Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in Review - The Love is Waning

This was a very odd year for lululemon. Product distribution never seemed to recover from the West Coast Port strike that disrupted deliveries for well over half the year. Distribution seemed sporadic - Asia or the UK would get new product weeks ahead of North America, if we ever got it. Even in North America, both Canada and the US got products the other never got. I wrote that last year felt schizophrenic and the same can be said for this year - seasonal releases still don't have a coherent story and seem to have missing pieces and the color palettes are all over the place. One good thing is the Co-Lab/&Go/Noir releases seem to be less and less oddball-looking.

Enthusiasm for the brand seems to be weakening and there are several contributing factors:

  • High prices. The revamping of the Pant Wall included a change to a two-tier pricing strategy that resulted in a $16 increase for pants in existing stock. It was a move that left a bad taste in customer's mouths. The high prices on the Tight Stuff Tights and the Special Edition Lights Out pieces were also a turn off.
  • Seasonal collections that seem to be haphazard with regard to print, style, and color content. Additionally, it almost seems as if colors are back just to use up left over fabric. Maybe we were spoiled when there was one over-riding vision with regards to a collection, coordinating pieces, colors, and the year as a whole but it is something that has been sorely lacking for a long time now and should be addressed. 
  • Product should be standard for North America across Canada and North America. My personal prejudice is that new designs should debut in North America first, Australia excepted since their seasons are opposite of ours.
  • Prints are too often reminiscent of Nike and Athleta offerings and no longer standout as being special and "lululemon".
  • Terrible, unhelpful website photos. 
  • Store Facebook sites consolidated into regional or city pages and hardly any store photos of educators modeling the new pieces. 
  • Scratchy rulu, thin pique, thin sherpa, unravelling seams, and too much polyester fabric content has popped up this year. This is a slippery slope the company does not want to slide any farther down. People will pay for quality fabric and construction. Do not let 2016 become 2012 redux.
  • Last year's items showing back up at full price under 'What's New'.

Best Things to Happen This Year:

  • The continuing use of textured luons and luxtremes, particularly Space Dye Twist and Cyber Stripe patterns.
  • Colored piques and herringbones making their way back into the adult line. Lululemon stuck their big toe in as far as offering some colorful pique and herringbone items but keep them coming. Let's get some colored sherpa fleece items for next year.
  • Wanderlust Collection (partial) offered on line.
  • Lots of hats in prints.
  • Lots of great bags.
  • Flashes of the "old" lululemon as far as beauty, design detail extras, and understated design in technical pieces - Mesh with Me LS, Face the Frost Half Zip, and Var City Muscle Tank are where I felt this most.

My Personal Best Of:

I went through my spreadsheet of everything I bought this year (scary!) and this is my list of my favorite new designs:

 1.  Pace Rival Crops - I was a little leery of a replacement for the long-time core Inspire crops but once I bought a pair I was all in. The wider waist and slightly relaxed leg made for a good fit tweak but the real reason I love these crops are the thigh pockets. Since they were introduced this summer, I've run three half marathons and a 10K in Pace Rivals. They are the perfect run crop.

2. What the Sport Mesh SS Tee - I had a hard time deciding whether to make the What the Sport or Pace Rivals my number one favorite piece of the year. I know a lot of people love the regular What the Sport SS made of Seriously Light Luon but I think the mesh version, made of Silverescent Circle Mesh, is the best for hot workouts/summer running. This top is the perfect summer run top - cool and loose fitting but still figure-flattering. Moreover, it DOES NOT RIDE UP.  I bought it in all three colors it came in and plan to get every color if it comes back next year. I love, love, love this top. I saw a ton of women wearing it at Sea Wheeze. 

3 - Mesh With Me LS - This piece reminded me most of "old" lululemon, the lululemon of 2009/2010 - flattering fit, gorgeous color, technical fabric, and just enough embellishment to make it special but not overdone. I got all three colors of this. For some reason, Canada did not get this piece. (The new 5 Mile LS reminds me a lot of the Mesh With Me.)

4 - Face the Frost Half Zip - A timeless, classic looking half zip but with nice detailing on the back and arms. It has everything I like to see in a pullover - solid colored, high neck, cuffins, a zip pocket for my phone, long length, figure-skimming cut, and no horizontal seams across the bust. My only nit is the zipper could go a little lower but it's meant for cold weather wear so I can't complain too much. I would love to see this piece come back next year. 

5 - Strap It Like It's Hot Bra - It's brand new but I've already bought all three colors in it. Sturdily constructed with great support and cute details. This bra has potential to be a core item. It's selling very well - I had to go to two stores to find the black one in my size after the website sold out.

6 - Resolution Hobo - It came out at the very end of last year but I bought this on January 1, 2015 so I'm counting it for this year. My most reached for gym bag - perfect size with lots of pockets and a comfortable form.

