." This midi length is universally flattering and works for most activities and temperatures.

High-rise yoga pants keep you feeling secure

Although you might experiment with low-rise jeans, when it comes to the waist of yoga pants, there's one type of rise that experts agree on: high-rise. Adidas' Kim Buerger explains that high-waisted leggings offer support and move with you (though the same can be said for any style of yoga pants). Similarly, yoga instructor ​​Katch Posch told New York Magazine's The Strategist, "I live for high-rise and for not having to keep pulling up my pants while practicing or teaching."

To get the fit, look for yoga pants that sit a little above the belly button.

There's a time and place for both flared and tight yoga pants

We already touched on the flared style that was the norm for yoga pants years ago. Though it can be confusing (hence the "flared leggings" debate when yoga pants came back in style, per Elite Daily), yoga pants can be either tapered or wide at the bottom.

Certified Yoga teacher Laura Finch tells Yoga Kali that she suggests choosing between flares and non-flared styles based on your activities. Fast-paced yoga and other workouts call for tight-fitting pants, while flared and baggy fits are comfy when doing restorative yoga or lounging around on a day off.

Experiment with colors and prints

Black yoga pants are ubiquitous for a reason. Bustle says that black garments are one of the best ways to hide sweat marks on hot days (or when powering through a challenging yoga class). Opting for black bottoms also makes it easier to go bold and bright on top.

However, you don't have to stick to black when choosing yoga pants. Other popular colors include earth tones and primary shades, and each offers something different based on color psychology, according to Yoga Clothes for You. To try several at once, go for fun printed patterns.

Seams impact the feel and functionality of yoga pants

Yoga pants can come with standard seams, minimal seams, or seams thoughtfully placed in specific areas. Verywell Fit explains that seamless yoga pants and leggings allow for optimum movement and flexibility compared to other types. Look for this style if you prefer a second-skin feel.

In contrast, some pants offer extra seams and exposed stitching, which flatters the body while supporting hard-working muscles (per Adidas). An example is the Lululemon Align Ribbed Panel High-Rise Tight, complete with front and side seams that perfectly hug the legs.

Look for pockets if you're always on the go

Your yoga pants could replace your bag if you opt for styles with built-in pockets. As Prevention points out, a range of yoga pant and legging styles come equipped with pockets, from deep side pockets to invisible waistband pockets and even cargo pant-style pockets (like the Alo Yoga High-Waist Cargo Legging pictured here), just in case you need extra room to stash your phone and other necessities.

If you'll wear your pants to yoga class, however, Yoga Kali encourages a less-is-more approach. Added bulk may limit movement during a yoga flow.

As your body changes, so should your yoga pants

Even the "perfect" pair of yoga pants may not work for your body every day. Firstly, don't be afraid to size up or down if you gain or lose weight — yoga pants are meant to fit comfortably, after all.

Next, consider grabbing a pair specifically designed to be worn during your period. Hello! explains that period-proof pants prevent menstrual leakage, sometimes even replacing tampons and other period products.

For yogis with a baby bump, browse maternity styles. Women's Health suggests looking for belly and back support, breathability, and plenty of stretch.