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I Took Pictures of My Butt in Yoga Pants So You Wouldn’t Have To

in YD News, Yogitorials

by Diana Mitchell

A few weeks ago at my bachelorette party in the woods, eight of my friends donned my yoga pants for an afternoon hike. As we set out with beer and snacks in tow a friend exclaimed, “Look Diana!” As my eyes, and those of seven other ladies followed her finger, we starred upon the rear end of my bent over friend, whose white polka dot panties were making an appearance in the glorious sunshine.

Having invested three years and tens of thousands of dollars in my activewear line, DDCC (www.ddccsf.com), I almost had a panic attack, but to avoid ruining the weekend I did the next best thing: I cried. I cried and cried and then, when I was finally done, I sucked it up and did what any CEO would do in my same situation: I took pictures of my butt.

This is a totally normal way to spend your Saturday.

Now, my general understanding of knit fabric is that when it stretches it becomes sheerer, because the yarns spread out creating space in between. That’s just science. But with companies promising everything in their activewear I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and set out to test pants from four of the biggest names in the scene.

First stop was Victoria’s Secret. I’ve been hearing good things about their activewear, and I’m always down to scope out a competitor. I like that they offer cotton yoga leggings – cotton is my favorite material for wearing round my nethers as it allows the lady downstairs the freedom to breathe. Unfortunately, I’m phasing it out since most women want miracle technical fabrics. I tried on a small and a medium in their yoga pant to see if the size made a difference, but it was minimal. When bent over my white stripes shown through like a beacon in the night.

Think again if you think your pants are sheer because you’re squeezing into too small a size. I tried on the Small and Medium and the results were the same.

Next up was Nike. Let me just say, I LOVE Nike marketing. You’re not going to find clothes in the Nike store with BS names like, ‘The Nourish Tank,” or the “Believe Capri.” They’re straightforward and to the point. I had to restrain myself from trying on everything I saw and settled on a compression running capri and a slimming yoga pant. The compression pant was a thinner, dri-fit fabric, and the Yoga pant was a lot thicker. Both, however, failed the test of remaining opaque when bent over.

Epic Indeed.

The Nike Sculpt: I couldn’t fit one leg into the small. Try these on if you want a corset in the form of a yoga pant.

The third stop was Lululemon. I have to commend them on their salesmanship, as the minute you walk in the door some squeaky girl is in your face pulling items off of the shelf for you to try on. I was recommended a thinner running crop and Wunder Unders, which the sales lady said would be thicker. Like the two other stores in the dim light they looked fine, but again, when bent over like an actress starring in Butt Masters 9, neither blocked out the formidable stripes on my underoos.

I’ve often thought I should start a support group for activewear companies who are tired of being referred to in the context of Lululemon. Lorna Jane & Nancy Rose, call me!

I was so inspired when I took this photo.

You don’t have to wunder what’s under these pants.

The last stop was Zella, Nordstrom’s active brand. A fashion blogger had once told me their fabric was amazing, so I had to check them out. I tried on two pairs of Ultimate Stretch Live In Crops in a small and medium, and squatted with my cheeks spread. While the fabric felt much thicker than the Wunder Unders and Nike/VS, it still failed the test. These stripes clearly weren’t going to run.

Yes, you can live in nylon yoga pants, but your gynecologist probably doesn’t recommend it.

If we want a solid color yoga pant that won’t show what’s underneath there are a few options. The first is to get a looser style that that won’t stretch when we’re bending over. The second is to go commando, although I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re headed in for an intimate sports massage or if you have shiny jewelry down there. And the last, which should be obvious by now, is to wear underwear that matches our pants! If we wouldn’t expect a white pant to block out patterned underwear, then don’t expect a product that is designed to stretch to the max to do it either! In the words of my mom, who told me she owned white panties just for wearing under white pants, “Different underwear are for different things, and women should know that.” Thanks, mom.

I could recommend any of these products based on their quality, but I suggest choosing your activewear based on the things that matter to you, like the fit, the fabric, the marketing message, and the companies’ ethics.  So please ladies, keep this in mind when shopping for activewear, and stop stressing about your pants being sheer!


Diana Mitchell lives in San Francisco, CA where she enjoys running, practicing yoga, eating ice cream, and going out with friends. A former teacher, she left her day job to start DDCC, a line of women’s active and lifestyle apparel designed and made in San Francisco. An acronym for Dirty Diana’s Clean Clothes, Diana is a firm believer that if you live life right, you get a little dirty in the process.



