Thursday, August 27, 2015

The New Lululemon Pant Line: It's All About The Feels


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You might have received an email or noticed a new hashtag - #choosefeeling - popping up on your lululemon store newsfeeds. Reader Lulu gives us the scoop (thank you, Lulu!):

The Big thing coming Tuesday September 1st is the launch of the new pant line!!! They have at least 2 new materials coming..NewLu I believe and a new seamless material..Also there will be a super compressive material (medical grade)...It will be a whole new way that they will market all of their pants...How do you want to feel in your pants? If anyone has purchased any pants recently they will have a description on the hang tag about the feeling it is supposed to give you..ie) Hugged feeling , naked feeling! My store is giving out invitations for Tuesday's event that starts when the doors open!!!

In addition to the introducing new fabrics, I've heard that some materials will also be retired. I hope those are Full-on Luxtreme, which is thick, hot, not stretchy enough, and sometimes harsh,  and maybe Full-on Luon, which seems very hit or miss. They just need to dig up the formula for luon from 2008 and they'd be in great shape.

I am always excited to try new fabrics but I have to admit some of the new "feeling" descriptions leave me less than thrilled: "hugged" sounds toddler-like and is too vague for me to figure out how compressive it is.

"Naked" is not a feeling I want associated with my pants. Tops that make me feel like I am just wearing a bra are good since that means they're super breathable but "naked" pants? No thanks. Moreover, it's too reminiscent of the dreaded "sheer".

"Held In" is inarticulate and vague. What is wrong with succinct "compressive"?

I didn't have a problem with the more standard Tight, Skinny, Flared, Boyfriend, Loose, and Straight but I guess they weren't special enough.

The Feels terminology along with the useless lookbook-style photography on the website is a turnoff to me. I surveyed a number of high end fitness brands (Koral, Lucas Hugh, and other Carbon38-type brands) in addition to high end clothing brands, and while most have a Lookbook fashion photography section of their products to give you an idea of styling and the attitude they want to convey, they ALL offer useful full-on (i.e., perpendicular angle) front, back, side, the entire pant/crop front/back/side view in one photo, bottoms modeled with a bra so you can see the waistband, and close-ups of each individual piece. I like that there are new fabrics coming but the cosmetic terminology and photography changes seem poorly thought out.


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new-lululemon-pant-line choosefeeling

new-lululemon-pant-line choosefeeling


43 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm not at all impressed. ...I don't even know what else to say... Sounds absolutely ridiculous to me.

I don't even pay much attention to this kind of thing, I just go by first impressions on how something looks, if I'm interested then I'll try it on, if it looks good on me and feels good on then I'll by it. These descriptions do absolutely nothing for me.

Anonymous said...

Now they are just getting weird and instead of improving as a company that's been around for awhile they are actually digressing backwards. I do believe my addiction might have been broken (that and a closet full of Lulu inasmuch as I don't need anymore!)

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you! This campaign is just kind of gross! (And I completely agree - male engineered). What are we all fat and in need of coddling - why would we want to feel tight, hugged, or tucked in. Naked- no thanks. A total condescending turn off. I'm with you - feeling is tactile, dopes! They're sure working hard to screw up a good thing. Don't they do market research? If they are so concerned about fit, they should focus on consistent sizing!

(And the website photos are just silly..)

Anonymous said...

PS- what are the guy descriptions?? LOL

LuluAddict said...

It's a good thing the clothes are getting better - cuter, more and better designs, better fabrics, cute prints, more textured luons, etc. - because the peripheral stuff is getting worse.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 5:42 pm - Good point about consistent sizing - very true!

Anonymous said...

This is just fu*king weird!! I'm actually starting to dislike everything about this company. I yearn for the days of Chip Wilson.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad they're coming out with new compression pants.

As a runner I'm always on a hunt for a good pair that doesn't feel like its cutting into my skin. They seem to be using the same words as other athletic brands use (tight, unrestricted, and or hugged) to sell compression material. However, the whole "drop your pants" thing is a little off putting.

I can't wait to to try them out, but in my experience good compression pants tend to be VERY expensive.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 5:44 pm - they're all based on how the balls feel - "sweaty balls", "jiggling balls", "balls in my stomach" Bwahahaha. :P

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 6:00 pm - yeah, I wonder if they're going to try and product some CW-X style compression bottoms. Those are pricey but I know my sister loves them.

