Sunday, February 1, 2015

OT: Athleta's Floral Fade Sonar Capri, Heavenly Hail Hoodie, and Chi LS (UPDATED)

athleta sonar crop floral fade
Notice no side seam on the outside of the leg - Athleta was inspired by lululemon in this.

athleta sonar crop floral fade
The latest Athleta catalog has caused chatter among lululemon fans and the item I've seen mentioned the most on the lulu boards are the new Floral Fade Sonar Capris ($74). It's probably because the print has a lulu-esque quality or maybe lululemon prints have had an Athleta-esque look about them lately. Whichever reason, there is a growing convergence of designs/prints between the two companies. I made a trip to Athleta last week to check out the new items and ended up coming home with these crops plus a couple of tops. Interestingly enough, a lululemon store posted a photo of a yoga class a couple of days ago and the Sonar Capris were featured:

athleta sonar crop floral fade
Athleta Floral Fade Sonar Crop with an older lululemon tank.

I've tried on Athleta's technical items in the past but usually don't care for the fit or feel of the fabric. I have quite a bit of their swim line but have never kept any of the technical wear. The Floral Fade Sonar Capris were the first crops that I've liked enough to buy. The fabric feel and content is very similar to fullux.

athleta sonar crop floral fade
Close up of the print.

athleta sonar crop floral fade
Front view, ambient light.

athleta sonar crop floral fade
Taken with flash. Logo is on the front of the right leg.
athleta sonar crop floral fade
Back side, no flash.
athleta sonar crop floral fade
With flash.
The back zipper pocket is big enough to fit my iphone 5S without its case.


athleta sonar crop floral fade
The waistband pocket. There are no slot pockets for gels.

athleta sonar crop floral fade
Inside view.
athleta sonar crop floral fade
Gusset


athleta sonar crop floral fade
Fabric content for a pair of fullux Inspires (Fatigue Camo is the tag I dug up) is 70% polyester and 30% lycra spandex. I found the feel of the fabric on the Athleta capris to be a bit silkier and maybe stretchier than lululemon's fullux. I also think they are thicker. The print is totally opaque. Even though the design is backed in white I don't notice much fade when stretched. I weighed both crops - a pair of Sea Wheeze Chevron Fullux Inspires came in at .44 lb and the Sonar Capris came in at 0.57 lb. so that verified my impression that the Athleta material is a bit thicker. I have not worked out in them yet so cannot comment on breathability.

athleta sonar crop-floral-fade lululemon-inspires

The fit of the XL Athleta Capris is a bit more generous than size 12 lululemon Inspires. 

Inseam: 22.5" (Inspires: 22")

Waist: 17.5" (Inspires: 17")

Crotch: 24.5" (Inspires: 22.75") (crotch is measured from the top of the front waistband through the gusset and back up the backside to the top of the back waistband)

athleta sonar crop floral fade
When I line up the backside of the gussets you can get an idea of the difference in the crotch measurements.

athleta sonar crop floral geo
Floral Geo print Athleta Sonar Capris

The hip measurement for an Athleta XL is 43.5 (waist 33/34") and lululemon size size 12 is 43" (waist 32.5") so they are equivalent sizes. Athleta has more generous waist measurements, reinforcing the impression the brand is geared to an older demographic. I usually find the waist too big on Athleta crops but since the Sonar's have a waist tie I think these should work fine. I think this particular color  - Floral Fade - in the Sonar Capris runs large. I also tried on the  Floral Geo print Sonar Capris and found them to fit a bit snugger. They were also a little see-through in the rear since I could see my nude underwear on one side. Pattern placement might fix this, though. Inconsistent sizing is a big issue I have found with Athleta - different styles in the same size can result in vastly different fit - so I've found everything really needs a try on.

athleta heavenly hail hoodie

I also picked up this pullover - the Heavenly Hail Hoodie ($89) in Glass Blue Heather. Athleta tends to heather most of their tops - I really prefer solid tops - but I thought the effect was most subtle in this color.

athleta heavenly hail hoodie

athleta heavenly hail hoodie

athleta heavenly hail hoodie

athleta heavenly hail hoodie

athleta heavenly hail hoodie

athleta heavenly hail hoodie

athleta heavenly hail hoodie
I'm not thrilled the fabric content is all polyester but I figured I'd give the top a try. I was after a longer top and this one measures 27" inch from shoulder to hem. This is the same as my Race with Grace pullover. I think the fit is TTS.

