Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 In Review - A Year of Transition

The word that best describes this year best to me is potpourri. A lot of releases didn't feel like they had a coherent story or color palette and there seemed to be coordinating pieces that were missing. The Co-Lab/&Go/Noir releases added to the schizophrenic feeling.

Best Things That Happened This Year:

1 - Practice cotton. A huge hit and reminiscent of the quality cotton offerings under the old OQOQ line. If only vitasea tees and tanks could be made a little thicker and in prints (really tired of heathered and striped tees) and more dip dye, I'd be super happy with the non-luon/luxtreme offerings. I would love to see a pair of Practice Cotton Still Pants.  I think it would work in that fabric. Those, or the Lulu Pant IIs.

2 - Roll down waist on Wunder Unders and High Times pants. I know tons of people who won't buy regular WUPS/WUCs anymore. They love the roll-down waists that much.

3 - On-line warehouse sales - a huge success. So convenient. Keep them coming.

4 - A return to more customer friendly policies. The return policy has been broadened and stores have quietly returned to doing charge-ships and holding items for customers. These were abandoned under Day. Update - a reader pointed out, and I have to agree, the the mail-in return process can be very frustrating, particularly when you have multiple returns and try to combine them into one to save on processing costs since each return is $5. Returns take a long time to process, often a month.

5 - Earth colors like fatigue, rich earth, bark brown. People really liked the browns and greens we saw. However, we need some ivory (or cashew) technical tops to pair with them. Years ago, when Fox and Branch luon bottoms were out there were coordinating tanks in Ivory to pair with them. If you are going to put out earthy colors, PLEASE put out an Ivory CRB to go with them.

6 - New fabrics. Successes: diamond jacquard fabric (love this), textured stripe/textured wave, textured fabrics for run bottoms (herringbone and textured wave). I really like this trend. Fullux was, I think, a fail. The fabric is shiny, thick and doesn't stretch as much as regular luxtreme. Lululemon needs to keep tweaking fullux.

7 - Thick rulu was back this year - yay! Now all we need is a return to some solid colored rulu pullovers and long sleeves. I cannot wear a heathered or striped rulu top with a print or textured bottom bottom.

8 - Space dye - thicker, softer - swiftly material. Love these - keep them coming.

9 - Herringbone/Pique. I stocked up on tons of Herringbone, Coco Pique, and Mini Check pique warm and cozy tops. My favorites were the Coco Pique Race Your Pace LS, a Coco Pique Forme Jacket, and the Black Herringbone Think Fast Pullover. Lululemon went overboard on the gray and black toned tops so now they need to steal the colored piques and herringbone back from Ivivva for next year.

10 - Prints in regular luon and not fullux for non-run bottoms.

11- The return of the Scuba. So happy about this.

12 - Love the special edition and limited release offerings for events - Sea Wheeze Expo, NYC Marathon, Wanderlust, the bicycle theme tops for the Robson store opening. As a collector, it sucks to hunt these down, but I love the spirit behind the SE stuff.

Retired Styles:

Astro Pant, No Limit Tank (in North America, anyway), Gather and Crow crops, Forme Jacket, Nice Asana Jacket, First Base Tank (This should come back. The Think Fast Tank has a bad fit.).

My Personal Best Of:

There weren't a ton of new designs that appealed to me this year - most of my purchases this year revolved around running, so a lot of swiftly tanks, tees, and print Inspire crops or basics like Groovy Run or Tracker II shorts and Cool Racerbacks.  Some of my favorite purchases this year:

lululemon post practice cardi

 1- Post Practice Cardi. I got this at the beginning of the year and wear it all the time. It's such a handy piece.

2 - Waterbound/Bound bra - one of my favorite technical pieces this year. The Waterbound bra material is compressive enough and the straps short enough that I can actually run half marathons in this bra. As a [natural, middle-aged, breast-fed-three-kids] 36DD I never thought I could run comfortably in a shelf bra. Love this bra. Wish it was offered in a twelve in the US (like it is in Australia).

lululemon up your pace crop
3 - Up The Pace Crop - shorter length run crop with a comfy leg opening and just a little bit of mesh on the side of the calf.

lululemon runner up tank
4 - Runner Up Tank - This didn't sell that well but I'll put it down to poor color choices and the words "runner up" on the front. This is a great lightweight run tank with cute gathers in the back that doesn't ride up. One of my favorites for hot run days.

lululemon race your pace ls

3- Race Your Pace LS - Love this top a lot for it's simple and flattering design. I got it in the Black Coco Pique.

lululemon think fast pullover

4 - Herringbone Think Fast Pullover - one of the more simple pullovers to come out in recent years. I bought two, in herringbone and black mini check pique. I think this pullover works best in the stiffer fabric of the herringbone. My only nit is that I wish it zipped up to a full turtleneck.

lululemon race your grace pullover
5 - Race with Grace Half Zip - This came out in January so counts as a 2014 design. Clean but flattering lines and a lot of functionality - wind-cutting brushed luxtreme, cuffins, kangaroo pockets, turtleneck, dual chest zip. I bought a Baroque blue last January and the Atomic Red last week.

6 - Inkwell Cabin Yogi LS - Love this sweater. Long with simple and flattering lines.

4 - Diamond Jacquard WUPS - The diamond jacquard space dye fabric is wonderful - thick, soft, compressive, and opaque. This really isn't for working out but for casual wear.

lululemon herringbone speed tight

5 - Giant Herringbone Speed Tight IIs - Speed tights aren't really a new design but the giant herringbone "textured" luxtreme is a new fabric. Love that the herringbone doesn't scream workout tights.

lululemon inspire crop

6 - Textured Wave Inspire crops - another great textured luxtreme.