Anonymous said...

Feel LLL is better off focusing on improving the product and not getting caught up in the marketing lingo for fits. In the end I just want high quality, comfortable, performance product in great styles and colors.

Glad the fabrics are changing...Luon has always been a bit of a turn off to me due to it's inherent pilling over time. I much prefer luxtreme. Agree full-lux needs to go away. I prefer more obvious, easy to understand descriptions for fit i.e. tight, slim, loose...I saw hugged some where and thought 'what the heck does that mean?'

Let's hope the new fabrics have been well tested by focus groups, ambassadors and employees. I don't feel like being the guinea pig!

Sophie said...

I agree with the point above regarding sizing inconsistency. I recently bought 2 bottoms (beyond boundaries pant and wunder under hi-rise) that were both labeled "Hugged Sensation" but - in the same size 6 - FELT completely different. Even sizing down to a 4 in the beyond boundaries pant, the wunder unders FELT much more compressive despite the fact that they are both labeled hugged sensation. I just don't find it a very useful way of describing pants when they continue to use variable fabric content (even within the same style) which means each pair will invariably fit and feel different.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 6:00 pm - Which compression brands use tight, unrestricted, hugged as labels? I checked Skins, 2XU, and CW-X and didn't see those labels?

Anonymous said...

Do they think we're wallowing, insecure idiots? This stinks of men thinking they've "figured out" how women think. Srsly wth.

Anonymous said...

Not surprised by the 'drop your pants' thing. The very first lulu store had a promotion where people could show up naked for a pair of pants and it was a huge hit. Going back to that?

shannon o'malley said...

I'm willing to give the sensation terms a try... I would like to know that a pair pants might give me a 'naked' sensation. There is a big difference between Speed Tights and Ebb to Streets! And naked may not be the best descriptor from a marketing standpoint, but it's kind of how I feel in Speed Tights, and quite frankly wouldn't be excited to buy pants that are more aptly described as thin. However, I wonder how different textures of the same style would be handled... My Herringbone Skinny Wills give me a fuzzy "held in' feeling, but with my Luon one I just feel 'held in.' And actually, I do feel very 'hugged' in my Ebb Pants. The new terms are a bit cutesy, but I think I'm in the BFD camp. And I agree the new photography is just bad. I want to see the clothes, not models in goofy 'fun' poses.

Anonymous said...

This new marketing strategy leaves me with an icky feeling, too...my only hope is that with these new fabrics we finally get some opaque bottoms. I'm tired of returning them!

MB. said...

Oh, good lord! What store put up those photos? With those horrible typos and spelling errors? Jesus. 100% NOT on brand.

Also--hate to say it but the info you got from "lulu" is not 100% accurate. Definitely NOT medical grade compression and lulu isn't trying to do that.

That being said...you're going to like the new pants, I think. I've seen them and seen the fit models and they are fantastic.

LuluAddict said...

@MB - Ooh, good to know - "medical grade" did sound rather unpleasant. What does the new material feel like? A nice tactile feel, with performance, of course, is what keeps me buying the brand and spoils me for other brands since most of them don't feel nearly as nice.

Anonymous said...

the new fabric is probably going to be the same old nylon polyester spandex blend with some fancy name at a higher price point to sucker us into buying.


M

Nicole said...

They have been in fail mode for so long now that I suppose they have to try to reinvent their product yet again. Every year I buy less and depend on my gear circa 2009/ early 2010. Why can't they bring back the old school? My stay on course crops with the ruffles still look new! I will give props to the Ice Queen 7/8 tights of a few years ago (not those released last winter). They are nicely compressive (for Lulu) and have a ton of pockets. Love old school speeds. The new speeds are hit or miss when it comes to fit. What happened to the old "if it ain't broke don't fix it" I agree that they should just dust off the old formula!

Anonymous said...

M @ 8:08 AM - I completely agree! Anything is an excuse to raise the already high prices - new pattern, hey lets put the price up $10, 'updated' Scuba III, hey that's another $10, etc, etc. Honestly, I'm sure these things are being made as cheaply as possible, which is why they're all being made where they are these days and not in Canada anymore. The quality/craftsmanship is not anywhere near as good as it used to be, which has to do with pumping this stuff out as quickly and as cheaply as possible.