45 comments… add one
  • Sara

    I’m a yoga teacher and student, and in all honesty I get my pants from Target. No joke- I’m a fan. The pants are cotton (yay!), they fit well, they’re very cost effective, and best of all no one can see my skivvies. Give ’em a day in court the next time you decide to do an experiment :)!

    • Good to know! I have a target pair that I tried at home, and it definitely failed. But products change from season to season, and it all depends on the fit and fabric. I’ve watched my yoga teachers in many a compromising pose in my pants, and never noticed any sheerness until the striped panties/bent over/high noon debacle.

  • Alyssa

    Thanks for going out and testing all these pants, I have been covertly doing the same for the past couple years and have found that none of my Prana brand pants fail the test. Even after years of wear.

    • Ann

      Ha! I was a workshop and had my mat parked next to a woman wearing chocolate brown prana pants (that I knew were mighty pricey; I had the same pants). Went she bent over in prasarita padottanasana, I could clearly see she was wearing nothing under those pranas. I was shocked and didn’t know whether to tell her or not. I didn’t; I didn’t want her to be self-conscious the rest of the day. Perhaps they were a not the right size for her? Hard to know. This was about four years ago, was long before the whole Lulu debacle…

      • Ann

        ….sorry for the typos 🙁

      • Eeeek! We wish you would have told her so she could have told us!

      • I think a lot of women don’t know that their pants are sheer. If I were exposing someone to that I’d like to be told, gently and quietly after class. I’m a fan of wearing underwear with yoga pants, but I know some of my customers don’t, which is why the gussets are double layered on the spring line 🙂

        • Marie

          Some women do KNOW their yoga pants are sheer and prefer simply not to wear underwear. Some simply want to be seamless, so for vanity sake they skip the skivvies, but that does not deter them from any bacteria infections as some females try to say, because it increases the risk due to more friction.

          • eric

            And some just act shameless. Many women wear yoga pants just because of the attention factor

        • Beth

          That’s true! I had one pair that I loved and they didn’t look sheer when I tried them on… but bending over didn’t come to my mind at the moment. One day while exercising a friend made a video and taped my ass for like 5 seconds and guess what… it looked tacky as fuck! LOL I now wear them with extra long blouses, no longer doing exercises with them.

    • You just made us smile Alyssa 🙂

  • I wear 90° by Reflex and love them! I haven’t taken a photo with flash, but I have never had an issue with sheerness… AND they fit well, and don’t stretch out. I work with kids and parents, so comfort, durability and of course, the ability to keep me covered are super important!

  • Sarah

    Gotta agree with the other Sara. Target, Old Navy, Academy Sports…I’ve had luck with just about any pair of yoga pants that costs less than $30. Comfy, light fabrics, and never flashing my undies. Also gotta give props to Old Navy’s Maternity line–their maternity yoga pants kept everything covered well into month 9.

  • I understand where you were going with this but you should always tailor your undergarments to what you are wearing. I would never wear light colored stripes, polka dots, hearts or light colored underwear under my yoga pants. I save that for jeans or just lounging around. I go commando or I wear dark colored no show underwear under my yoga clothes. So, in my opinion, your choice of underwear wasn’t appropriate so it doesn’t tell me anything about these brands.

    • Ya – that’s the whole point of the article. I often get asked if my yoga pants are sheer, and the answer is “No,” but if you wear the wrong underwear with them and stand in bright light, yes! All of these companies are making a solid product IMO, and the only reason for any sheerness is the wrong choice of underwear.

  • Amy

    Your mom is smart. As is Shanna. I wear a thong to match my yoga pants and I’m a yoga teacher. I test my pants too and have no trouble. Target, Victorias Secret, ideology, and Zella.

  • Katherine

    Noooo, you must always wear beige or flesh-toned underwear with white pants (and beige bras with white shirts). The closer to your natural skin tone, the better. White undies w/white pants is almost as bad a black undies w/white pants.

  • arlet

    omg! this is the best post! why is it so hard to make pants that aren’t see through! did you try under armour– they are pretty good, but now I’m paranoid!! totally necessary review on pants- thanks! http://extendyoga.com

  • Colleen

    Maybe we should just go back to the good ol’ days of sweat pants. Remember those? Course, i wouldn’t recommend them for hot yoga. 😉 All the big-brand-name yoga fancy pants are pretty much just for ego anyway.