Trends I Am Not Liking:

1 - Not enough new technical tank designs and especially luon or luxtreme buil-in-bra tank designs, especially that accommodate bustier women. Most of the tanks that worked for busty women that came out this year were what my husband calls a bra with a curtain - Run Time Tank, Stash It tank, Wild Tank, etc.. I think I only bought two new built-in-bra tanks this whole year - the Warrior Dance Tank and a Stuff Your Bra tank. Simple but great tanks with wide straps that work for all bust sizes (like the Push UR Limits, Deep V, Power Dance, etc.) were what made lululemon and it seems they've largely been abandoned.

2 - Dropped Shoulders - looks cheap and ruins the fit through the chest and armpit. Awful, awful trend that shouldn't be followed.

3 - Not enough Cool Racerbacks coming out. It was stated that Cool Racerbacks are not going away, so where are they?

4 - On the same note, there are too many tanks (and tops) being made from sheer luon and tanks being made with giant, bra-exposing armholes (Think Fast Tank, High neck Swiftly tank, Citta Singelet).

5- Size twelve seems to be disappearing more and more lately and it seems to be purely to whim and not have any reason behind it. There also seem to be fewer tops and jackets offered in twelves, too.

6 - Zip-off jackets - the functionality no one is asking for

7 - Co-Lab/&Go/Noir - It seemed repetitive, every release was mesh, cut off boxy top, boxy dress, racerback clingy dress, masculine-style drop crotch pants, baseball jacket, puffy short skirt, and hi-waisted shorts - in stiff swim material or shiny whatever material - forgettable, unflattering, and largely ugly. I almost suspect a ton of it was designed to use up overstocked fabric. Did it bring in new customers? Did the core customer like it? I don't see it added much to the brand and the costs were not worth the benefits.

My Candidates for Worst Of: 
(Unfortunately, there were a ton of these this year. Since the design team/management had been in flux for a good part leading into this year's design cycle, I'm hoping the coming year will be better.)

lululemon tranquility vest
1- Tranquility Jacket

Lululemon had a lot of ugly vest designs this year: 

lululemo blazer vest
 2- Blazer Vest

lululemon quickchange vest
 3- Quickchange Vest

lululemon everything she wants vest
4 - Everything She Wants Vest

lululemon dickie
 5 - The Dickie

lululemon rolling with my omies pant
 6 - Rolling with My Omies Pant

lululemon party onesie
7 - Party Onesie

lululemon runsie
8- Departure Softshell

lululemon runsie
9 - Tie One On Pant

lululemon runsie

Things I'd Like to See Next Year:

lululemon post chaturanga pullover
I would love it if the Post Chaturanga Pullover came back. Or some sherpa fleece-line pullover.

lululemon zoom singlet

lululemon zoom singlet

lululemon zoom singlet
I want the Zoom Singlet to come back. It's like a shelfless luxtreme Power Y and a very versatile tank.

What were your favorites from this year? What are you hoping to see come out next year? What are you hoping lululemon does differently this year?


chingaling ling said...

Thanks for ALL that you do LLA. Happy New Year to you! I've been waiting anxiously for this post as I do every year. <3

Anonymous said...

It's really nice to see a recap of the last year. Thanks for putting this together. I was really excited for the return of the define jacket this year, I'm loving my coco pique version. As far as new designs in the last year, I can't think of many I truly loved. 2014 had a lot of flops. I'm looking forward to a hopefully better 2015!

chingaling ling said...

I agree with you that this year was definitely a year of transition. In looking back, the thing that struck me the most was how inundated we were with patterned crops/pants. (And the year fatigue savasana camo caused an epic buying surge that I'm sure broke the internet every upload, lol!) I too wasn't a fan of the fullux but loved the full on luon. I didn't buy many of the patterned crops/pants because I felt lulu relied too heavily on materials where the inside was a white poly feeling fabric. Since I have fuller "athletic" legs, I don't care for the heavier and thus warmer feel of the materials that I fear may stretch to reveal the white weaving with my movements. But hurrah to the return of opaque crops/pants. Don't think sheerness was as huge of an issue as it was a debacle last year.

I bought about a 1/3 of what I did in previous years, probably due to a combination of
a) already having a really good base of lulu items,
b) not being wowed by this year's offerings as many of the hits were reminiscent of items I already have,
c) my aversion to the white poly like backed leggings,
d) and the biggie for me, is the lulu resale market that fell out. I'm just not as willing to try out new styles since it's been a huge PIA to unload even NWT lulu and I refuse to let it go for a fraction of the price. Thus, I became a much pickier and prudent buyer.

So in pulling up my spreadsheet, these were my favorites:

1) April 2014 - LightenUp PO - super cute with the light ruffles on the bottom, but surprisingly warm without the bulk. Reminded me a lot of the materials and performance of the RunBeam UPF Hoodie offered the summer before. So comfortable to wear when I'm run training on the beach.

2) Free To Be Wild Bras - so happy about this modern update to one of Lulu's staple bras. This bra, for some reason, was much more comfortable for me than regular FTB's. This is so far the only strappy on trend bra that's worked for me. I usually stick to the energy and stuff your bras.

3) March/April 2014 - Coastal Tank. The material is very similar feel, when worn, to the Lightened Up PO referenced above, although I think coastal tank is made of swim material and the LUPO is swift? I have to go dig out my hang tags, but too groggy 45 mins after ringing in the new year to do so.

chingaling ling said...

4) Feb 2014 - Live Natural COTTON crops in the various ombre offerings. I cannot tell you how much I looove my heathered grey/soot crops in these. Very comfortable, a bit on the thicker/warmer side since I prefer luxtreme breathability, but very compressive and flattering. I was a bit afraid that they would not hold up while in movement or even weather laundry washings. They've held up fine in class and with wash - no premature fading/suedeing as my beloved french terry Back to Class hoodie from Fall of 2012 had done. (This is why I've avoided french terry offerings like the plague. Super comfortable and luxoriously feeling, but looks like crap after the 2nd washing, if not the first. I don't like paying $108+ to have something look well worn, faded, aged after just one washing.)