athleta chi ls
I also bought the Chi LS ($54). It's also polyester but very soft. It's a nice basic long sleeve top. I've worn it a couple of times and really like it. The material is thin and can cling so I got an XL so it's on the looser side. I think it's a nice basic. I tried on the Chi tank but found the fit a little problematic. A size Large clung to my tummy more than I liked but the XL was too large in the chest and gaped in the armpits.

athleta sona crop lululemon angel blue
 Angel Blue goes really well with these crops - this photo shows an Angel Blue Swiftly on top.


athleta sona crop lululemon angel blue
Shown with a Fresh Teal CRB on the left and the Angel Swiftly on top. The Athleta pullover is on the right.


Overall, though I tried on a ton of items at Athleta I didn't care for most of them due to the scratchy feel of their fabrics. I really like the fit and fabric of the Sonar crops so I'll be keeping my eye on this style for interesting prints. I definitely like the Chi top as a nice basic so I'll keep my eye for cute colors in this. They also make an extra long version that I might order. 


March 17, 2015 Wear Update - So I finally wore the capris for a run yesterday and really liked them. I even got a compliment on them from the girl who runs the smoothie bar in the gym. They stayed in place - no slipping at all - and I didn't find them overly hot. I ran indoors for 2.5 miles (I'm just getting back into running again) and found them about as hot as a pair of fullux crops. I've worn the Heavenly Hail Hoodie a ton and like it a lot. It's become one of my favorite pieces and I'm thinking about getting another one.










27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I love that Chi LS, but I just can't do Athleta. Last year I purchased yoga pants from them and a week later, the seam split. This year, I tried them again, a week later, seem was split again. Called customer service and they said they had problems with those pants. For 2 years and they still haven't fixed them?!? Took them back each time for a complete return. They really need to work on the quality of their products. I have more than 20 pairs of lululemon pants... Never had a problem.

Anonymous said...

I bought the floral fade ankle tight this week. I was pleasantly surprised by the material and liked the color blocking of this pattern with the black in the ankle tight. They were opaque and compressive. I haven't worn them to work out yet so can't comment on the performance.

Lisa Houle said...

Ironically enough, I purchased these crops and a similar hoodie (techie sweat hoodie) a few days ago after receiving their catalog.
If you're looking for a super soft top.. check out the Studio Scoop. The photo doesn't do the top justice. I ended up buying the blue & oatmeal. They are so soft and cozy, I wear them with my studio pants.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I have a few pairs of crops/tights and a chi tank from Athleta. They are all ok, not comparable to LLL. I've returned a lot of what I ordered over the last year or so though, most of which was casual wear but other items like capris because they were sheer. Things are always disappointingly thin when I get them. The great thing with their stuff is that I have a Banana Republic credit card and I can use my rewards to purchase items from Athleta as well. I just got an adorable swim cover up for this summer on clearance for practically nothing. The other plus is they have 20% off sales every once in a while. My sister wears all athleta and she has their crackle tights which really are adorable for casual wear.

Anonymous said...

I love the floral print crops, very pretty. Also love the look of the black Chi Tee, I've been waiting for a top like this from Lulu, it looks like a nice basic fitted top, not boxy like Lulus tops have been for a while now. I'm in Canada and don't think we can get Athleta here.

Anonymous said...

I am really liking Athleta...I'm buying probably 90% of my workout clothes there these days, and I used to be 100% Lulu. The other 10% is Nike and Splits59. I have bought some Lulu, but returned it when I got home and tried on in good lighting. See through, uncomfortable seams, etc. No thanks.
I just bought the Athleta Dobby Be Free capris, and I LOVE THEM. The run fabric Athleta uses (new luxtreme-type fabric not included) felt too heavy to me, but these are super light, not sheer and feel amazing. Highly recommended if you wear lighter fabric capris. Plus they have side pockets and a big zip back pocket, reflective accents and a waist tie. Oh, and they were $64. BOOM!:)
I did try on the floral capris and found the fabric too heavy for my liking, but they fit nicely and are super cute!

Anonymous said...

