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Barre Basics: What to Wear for Balance and Grace
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Barre Basics: What to Wear for Balance and Grace

Published June 18, 2024

BARRE BASICS: WHAT TO WEAR FOR BALANCE AND GRACE

BARRE BASICS: WHAT TO WEAR FOR BALANCE AND GRACE

Barre is proof that sometimes the tiniest muscles are the stars of your workout—or at least the ones that “burn the brightest”. This technically low-impact workout can certainly have a noticeable effect on your strength and flexibility (all while allowing you to live your ballerina dreams).

If you’re headed to a barre studio for the first time, you might be wondering what the dress code is. Barre outfits need to strike a tricky balance, just like the poses you’ll hit in class—you’ll need to be comfortably covered, but also able to see and focus in on your muscles.

Fortunately, there’s an easy formula to follow when it comes to ensuring the proper barre outfits, and this guide covers everything you need to know, from the tip of your bun to the “pointe” of your socks.

FIRST POSITION: WHAT IS BARRE?

Barre, named after the ballet “barre” you’ve likely seen in dance studios, is a low-impact but high-intensity workout that fuses elements of ballet with elements of yoga and pilates.

Designed to fatigue the tiny muscles that simple squats and lunges can’t reach, the Barre workout method involves completing as many reps as possible of the tiniest movements with light weights (typically five pounds or less). It’s those “pulses” you might’ve encountered in strength training or pilates that bring the most lasting results.

Fundamentally, barre is a muscular endurance workout. Each class puts muscles to the test by fatiguing them with reps or holding them in one position for an extended period of time (not unlike yoga).

But endurance isn’t all you’ll get out of barre—you’ll also be strength-training those tiny muscles, increasing flexibility and mobility, improving your posture, and cross-training for higher-impact workouts like running, all while protecting your joints from the shock of a more cardio-heavy session.

THE BEST TOPS FOR BARRE

The bottom line when choosing a top for barre is choosing something you’re comfortable moving in.

You might opt for a simple sports bra—a “low-impact” one will suffice. In general, it’s crucial to ensure you’re getting adequate breast support while exercising, as failing to do so can not only damage your breasts but also impact performance. However, barre is low-impact by design, and you likely won’t be jumping around much, so there’s no need to feel constricted. It’s the perfect time to opt for that lightweight, strappy sports bra you’d wear to yoga, but not for a jog.

Over top, you might choose a flowy tee or tank top to channel that ballet grace, or a more fitted crop top so you can better see and correct your form—it's all about finding what you're most comfortable with.

FIND YOUR PLIÉ: BARRE-FRIENDLY BOTTOMS

When it comes to choosing bottoms for barre, it’s usually best to stay away from shorts. You’ll be doing a lot of floor work and striking unusual, yoga-esque poses, so covering up your legs can help you avoid feeling exposed.

However, baggy sweatpants are not necessarily the move either—fitted workout clothes will help you get a better look at your form.

Cropped or capri leggings are ideal for barre, as are patterns and strappy designs that make you feel like your most ballerina self. If you don’t own shorter leggings, running tights will do. As long as you’re comfortably covered (but able to see how your muscles are moving), you’re in the clear.

Additionally, understanding the benefits of compression wear can enhance your barre experience by improving circulation and muscle support, which we detail further in our other article.

EN POINTE: SHOES OR SOCKS?

It might seem blasphemous not to lace up your trusty old sneakers before heading to the gym, but barre class doesn’t require sneakers, let alone shoes at all—in fact, wearing shoes is typically not allowed.

Like with pilates or yoga, wearing shoes would actually be restrictive to the graceful movements of barre. Imagine doing ballet in sneakers—the dancers couldn’t move with nearly as much precision.

It’s typically okay to be barefoot for barre, but if you’re reluctant to go sock-less, any regular ankle socks you’d normally wear to the gym are fine. To avoid slipping, however, many barre regulars invest in grippy socks. Conveniently resembling ballet slippers, grippy socks protect your feet while holding you in place for those seemingly endless squats and bridges.

BARRE ACCESSORIES

The sky's the limit when it comes to barre accessories. Headbands are a popular choice for taming flyaways, especially should you opt for a slicked-back ballet bun.

Bringing a gym bag with room for your shoes and/or yoga mat might be convenient, as it ensures all your stuff is stashed in one place and allows you to move freely throughout the Barre studio or gym locker room. To make sure you're fully prepared, check out our article on gym bag essentials for a comprehensive list of everything you'll need for a smooth and efficient workout experience.

Above all else, don’t forget to bring a water bottle. Even if you’re not sweating as much as you would in a higher-impact class, the importance of hydration cannot be understated for enhancing your performance and helping your muscles recover.

FIND YOUR FLOW WITH P.E NATION

If you’re eager to hit the dance floor for a barre class or two, P.E Nation is here to get you stocked up on all the workout attire essentials. Our range of women’s gym tops, including sports bras, workout crop tops, and flowy tees and tanks come in graceful colors and cuts perfect for elevating all of your barre outfits.

Our buttery-soft, breathable gym leggings are also ideal for capturing your legs’ every movement (and they come in that ¾ length, too). Our range of bags can also help keep your essentials secure, too.

Taking up barre means thousands of tiny steps and “pulses,” but one giant leap for your strength, posture, and flexibility—and P.E Nation will have you poised for the journey.

 

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Whether you’re a professional runner or a yoga guru, you’re bound to sometimes feel the burn—physically. In other words, your muscles may feel achy or swollen.

Luckily, lymphatic drainage massage can help.

If you’ve seen this trend on social media and wondered what all the buzz is about, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of lymphatic drainage to see if it’s worth adding to your wellness routine.