Do I need special clothing?
One huge monetary benefit and reason for the proliferation of tai chi is that you don’t necessarily need facilities or materials in order to train. That being said, once you have been practicing for a while, certain purchases make a lot of sense.
Uncomfortable pants limit stance work and typical athletic shoes can impinge on the ankles and stick to the floor when pivoting (more on tai chi shoes here). When you join a class or eventually present your form to a crowd, the tai chi clothing can be quite striking.
Tai Chi Pants
You would think that picking pants for tai chi would be easy. Was it easier in the 90s when zumbas were in? It has to be the right combination of length and spaciousness to remain comfortable. There are pants that are specific for tai chi but athletic pants can work well with the following considerations:
- Roomy tai chi pants are essential. Having more room at the crotch allows for the deep postures. Also, you will be moving into seat-like postures so a longer torso area reduces the likelihood that you will be mooning your classmates. For women, wearing athletic tights is fine too.
- Long pants can get tripped on and stepped on. We move slowly and often stand with our feet together. Trendy long pants can get pinned down as you try to lift the other foot. Additionally, in pushhands your opponent will step right inside your foot and can pin your pants to the floor.
- Blood flow is essential for tai chi. I wish I didn’t have to point this out but jeans might not be the best option for tai chi. Coming right from work occasionally? No problem. Choose tai chi pants that are not excessively restrictive at the waist or thighs.
Here are some tai chi pants that work well.
Proforce Brand: If you want something specifically designed for martial arts, Proforce makes some strong comfortable tai chi pants.
Tai Style Fisherman Pants: If you are looking for something flowing and comfortable this is a good option but watch the length.
We combined the best and most affordable tai chi pants that you can find on Amazon.com here: Tai Chi Pants
Tai Chi Uniforms
Purchasing a tai chi uniform depends on so many variables such as: what tai chi style you practice, what style uniform you like, how much you want to spend, your body, what event it is for, etc. Know that 99% of the world practices with comfortable tai chi apparel and use uniforms for special occasions.
On the other hand, they can be beautifully crafted clothing and a nice uniform gives you the sense of participating in a historical tradition.
We have organized the best clothing options available on Amazon.com.
Click below to see how varied your choices are:
So do you need to buy tai chi clothing?
I really can’t answer this question. There! I am rendered opinionless for the first time. Mark this date on your calendar and let me answer this with a spectrum of answers.
No, you do not need special clothes for tai chi
To be honest, in China I watched four grey-haired gentlemen perform incredible pushhands in plain white T-shirts and cigarettes hanging out of their mouths. One’s white pants were so transparent you could see his greeny-tidies through them. How’s that for confidence? So no, focusing on which clothes is a distraction.
Maybe you need to consider clothes for tai chi
Do not split your pants. That’s the bottom line. Wear comfortable clothing that any gym store could offer you. Please no jeans and birkenstocks. See Tye-died Tai Chi for more information.
Yes, buy specific clothes for tai chi
Part of the beauty of studying this art is becoming part of the tradition. The amazing uniforms that are available are inexpensive and aligning yourself with a class of people who are working towards something greater by wearing their tai chi t-shirt is great. Go with the whole experience. If you need to be convinced about what a uniform can do, watch the 2008 Olympics opening ceremony again.
You definitely need specific clothes for tai chi
Wayne Dyer had this great quote to the affect of: “This is weird, and I am not telling you so that you know it is weird. I am telling you so that you know that I know it’s weird.” There is kinesthetic feedback that occurs when you do the form. What you see, who is next to you, and what you feel shapes your form. We have all had the experience where you do the form well in class as you always face the same direction and then do poorly in your backyard. This is because you eventually incorporate your surroundings into your memory. Or, you do the form well, turn around in the same room and struggle.
Personal note: In full disclosure I am slowly moving down this spectrum. I had an experience where I was working on a form during a visit from someone from China and struggled with it for sometime after. However, a cold day came around when I was practicing and I nailed it! What happened? The workshop was in February and I attended in long sleeves. When I practiced on that cold day I had a “memory” of my sleeves dragging and tightening on my arms at certain points and my shirt instructed me where to go based on what constriction or freeness I was anticipating. Bizarre and also true.
Way out on the wing-wing spectrum.
Some argue that your clothes become imbued with chi. Continual practice in the same garb collects chi in the fabric and you benefit from consistent wearing. Sure, poo-poo this. But tell me you don’t have that favorite t-shirt, wubbie, or stuffed animal.