The round, reflective logo on Lululemon gear is like a beacon for all fitness lovers. It comes with a prestige that the Nike swoosh and Under Armour X-thingy simply don’t have—but it also comes with a higher price tag. That price is often what persuades most people to pass it up, or only purchase items sparingly.
If you’re on a budget (and who isn’t?), you want to purchase items that are well-made, but you also don’t want to spend your savings on them. So is Lululemon worth the cost?
When you’re in down dog at the yoga studio, in the middle of your three-mile run, or even running straight from the gym to a dinner date, you want to know the clothing you wear is going to hold up during your sweat session. You need clothing that will stay in place, lie comfortably against your skin, and keep you as cool as possible. With the quality of materials and make of Lululemon products, this is what you get.
When you’re paying so much for an item, you expect it to be very well constructed. Every piece I’ve laid my hands on from Lululemon has lived up to this expectation. The clothing is cut well and never shaped in a weird way. The stitching is always consistent and durable. And the fabrics, which are most definitely the most important part of any workout gear, are breathable, strong, and comfortable.
The most important thing to know about Lululemon’s fit is that they cut things on the slim side. Most clothing companies consider a 6 a medium, but in Lululemon this is a small. If you wear a small in other active wear brands, you’ll need to size up in Lululemon. At first, this can feel insulting, but it’s just the way they do their sizes. I wear a size 2 in jeans, but I wear a size 6 in Lululemon’s pants.
This sizing can also be a little confusing when it comes to their sports bras. As with all clothing brands, there are times when certain items are cut differently from the rest, and this can throw off the sizes. In their sports bras, it’s almost always necessary to size up because things are cut so slim—much slimmer than their tops. If you shop online, you have to read the reviews to make sure you size up appropriately.
To pay so much for clothing, it’s a bit irritating to have this much trouble figuring out the right size for you. If you’re willing to do the leg work to make sure you do get the right size, then the price and quality of the items is worth it. However, if you want workout gear with less hassle in the sizing department, check out Carbon38. With so many brands to choose from, it’s easier to find items that will fit you and understand their sizing chart.
Alright, so performance is crucial in active wear. You need shirts that won’t ride up or trap sweat on your lower back. You need shorts that don’t chafe and leggings that aren’t see-through. You need headbands that stay on your head through three rounds of burpees. And you need yoga mats that don’t turn into slip and slides in an hour long bikram class. These are all necessary qualities of activewear. In my experience, Lululemon does provide that.
There are a lot of yoga mats on the market, and Lululemon mats are the best. All of their mats are reversible and feature no-slip surfaces, so you don’t have to sacrifice your focus or stretching in your yoga poses. One side is firm and the other is cushioned, so you can choose the one you need most in your yoga practice.
When you choose running shorts, you want a pair that has sweat wicking and doesn’t chafe. The fabric Lululemon uses for it’s shorts fit both of those requirements. The fabric is lightweight and breathable and doesn’t lead to irritated skin. In addition, there are always pockets sewn into the shorts to hold your keys and other small items. These running shorts definitely perform at a level most competitors’ don’t.
Sizing issues aside, the sports bras from Lululemon are specifically designed for particular activities. The yoga sports bra are designed to be breathable and comfortable as you go through a flow and are made even more fun with strappy designs and punchy patterns. The running bras are designed to minimize chafing and bouncing so your runs are pleasant, and they’re built with pockets so you have more places to store keys, cards, and even snacks for those super long runs.
If you’re a particularly blessed in the bust, then you definitely want to make sure the sports bras you buy will support you. It can be more difficult for you to find a sports bra at Lululemon, but don’t worry. We did the leg work (boob work?) for you and rounded up your best options.
It’s hard to find a good headband that will stay in place, but the ones from Lululemon actually do. Since they use velvet lining, the headbands stay put during your workouts. The fabric is thicker and definitely gets sweaty, but they’re easy to wash and maintain. They also come in patterns and bright colors to add some personality to your gym outfits.
When it comes to Lululemon leggings, it seems to be hit or miss. Some people think they’re perfect and love them, while others have trouble keeping them in place and preventing the fabric from pilling. It depends on the style of the leggings, but in general it seems it’s best to listen to the reviews and try them on in store.
My personal favorite legging brand is Alo Yoga, available at Carbon38. Carbon38 is high-end like Lulu, so it’ll still cost you more than say, GapFit. However, for high quality items it’s a price worth paying.
If you can afford to spend the money on a few key pieces from Lululemon, like one pair of running shorts, one or two sports bras, and the Reversible 5mm The Mat, it’s worth the money. If you’re on that budget I mentioned earlier, it’s best to only buy one of those necessary items at a time as you need them. This helps you space out the price a bit so it doesn’t cost so much up front, and it allows you to test out the products to see if you love them as much as everyone else does.
If the price is simply not going to work for you, then no worries. There are plenty of great activewear brands at more affordable price points. Check out Lolë, Evolve Fit Wear, Gaiam, and even Target (they have an entire athleisure section now!).