Q: Do I have to wear all black at your Pilates studio?

Real Short Answer: Heck no. Wear what makes you feel good.


Real Long Answer: Form-fitting clothes help me evaluate your posture, alignment, and body mechanics as you move. Form-fitting clothes that happen to be black are an easy default blank canvas for evaluating movement.

Real Longer Answer:

What’s the deal with “Fletcher Black”?

Ron Fletcher often wore black when he taught, and Fletcher Pilates teachers wear black during teacher training. I guess it’s a tradition that sticks with us?

Here’s Ron teaching a class clad in all black—this was before the red Fletcher towel was produced, so they are even using black towels! (Look close and you’ll see that Ron is also wearing his signature cravat, which added a pop of color.)

There are other potential blank canvases, of course. Joseph Pilates often practiced whilst wearing white shorts and only white shorts. So we could go that route.

The choice is yours, my friend.

Bottoms up

Whether your Pilates outfit is black or bedazzled, it helps if I can see the outline of your knees and ankles. Leggings are an easy go-to, but there are other options.

For example, I highly recommend this vintage Yves Saint Laurent ensemble:

If an embossed crocodile-skin jacket and fur turban are not available, you could wear a looser pant that’s tapered and/or rolled up at the ankle. Looser shorts can work, too, although it helps if the fabric doesn’t cover your knees.

Me, the flibbertigibbet

If you’re looking for a role model in this department, I’m sorry to say that I will be of little assistance. Some days I love the simplicity and easy confidence of all black. Some days I rage against the black. This week I couldn’t wait to wear my new rainbow bracelets and Fierce Pizza Cat T-shirt to trio.

A few days ago, I vowed to wear only organic cotton tunics sourced and sewn in the USA. I shall wear them at the studio and then home for hygge, I vowed. I shall store them folded the Marie Kondo way, I vowed. The next day, I added a gold lamé unitard to my Amazon shopping cart.

For what it’s worth, I own and love these stripey capris from K-Deer, which draw a GLORIOUS GRID of lower-body alignment and argue a strong case against all-black bottoms.


I’m also huge fan of wearing a slightly slouchy, sweatpant-like bottoms for self-practice and teaching private lessons. A drawstring waist is key; see note re: fear of full moon below.

I have a few different pairs. My ultimate favorites so far are the Running Woman Sweats from Outdoor Voices. Alas, they’re priced much higher than I would like, but they are so comfortable and versatile that the cost-per-wear has turned out to be surprisingly low. The fabric is nearly seasonless, at least here in Seattle. A black pair could whisk you off to dinner in heels and a drapey top. I cuff them at the ankle while I’m teaching. They’re my new go-to traveling pants. Here I am wearing them (Size L) while riding the ladder barrel like a motorcycle.

Across the uni-verse

I live in constant, abiding fear of my pants falling down during class—I have a few high-waisted leggings that nearly stay put, but my secondary belly roll is always there, lurking, waiting to burst forth.

So in high-intensity class situations, I wear a unitard with a shirt over top. My gateway onesie was this one from Eurotard, a company that straight-up sounds like it was named by Dieter from Sprockets. But the thing works, people.

In conclusion: You do you. We’ll make it work.

Once upon a time, a beloved client of mine was wearing flared, floor-dusting stretchy pants. She was experimenting with grand pliés on the Ped-i-Pul, so I suggested she roll her pants up at the ankle. As she rolled, TRISCUITS FELL OUT OF HER PANTS. She works as a nanny. Apparently the cherub she cares for was in a Triscuit mood. And apparently Triscuits self-adhere to Spandex.

We both collapsed to the floor, laughing like hyenas. This is one of my most cherished teaching memories, and it never would have happened without pants that covered the ankles.

So if it’s 7 AM and you need coffee but you don’t have time for coffee and your leggings are covered in dog hair, just get thyself to the studio and everything will be fine, OK?

You should know that I will probably be wearing black. But I’ll be thinking about wearing a feather boa tomorrow.

Related Questions:

  • Do you like it when teachers at your studio wear a “uniform”? Why or why not?
  • My fellow Fletcherites: Did Ron ever specifically say why he preferred black?
  • Gentleman readers: Any tips on shorts or pants that work well for male clients?

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