Rolled waists, a slim-through-the-thigh fit, and flared hems — ahh yes, the tried-and-true yoga pant. Long before athleisure was a term, these stretchy bottoms were the gym look du jour and, like today’s leggings and sweats, an off-duty essential. And, in step with today’s nostalgia surge, which, as far as activewear wear is concerned, includes unitards and athletic shorts, yoga pants have circulated back to the forefront with new modern touches. Meaning: They’re an It bottom to try if you’re looking for an alternative to your leggings and sweats, especially if you subscribe to a Y2Kcore aesthetic. Carolyn Jang, founder and creative director of the activewear brand Nylora, says, “2000s-style yoga pants that are flared are having a moment as they're elongating and are flattering on so many body types.” She adds, “This style also works hard in a modern wardrobe as it can also be paired back to a knit and a blazer for those who want to look chic but still prioritize comfort.”
“For me, it was the late ‘90s, more toward bell-bottom flares,” Robyn Berkley, founder of Live The Process, tells TZR, of the original yoga pant peak. “Pat Field had created skin-tight pants around 1997 or ‘98 and I used to wear them all the time. They were super-tight like a legging and flared out — I remember those Lululemon ones in 2000, they are an easy pant to wear everywhere from workout to life.”
You hardly have to be a yoga pro to get in on this year’s yoga pants vibe. Of course, moisture-wicking or compressive styles are a functional choice to flow in at home, outside, or in the studio. But you can just as easily wear leisure-leaning iterations like ribbed, terry, and split-hem designs while out and about running errands, meeting up with friends on the weekend, or for chill moments at home.
Similar to matching workout sets — another athleisure movement that’s ruled summer — it’s all about styling yoga pants to your liking. If you’re all about the ’90s and ’00s, team a flared pair with a cropped cardigan, platform flip-flops, and mini sunglasses for a fresh half-dressed outfit you can grab lunch or coffee in. Or, for an ode to the ‘70s, Berkley says clogs work perfectly, while small heels with a cropped pair channel more of a ‘50s mood.
For a yoga class, team a moisture-wicking style with a coordinating sports bra — if you’re traveling to and from your flow, slip into slide sandals with a zip-up layered over the top. When lounging at home or for travel, reach for your comfiest pair and top it with a cropped cami, oversize sweatshirt, or tee (outside the house, retro sneakers and crew socks are stylish sports-inspired touches). You can even try a pair as an unexpected coverup with swimwear at the beach, lake, or in the park — don’t forget sun-protective finishes like a bucket hat, sunnies, and a worn-open button-down shirt as part of your stylish swimsuit outfit.
Ready to add a pair of yoga pants to your comfy outfit lineup? Keep scrolling for a garden variety of pairs ranging from classic to modern, including basic black and colorful styles made to sweat in and textured styles destined for lounging or as an anchor to an amazing athleisure lewk.
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If you want to keep things streamlined and classic, try a sleek black style. You can dress it up by throwing a blazer or trench coat on top.
A split hem creates a focal point at the ankle and also makes for easy movement. Try styling with a fitted tee for a cool day-off ensemble.
For a cozy work-from-home option, look for a style that’s ribbed. You can pair it with a matching top or dress down with a comfy sweatshirt.
Don’t be afraid to embrace a playful color to take your look up a notch. These pants will keep you comfy during yoga, but they’re bold enough to wear out at night, too.
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