Are Yoga pants professional?

There is some debate as to whether or not Yoga pants are professional. And whether or not they should be worn to work.

In our opinion, the answer is Yes! Yoga pants can be professional if worn properly. Today we will discuss some of the things to keep in mind when wearing Yoga pants in a professional environment.

Before we go any further, let’s talk about the term professional. This term is always thrown around. But have you ever stopped to think about what it really means?

I looked it up in the dictionary and there are a good number of definitions. But the one that makes the most sense to me is “characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession”. This means that to be professional is to dress whatever the norm is for your profession.

If you are a yoga instructor, and it is normal for yoga instructors to wear yoga pants, then it is by definition professional. If you went out for a surf lesson, you would expect the instructor to show up in a high-quality swimsuit or wet suit. If you are an attorney working in a law firm, you might be expected to show up wearing a suit or slacks and a collared shirt.

In each of these scenarios, there is a different expectation as to what is professional. Today we will focus on what is professional in an office setting. In case you don’t want to read the rest, I already said my opinion right at the top of the article. Yes, they can be professional. You just have to do it right.

The reason people wear yoga pants to work

People wear yoga pants to work because they are comfortable, it is convenient, and they like how they look in them.

They are convenient because has your weight fluctuates, the stretch in the materials changes with you. It is also convenient because if you wear them to work and to work out, that is one less kind of pants that you need to keep in your closet. There are some women who have switched from wearing jeans to only yoga pants.

Yoga pants are comfortable because they are very lightweight, so they don’t weigh you down. And they are very flexible, so they don’t restrict your movement. Some women describe it as you forget you are even wearing anything.

Yoga pants are skin tight, and since they are right up against your skin, they do a good job of keeping you warm. At least a better job than a pair of loose jeans will do. How cold it is will influence how good of a job they do at keeping you warm. But as temperatures drop, you can wear thicker yoga pants to keep you warmer.

As an example, here is a pair of fleece-lined yoga pants that you can wear in freezing temperatures. You might need to start adding layers to stay warm if it drops down below the 30s. But it is a step above most other kinds of pants.

Don’t wear pants that are see-through

If you want to stay professional, you don’t want to get to work and have your co-workers see your underwear. I don’t think too many people would consider that a professional look. There are three parts to making sure your yoga pants are not see-through. Let’s talk through each of them.

Lighter colored yoga pants are easier to see through

Try to stick with darker yoga pants because lighter pants are easier to see through. This becomes, even more, the case as you sweat and your pants start to get wet.

Think of the last time you saw someone in a white t-shirt that got wet, and how transparent it got. You don’t want this to be the case when you get to work.

Thinner yoga pants are easier to see through

If you are buying cheap yoga pants, there is a good chance that they are thinner than the more expensive yoga pants. A side effect of the pants being thinner is they are easier to see through.

This is kind of like looking through tissue paper vs printer paper. The printer paper is much thicker and you can’t really see through it. If you make the paper thinner, it is really easy to see through.

Wear the right size

Even if you are wearing darker colored yoga pants, and they are plenty thick, if they are too small, they will once again become see through. This is because of what happens to the fabric when it stretches.

As you stretch the fabric, it becomes thinner. If it stretches too much, you can see right through the yoga pants. La Jolla mom has a good article on how to tell if your yoga pants are too small. Basically, you bend over in the dressing room and if you can see through the pants, they are too small.

Back in 2013, Lululemon had an issue where people were complaining about their pants being sheer. Lululemon’s response was that women were wearing pants that were too small. Lulu’s response was a bit controversial at the time. But instead of fighting with the manufacturer, Try going up a size or two and have the pants altered if they are too long.

A lot of stores offer free or very inexpensive hemming. Here is a list of stores that offers the service.

Wear simple, dark colored pants.

As we talked about in the previous section, lighter colored pants are potentially see through. But not even counting the sheer problems of light colored pants, Darker colored pants look more professional.

You also don’t want to wear pants that have very elaborate patterns and cutouts The busier the pants look, the less professional they look.

Dress them up

When you go to work, you don’t want to look like you just came from the gym. You should try to dress them up to make them look like they belong.

There are many ways you can dress up your yoga pants. And following this advice, you can break some of the rules we discussed earlier. For example, if you wear a long tunic or a dress, and your posterior is covered, you don’t have to worry as much about your pants being see through.

This also opens up the possibilities of wearing lighter colored and thinner pants. Think back to the basic nylon tights you might wear under a dress. You wouldn’t wear them as pants, they are super thin, but they go great under your dress.

You should still avoid elaborate patterns as those can be distracting, and don’t look very professional.

Next, you should wear professional looking shoes. Your running shoes are great for the gym. But they don’t look professional. Pairing your yoga pants with a pair of nice looking pumps or flats will go a long way to making your yoga pants look professional.

Wear Dress Yoga Pants

There are many brands that are now making dress yoga pants. These pants look a lot like regular dress pants. But they are still made like yoga pants. This means you get the comfort and flexibility of yoga pants. But you get the look and professionalism of regular dress pants.

Betabrand has a large number of dress yoga pants. They look very realistic. For a good example, check out the jeans. They come with functional pockets, look just like jeans, and allow you to do moves that you might see in the ballet.


Today we discussed what it means to be professional, why people wear yoga pants to work, and some things you can do to make those yoga pants look more professional.

Yoga pants are a very flexible bit of clothing. And when done right, you can make them fit into more situations than one might expect.