So I finally caved and got myself some Lululemon gear (pronounded Lulu-lemon like the fruit). For years, I’ve gotten by with cheap yoga pants from Old Navy, and even some more expensive Hardtail foldover pants. Tops included white men’s Hanes tees, ribbed tanks, and old college tees. Over time, the tees and tanks got dingy, and the pants started getting small holes along the seams (mostly in the crotch area – how embarrassing!)
I’ve read a ton about the Lululemon products and brand, and have seen plenty of the pieces in action since more than half of the gym-goers in any given class are outfitted in some Lululemon. People claim the pieces wash and wear well and last for years. Even the salesgirl, while ringing me up, cheerfully proclaimed ‘welcome to the addiction.’ There were a few reasons I was hesitant to buy Lululemon in the past, mainly the prices. Cropped pants start at $60, while the famous Groove pants start at $98. Tanks start at $40, but can run up to $60. The items rarely go on sale – the website’s loot section is usually picked over quickly and limited in sizing, and in-store price reductions vary by store, season, and even color of the product.
My change of heart came when Husband finally convinced me to just invest in some good-quality workout wear. Pieces that looked good, made me feel confident at the gym, and which were made to last. So, I ordered a few tops off of the Lululemon loot section, and visited the store to try on some pants. Here are the items I bought, and my thoughts.
I studied the size chart, busted out my tape measure, and decided I’d be a 6 or 8 in Lululemon tops (for reference, I’m typically a 2/4). Took a chance on the final sale items, and purchased black, green, and a striped version. Big mistake. The black and green, both size 8, were falling off me (consequently they’re up on ebay now: here and here). Even the 6 was big, but doable since I typically double up my sports bras for added support. I wore the 6 for cardio, and I always feel rather hot in it. Hot like my-skin-can’t-breathe-and-I-might-melt-into-a-puddle hot. I later found out that this top is made of luon (Lululemon’s signature material), and is designed to wick moisture away from the skin. In order for the fabric to efficiently do so, the garment needs to be fitted against the skin. Because my top is a touch big, the sweat just sits there and can’t be wicked away. Good to know and dammit! If I actually lose some weight, I’ll probably have to sell this one too. The Shade Tank has a secret pocket inside at the back, which is cool, but not super useful for me. I did use it to store my lock combo, but doubt I’d use it for keys and cash. Still, a nice feature to have.
This was another loot purchase. Strangely, I bought this in a size 6 (the failed 8 is up on ebay too), and it fits ok. A size down would have fit better in the straps, but this hugs nicely without being too constricting in the tummy. Again, since I double up sports bras, the looseness up top wasn’t much of an issue. What I LOVE about this one is the longer length. It is perfect to wear with running tights or cropped leggings, since it covers the tush nicely. The extra length also allows you to bunch up the fabric a bit around the middle, for added coverage. The fabric at the chest keeps the top from feeling too low cut. The Movement Tank is made of light luon, and it felt a lot more comfortable through heavy cardio sessions.
I bought all of the bottoms in-store, since I wanted to make sure and get it right the first time. They are all made of regular-weight luon, and I took a size 4 in all 3 bottoms (I’m a size 26/27 in pants). I have to say, the hype about these are spot-on, They lift the rear, tighten the legs, and look amazing. The rise is a mid-rise, which I prefer for working out. IMO, these might be the best bootcut workout pants around. For reals. Online review claim that the quality of these is different from the Grooves of years past, so I’ll have to update in a few weeks after repeated washings. I hope that’s not the case!
I loved these so much, that I bought the full-leg version and the cropped version. Like the Groove pants, the Wunder Unders have this magic ability to slim your legs and flatter completely. The crops hit at the bottom of my calf, and the full leg version have a tiny bit of bunching at the ankle. Lululemon offers free hemming for anything (you can bring them in months after purchase and this will still apply), so if I can shorten them at anytime. These leggings are really great quality…I’m tempted to wear them out an about as well as to the gym!
Lululemon markets most of their items for yoga, although they can clearly be used for any activity (even casual wear). I’m intrigued by their running selection, especially the I Just Wanna Run tank and the Empower Crop Pants.
Some Takeaway Lessons:
* Don’t be afraid of the ‘educators’ who work in the store. I’m usually a silent, on-my-own, leave-me-alone kind of shopper, but the girls who worked at my closest location were very knowledgeable and honest. They took one look at me, and picked my exact size in the bottoms.
*Luon products, when sized right, give you great shape, hold you in all the right places, and wick sweat away efficiently.
* The bottoms, when sized right, should be snug, but never appear shiny when you stretch. Shiny indicates they are too tight.
* You can hem for free just about anything – pants to make shorts, tunic tanks to become regular tanks. It’s a nice option, especially with the cost of the items.
My advice is to visit your local store and try stuff on. I am crossing my fingers that my items hold up for the long haul. They appear to be great quality and make me look great, which is 2/3 of what I was looking for in workout wear! I apologize that some of the items I listed aren’t available online. The Lululemon website leaves a lot to be desired, but I think if you call Customer Service, the inventory is more extensive than what appears online. Also, they seem to phase out their seasonal items rather quickly, so pieces come and go or are reborn in different colors and designs, all the time.
PS – I also bought some Nike workout wear that I love, so look out for an upcoming review!