Technically, you don’t need any clothes to pole. That’s kind of the tradition, right? But if you want to perform, compete, take a class, teach a class, train outside, have a pole jam, post a video tutorial, or have a non-X-rated photo shoot, pole clothes can be a helpful thing to have! Besides: shopping! Even if you’re lucky enough to have a chance to try before you buy, it’s hard to simulate exactly what will happen to pole tops and bottoms when you’re contorting around the pole. Whether you are buying pieces specifically designed for poling or general athleticwear, there are several things to keep in mind when picking out a pole outfit (besides how it’ll look under your Bodybinds!). Here are some suggesions:

Is the armpit hole big enough?

The armpit is an underrated contact point in pole. It comes into play for all kinds of moves—teddies, yoginis, inversions, and even corkscrew spins! A sports bra or tank top where the underarm panel comes up too high can interfere with your ability to execute some of these moves. You don’t want to tread into sideboob territory, but a wider arm hole will make these moves much more plausible.

Are the legs short enough?

We are all so modest when we start out! Newbie polers tend to be shy about their legs and try to hide their so-called “flab” under their shorts. The problem is, you need that flab to stay up! Even simple pole sits can have gravity problems if you’ve got an inch or two too much fabric on there. If your bottoms look more like bike shorts than bikinis, stop being so shy and show a little more leg!

Are the legs tight enough?

It can be cute to pole in cutoffs or other non-spandex bottoms. The problem is that once you’re upside-down, or your thighs are at eye-level or above, people can see right up your pant legs. Stick to materials that hug your body to keep out peeping toms—or to avoid accidentally flashing the person spotting you!

Do you have full crotch coverage? Do you really?

Pole shorts, you had one job. Keeping your girlie bits covered may sound like “How to be Pants 101”, and yet shorts sometimes fall, well, short. And simply straddling in front of the mirror is not a sufficient test! The pole pulls at your skin, so you need to grab your inner thighs and pull and see if you stay covered. If a few wisps peek out, it’s time to trim the hedges. If anything else falls out, you need a larger size or a longer cut!

Any sign of plumber’s butt?

Sure, those little shorts look cute when you’re posing in front of the mirror. But fold yourself up around the pole a few times and Bill Cosby’s going to march in and tell you to pull your pants up. If you’re trying on shorts, move around a lot to make sure there’s no crack action.

Any extra, um, toes…?

Because pole clothes materials tend to be so thin and tight, and because some polers choose to go commando under them, camel toe is an ever-present danger. Especially if the style has a seam down the middle, consider wearing a heavy-duty thong underneath or buying up a size to be safe. Finding the right pole outfit can be a trial, but when you see how cute you look and how confident you feel that you’re not going to have any nip slips, it makes it all worthwhile. Now let’s go shopping!
February 27, 2020 — Jacqueline Lee