Sunday, January 16, 2011

8 Ways to Put the Fatshion in Yoga

Editor's Note: I've gotten tons of requests from readers to talk about yoga fashion options for the curvy yoginis among us. Now, I've been called a lot of things in my day... but curvy is not among the most common, so I deferred to an expert on this one. My friend Anna Guest-Jelly from was gracious enough to share her insights. Enjoy her guest post, and don't forget to add any of your own tips by commenting below!  -- SpoiledYogi

8 Ways to Put the Fatshion in Yoga
By Anna Guest-Jelly

Anna Guest-Jelly,
Yoga is for every body, right?

Tell it the major yoga clothing retailers.
I may rock the curvy party in yoga class, but looking cute while doing it is no easy feat. Some of the major yoga clothing companies (*cough*Lululemon) only go up to size 12. For sheer bottom-line reasons alone, this doesn’t make any sense. The last time I checked, the average American woman is a size 14, so these companies are missing out on a lot of curvy moolah. And, of course, from a yogic standpoint, only making clothes for people up to size 12 sends an unfortunate message that if you’re bigger than that then yoga isn’t for you.

Well, guess what I say to that?

Screw it--and embrace yoga fatshion! (Nope, that isn’t a typo.)

The great thing about yoga is you can wear whatever you want. If you’re in my class and you roll in in your PJs, that’s fine by me (as long as they’re not stinky, but that’s another story for another day). But if you want to up your curvy cute factor on the mat, here are eight ways to give it a go:

  1. Look outside the fitness section of clothing stores. I’ve gotten quite a bit of my yoga outfits from the non-fitness sections of clothing stores. I look for clothes that are cute and easy to move around in (go ahead and give it the Down Dog test in the dressing room); if I find something in the wear-to-work section instead of fitness, that’s okay by me.
  2. Shop online. It can be painful to scour the mall for plus-sized yoga clothes (or, really, anything). Shopping online gives you so many more options, and more and more places are offering free shipping. I’ve got a great list of places I like here; if you know another one, please send it my way!  (Bonus: very few clothing items at these places require a co-signer to purchase.)
  3. Determine what you need to feel comfortable: You don’t want to worry about your clothes during yoga class, so make sure you look for clothes that fit that bill. On a related note,
  4. Don’t settle: If you hate your outfit or feel self-conscious about what you’re wearing, it may be harder to relax into your practice. 
  5. Accessorize: If you’re not loving your clothing options, you can always add in something that makes you feel fabulous. There are plenty of choices that won’t get in the way of your practice, including scarves and rings. As long as what you choose won’t clatter together (bangles) or put someone’s eye out (pointy ring), you should be fine. 
  6. Get Creative: If your pants have that stretch-out-too-quickly problem, try tights or a leotard underneath to avoid getting to know your neighbor too well too fast. If you’re worried about your boobs popping out and suffocating you during inversions, try a tight-fitting, high-necked tank (under another top, if you’d like).  
  7. Make Your Own: There’s no way I could do this because it literally took me six months just to figure out how to thread my sewing machine. But if you’ve got the skillz, put ‘em to work! (And then call me and let’s start a clothing line together!)
  8. Remember How Curv-riffic You Are: Sometimes curvy clothes shopping can get a gal down, but don’t let it. More and more companies are making clothes for us every day. Keep giving your dollah bills to the ones who get it and girlcott the ones who don’t. 
Moral of the story? Yoga fatshion doesn’t have to be a time-consuming, soul-sucking, body drama-creating endeavor. Figure out what makes you feel fantastic on the mat, and then wear it with all the curvy confidence in the world. After all, if our yoga practice teaches us anything, it’s that what we need most is already inside us.  How we dress it up from there is up to each of our uniquely glamorous selves.

Anna Guest-Jelley is a bit of an anomaly: a curvy woman who practices and teaches yoga. Despite not dreaming of putting her leg behind her head (without going to the hospital, at least), she learns/practices/teaches yoga because of its transformative powers in her life. For more Curvy Yoga goodness, visit Anna’s website or connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.