Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Why I am a Lululemon Addict

I've read quite a few financial analysts comparing Lululemon to other athletic wear brands such as Lucy, Athleta, Under Armour, Nike, Addidas, Danskin, etc. and come away saying Lululemon's product is not superior. They also often mention Lululemon's 'cult' like following.

Lululemon is primarily made for women who are athletically active. I suspect most analysts are men and don't often do anything athletic on a regular basis. Since I am a woman, work out several times a week, and have tried products from all of the companies I listed I actually have a basis for comparison. Let me enumerate the many ways Lululemon offers a superior product.
  • Technical fabrics that are quality constructed resulting in a product that doesn't fade, bag, shrink, or unravel and feel great against the skin.
  • Designed for real women with a flattering fit - 'built-in' bras that really work, even on D-cup ladies, bra cups with pockets for cookies to add more coverage or enhance your bust line, waistbands with color block bands that not only look great but act like Spanx, heavier weight Luon camoflages cottage cheese areas, figure enhancing seaming
  • Designed for active people - fabrics that move with you, breathe, wick, have mesh venting in the right places, flat seams relocated to nontraditional positions to lessen irritation, have great little features: built-in ipod/gym pass pockets, earbud cord tunnels, ponytail holes in caps, gym bags with blackberry and shoe pockets, etc.
  • Great designs and colors - trendy but not flashy (talking to you Bebe sport), not dowdy (Lucy, Atheta, Danskin), offers a lot more variety than different colored racerbacks and tanks (Nike, Addidas, Puma, Under Armour)
1 - Technical Fabrics Lululemon's signature fabric is Luon. It has a matte appearance and cottony feel. It is one of the heavier weight fabrics that I have come across in workout pants. It is wicking, quick drying, and has a 4-way stretch. Because Luon is heavier weight, it is able to camouflage imperfections such as cottage cheese thighs much better than other products. Lucy has a similar product known as Lucy Lux. However, Lucy Lux is not nearly as quick dry or wicking a Luon as I discovered when I hang dry my Lucy and Lululemon pants. The Lululemon pants always dry faster.

Luon also doesn't bag after wearing. My Lucy, Danskin, and Addidas stretch pants all bag in the knees after one wearing.

Luon doesn't fade or shrink with washing. I can't say this for my other workout wear. I've had Nike, Danskin, and Addidas all shrink, fade, and get scratchy on me.

2 - Quality Construction Lululemon uses flat seams on all its products. It also seams everything very thoroughly. I've had several Lucy pieces of mine unravel or have stitching start to come out. For a company that prices its products nearly the same as Lululemon this is unacceptable. The same goes for Athleta. I bought a top with a built in underwire that poked through - ouch.

3 - Built for Real Women who Move One thing that sets Lululemon apart from every other athletic wear brand I have tried is that is designed for women. The built in bras in their tank tops really work - they hold you in place and are not just an additional layer of fabric with a piece of elastic that is too loose to hold you up at all. Most of Lululemon's newest tops come with bra cup pockets to insert "cookies" that provide more coverage (and enhance your bust). I think a lot of women like the cookies to cover their headlights. Sometimes the gym/studio is chilly but we don't need everyone to know it!

Lululemon tops also have great little details - ipod/gym pass pockets in pants and tops, ipod earbud tunnels built into jackets, pony tail hole in running caps.

Lots of their tops are cut long and are designed to stay in place when doing inverted yoga moves (or don't show your belly when weight lifting). The pant seams are moved from the side of the leg so that it doesn't dig into your leg during side-lying yoga moves. The inner thigh seam is also often offset so if you have 'pillowy' thighs your thighs just glide right by each other friction free when doing cardio.

Lululemon's pants are the best around for making the most of what you have, even if you have junk in the trunk or cottage cheese on your thighs. The materials, cut, and construction all work together to make your backside look great. Lululemon is obviously a company that really listens to what women want in their athletic wear and puts money into research and design.

I am an admitted Lululemon addict but it is not because it is trendy. The reason that Lululemon has a cult following is that Lululemon is unique in offering athletic wear that has both fashion and function. I sincerely hope Lululemon keeps making great workout wear for years to come.


Sherry said...

Couldn't agree more. I'm relatively new to the Lulu line, but I'm already sold on their products in comparison to all of the other Nike, Adidas and run/triathlon specific stuff that I own. My Nike Tempo track shorts... trash when compared to the Lulu run line. I also finally purchased my first Lulu top (strappy dance tank) and not only does it look gorgeous on, but it I just discovered the drawcord at the bottom hem so it doesn't ride up when you're upside down! Wow! My long torso also gets a thumbs up for their longer length. Yes... like you, I'm in love. And believe me, down here in FL... there is no trace of any Lulu cult.... yet. :o)

houndlvr67 said...

I am with you too, sistah :). I discovered Lulu about two years ago after trying MANY other brands. I was a competitive equestrian in high school who switched to competitive rowing in college, when I could no longer afford the "horse power" (ie a horse that cost $50K+). I've been on many waterways in soggy cotton Champion sweats and have had "strawberries" on the inner thighs from ill fitting/made pants that weren't "cut for the athletic leg". I've tried on many a garment that only came to my ankles (I'm 5'11) or I couldn't even get over one boob (I'm a 38D). I've paid more, I've paid less but nobody does it like Lululemon. Even after working at a store for a short time and being disenchanted with the newbie store manager(thanks Alison), I still keep buying as everyone that I have encountered via the GEC as well as the Halsted store (Chicago)has been super and have offered great suggestions for new products that I should try. I am now a stay at home mom who goes to the gym and still tries to push the envelope of my 40 year old bod. I ALWAYS get complements on my Lulu. It's not just a marketing ploy...when you feel good about yourself, you tend to work-out harder. If I can't be naked while sweating, the next best thing is Lululemon !

lauriejf said...

Yes, yes and YES~ We love them because they WORK! The -best- clothes for working out, be it yoga or CrossFit. I love my lulu.