5) The striped swiftlies that seemed softer and stretchier feeling reminiscent of the vintage swiftlies. The color saturations and patterns were wonderful! Unfortunately, not EVERY striped swiftly was like this. I was a workaholic for most of this year and didn't get into the stores as I used to in the past to be able to vouch for having touched/tried on every color way offered. I absolutely hated the plastic stiffer feeling swiftlies of 2013 in comparison. Whatever Lulu did, please don't regress!

6) Kudos to lulu for constantly coming up with new skirt styles. Last year, it was skorts and the beloved track attack skirt! This year, I fell in love with the pace rival skirt but ONLY when it was made in swift material. The thicker woven patterns like WAFS inkwell was a fail although it's gorgeous for those of us navy/blue lovers. The lighter summer colors and most especially the white/black chevron pattern from SeaWheeze were homeruns. I wore those to death for most of this year since my local climate felt like an extended summer until recently. Really loved the Pleat to Street Skirt too, but if given the choice, I'd buy more of the pace rival skirt in swift material as the Pleat to Street "looks" shorter on me due to my body type when in fact it measures the same length when laying flat against same size pacesetter skirt.

7) The one new edgy Lab like design out of the plethora of offerings this year that I did pull the trigger on was the Tranquility Sleeveless Wrap. The tencil is cool, comfy and looks like a luxurious thick silk material that drapes beautifully. I had to figure out how to launder it properly to restore it to it's original status (just toss a wet towel into the dryer to refluff the properties of tencil, else it looks deflated like a just bathed wet cat just hang drying, which is what I normally do with all of my lulu). It's the perfect summer cover up! The style is uniquely edgy and a steal since I got it on md.

chingaling ling said...

8) Like you, I thought the Special Edition Limited Lulu for SeaWheeze, Wanderlust, Robson Bicycle CRB's and NYC Marathon collections were a huge highlight this year. Thankfully, I was able to purchase two of those collections at retail price as I refuse to pay inflated ebay prices for the others. This year's SeaWheeze was one of the BEST compared to all previous year offerings! I've resigned myself to being ok with not having those items from an event that I didn't attend/participate in. But, Lulu, why not employ THOSE SE Limited Edition collection designers into the core product and give the pink slip to all the Go, Lab etc designers? The minimalistic edgy Vancouver urban style just doesn't translate well with your core, global customers.

9) I cannot give enough kudos to Lulu for their expanded reflective offerings this fall. I hope they do this every year since reflectivity is a huge need for those of us that run train at night, and especially with the increased popularity of the Ragnar races, it's wonderful to have so many options from my preferred lulu. Last year, I defected and bought a few Nike items. This year's Reflective Bright Bomber Jacket looks to be a repeat from last year, but Lulu tweaked many of it's features, so that it's fits like a completely different jacket. More breathability and change in fabrics in the back/shoulders and under arm/forearms make this jacket much more moveable rather than fiting very stiff and awkward like version 1. My only additional wish that I wish lulu would have incorporated was for the hand pockets in the front to have zippers. Kinda stupid to have a run jacket without zippered pockets to ensure nothing falls out during high impact running. But it's a winner! Too warm for my climate due to the micro fleece lining, and I couldn't justify another fully reflective jacket since I have the Nike All Flash that I barely wear because it's too warm; breathability in this rubber like reflective material is a universal problem. So the face that Lulu incorporated several fabrics into their version is a win. But love love my reflective inspire crops, run and reflect headband, and In a Flash Bra (latter reflectivity does show through my long sleeve tops which I love!).

As an offshoot of the reflective run gear, I want to also give kudos to Lulu for all the running jacket choices we've had this year. There definitely were more winners this year the previous years. If only my pocket book would allow me to add to my already overstuffed lulu jacket closet. But I definitely had my eye on quite a few.

chingaling ling said...

10) Lastly, I loved the return of the oldies that were well deserved goodies and favorites.

Colors: Pigment Blue, Bruised Berry, Bordeaux Drama, Surge, Power Purple, Toothpaste and Menthol. And loved the return of the WAFS offerings since I prefer WAFS to herringbone/pique prints.

Items: Unity PO, Flow & Go Tank, Tone It Up Tank, Festival Bags, Fluff Off PO's and, omg, the Downtime Jacket which was only avail at SeaWheeze or from Aussie site. So glad the Stride and Define jackets are back even though I haven't yet bought new ones. I have too many older ones to justify new ones.

Lulu definitely took lots of chances with a LOT of new style, print patterns, material combinations, etc. Really appreciate the more customer friendly return and ship direct (which means no more driving all over LA in search of something) policies at the store level which is where I prefer to make the majority of my purchases. But, unlike previous years, whenever they re released an older item and made changes, they were for the better, i.e. festival bag strap is longer and the inside pockets are more accessible and not ridden with a gazillion zippers, Think Fast Pullover was a major improvement over last year's Base Runner 1/2 zip and Base Runner Hoodie (both had neck fit issues for me), and the aforementioned improvements in the fit and features of the Bright Bomber Jacket.

It was a good year of growth via experimentation for lulu, although holiday offerings were disappointing most likely due to Shipping Port issues that have plagued all retailers.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the list! Fun and I agree with many of your points.

So, it only just occurred to me today that Forme jackets haven't been restocked. Was this one really retired??? I hate the Define and would never purchase one, looks stale to me. I LOVE Formes! They look a lot fresher to me. So sad, please tell me they're coming back!

Anonymous said...

wait, the forme is discontinued?!!

Anonymous said...

I would like more pants made with Swift/coolmax with skinnier legs than the current Studio pant.

Samantha said...

The runsie- I saw in my new copy of Fitness magazine that Brooks is making one. So it looks like Lulu has company now, and I think it will make a return this year.

Things I loved this year- print inspire crops. While the material is a tad thick (whamo camo for example), the prints are fun, and the inspire crop fit and length is my fav. I bought several this year and wear them all the time. Free to be wild: I picked up a black one, and love how it looks peeking out from my tanks.