Wish they had Athleta in Canada. I know they will ship here but after the duties are paid, and if I have to pay to return ship, then the prices become crazy! Wish they would do bricks and mortar stores here so that I could at least try some stuff on and get a good idea of my size. I like that they have a lot of skirt/skort styles to choose from and they are not all super short like Lulu's. Lulu really needs to make tall sizes in all their skirts. It is hard to wear the lengths if you are over 30.

Anonymous said...

Nice crops from Athleta! Thanks for the review LLA.

@ Anon 3:48 PM, am in Canada too and you said exactly what I would say. I once went to order from Athleta and the crops were on sale for $45 or such. With duties and fees they came to $100. Didn't buy them because you have to pay to return and why would I buy something I don't know I will be 100% happy with? (Never even having been able to try them on or actually workout in and know how they perform.) So it just makes more "sense" to still by LLL.

All Athleta has to do is set itself up in some major shopping centres in Canada and they'll be laughing. I'm in Toronto and Yorkdale Shopping Centre is a no brainer as is Eaton Centre. Yorkdale has become the mall of choice from most better, regular retail to the many high end, designer brands. (And you can't tell me there isn't room in Yorkdale as they are building ANOTHER extension!)

Alin said...

I'm going to try Athleta. I feel like LLL is taking it's fans for granted and expecting us to be patient while they experiment and limit their classic, well loved styles. I'm tired of waiting for the items I love and should probably move on.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention Athleta has petites, talls and regular. Been buying there for the last few years since I too have the BR card, usually always get a discount, and returns are no hassle easy if you change your mind or product did not perform as expected. Besides, I hate to spend so much on prints that I know I will get tired of. If I can buy printed crops for 49.00 or less at Athleta, then I enjoy them even more and don't suffer any buyers guilt.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your review LLA! Ironically I just ordered those floral crops and the blue Heavenly Hail hoodie yesterday. I have a few of their Chi tops too and really like them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comparisons, LLA.

I ordered a pair of Taupe colored Herringbone tights from Athleta this Winter because I am/was hooked on anything Herringbone. I was appalled at how thin they were and they also had snags. The color was great and I've suggested to Lulu in some reviews that they offer more colored variations of Herringbone, not just standard grey.
As far as the other prints go, I'm more conservative and older, so I don't go for the wild stuff but to each his own. I just beg for compression and quality materials.
When Lulu slipped, Athleta stepped up and seized some of that market segment, but I've returned every Athleta purchase and am still weary...sigh.
I just wish Lulu would stay consistent with the materials, fabrics and sizes. We all see the bad stuff end up in WMTM, and Lulu still isn't back to it's old form yet.

Anonymous said...

I've been eyeing this floral fade print in their swimwear. I think it's been mentioned on this blog before but athleta's swimwear is top-notch.

Anonymous said...

I have no problems with Athleta crops - No pilings, and perform well on hikes, runs, long cycles. Of course, LLM designs are still the best! But I love how Athleta stuff don't need to be coddled. Yes, the sizing is inconsistent, I do read the helpful reviews before deciding on whether I should size up.

Thanks for this post, the print is indeed gorgeous, but I did a bit of interest when it was mentioned that the fabric feels like fullux :(
I do agree with you, LLA, the brands seem to be converging in terms of styling and prints. The back pocket on the crops is cute, and I notice this design first on a pair of Splits59 capris from two seasons ago.

Anonymous said...

I tried the floral capris and was disappointed. Just didn't like the material, felt like their swim material, not supportive enough. I think I will stick with luxtreme.

OHBabbs said...

Bought several Athleta floral fade pieces last weekend. So far the swim shorts are a keeper. Waiting on the capris, tights and run shorts. The print is beautiful. I haven't had much luck with their yoga pants but the swim line has been a winner every year.

Anonymous said...

Ever since Nancy Green came on board at Athleta, I think every single catalog has been strong. I actually thought the latest was the 1st not so great catalog to come out under Nancy's leadership.

I too have been a big Athleta swimwear fan in the past - b4 Nancy. Now I find swimwear weaker, but the Athletic component much stronger. The merchandising/ presentation in the catalog has been really strong. They are definitely coming around.

But they still have fit issues. I bought the Titanium Vest a couple of months ago. The arm pit construction fits like no one did a fit test, but we know that's not true. The elastic around the arm opening pulls the lower part into my arm pit. Not comfortable. I am constantly aware of it.

