My penchant for barre happened just as my love for most things or people does: slowly, then all at once. At first, I was sceptical and I sort of hated it. This is not a class for the faint-hearted; it’s bloody hard work. Harder even than the marathon 90-minute spin sessions I’ve been known to take part in on occasion. But it’s such a rewarding exercise, and one that makes you feel stronger and more powerful than before.
What’s more, starting on the barre hype gave me an excuse to reassess my workout wardrobe and invest in some new must-haves (any excuse, right?). As mentioned, my other go-to exercise is spinning, which requires high-impact sports bras with maximum support (even for the smaller bust ladies such as myself) and sweat-resistant leggings to combat extreme moisture (that little room filled with bikes gets *spicy*). It’s very different to choosing what to wear to a barre class.
Barre (which I do at Psycle) allows you to take a slightly more relaxed approach. The exercise – which focuses on building strength and takes movements and inspiration from ballet, yoga, and Pilates – will still get you into a sweat, but you won’t find yourself exiting the room dripping, and you certainly don’t need a majorly super supportive bra as you would for spinning.
There are other things to take into account for what to wear to a barre class, too. Barre requires bare feet, or if you do prefer to wear socks, you’ll need special padded grippy ones. And hair clips or grips which you may pin into your hair for other exercises won’t cut it here; you should have soft accessories that won’t inadvertently poke you in the head every time you’re at the mat lying down.
So, my advice for what to wear to a barre class? I’ve built my perfect barre outfit existing of one thing from four categories: sports bras, tops, bottoms and accessories. Here’s what I recommend picking up before you get practicing your poses and holds…
What to wear to a barre class in 2023
1. The perfect barre sports bra
Think medium support or light-medium if you don’t have much going on up there *insert hand up emoji here.*
Dependent on your style, you can get away with a gorgeous asymmetric sports bra for this class, which I wouldn’t usually touch with a ten-foot pole for more ‘vigorous’ cardio. Similarly, a long-line tank bra is a lovely option for all busts, and one there are so many iterations of on the high street. You could even go V-neck if you’re feeling brave.
2. A top to throw over your bra
I’m one to just wear a sports bra and nothing else for classes, simply because the amount I overheat is *not normal*. However, if you’re comfier with a little something thrown over, or if you tend to feel cold before class or at cool-down, invest in a cute tank, baggy tee, or long-sleeve crop for the ultimate athleisure vibes. Just make sure the fabric is breathable and stretches.
More on gymwear and ideas for what to wear to a barre class
- From the gym baddie to the TikTok Pilates girlie – this is how to dress like you belong in the gym
- What you should really be wearing to Pilates, by an expert
- Every winter running outfit essential you need when it’s freezing outside
- The best affordable gym leggings for every kind of workout, tried and tested
3. Leggings or shorts you can seriously stretch in
It may sound obvious, but your barre bottoms need to be super-flexible for all the bending you’re about to do. With other cardio-based activities like running or spinning, you can get away with a less supple fabric, but with anything like barre, pilates or yoga, this is a must.
Gymshark’s leggings all have a lot of ‘give’ to them and are specially designed for all sorts of ‘stretchy’ activities.
My other go-to brand is Vuori. It makes THE softest leggings known to man, and they’re so flattering I’m nearly always asked where they’re from. They are a little pricey though, so one to save up for.
If you’re more of a shorts lady, these ones from it-brand-of-the-moment Adanola are super chic and have a great deal of stretch in them.
4. Must-have accessories
Do you actually need accessories for a fitness class? Usually, no. But do extra little bits make you way more likely to feel confident, book in and actually show up? In my experience, hell yes. Picking up a cute new pair of barre socks or a pastel-coloured soft scrunchie means I look extra cool and want to get down to the studio, and I care not how frivolous that might sound.