Colors/patterns I loved: Bali breeze, whamo camo, inky floral, bumble berry, cadet blue, paradise grid...

One thing I didn't like, but feel I'm in the minority: camo. I loved the whamo camo (doesn't look like camo to me, rather a pretty and bright print), but the other camos are awful IMO. and there was a lot of it. Saves me money, so I don't mind.

Love this blog LLA! Happy new year to everyone who reads this blog!!

Amberlin Tannehill said...

YES to more CRB. Where are they? And please keep the Free to Be bra coming. They seem to be passing it over for the Wild and that is a real shame. Back to basics, Lulu! And seriously loving the earth tones as well.

Anonymous said...

Great summary LLA! Thanks for all your hard work - love your blog!

What I liked this year:

Race Your Pace LS. Got it in the triplet twin stripe berry yum yum heathered slate. I normally never like stripes but this combination was a winner for them and original, I thought.

WAFS black cashew pattern. Got the WU crop and CRB.

Black herringbone items.

Reappearance of the Base Runner ½ zip. I scored a Parallel stripe black & white one from wmtm in the fall – this was probably my favourite, lucky LLL moment this year. I have the black herringbone one from last year. I realize not everyone likes the collar on this shirt but this one is a winner for me for the warmth of the collar, the fit, and the back pocket. I reach for these shirts most often for both running and casual wear.

Feeling Frosty Softshell jackets. I have yet to buy one but have tried it in store and am just waiting ;)

Return of Bordeaux Drama – I got the solid BD CRB that I always wanted when it first came out. This was a sneak into certain stores from what I know. I recall seeing a photo for UK but never that it was in NA. I found it in more than one Toronto store.

Return of Alberta Lake – I want a solid, thick, soft CRB!

Vinyasa scarves in some great versions and the ultra soft mini check pique ones. (I agree they should come up with some more colours now.) Thought the herringbone one with seams was not good; obviously made of leftover material from other items.

Think Fast Hoodie

Rest Less Pullover – but I’m still waiting for markdown, lol, it is overpriced at full price

Return of the classic Scuba.

Hotty Hot Short – I never thought I would go away from Speed Shorts but I love this short. I hope they make more. I only bought the black pair as I didn’t care for the other versions. A solid navy and wafs versions would be awesome.

Warehouse sale (Canadian) – Lots to choose from and I only bought 3 items (really tried not to go overboard). Getting an item that I thought I’d never see again (missed out on), the inkblot white deep indigo. Speaking of warehouse sales, Canada’s was on January 16 – will another one happen just around the corner?

Easy Breath Bra – such an amazing bra for light busted women and for me, for hot yoga. Feels like nothing at all and no distractions. However, I do have some unraveling seams at the clasp, which I suspected would eventually happen: they need to improve that.

Free to Be Wild Bra – not a new item but I like the versions they came out with this year, especially purple/bumbleberry. However, the craze this one cause online was, well, pretty crazy. (Bought mine in store and no melodrama from me.)

Anonymous said...

My favorite items from this year were:

1 - Run Inspires with a fullux back panel so I don't have to worry about sheerness.

2 - Home stretch crew - super warm and cozy piece!

3 - Rebel runner crops - nice, thick and opaque. Great length for fall/winter temps.

I agree that the online warehouse sales are a great idea. I bought quite a few items from the US sale. I also love my up the pace crops although the length is not ideal for crossfit where it is nice to have your shins covered. I can't remember as far back as the beginning of the year so most of my favs are recent items.

Fails this year in my opinion, most of what you listed (although I like the everything she wants vest!) in addition to too many floral prints for my liking. Secret garden looked great on my computer screen but way too bright in person, same with the floral print shown above in the rollin with my omies pants.

Happy New Year! Thanks for your blog.

Anonymous said...


What I didn’t like:

All the stuff for &GO and the disco/vegas Black Friday stuff, although I understand that I’m not the customer this stuff is aimed at. Too much of it though, loses my attention with the LLL brand and makes me look elsewhere. I did like some of the Colab stuff but ended up buying only the bra. I talked myself out of the jacket and don’t regret it.

Whatever happened to great interior finishing for shirts?
Race Your Pace ½ zip – a failure in my opinion. Bought it and returned it. It has many winning points (look overall, 2-way ½ zip, cuffins, length, pocket, made of rulu) and it LOOKS great but it is SO poorly finished on the inside, especially around the zipper/caused chaffing, itchy seams, and the rulu is ridiculously thin. I could not justify keeping this at the price point. It came is so many great colours/versions but I passed, passed and passed.

Continued failure to make a solid, technical winter running tight for real winters in North America. I am continually mystified that they fail to do this, year in, year out.

Increasing prices of certain items – charging more for Wunder Unders…went up at least $10 and then they were charging more for certain patterned items. I only bought black herringbone ones but I bit the bullet on the price.

Jackets. Up until 2 years ago, I used to want almost every jacket they released. I haven’t bought one since 2 years ago and only one is a winner this year (from only a try on), the Feeling Frosty softshell. I am waiting for md though.

This 2 in 1 jacket business. Ugly and a failure. Continued release of cropped jackets. Get over it! No one wants them.

CRB’s – agree, where are they? I bought the Rich Earth one online because my stores (easy access to four) have so few. The Rich Earth version was an embarrassment for them. I couldn’t believe how THIN it was, like pantyhose. They finally came out with a nice, deep brown CB but it was not worth my money. I hated having to order it online and deal with the task of returning it in store. Previously I would have examined it in store and not even bought it after feeling/seeing the lack of quality. However, the heathered deep coal CRB, which I did get in store, is AWESOME. Very thick and so soft and I have reached for it (of all my CRB collection) the most this winter.

