Beauty Wonkette explores the world of yoga pants

LET'S HEAR IT FOR YOGA PANTS!!! We all have them, and we all wear them for a million things in addition to yoga, Pilates, and generally working out. But, if you want a really good pair of yoga pants that will actually work for, you know, yoga, there are a few things to look for.

Beauty Wonkette is a big fan of Lucy (capris and pants range around $60 to $90). They've recently come out with a new material called lucy powermaxTMv, which is used in their newest styles, the Vinyasa Pant and Vinyasa Capri. They offer: Compression to reduce muscle fatigue, moisture-wicking properties, anti-chafe flat locked seams, four-way stretch that retains its shape, plus, a flattering crossover waistband.

But don't just rely on Beauty Wonkette's favs. BW has scoured the 'net for the opinions of well-known yoga instructors about what brands and styles they like best, as well as how pricey is too pricey.

Jenny Gammello, the instructor leading NY Yoga's Yoga for Runners classes, prefers pants with less fabric. "This way there's nothing in the way and you (and your teacher) can see the placement of your knees and ankles in order to keep your joints safe," she explains. She avoids shorts as well, particularly when she's doing a sweaty class, to avoid slipping in arm balances.

Gammello has a few favorites, with her top pick being Shakti Activewear's pants and shorts (prices range from around $60 to $75), but she also likes Lululemon (approximate prices are $70 to $110), saying, "They've just come out with a pant with a soft waist that is a little more flattering and doesn't dig into the hips as much as their regular low rise pants do." Specifically, she leans toward her Wonder Under tights.

She recommends Be Present (prices go from about $70 to $80) pants for folks who shy away from form-fitting pants. The trademark slits in the calf offer plenty of movement, which Gammello finds to be a bit much, but has students "who swear by them."

Sage Rountree, yoga instructor, coach and author of "The Athlete's Guide to Yoga," is a little impartial, as she is sponsored by Athleta ($30 to $80). However, the woman knows what she likes.

"I live in yoga pants; I refuse to wear jeans anymore," she says. She especially loves her Athleta Inhale pants and Remedy pants, and says she gets tons of compliments on her Lotus capris. There are five things she looks for when it comes to yoga pants:

* smooth waistband,
* gusseted crotch (infinitely more comfortable, lies smoother and provides the option of going panty-less, which is nice for those of us used to bike shorts or compression running shorts),
* stretch, which is a big part of ...
* comfort (you don't want to be distracted and fussing with your pants during your practice) and
* durability, since they will be washed many times over.

Now, you're probably noticing that most of these options aren't super cheap. And I feel your pain -- it's hard to spend close to $100 on something you're planning to wear while you sweat! As Rountree says, "Here, you often get what you pay for. I think $80 isn't unreasonable if it means the pants' fabric is thick or opaque enough for you to be in downward-facing dog without showing off the print in your underwear."

Fortunately, Gammello knows a good bit about sniffing out a bargain. First of all, she recommends trying out the pants in the dressing room. After all, even if they're on sale, you're only getting a deal if you'll wear them. "Try out your favorite poses and if the pants don't enhance your practice, don't buy them!" she says.

Then, if you learn your favorite brands and know your size, shop Ebay. "You can find a really great 'with tags, never been worn' steal," she says, explaining that she just got a name brand yoga outfit for $20, "but only if you've tried them on somewhere!"

Additionally, you'll want to make them last, especially if you spend top dollar on them. Gammello warns against pants with too much cotton -- "They'll start to carry that lovely, sweaty mildew smell and then you might as well chuck 'em," -- and suggests washing your pants gently. "If you can get a away with it, soak them in the sink and wring them out to dry on a drying rack," says Gammello.

Finally, be sure to watch your favorite sites for deals. Once you know the styles and sizes you like, watch for colors to be discontinued. Some manufacturers, like Shakti Activewear, sometimes offer discounted "second quality" items that are a slightly darker dye or have a somewhat shorter inseam, but are still totally wearable.

Oh, yeah, before Beauty Wonkette forgets..... DO ACTUALLY WORKOUT ! ;-D


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