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The other day a coworker admired my pants and asked me where I got them. Looking down at my slate green joggers I considered making up a brand, but sheepishly admitted the truth: “Lululemon.” Despite the unparalleled excellence of my ABC Joggers, as a PE teacher and coach I couldn’t help but feel like I was losing a little street cred.
Due to my line of work, I live in athleisure and break into yoga poses on the regular—as cool downs, warm-ups, and mindfulness breaks. My 9-to-5 involves a stretchy array of yoga clothes that allow for freedom of movement. After years of rocking all the styles and fabrics that could possibly exist for my impromptu yogi target market, I have honed in on a few favorites that never let me down. Let’s face it: full body coverage and semi-professionalism are not the most commonly sought-after attributes of yoga wear. I prefer apparel that can take me from my bike commute to teaching to coaching to a brewery after work without missing a beat (and, of course, without screaming “yoga wear”).
Thus, I present my favorite yoga apparel for guys who are embarrassed to wear yoga apparel.
Underwear: Mott and Bow Second Skin Boxer Brief
The ideal pair of everyday performance underwear will feel, in the infamous words of Ned Flanders, like you are wearing nothing at all—while you are at rest, that is. Once you get moving, you want apparel that will move with you and provide support. Nothing is more awkward than rising from your yoga mat and needing to—ahem—readjust. Enter the Mott and Bow Second Skin Boxer Brief, made of 95 percent modal and 5 percent spandex. It is the rare boxer brief that is just as comfortable in action as it is during Savasana. $30
I recently pulled one of my polyester active tees out of the closet, took a whiff, and put it right back before my wife noticed. The scent of body odor on this freshly laundered tee was unavoidable. Luckily, the folks over at Myles Apparel specialize in performance gear that doesn’t look or smell like a locker room. The Everyday Tee is made of a polyester and organic cotton blend and features a Polygiene® odor resistant finish. The curved hemline also ensures I’ll have coverage when reaching up to begin a Sun Salutation or bending down to (aspirationally) get my palms flat on the mat. Did I mention it is super soft and looks great with jeans? $48
When the temperature drops and I want a lightweight layer, I grab the Vuori Ponto Performance Crew. The polyester/elastane blend is called DreamKnit™ and it is exceptional. Unlike a lot of crewnecks, the fabric allows for an expansive range of motion, yet magically snaps back into shape when not being stretched, so it retains its structure, breathes well, and provides just the right amount of coziness on a cool day. $98
Outer Layer: Ten Thousand Merino Tech Hoodie
If you are outside on a cold day and busting into Tree Pose while on a hike to mimic the trees surrounding you (as I sometimes find myself doing with a class), you will need a little more warmth. The Ten Thousand Merino Tech Hoodie has that in spades, with a cozy merino wool fabric that is naturally temperature regulating and won’t accrue a stink after sweaty sessions. The hoodie also nails features that make it excellent for all kinds of training, including yoga. The zippered stash pocket allows you to stash keys or a whistle without fear of dropping them while in Downward-Facing Dog, and the drawcord can be placed inside the hoodie so loose strings don’t tickle your forehead while upside down. $128
Many pants made for yoga are not made for walking around the hallways of a school. They can, um, be awkwardly tight. The Myles Apparel Track Pant is lightweight and made of 20 percent spandex with a slim fit, yet it doesn’t entrap your lower body so much as gently hug it, allowing for a ton of versatility. In the coal colorway these can almost pass for chinos, and multiple waist and length options allow you to perfectly dial in the fit. $108
Alternative Pant: Coalatree Trailhead Pant
I got a pair of Trailhead pants around the time my daughter was born, so I started calling them my “dad pants.” No matter what my day would bring, whether it was bouncing my daughter on a yoga ball or engaging in a brief yoga break during her nap, these were perfectly suited. They feature four-way stretch and a degree of waterproofing, meaning spit-up, rain, or sweat were no match for these pants. The ankle drawstrings allow you to quickly turn them into joggers or roll them up and secure them. They are slightly weightier than the Myles Apparel Track Pants, and are sure to be a part of your performance rotation for years to come. Three years later my wife and I are expecting kiddo number two, and I know what pair of pants I’ll be reaching for most. $89
Ultimately the best yoga apparel for guys embarrassed to wear yoga apparel will come down to individual preference and comfort, and being embarrassed about rocking Lululemon is something I should probably overcome. In the meantime, reach for any of the above offerings and I assure you, you will be comfortable in your own skin, as well as your second skin.