Other tanks – I do not care for any of the other tanks they have come up with to try and replace the CRB. It would be such an utterly stupid move to discontinue the CRB. People that complain about the too long straps or whatever, need a petite version, which LLL needs to finally embrace. (I’m a size 4, “regular” size/height and CRB’s are perfect on me.) There have also been so many releases of loose fitting, shelf bra types that ALL go to wmtm and have zero appeal to me. I never look at them and never try them on.

Boxing Day sale – expected it to be not so great because overall, the releases this year were not that great. There was really nothing I was after that much. I did buy the Think Fast LS in herringbone and the Mantra Tote and was happy to have waited for md.

3crazykids said...

I completely agree with your comments on the drop shoulder and fullux. Thanks for showing the worst designs again, gave me a chuckle with my morning coffee. Happy New Year LLA!

Anonymous said...

Great recap and Happy 2015 to you, LLA. I hope LLL's resolution for 2015 is to stop with the vests and dropped crotch/shoulder bottoms and tops.

My hits were the Here to There Dress, Mind and Body Kit, and Scoop Back Top, and flying tomato space dye WUCs.

I'd love to see another version of the Run Bundle Up Jacket from 2012 and more basic WUPs/WUCs with thick luon made in Canada or the USA.

Anonymous said...

Best, not in any particular order:

(1) Heart Opener scarf in the purples - so beautiful, so soft and warm.

(2) The Lab City pullover in Cadet Blue WAFS. That was a VERY, VERY RARE Lulu top in one of the gorgeous WAFS fabrics. So often the prints only come in bottoms, shorts, bras, and jackets, but never in tops. I snapped this one up and wear it all the time. If only they’d make more tops in these lovely prints.

(3) The Next to Nothing tank. I wore this all summer, sometimes just over a cute bra and sometimes over a tank. It was indeed like wearing nothing at all, perfect for the steamy summers where I live.

(4) The Iconic Sweater Wrap in cadet blue/black. Another item I wear all the time. Cadet blue goes with just about everything I own, so I can wear it over tanks, tees, long-sleeved tops... warm, soft, lightweight. I loved it so much I bought a second identical one, so I could take it traveling and not worry in case I lost it.

(5) The Base Runner half-zips (which spilled over into 2014). I bought three and wish I’d bought more. A go-to winter top, although not suitable for working out in my climate because of all the underarm mesh - too cold.

(6) The Push Ur Limits tank - excellent running tank, so much support, so comfy, and cute besides.


(1) Super-warm winter running tights. I have an outstanding pair from Athleta that I can wear by itself in sub-0 (F) weather, but nothing I’ve tried from Lulu that comes close to that. Sorry Lulu, your designers who run outdoors in winter need to get out of Vancouver and spend a winter in the center of the continent, and then try again.

(2) Pullovers/sweaters in something OTHER than shades of black, white, gray, and pastels! I passed on the Stress Less pullover because of the same old dull colors and pastels that keep getting churned out in pullovers and sweaters.

(3) More deep colors in general, and fewer black/white/grays/pastels. The colors always sell out first, when they show up, while the whites and grays linger on WMTM. There’s a reason for that.

(4) Less (a LOT less) of the “night-out” and “edgy streetwear” stuff, and more of the stuff we can wear to, you know, work out in. The first five things I listed above - none of those are workout wear for me. Let’s get back to the core reason you came into existence in the first place!

LuluAddict said...

I am not sure the Forme is discontinued but we haven't seen any new ones since the Define came back. I would think they are too similar to keep both but I guess you never know.

@Chingaling - Wow! YOU should do the recaps from now on!! Thanks for all the input. I tried to check my spreadsheet, too, to see what I bought but I don't have this year's purchases separated out from everything else I own so I had to do it by memory. Print bottoms were a big part of my buying, too. My only nit is that we need more solid color technical tops to go with them. So, for the newest batch of prints I want to see solid Atomic Red, Plum Peach, Menthol, and Alberta Lake CRBs to match. I'd love a luxtreme or silverescent top, too, to choose from.

I also agree about the Live Natural dip dye crops. I bought both colors and really like them. Practice cotton is a great fabric.

@ anon 8:06 am - GREAT comments about jackets. The only new jacket I bought this year that wasn't a Forme or Scuba was a Downtime Jacket at the Sea Wheeze expo. I do like the Feeling Frosty lines a lot but I would love if it came in a rich color, like Pigment Blue. I really regret passing on the Outward Bound jacket from 2010 and wish lululemon would come out with something like that again. Just loved that jacket.

There were a few &Go-type things that were cute - the Here to There Dress and Tech Mesh Tights were big hits and have wide appeal - but overall, I think they need to be more thoughtful as to what trendy items they produce. It almost seemed like lululemon wants to become more of a casual wear company, hence my schizophrenic comment, than athletic wear. That isn't what made them - there are many other companies that do it better - and like you mentioned it's a kind of a turn off to the core customer.

The Race Your Pace Half zip was a disappointment because of bad interior finishing (scratchy seams) but overall I think the rulu run pullover and ls offerings this year were pretty good (Think Fast, Run for Gold, Race with Grace, Race Your Pace, and Flurry Fighter PO) and better than they've been in a few years.

Anonymous said...

My favorite purchases in 2014: pleat to street skirt, tracker 2 shorts, dash shorts, reversible down vest and herringbone wup. I hope to see more down, ruffles and lace in 2015. My summer 2014 highlight was hitting the Lulu outlet in San Marcos while on vacation!!

Anonymous said...

Excellent comments and thanks LLA for the opportunity to share our experiences, unfiltered...

I bought way too much this year but I had a ton of returns too and I disagree that the return policy has improved. You are fortunate to live near a store, I am not and doing a return through the mail and waiting almost A MONTH for credit, is unacceptable. Other companies are able to process returns in a couple of weeks, so what is the big problem? Huge fail and the upload website disasters left a nasty taste in my mouth.