7 - Wanderlust Diversity Bag - A very cute purse sized bag in a great print. The only thing that would make it perfect would be a zipper closure.

8 - If You're Lucky LS - A very nice and quietly sexy coverup for hot summer days.

9. Var-City Tank - I was underwhelmed when I saw the first photos of the Var-City but my tune changed once I tried it on. It is a very cool, cute, and flattering tank for warm weather. I got a ton of use out of this tank this spring and summer. I ended up buying two of these. 

10 - Down for a Run Jacket/Line - though I didn't buy any of the Down for a Run Line I know it was immensely popular. My sister bought several pieces for herself and her daughter. A very cute jacket with a great fit.

I don't really have a worst of list this year. I don't recall a plethora of eye-rollingly bad designs this year, though this one does rate special mention:

Secret Sanctuary Scarf - aka, the "Forever Alone" scarf. 

What were your favorites of this year? What are you hoping to see out of lululemon for 2016?


Anonymous said...

Love your recap LLA! Thanks!

In addition to almost all of your top favorites, I love the following:

* var-city-muscle-tank (with the criss cross fabric down the sides)
* Hit Your Stride Skirt (wish they offered in Talls)
* picnic play dress
* What the Sport Singlet II (subtle, feminine detail)
* 5 Mile LS (subtle, feminine detail)
* Toasty Tech Tight II (not really new, but awesome nonetheless)
* the breadth of color offered in swiftlys - I do not like the prints and can just barely tolerate the stripes. Would prefer more solid heathered colors. Love the addition of black in the heathering (l/s sapphire/black, jungle/black tank). Great for fall/winter. Also the 3 color swiftlys were a great addition (s/s pistachio/black uses 3 colors).
* space dye camo (L/S Runderful)

what I did not like:
* swiftly prints
* boring &go line. Hunter, burgundy boring old menswear palette. Not particularly flattering silhouettes imho. I prefer the tight capsules Lab and Noir that are bit edgier (not over the top edgy), more sophisticated.

Anonymous said...

I was really looking forward to the strap it like its hot tank and bra from your reviews but some jerk at order fulfillment sent me the blooming tank in a 10 instead of a 12 and of course the 12 is sold out or I wouldn't be annoyed except at the thought of not being able to wear it tomorrow. I double checked my order and shipping and it says 12 so it wasn't my oopsy. I can't even just call stores and have it shipped to me because my place has super shady package delivery and I can't count on it not being stolen. First world problems I know but I loooooove the bra and was really looking forward to a built in bra tank I might be able to actually wear. Oh well, back to my champagne I go. Happy New Years everyone!

Courtney Kahn said...

P.S. I'd like to see CRB's and Power Y's offered in all key seasonal solid colors! Drove me nuts in 2015...enough with the prints...too many prints/not enough solids!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I second your sentiments. The love is waning here too. I bought probably 20% of what I used to buy during my peak lulu years. The price increases--though annoying, would not have bothered me if the styles had warranted it. My biggest complaints are the lack of a color story (I REALLY miss that), and the repeat of colors so frequently (definitely using up old fabric which feels very low brow for a company that fancies themselves "high-end"). But really, the styles just are not "lulu" anymore so I really don't care how amazing the fabric performs. If the item doesn't catch my eye to begin with I am not going to overlook the fug for an item's sweat-wicking capabilities. I personally hated how many swiftly colors were ruined with patterns too. And the entire snake print collection ruined the sapphire blue/cranberry colorway IMO.
The few things I did buy, I really liked this year: I bought the PO in BS and the UV jacket from the Down for a Run collection. I wear both pieces a lot and really love the fit and colors. I also really like the High Times pants. I think every pair of pants I bought, except for maybe one pair of WUs, were the High Times style. I also am a big fan of scoop neck swiftlys so I was happy to see those come back this summer. I did (still do) like the Wanderlust collection but I still have tags on the Kimono and the bag in the blue and white print. I just never ended up reaching for either of those pieces.
I will add that my lulu-wearing friends and family who are relatively new to lulu, or at least never became obsessed with the brand, really liked a lot of the athleisure pieces that were released. Maybe it's because the styles have become more toned-down and wearable and/or because the colors I see as constantly repeated are new to them since they haven't been wearing it for years. Some of the prints that do not appeal to me are very appealing to my teenage daughter and her friend so maybe I am just getting to old for the brand (gasp)???
Here's hoping to a better 2016! Happy New Year LLA and everyone else!

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year LuluAddict. Face the Frost Pullover in Black Grape is a favourite purchase of mine this year as well and the Mesh With Me LS would have been too had it come to Canada. I never did see the What the Sport SS in mesh material but will look for it this year as I think I would really like the mesh for running.

