Women practicing yoga.

When yoga advocate Arundhati Baitmangalkar arrived in the U.S. from India, she had no idea she couldn’t show up for her classes in whatever she happened to be wearing at the time. “I did not know of special yoga clothing until I moved here,” she recalls, “after all, yoga is about detaching from the body and senses.”

Arundhati checked out yoga wear and realized that the U.S. garment industry understood that range of movement is critical to the practice of this ancient art, so the fashion industry found clever ways to combine practicality with fashion to create tops and pants that make yoga experiences both fashionable and utilitarian.

We take a look at contemporary types of yoga tops for women to give you insights into the market, so you have an opportunity to figure out exactly what you need for the practice you love. Share the news. Your yoga friends will appreciate the tips you share based on the information you learn here.

See also: Athleta vs. Lululemon

Best fabrics for yoga tops

Women practicing yoga.

According to American Fitness Couture, factors to consider when undertaking any activity that involves stretching are fabric thickness and content. Cotton/polyester and spandex allow yoga practitioners to bend easily because this hybrid textile conforms to the body.

Many women choose yoga over other athletic pursuits because they don’t like to sweat profusely as they do when engaging in aerobic workouts, so you don’t need compression or moisture-wicking yoga tops that can add to the price of your wardrobe picks.

Aside from the weave, thickness is also an important factor when evaluating yoga tops. If the fabric is thick, it will stick around. If it’s not, you could suffer buyer’s remorse if your bargain top winds up on a pile of charitable donations.

The fabric industry rates thickness by weight per linear foot, ranging from 180gr to 310gr. If you can find yoga tops that are fabricated of a blend that includes nylon (called the strongest and most durable fabric for exercise) that also has a high thickness number, Zen enlightenment may be achieved!

4 types of yoga tops for women

Yoga maven Gabrielle Madisson discusses all aspects of choosing perfect yoga clothes for women on her DoYouYoga website, recommending a variety of options that depend upon your need for modesty or desire to explore your inner fashionista. If you like variety, you may own all four styles of yoga tops.


Gaiam Women's Dani Yoga Short Sleeve T-Shirt - Workout Top for Women - Black (Tap Shoe), Medium
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This option can be the least desirable of all because loose t-shirts have a tendency to get in the way of movement, says Gabrielle. If you’re in a pinch and have no options, find a way to knot the tee hem to control that movement, especially if the t-shirt is made of fabric that doesn’t stretch.

Tank Tops

icyzone Workout Tank Tops for Women - Athletic Yoga Tops, Racerback Running Tank Top (L, Army)
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Perhaps the most popular style of yoga top, tanks are almost always fabricated of a blend of cotton and spandex, so they cling to the body just enough to give the wearer plenty of stretches. Sweat absorption is another reason tank tops work for women who perspire even when they’re not doing aerobics.

Midriff Tops

HAOYIHUI Womens Girls Bare Midriff Tops Yoga Elastic Crop Top Tee Shirt
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The biggest advantage of this type of yoga top is that they are designed and constructed in such a way, you can easily study the way your arms and back are positioned when achieving poses. Not very popular with women of a certain age, midriff tops make a nice compromise for women eager to show off their fitness.

Yoga Bras

COMFY BRA Women's Light Support Seamless Racerback Sport Bra Wireless Yoga Bralette Tops L
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No underwires, please, unless you want to suffer rather than bliss out! Underwire bras not only impair your ability to move but those hooks and eyes can dig into your back when you lie on the floor to do mat work. Remember: you’re seeking serenity, not torture.

High fashion or not so much?

Women practicing yoga.

We don’t have to tell you that yoga has become one of the most popular fitness options for women and designers are coming out of the woodwork to jump on that bandwagon. The availability of types of yoga tops for women from the brand names you associate with popular sports activities is profound.

Happily, some companies wish to satisfy only one market: women doing yoga who have no desire to wear togs with a Nike swish or other symbols of sports apparel. According to Ling Beisecker of DoYouYoga.com, these are some of the manufacturers vying for your interest by presenting unique designs that cover all of the yoga top types we mention here. They are:

Beyond Yoga
Carbon 38
Cory Vines
Eagle Rock Werkshop
Evolve FIT Wear
Green Apple Active
Jala Clothing
Justa Yoga Wear
La Vie Boheme Yoga
Pure Apparel
Yoga Hyde

But I don’t want to dress like everyone else…

You don’t have to! Spoonflower.com gives you directions you need to cut and sew the tank you seek in the cloth you pick so you save money and sport a one-of-a-kind look.

But even if you know your way around a sewing machine, you could be clueless about where to start. No worries. Sew Your Own Yoga Clothes to the rescue.

Here’s another option: have a custom-made yoga tank top printed with anything you like: your business, your name, or a sassy phrase that showcases your personality. Use your favorite search engine to find screen printers that personalize and sell yoga tops.

Which yoga top is best for your body?

According to folks in the know at Wellicious.com, knowing your body shape can help you figure out which style of yoga tops to buy.

Of course, comfort will always be the determinant for picking a style, but did you know that you can use your body shape as a guide, too? We’re talking apples, pears, and bananas here!

Illustration of an apple-shaped figure.

Are you an apple? Is your body shape-round, especially around your middle? Women with apple shapes often avoid yoga tops that fit too tightly because they tend to push fat around leaving them with several versions of muffin tops.

Do a little research, Apple, to sleuth out tank tops made in the empire style. They treat the breasts to just enough support to constrain them above soft, light folds that aren’t as voluminous as t-shirts.

Illustration of an pear-shaped figure.

Are you a pear? Having a pear shape means you’re better endowed below the waist than you are above, so your upper body is more likely to look sleek and fashionable in tank tops, midriffs, and yoga bras.

Turn what might be seen as a disadvantage (small boobs) into an advantage by dressing the top of your torso with any of these three styles and there’s less chance anyone will notice any lower body issues you may have.

Illustration of an banana-shaped figure.

Are you a banana? Boyish shapes are as hot today as they were in the 1920s thanks to society’s preference for slimming silhouettes and contemporary women willing to do what it takes to stay slim. Celebrate your good fortune by wearing stunning yoga tops that take advantage of your lithe body.

You can get away with more if you have no curves, Banana Babe, so invoke your inner showboat by building a collection of stylish yoga tops.

5 tips for shopping for yoga tops

Women practicing yoga.

Is there an art to shopping for yoga tops? We think so. Just as you wouldn’t shop for bras without preparing, you should be equally conscientious about your yoga top shopping spree.

1. Pick a store that stocks a variety of yoga bras, so you have more than 3 choices–in other words, you’ll find what you want faster if you don’t go to a general sportswear shop where you’ll traverse garments made for every activity on the planet.

2. Even though choices and sites may be plentiful, don’t start shopping for yoga bras until you’ve tried on different brands to see what works. Like Goldilocks, the same size could be too small, too large, or just right, depending upon the brand.

3. Have a clear objective. If you already know that midriff styles are your cup of tea, don’t waste time looking at tanks and yoga bras unless you are obsessive and must check out everything available.

4. Try styles while the price tags are still attached and buy only if the store has a return policy. If the silhouette isn’t flattering or the fabric is so thin, the world is promised a rundown on the lady parts you want to be able to return or exchange it.

5. Get thee to a mirror when trying on. Examine your upper torso. Check for gaps, bulges, and bands that ride up.

Worried you’re not applying due diligence to your search for the perfect yoga top? Maybe you need a second opinion. Whether it’s your bestie or the bra fitter employed by the store, a second opinion could be the wisest action you’ve taken since you decided to adopt yoga as your favorite way to stay fit and tranquil.