The products? Loved the Herringbone offerings, I bought all the pieces offered however I'd like to see brown herringbone, rust herringbone and again, I agree with others, we need some serious, serious winter running tights. The speeds are great, but we need the design team to focus on this next year. Why can't they accommodate? You are a Canadian company and people are begging for outdoor running tights. Other companies are getting it done. Sigh.

Again, I agree with others about the price point increases and they are being sneaky about taking away little features here and there thinking we won't notice. We have. Hot cheeks shorts this year have no back zipper. The lack of leg ruching on the Speed tights, The lack of zipper pockets on some pullovers I bought, etc. There are more I just can't remember.

I still see some sheerness issues here and there, don't claim it's over yet. The focus of the design team on these ridiculous vest/blazer items and casual wear is baffling. It would be nice to see a more comprehensive focus next year on functional, classy athletic wear that isn't flimsy, see-through or cheap seems like we have to keep stating what we want and are looking for. Get the consistency back, Lulu!

MB. said...

This is so well done. Thank you, LLA, and you should seriously be consulting for LLL (and I don't say that lightly). You're very analytical, and even if you don't always agree with other people's tastes or vice versa you have a good pulse on what a large segment of LLL's consumers want.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I posted above but want to add re: the casual/streetwear/and Go lines, I actually wish LLL would keep trying to perfect them. Not only do I love to wear their workout gear since it is so comfortable and makes me look great so why wouldn't I also want them to make casual wear that is super comfortable and makes me look great? I bought several pieces from & Go line and wear them all the time both for casual wear and to the office.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 12:18 pm - Great point about mail returns. I have heard lots of complaints in that department. I need to amend the post to fix that. They need to step up the mail order return process.

@ anon 12:48 pm - With regards to casual wear - I think lululemon has done a good job with sweaters this year. I never bought a lululemon knit wear product before this year and now I've bought four. I always used to find the knit wear too flimsy for me (or just plain weird) but there were quite a few sweaters I really liked, with nice, flattering designs. More than a few sweaters were tanked for me with the dropped shoulder seams being too tight on my upper arm or too cropped/boxy but other than that, the sweaters have been really good this year.

song sparrow said...

Thank you for the fabulous recap of lulu's year. I can't believe how much I agree with you. Practice cotton, earth tones, need for cream color tops to go with Browns and greens and burgundies. Fantastic, well thought our post.
My favourite 2014 purchases,
Forest green fleecy keen jacket (it's my fave lulu ever)
Burgundy and purple practice cotton roll down WUS?
I bought the hot hitter skort on wmtm :-/

Anonymous said...

LLA, love you and your blog. But I respectfully disagree. I want to voice my faves (on a chance that LLL reads your blog for feedback) that I am completely opposite with regards to your best/worst picks. I know that I am in the minority among your blog readers. LOL. Hope Lulu keeps the edgy designs coming for my sake.

My favorites this year:
Everything She Wants Vest (omg, so. much. love. #didnotsizedown)
Find Your Centre Wrap (unreal, #didnotsizedown bc it's silly to cheat yoself of gorgeous and luxuriously soft fabric drape)
Breathe Easy Crop
Lab Edge Tee
Sport Tee
Easy Breath Bra
Stride Jacket II coco pique black
Bitty Bracer Bra
Seek the Heat Bra
Future Varsity Bra
Atman Pant (practice cotton, so soft and thick!)
Tuck & Flow Tank (nice vitasea piece)
Twist Bra (OMG!)
Speed Tight Cozy (NOT II!) way back from January
Hotty Hot Short
Forme Jacket in fatigue savasana camo
En Route Crop (sh*tty luon pffttt, i know, but oh how I love how they make me look ;))
High times crop wing mesh
Tech Mesh Tights
Vinyasas - coco pique black, and mini check pique white
All sport bras - giant herringbone, camo
High times crop mesh
Yogini Trouser Pant
Rocket Skirt
Front Racer Tank in retro camo
Tech Mesh Singlet
Arise Bra
Yogi cut off tee
Lab Night Tight
Breathe Easy Pant in great granite black mojave tan/black; and also in black
Savasana wrap, gratitude wrap, tranquility wrap, karmacollected jacket, karmacollected wrap, blissed out wrap ;)
totally toasty neckwarmer
totally toasty earwarmer (lulu's take on the turban looking headwear :))
quick change vest, blazer vest

Colors - cadet blue! vintage pink! all the black, white, and grays of course.

Fabrics - stretch french terry, textured - coco pique and herringbone rulu, luon and luxtreme (didnt love WUC in camo denim though they were total dud; didnt care for merino or cotton knit sweaters)

Finally, I wish I could know the designer behind each piece. E.g., I know that Cara Sumpton designed Second Chance Pant (swoon, I missed out) and FTBW bra (not a fan of this style for myself but still respect her awesome design ideas).

Hope there is a change in weekly upload times. Too early in the evening for me. Was bummed to see white herringbone vinyasa sell out before I could purchase it.

Anonymous said...

p.s. Too loved the Next to Nothing Tank

Anonymous said...

p.p.s. While it's desired to keep classic (classy) to and from pieces. There are a lot of them already. Why are yall asking to cut down on the edgy street wear offering? Why can't there be both for every one?

And, yes, it has not gone unnoticed the lack of ruching (dealbreaker for me) on the speed tights II(the wasteband got an improvement though and does NOT slide anymore and that ugly seam on back of leg is gone); and the lack of details on some main or core offerings and price hikes.

Chezhire71 said...

1- Gratitude Wrap - excited about the return of the Gratitude Wrap BUT I need it in a Size 2 on the US side, so I still don't have this lovely piece. Other countries got it in a Size 2 this year, so please bring it back soon (this spring?) in a Size 2! Maybe in a gorgeous, rich solid blue, or (gasp) an ombre Off White to Pigment Blue (similar to the Waterbound Hoodie that was just released on the US side few weeks ago?) That would be SO, SO stunning!