I don't think it's fair that we should have to pay higher prices for this stuff. The money doesn't seem to be going into producing the best quality stuff. They don't have their customers best interests in mind, they're looking after themselves and how to keep and get more money in their own pockets while draining ours (most business do I suppose, but I always hoped Lulu was/could be different). Seems like they're starting to spend more on marketing this stuff these days, with this new campaign for new pants styles coming and the crappy photography for the website, I'm pretty sure we'd all rather that money going into producing better quality better crafted stuff, and not marketing, marketing after all is just a tool to make us all believe something is way better than it really is, with purpose to raise sales. I purchase a lot, seriously, a lot, of Lulu, and have to say the stitching/sewing/seams is absolutely horrendous on many, many items I purchase, more often than not I can spot a problem.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Such negativity here. Can we all just try it first before knocking it? It could be an exciting new adventure.
Definitely wrong info already... do some research first before assuming.

Anonymous said...

The feeling that I want is: comfortable with the coverage I have, especially at the rear end, satisfied with the customer service and the options of choosing different colours and enough sizes, especially size 2 and 12, not feeling ripped of from $10 more for *Textured fabric, another $10 more for *High rise, and just one more last $10 more for... Oops, I can't find any more excuses, but I just want more $ from you is all I want to say.

LL

Anonymous said...

I already am super put-off by all of the LLL lingo. This is not helping.

Anonymous said...

LL @1:19 AM - Exactly! You just said more or less the same thing I did but far more effectively and in less words! :)

Anon @ 11:47 AM - Me too, can't stand the Lulu lingo, educators, guests, etc etc... ugh, it sounds ridiculous and it's such a turn off.

Nicole - I agree, it isn't what it used to be, I still love a lot of stuff, but it's nothing like it used to be and so frustrating to be paying even more now for what is not anywhere near as good quality (and even stuff like pieces having far less of the iconic feminine Lulu details like the ruffles, ruching, etc). If they really want to make a change for the best they should go back to how things used to be and dust off the old formula as you said, I definitely agree, if 'it ain't broke don't fix it'.

Sorry for ranting, but I'm feeling rubbed the wrong way with Lulu lately.

janine57 said...

Instead of the provocative language and changing the lingo just focus on making a quality product sizing is still a problem arms too tight --see through dresses,shirts stripes that don't line up. Better customer service standardized pricing and customers able to order product easily.

MB. said...

LLA--I haven't tried it on yet, but have "felt" it. It feels well made and high quality, at least the four samples I saw. Some of them have different sensations in different parts (i.e. the hamstring part might be a tighter feet than around the knee, etc).

I definitely can't speak to their performance or the pricing (fingers crossed) but at first preview I was happy with what I saw. Time will tell and we'll be getting these in stores very, very soon.

shannon o'malley said...

The bottom line is I that buy and wear Lululemon because it makes me feel good. I'm not that put off by the marketing to stop buying clothes that ultimately hold up very well, and all-in-all their marketing strategy thus far is genius. When LL clothing stops making me feel and look good, I'll stop buying it.

purrfiktangil said...

Sheesh it looks like I'm going to need a key/legend to sort out if a pair of running crops will be right for me. That may be too much effort when I already have a drawer full and the older ones are so much better than anything from the last year or so for the most part. I'm all for improving their fabrics as they seem to have gone down hill quite a bit in the last few years, but with the "improvement," like many have said, they will probably jack up the price even more. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Apologies in advance if this sounds like bit of a rant. I’m just weighing in and I really appreciate all the work you do LLA.

I concur with your observations on this LLA (and others): the new “labeling” is ridiculous, asinine, immature, offensive etc. Would also agree that men seem to be behind this idea. Whether it is men or women (or both) behind this idea and signing off on it as a direction to go in: they are all a bunch of dolts! The “drop your pants” is offensive UNLESS, as someone pointed out, it’s tied to an awareness campaign and charity (highly unlikely).

I also cannot stand the new photos for products, it really is wth? My personal favorite is the jumping around yanking at the shirt – right, because we do that everyday in our real lives, or when we’re working out. Idiotic. Just see the uselessness of some of the images: e.g. blue snakeskin CRB, side shot staring at her feet and she is set back from the camera: really what does this particular shot do to help you examine the product if you are trying to decide just based on the on-line images? How about carrying a yoga mat right in front of the clothes – OK that’s so helpful!