    • Karen

      Yep. Tracksuit bottoms or sweatpants do the job well, cheaply, comfortably, and without worries about flashing your undies. Most yoga classes I’ve been to here in the UK are packed with people wearing them; perhaps it’s because I’ve never done yoga at an expensive studio in a wealthy area where people might be more concerned with style. I suppose there are places around like the ones I see referenced here a lot in cities or very wealthy areas, or perhaps it’s just a cultural thing.

      • google

        It really depends on the asanas and style. Track suit bottoms or sweats won’t work in a more vigorous, fast-paced class.

    • The problem I have with sweat pants is I overheat, and they don’t hold in jiggle. Since I use the V Capris for yoga and running I like them to be fitted and more lightweight. My yoga teachers advise on wearing shorts or a tight fitting pant because they need to be able to see if a leg is straightened/properly aligned to help improve the pose and lower the risk for injuries.

  • Rocky

    Wait, what’s the problem with see through yoga pants?

  • k4k

    Land’s End works for me, but I don’t tend to buy capris or tighter pants.

  • The Asana Selfie has just gone meta. Asana……get it?!

    (I thought someone would have already made a much better version of this joke.)

    Here is another before I slip away, HalfAsana….When you don’t honor your practice.

    • I thought about implementing the hashtag #showmeyourasana, but when it came down to it I was afraid of what I would see. Hahahha.

  • Katie

    As both as yogi and someone who has a degree technical design and fabrics I have to say that you may need to size up in the pants. This is not meant to say that you are big or anything of the sort and I don’t know what size that you wear normally. Many of the companies that you tried on have small sizing, so what they are saying is small is actually an extra small. The other thing is certain fabrics are made for certain kinds of stretch so that capris that are made for running are not made to also cover you while you are bent over in yoga class……. I am surprised at how all these fair I have been buying the nike tights and the wunder unders for years with no problem

  • Suzanne

    I’m really fond of Aspire, a lifestyle brand by Sports Authority. Did the good old ‘forward fold under dressing room lighting’ and they got an A+.

  • Well, at least with underwear, nothing else is showing!

    Same things happens with tri clothing, and it normally shows up during the cycle portion. Not a good show. (Get someone to look at you on the cycle.)

  • Jamie

    be present. Lightweight, cotton, wear for years, never see-through, even when I’m going commando. Can be worn as shorts after class, no issue with showing your bootie at the grocery store in too-tight leggings. (And no, I did not receive compensation for this endorsement – 🙂 – I just love their pants.)

  • Anonymous

    As a guy I love to see the panty lines. Nice little tease

  • Beth

    HAHAHAHAHA this was hilarious! It never came to my mind someone would go to stores to try them on and bend just to see if they were see through. Good job! (: and yeah, the only solution is to wear underwear the same color. Although some of them are way too transparent! Thanks.

  • John Douche

    i found this article by searching for pictures of women with nice butts in yoga pants. so im just leaving this comment here to say that i approve this seo, Diana Mitchell does have a nice butt in yoga pants

  • Christina

    You’re wearing striped granny pants underwear. Of course that’s going to show. I have the Nike pants & the lululemon and nothing is exposed like that. My butt is not visible at all during movement.

  • Stranger

    Who else jerking off?

  • Anonymous

    Definitely jerked off to this

  • Mejias

    For all the women here that wear yoga pants like I do., no big deal , like it says here either go commando or wear seamless undies that match color of pant, but I usually go commando and it’s fine, this is common now and its not like 5+ years ago where if you were using yoga pant you had some ladies and guys starring this is not the case anymore, I only put on seamless undies when I go to gym and it’s mostly due to sweat. I’ve had a similar situation where my pants were more see through than I thought and another lady mentioned to me at the store, I just said thank you and I added did you get a good look?, she then walked away, sorry but who does that? walking behind me pretty close and observing every move I made?? and Guys love it!! so I know my lady parts may be “exposed” , but to me it’s ok I don’t see what the big deal is, I’m confident of my body and very proud wearing these yoga pants is not different than mini skirts or short dresses, at any given time if someone looks at the right time and angle they will see something!!!

    • Ethan

      I would like to look. You have Instagram or anything? lmao

  • My $100 Lululemon Wunder Unders.

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