2-Roll Down WUP/Practice Cotton - I purchased 4 pairs of the Roll Down Wunder Unders / Practice Cotton: 2 crops (heathered Fuel Green and heathered Bordeaux Drama) and 2 full length (heathered bark and heathered black.) Love every pair, and am wearing the Heathered Black right now! Keep these coming, Lulu.
Would LOVE to see these come in bright, beautiful SPRING colors - Bali Breeze!

3- FTBW Bras - Adore ALL 6 of my new 2014 Free To Be Wild bras. Favorites are the Tonka Stripe/Antidote, Rocky Road Sand Dune Ground, Hyper Stripe Black Ghost and the Grape/Bumble Berry. (*Just received the Prism Multi/Atomic Red, and it's just not WOWing me, so it's going back!)

4- Think Fast Hoodie - love this top. Got it in Black Herringbone, and am debating another color! Wish LLL would bring it out in bright greens/blues - Bali Breeze or Pigment Blue!

5-Race Your Pace L/S- Coco Pique.

6-Shanti Surf Short (May) - I bought these in the Pretty Palm Angel Wing/Black, and I wore them over my suit to/from the pool & beach all summer long. Really hope these are released again this year in new, bright colors: Bali Breeze, Pigment Blue, please!

7-Vinyasa, Coco Pique & Bali Breeze - Coco Pique: sooo versatile, soft and cozy! Love the contrasting texture/color with my brighter tanks beneath. Bali Breeze: though sold as *Rulu Light, it's thicker than the Coco Pique, soft & looks so fab for a pop of color with all of the grey/blacks LLL released this fall/winter. Would love some Herringbone BRIGHT colored ones - Pigment Blue, please.

8-Forme - Black Savasanah Camo *denim. This fabric is so rich/gorgeous looking on. Women ask me where I got it every time I wear it (which is weekly!)

9- L/S SCOOP Swiftly - this top's neckline is more universally flattering, IMHO, than the other l/s swiftly necklines. My fav this year was the Tie Die Black/White.

10- CoLab Future Varsity Jacket/BLACK (Jan)- unlike the Lab Noir jacket (which I did NOT like on,) this jacket is so beautiful and functional. As with the Forme in Black Denim Camo, #8, above, women stop me every time I wear it (and I'm talking about women who have no idea it's even Lulu!) to ask where I got it. When I walked into my local store with it on this fall, there were gasps all around, as those GE's weren't familiar with its online only release. I wear it for both outdoor cardio & around town. WINNER!

11- Om For All Bag - in matte Metallic Silver/Gold straps. Love it, so beautiful in this color.

12-WunderUnderCrop in Milky WAY!!! Can't forget to add this to my list of 2014 favorites! I try not to wear these too much, although they do NOT show any wear and tear, just because I love this pattern so much. Hope Lulu brings out some fun blues for Spring/Summer 2015, too!

13 - Fav Speeds (I buy too many every year, hahaha):
2 way: Rad Plaid Light Flare, Spray Dye Blue Tropics/BLack.
4 way: Bumble Berry, Savasanah Fatigue Green 20cm Camo.

Designs/fabrics I did not care for in 2014: Free Reign Short; Vita Loca Tank; Inner Heart Bra; Hotty Hot - shorts & skirt; Satya Tank; CRB, FulLux Crops, and Forme in Savasanah 20cm Green Camo - yucky shiny/slick fabrics that looked cheap; Tech Mesh tight; Speeds 4-way in Antidote (SEE THROUGH!)

Chezhire71 said...

AND, as far as SE items, I bought the Sea Wheeze 2014 Keep On Running Duffel.
Love having it with my at all of my triathlons!

Happy New Year, LLA, and
Many thanks for your blog!

Anonymous said...

Lulu improved over last year, but I think there's still a lot to be desired. I have amassed what is probably a ridiculous collection of lulu, and when they release new product, I think about what I have and gauge whether it is 1. different and/or 2. improved. It is rare that anything they have released lately has been different enough or improved enough to warrant me keeping. Ex - rulu tops. The turnaround LS was perfect. Warm, attractive, comfortable, and perfectly bridged the gap between athletic wear and casual wear. The only thing I found different enough to keep this year was the pique think fast hoodie - awesome. I still trust the quality of my older lulu over anything new, so it is also rare I would replace something unless it was an incredibly unique color way (which in the blacks and grays, was usually not.)

-practice cotton for sure.

-roll downs! It would have to be an amazing print for me to buy regular WU again.

-I think the sheerness issue has been mostly addressed.

-I think in an effort to win back favor, they brought back old colors. I would not have purchased DSP this year if they hadn't released in black grape (which, however, I purchased to replace my rolling black swan...)

-Swiftlies felt way nicer and the space dye was a good addition to solids

-Generally I ignore the edgier/non-athletic releases, but I actually really liked the anytime dress and OOTW dress. Both were pretty flattering.

-continual rolling of waistbands. Did not buy base runner pants or many new DSP due to this ongoing issue. COME ON. $118 pants SHOULD NOT ROLL. I have a flat stomach, I line dry, and still have had rolling issues in some of my DSP.

-slow creeping of price. I was talking to an Ed the other day, and discussing how obviously I have a certain tolerance for lulu price BS because I own so much of it. However, there will come a time when it's just out of hand, and when textured WUP/high times get to be $102, that starts to get out of hand for pants that have actually decreased in quality.

-ENOUGH FLORALS. ENOUGH WEIRD VESTS. These things always end up in WMTM. Why is this so hard??

-I realize part of the lulu allure is the inconsistent release of product. In conjunction with some of these other complaints though, it gets to be really obnoxious when Aus gets the run: insulators (an item I think lulu was able to do quite well and maintain quality.)

-speaking of down, the fluff line this year felt a lot cheaper IMO than previous years.

-strides - really? gray and black and mojave tan? that was a waste of everyone's time.

Anonymous said...

why am I sensing some over-eager Educators are weighing in here with their "faves"...cough, cough.