I had the same top fit issues LLA described. I'm selling 2 of my Athleta tops on ebay as we speak.

Still much prefer lulu.

LuluAddict said...

Yeah, I don't see myself buying a ton there - I must have had 30-40 pieces in the dressing room with me and only went home with three - but I took the tags off the crops and pullover today and really like them so far.

The fit, fabric, and functionality is not equal to lululemon but then again, the price points are a bit lower. I won't put up with bad fit and itchy fabric but I can compromise on some functionality for a pretty print/color at a lower price.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 6:11 pm - How funny. The top and crops look so cute together. I really love them. I took the tags off today and so far am really pleased with both pieces.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I just bought the floral capris based on your review. Told myself not to buy any more run-type tights (since I'm doing more barre and yoga now), but the floral is difficult to resist.

I disagree about Athleta being inconsistent in sizing and lesser quality. Right now, I measure exactly between sizes, so I do have the size up/size down question; however, before I gained 10 pounds, I was the same size in everything across the board. It's me, not Athleta.

Karin said...

I definitely prefer Lulu merchandise, but I have found some good stuff at Athleta recently.

I just bought a couple of pairs of patterned drifter tights that were on sale for less than $65 each!!! I really like them. Also, I bought their Shale Herringbone patterned Hope Jacket and I really like that too. It's a bit like the Lulu Forme/Define jacket and it was only $83.

Like everyone here has said, I do in general prefer Lulu loot but Athleta does have some nice things that are much more reasonably priced. Plus the return policy is awesome!

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 8:18 am - I have had a lot of trouble with sizing in the swimsuit tops. Some will be insanely tight and others way too big, all in the same size.

amazr said...

Been drooling over the Sonar floral crops since I got the catalog, but was hesitant as I feel the same way about Athleta's tech gear, scratchy, odd sizing. I do have some of their casual wear that I love. Just rather sweat in Lulu.
Thanks LLA, your review was just the info I needed to get to the store for a try-on and pull the trigger. I agree completely about the feel of these. Nicely opaque, stretchy and silky. I found the Sm to be compressive with a little fade. I purchased a Med., was less compressive but the color remained vibrant.
They feel similar to the printed Luna Jai crops I have. Another brand with awesome digital prints!

Hannah Birge said...

I tried on the xxs sonars today and they fit like size 2 inspire all lux crops I got last spring, but perhaps a bit thicker and maybe a tad longer. I'm short, and they are like 7/8 pants on me. They're white on the inside, but didn't fade badly. I found them to be compressive and super, super flattering for my muscular/curvy shape.

I get more at LLL than I do at athleta. I find both have hits and misses, and I need to try stuff on. BUT: athletas return policy is SO great and they give athletic instructors 35% off (versus lulus 15%). While lulu has better fabric, cut, patterns and overall *something*, if athleta keeps this up, I might stop buying as much LLL.

I did walk out with the crops (my 35% made them $55! Holy cow!) and I feel so happy with my purchase.

Anonymous said...

mmmm never cared much for Athleta, but those crops look super cool. there is a store just a block from my office, i'll stop in and check it out.
Looks like this could curb my lulu problem.


M

Anonymous said...

I'm really upset with Athleta right now. I started buying from them because I was upset with Lulu's crummy customer service. I ordered 4 things from Athleta a couple weeks ago, and was really pleased with the pants I got, until I took them off, folded them, and noticed that they'd already been worn (pilling between the things). Sure enough, I looked at the bag they'd come in, and saw a return label on there. They obviously hadn't been washed, as the smell of detergent would have given the original purchaser away. I was so grossed out that I had just put on something close to my skin that someone else had already sweated in. I contacted Athleta, and they did absolutely nothing. Contacted them again - still nothing. Apparently, this isn't new for them -- they accept returned clothes, don't check them, and turn around and sell them to people at full price. I never plan to buy from them again, but now I have no idea where shop. Oiselle? Nike? So bummed :(

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 3:52 pm- gross!!! I like Zobha and Kira Grace a lot. Zobha has some good sales. I like that both have their own vision. Kira Grace's tanks are on the longer side and very feminine.

Zobha review: http://www.luluaddict.com/2014/07/zobha-review-and-50-giftcard-giveaway.html

Kira Grace: http://www.luluaddict.com/2013/04/ot-kira-grace-reviews-part-1-flare-pant.html