Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review

Front page of the March 19, 2013 Wall Street Journal
I'm sure lululemon cannot wait for 2013 to be over, from a bad-press standpoint anyway.  Though I think 2012 had substantially worse quality issues and crappier designs than this year (review just how awful 2012 was here and here), 2013 was the year lululemon's decisions to skimp on quality and staff to boost margins caught up with them and came to the attention of the world in the infamous Pantsgate recall.  The widespread, unrelenting media coverage put a bullseye on every lululemon fan's backside and had us all scrambling to wear pants with the waistband logo for several weeks. In November the company's blame-the-customer attitude was exposed when founder Chip Wilson put his foot in his mouth by blaming pilling on women whose thighs touch (never mind that armpits of jackets is another prime pilling location) rather than the fabric. Low points aside, I think the company has made significant steps forward over the second half of this year in terms of improving fabric quality (rampant camel toe in photos has become a dim bad memory), designs (e.g., going back to full luon Power Ys and Scoop Neck tanks, bringing back favorites like the Push UR Limits), and customer satisfaction (e.g., the Bahhumbug campaign). Ending the year on an up note, though Wall Street doesn't agree, Day and Wilson are soon to be gone and the new CEO has said that quality will be among his priorities. I am cautiously optimistic about 2014.

Now, onto my favorite new items from this year:

#1 - Luxtreme Wunder Unders (now called Wunder Under *Interlock)

Love, love, love. I don't know what took lululemon so long to come out with these. They are opaque, breathable, compressive, don't pill, and don't hang onto pet hair or lint. These have become my go-to gym bottoms. The only thing better than lux WUCs would be to make them with the higher Groove pant waistband to combat their tendency to slide down.

#2 - Open Your Heart LS Top

Though there is a sizing issue with these (I went down two sizes from my normal built in bra tank size) I really like the thicker fabric, figure flattering style, and reversibility. I've been waiting forever for luluelmon to come out with a thicker, henley style top for fall/winter and the OYLS was it. I have two of these.

#3 - Pump It Up Jacket

Though it technically came out in 2012, it was at the very end of December so I'm going to count it for 2013. It doesn't look like much in the photos but this loose fitting brushed luxtreme jacket was one of my go-to jackets for the year.

#4 - Mod Waves Cool Racerback

Though most of these ended up going to We Made Too Much, I just loved these mesh-backed version of the CRB. They are super cool for hot workouts and are a great run top. I think the reason a lot of them went to markdown was that most of them came in light colors and were see though. I bought the Raspberry Glo and solid black versions.

#5 Track Attack Shorts

This year was the year I got into run shorts in a big way and my two favorites were the Track Attack shorts and Groovy Run shorts. The TAs are a great design for those of us who like a little more coverage than Speed Shorts provide. They are super comfy and great for hot weather.

#6 Runday Crops

My favorite new run crop style yet. The higher, wide waistband is like a luxtreme tummy tuck and the zippered mesh vents at the bottom are surprisingly cool.

#7 Base Runner Hoodie

Comfy warm rulu technical piece that can pass for casual.

#8 Base Runner Pant

Rulu sweatpants that you can wear on their own as apres wear, a base layer, or layered over run crops as a to/from piece. They are a little dressier looking than sweatpants but just as comfy. I hope they make a comeback next year, though in solid colors and not in two-tone.

#9 Work It Out Duffel

Wonderfully roomy gym bag with a ton of pockets - super well thought out - and a bag finally came in an eye-catching print!

#10 - Practice Daily Crops in Full On Luon

Flattering seaming, compressive, and opaque with handy holster thigh pockets. These are my first pair of full on luon bottoms and I've been impressed that the thicker fabric is so breathable and wicking. I love the slimming style of these.

Honorable Mention: Post Chaturanga Pullover
There was a sizing issue with these - tight arms and super roomy body - but it's a great layering piece. I got the gray and black and am getting a lot of wear out of it. I like being able to unzip the neck when I go indoors with this.

Not new designs but deserve mention:

1 - The return of the regular luon Power Y and Scoop Neck tanks. Using Light Luon for these tanks just did not work, good riddance to their permanent (I hope) retirement.

2 - The return of Groovy Run shorts (one of my favorites) and Push UR Limits tanks.

Wishes for 2014:

1 - Bring back the longer, heavier fabric, ribbed Scuba design
Lululemon had to mark the Scuba Stretch $50 off to get them to move, that ought to tell them nobody likes the new design too much.

2 - Bring back the Don't Hurry Be Happy.
We were teased with rumors of it coming back but it never did - It better be coming next fall. It's a great looking super warm piece. Please, in addition to black, gray, and cream bring this out in a color like Plum or Deep Zinfandel. Enough with the outerwear in gray, black, and white pullovers/jackets.

3 - Bring back the Turn Around Longsleeve AS IS - don't change a thing except colors.
Pique rulu was a big seller this fall. It would have done even better if it had come out in the Turn Around LS style.

4 - Bring back the Lux or Remix Light hoodie - in COLORS

Bring out a lightweight basic hoodie. You'd sell a ton.  Lux hoodies are very sought after on the resale boards (hint, hint).

5 - Try the Runaway Fleece again - but bring it out in COLORS. 

It's a very nice layering piece but we have enough gray, black, and white outerwear. If you'd have brought this out in Angel Blue, Power Purple, Baroque Blue, etc. you'd have sold a ton. As it is, they are sitting in the stores and on the website.

What would you put on your personal list of Best of for this year?

What do you want to see again?

Track Tee, Bandit Track Jacket, and More

Photos of the new Track Tee in Fresh Teal, Baroque Blue, and Black.

Bandit Track Jacket in Black.

Om Tee in White.

The new In a Flash bra shown with a Lavender Dusk 105F Singlet, and Bhakti Crops.

Flip Your Dog LS

Baroque Blue Free to Be bra

Bandit Track Pant and Petal Pop Multi Scuba Jacket.

Fresh Teal Forme Jacket.

Just when I was hating on the Happy Yin Year sweatpants these photos come along and make them look really good. However, I am not 5'10" with model-like long legs so I'll still pass.

 Happy Yin Year Hoodie and Sweatpants.

Some nice detail photos on the Bhakti Yoga Crops.

A good photos illustrating what the Bhakti Jacket looks like when you leave it open. Shown with the Happy Yin Year sweatpants and Petal Pop Multi CRB.

I wondered how sheer the mesh panels on the Bhakti Yoga crops look in real life. They've looked rather dark in  most of the photos but I suspect they'll look more like this photo on me.

Apex Stripe Cool Racerback and More

Baroque Blue Apex Stripe Cool racerback, shown with Skinny Groove Pants and Bhakti Shorts.

The Brisk Bloom In A Flash skirt, shown with a LS Swiftly.

Straight Up Stripe Cool Racerback with Ruffled Speed Shorts.

Black Om Tee shirt with Bhakti Yoga Shorts.

Fresh Teal 105F Singlet and Centered Energy bra with the Bhakti Yoga Crops.

Fresh Teal Cool Racerback and Free to Be Bra.

Paris Perfection Reversible Wunder Unders with Push UR Limits Tank, Scoop Neck Tank and Cool Racerback.

Happy Yin Year Hoodie and Pant.