Anonymous said...

Thank u LLAddict for your work on this blog. Enjoy and appreciate it :)
My faves this year were the return of the Scuba, Define, and Stride. The colours of the Stride were especially unappealing and the Define just a bit better. Would love to have year round rich saturated colours such as bumble berries, teal blue/green, alberta lake, dark green, browns, purples/wines, and usual black, greys, white, inkwell,etc. Would like gratitude wrap and more CRBs in these colours. Wish the design team would look at WMTM more closely and see what they can learn and put it in practice- get rid of the convertible coats, long weird vests, etc etc etc

Anonymous said...

Great post, and Happy New Year!

My fave 2014 purchases: black herringbone WUPs, WAFS jeweled magenta CRB, black FTBW, and the pique think fast hoodie

I hope to see the return of the push UR limits, deep V and scoop neck tanks, shake and break shorts, thicker, softer CRBs, and ruffle/ruching details on anything. I returned more than one pair of black bottoms due to sheerness this year, so I really hope this problem gets resolved. Also would love to see tanks in solid brighter colors (flare, pinkelicious, red, green bean, blue tropics, etc).

Thanks for all of your hard work! Love your blog!

Anonymous said...

I agree with 12:24 above - LLA you should totally be a consultant for lulu. They could use your expertise. :)

Anonymous said...

One more beef is the lousy, cheap plastic zippers. Why can't they upgrade to the metal zip? When Lulu started tanking a couple years back, they started using the cheap zips. You bring the Define back only to regress with the plastic zip! When you read the reviews, "most" everyone likes the metal zips, so use them!

Also, I definitely agree they need to keep designs with rich, saturated colors like deep greens and burgundys. Most everyone likes these jewel tones. The brights are fine, but keep these darks in the rotation for us older gals..ha. Thanks again LLA!

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed reading your blog and specifically this 2014 recap. My faves from this year are:

1. Secret Garden Scuba and Tracker II shorts. I love color and this pattern was so bright and cheerful.
2. Post Savasana Pullover - stylewise this isn't the most exciting item but I find I wear it ALL.THE.TIME. I have it in black and the cashew/white striped and they still look great after many washes.
3. Herringbone Wunder Under Pants - just perfection.
4. Diamond jacquard space dye black grape/nightfall Skinny Wills - like my Herringbone WUP, I reach for these at least once a week. They are nicely thick and compressive and sadly make me realize how uncompressive my ziggy wee striped ones are.
5. Rebel Runner crops - perfect fall running crop with the side leg pocket and the higher waist - the pocket makes them slightly better than Rundays which I do like a lot.
6. Bruised Berry Run Inspires - I had previously had one pair of Run Inspires which were fine, but the fabric on the Bruised Berry ones was amazing!. Soft, silky but still compressive.
7. Fluffed Up Vests - I have them in Black and Boom Juice (and only the fear of being committed by my husband for LLL vest insanity kept me from buying the Inkwell). Perfect fit for my body type.

MB said...

I'm with at least one other commenter who likes LL's casual wear offerings. I personally hope they keep working to perfect those items--- cute dresses, casual Vitasea tanks, etc. The reason that made me a LL customer 4+ years ago is that I could wear some of it casually, and they've gotten a lot better at designing pieces to that end IMO.

I really have enough just-gym or just-yoga clothes, and even though we complain of inconsistency, knowing your general size and how certain LL fabrics wear is incredibly important and the brand actually does that pretty well. There aren't any other brands that I can say I own bras, tops, underwear, pants, dresses, scarves, and bags from.

I was on a LL hiatus for part of the year, but have been glad to see some interesting styles of dresses (even though only one really worked on me), lots more Vitasea tanks and tops, and also more french terry offerings.

There were a lot of weird styles this year, but I think that is the price you pay as a consumer when you require a brand to keep putting out new designs.

Anonymous said...

The Base Runner pants are awesome and a cool street vibe (Cara Delevingne rocked a similar style). Interestingly, the suburban lulu moms collective did not hate on them, guessing as this is an edgy design in a retro trackpant kind of way. Ha!

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:06 1 & 3 here. Adding to the topic on the return policy:

LLL does not have a price adjustment policy and this is foolish. Every other major retailer has a policy and if a customer knows the terms, there is usually nothing more to be said. Making someone return and repurchase an item—-if they happen to keep an eye on the item, waiting for a price drop—-is again, foolish.

Having such a short return policy time frame (two weeks) is also outdated. Many high level retailers have a longer return period (30, 45, 60 days; and in some cases, unlimited/solid guarantee. I do know LLL accepts back an item with quality issues, generally without a hassle). Underestimating how important these two things are is again, shortsighted when it comes to customer service.

I recently had an issue with trying to return and repurchase an item in store (Canada) in order to receive a "price adjustment" but ended up just returning the item.

1) staffer confused as to what I was requesting
2) consulted with another and they then confirmed that the item was marked down and I could return/re-purchase (one staffer knew the process)
3) first staffer then telling me to get another one from the rack. Hello? I want to repurchase the same one I am returning...why do I need to get another one? Had to explain this.
4) then another (a third) staffer says the item was not marked down
5) I'm a longtime loyal customer, I amazes me how unorganized, confused and contradictory they are. I didn't even argue or fuss. (You know, as in: two people just told me it was marked down and would do the return/repurchase.) Based on this point alone (confusion, contradiction), I changed my mind altogether.
5) I returned the item. You can keep it and I'll keep my money. They were completely shocked. They have no idea that their lack of customer service and contradiction makes this customer, in that moment, change her mind altogether. You lose the sale. And it's another point to make them lose more of my business. At the store level they probably don't really care. Maybe at the corporate level they care?

I'm not mad about it - it's such a First World "problem". And it reminds me that their return and price adjustment policies are simply laughable.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, I love my Post Chaturanga Pullover and was hoping to get's perfect for chilly morning dog walks!