As some have already said, campaigns and moves like these just make me less and less of a LLL customer. Deterioration of quality and ugly or unappealing designs were the start of it for me. In the past few years specifically, the past year and recent not being as bad; although I'm not even interested in the most recent items. I was/am always very selective about what I bought/buy (cannot even count on CRBs anymore – see “ick” heathered versions of late; sorry am a broken record on that topic), and now I am pushed away even further away. I don’t visit the store all that much anymore, don’t really look on-line either, except for the odd good quality item that might scrape into wmtm in my size, haha (and they haven’t messed up vinyasa scarves just yet, I do love those). Sorry to say I check this blog even less because well, LLL is just dumber than ever. Not embarrassed to wear it (yet) and have always loved the technical aspects and fit – but again, my spending has really curbed. Have not bought a new running crop in 3 years – my older ones are still great and I know they don’t make ‘em like they used to.

On the men behind this campaign etc. – seems to be. They had put the men’s stuff up front and in the main banner image not too long ago? They send some of their store e-mails now with the men’s first. Why? So women will buy for the men in their life (as they often do)? If this is their idea of progress, they are mistaken. Ultimately Laurent put some people in charge of this and has signed off on it – what does that tell you? Sorry bud.

As for the models and “action shots” – if you want to have a separate “look book” go for it. Keep the product shots practical and useful for on-line shopping.

Finally, I find it pretty funny, the "get ready for this, mark your calendars"...errr no, not at all. Make me care less and avoid? Indeed.

Thanks for reading this if you did.

Anonymous said...

When people are too much of yes customers for LLL, you are so far gone there is no point in trying to talk to you. The brand has had so many missteps and you are blind to it because you want to be.

LuluAddict said...

@MB - how interesting. I definitely want to give them a try. It sounds like they are going after the CW-X market.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 10:20 - it's not negativity to not like a campaign. the pants might be great, but I don't like the "feeling" campaign and description. I'll try the pants; but the last thing I want to do is have a deep conversation about how I want to feel in my pants when I walk into the store. How much money went into this concept when they should have spent that money on quality. I don't know which guests they are listening to, but it certainly isn't the majority of people on the blogs and boards.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 4:27 pm - I have to admit a man on the landing banner or in the emails is a turnoff to me. I don't mind if they show a man and woman together, which I really, really like, but a guy by himself bugs me. Maybe I wouldn't mind so much if they put up some major eye-candy but I haven't seen that yet. ;-) I feel that lululemon is "my" brand. And we have lululemon-centric Facebook groups with thousands of women and thousands of friendships have sprouted from these communities. The company grew it's loyal base and were lauded for being the first women's athletic brand that didn't "shrink it and pink it" and really nailed the fit for a woman's body and now they seem to be courting men at the risk of repelling their core women customer.

I am dying to see how men's fit is presented because I highly doubt the men's items will be described with "hugged", "naked", "sensation", "feel".

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 4:27 PM - You mentioned something that I've thought about recently as well, you mentioned that you're 'not embarrassed to wear it (yet)', well, I've been thinking this lately as well. I have so much (so, so much) Lulu it's almost unbelievable, it's pretty much all I wear, and I've been feeling kind of put off lately(not just because of this new pants campaign), and that has me thinking what happens if it ever gets to the point that I'm actually embarrassed to wear all my Lulu stuff, I hope it never will, but the way things are going I wouldn't say that it could never happen.

Anon @ 4:33 PM - I completely agree!

LLA - I agree as well, I have no problem with them having a men's line, etc, but I do have a problem with the men's side taking over.

Anonymous said...

- I just don't see myself walking to the store and asking: "Would you have something in size 8 that makes me feel hugged and naked?" :-))

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 6:42 pm - The performance and style of the clothes still greatly outweighs the marketing shenanigans, imo. I was briefly embarrassed after the sheer pants issue and wore all my pants with the logo at the waistband for a couple of weeks until things died down.

Anonymous said...

I still agree that the clothing performance and style mostly outweighs the shenanigans (good descriptor) but they are losing customers. It baffles me that they don't get it. You have loyal clientele with income that they are willing to spend regularly and LLL doesn't want it. They push these customers away. Anyone with good business sense knows it's harder to gain a new customer than keep a loyal one. You work intelligently to keep the loyal and still try to attract the new. Nike has some good stuff and their marketing is slick, respectful, and about strength and performance (women or men). And they've stepped it up on the women's side. On the other hand, I'm embarrassed for LLL and their angles on marketing/sales. I still love most of my older stuff for the technical properties, classic looks/style and how well it has held up. (Yet I have done a huge purge and quite happily so that I faced facts that I had way too much. Agree on the re-sale value and draw.) When new product or reduced quality doesn't appeal to me or turns me off, I am completely fine with having to be even more selective. CRBs are the last straw though, haha. They are on their way to messing that up as well.

To add to the "case" about the men behind this campaign: they had some story up on the main page a couple of months ago. The cycling family - mom, dad, son. Lovely family and story (son's also an artist - cool). Mom no where in the images and acknowledged, maybe she did not wish to be. However, adds to the vein they are trying to build with the men or whatever. Hip active family, father son etc. etc.

Also, lol LLA on your 6:08 comment, completely on point! You already see it in the screenshot for "tight" - "locked and loaded" - gun related and metaphorically phallic related.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 2:34 pm - I think a lot of them are very out of touch with what motivates their loyal customer. They obviously have the performance and functionality of the clothes part down but some of the other stuff that has been said to me or I read baffles me. In fact, during the long night in the Sea Wheeze expo store line I got to overhear some ideas of the new Director of the Store of the Future and they were some great gems. He (!) looked about 26 so I don't think he had much experience but he wanted to put stores out in seedy warehouse area so it was an "experience" to get there. He also wanted to have smells in the store to draw you in and heated floors so you'd take your shoes off. He wanted shopping to be a sensory experience. We - very long-time big-dollar buyers of the brand and the two long-time bloggers - were rolling our eyes so hard they practically fell out.

First of all, I never shopped at American Apparel, though I wanted to, because it was placed in seedy areas. I'm a female and therefore extremely safety conscious. I don't want to get mugged or my car broken into when I shop. I like lululemon's current upscale shopping center-approach very much.

Second, I don't care about heated floors or smells. I'm not going to the spa. I'm a busy mom with limited time (and at one point I was a busy working women with limited time) - I want to get in and out of the store quickly. I hate shopping at places like Forever 21 or Kohls because the racks are crowded, too numerous, and unorganized. I don't even like our local Athleta or Lorna Jane stores because they have too much stuff in their current space. I think lululemon stores have the right amount of product and spacing in the racks. Make it easy for me to find what I am looking for. I like that the eds do a lot of athletic activities because I can ask them - did you spin in this, does it ride up? Have you run in this, is it too hot for our climate? Have you tried this bra on the elliptical, do your boobs jiggle too much? I really like the lululemon store experience as it is except the Robson store could use another mirror or two out on the showroom floor. One thing I would like is the ability to see my local store inventory on line. I really like that about Athleta, or Target, Best Buy, etc. Make shopping easier for me. That is all I care abut. I think the lululemon store experience is actually pretty decent as it is now. I have read about snooty eds but I have rarely run into that, though I know some people have that problem a lot. Oh yeah, and don't hide the size 12 stuff. That pisses me off. My dollars are as green size 4 peoples.

Anonymous said...

LLA, about your comment at 4:28 PM - I really hope this isn't where things are heading... it's things like this that are huge turn off to me, and I can see myself losing all interest in Lulu if this is where they're headed. It sounds like they're trying way too hard to be trendy, or hipster like, and this just isn't my kind of thing at all, it is a huge turn off to me and just the kind of thing that would end up making me feel embarrassed to where lulu. I've been a very loyal customer over the years (it's practically all I wear and almost my whole closet is Lulu!), so I hate to say it but I guess maybe I'll just have to start branching out, there are many other choices out there besides Lulu after all, maybe I should start giving them a chance.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 7:35 pm - I agree, I hope that isn't where things are going. I think the guy was just blue skying ideas and I think he was brand new to the company and didn't know anything about the brand. I also thought the feedback he was getting from the women he was talking to was rather atypical. They talked to him a lot about limited edition items and they seemed to like the collectibility of the brand (I guess that is who was at the front of the expo line) but I think most fans are loyal to the brand because #1 - the fit, #2 - the functionality, #3 - the materials feel nice, #4 - it's cute, flattering, and comfortable, #5 - it all coordinates with each other, #6 - decent resale.

LuluAddict said...

I should add a #7 - decent quality, though that has taken a hit in recent years.