Here are my favourite purchases for 2015, the list is long!!!
Face The Frost - Black Grape
Fleecy Keen - Fuel Green
DSP - Blue Denim
Street To Studio Pant - blue denim, hemmed to crop length
Swiftlies - Scoop Neck - Iris Flower & Blue Demin - Canada's inventory of these were very limited.
Run Times Shorts - Vintage Pink, Heathered Blue Tropic
Trainer Track Pant on WMTM - black, plenty of wear from these so far.
On The Double Pullover - Bark Berry - love the fabric, high neck and fit of this pullover.
Think Fast Pullover - Heathered Black Herringbone - love love love these pullovers
Yeah Yoga Tank - Navy - Favourite tank with built-in bra
Sweaty Or Not Tank - white/pink/grey/black - best braless tank this year
Go Om Tank - Black Cherry - Had to order this from US and sent to US address as it did not come to Canada!

Wish List for 2016

More lightweight running jackets. There were so few of these in Canada this year. For 2016 I would love to see the return of:

1. Hustle Jacket - Black Swan/Grape; Nightfall; vintage pink, charcoal grey, blue demin
2. Rain Runner Jacket - was in Australia but never made it to Canada in 2015
3. Record Breaker Jacket - just add cuffins or thumbholes
4. Puddle Jumper Jacket

For 2016 I would also like to see more tanks without the large armhole!!!

I would like to see Canada and US get the same product and same colours and I agree with LuluAddict that new designs should debut in North America first, let us be the testing grounds for what works and what doesn't.

Improve website pictures, 2015 saw product pictures that were laughable yet frustrating because they didn't show what needed to be shown in close ups or didn't show certain details at all with so few pics for some product.

Anonymous said...

My favourites are the On the Daily hoodie, Scuba III and toasty tech tights. In flux jacket gets an honourable mention.

Anonymous said...

My 2015 Lulu regret is not getting the lumberjack scuba! I was reminded once again when I went to laugh at the sanctuary scarf. My best purchase is the Face the Frost 1/2 zip! I loved the grape so much I got it in black. If it goes to WMTM, I would consider getting another in either a repeat color or the pink.

I also wear my Toasty Tech pants a lot, mostly under other pants to keep super duper warm. i have considered another color so I have one to wear while I wash the other, but for the price I am hesitating on that one. Since they aren't seen, it seems I should be able to find something else just as warm somewhere else for cheaper.
Hopefully I see those on WMTM.

Overall a slow year for my purchases. I find myself checking for secondhand stuff more than new. I really, REALLY hope Lulu kicks it up a notch in 2016, gets over whatever troubles they have they aren't talking about, and get their footing back.

Anonymous said...

Great year in review. I think you'll convince me to get the Strap it like it's hot tank/bra yet. For me my fav pieces were Healthy Heart Pull Over, Stress Less Hoodie and the Amala Tank in green. The Rest Less in Berry Rumble is up there as well.

Anonymous said...

LLA you did a great job summarizing LLL challenges for 2015. With sales slumping LLL marketing department can read your blog and understand what is happening to their customer base. I am still turned off by new higher pricing. I look at product drops of tops and wonder why on earth are they now pricing these items at $98 versus $68 or $78, when fabric and design does not warrant $98. If I am going to spend $100 for a top it better be well worth $100. Funny how a $20 price increase will make a customer think twice before purchasing. This Christmas uploads had nothing unique and interesting in them. I was hoping for a few bows, zippers, unique embroidered messages something that was worth a few extra dollars. Enough of the boring colors. Please give us some colors that are not grey, black or bourdoux!
Thank you for your recap LLA and providing us with your insight throughout the year.

vegtasticpants said...

My favorites were defiantly the stress less hoodies, and a couple of the early colors of the scuba 3s. Also, the down for a run jacket is definitely a great item!! On my leasts list...there is so much, so I'll just sum it up by saying that they released so many odd items with worthless features (sweaters/wraps with snaps only on her necks, tons of "crop" top type items, seams hitting in the wrong spots, tons of polyester) and their quality has gone WAY down, as their prices sky rocket. As a VERY long time buyer, I have to say that they are going the way of J Crew and really ticking of their long time loyals, while trying to cut corners and follow trends, instead of sticking to what they do best. As far as I'm concerned, 2016 for me will be a year of a lot less lulu.

stylistadiva1 said...

I wanted those pace rivals in that color scheme, but they never made it to Canada. We actually JUST got some of the prints that the US had in the summer! I agree that product drop seemed very haphazard this year - US or Canada would get something and the opposite country wouldn't see it for weeks, if ever at times!
I'm hoping to see more consistency in product distribution and color runs for 2016. Color and patterns in bottoms (interesting contrast/color on leggings like the Lights Out Speed tights but at a reasonable price point). I'm hoping price points are maintained this year as I felt there were a lot of increases in 2015 already.

Sarah said...

Always love to see your year in review! You are much more optimistic than I feel about this year. I also felt there were more duds but that full length scarf thing is a sure bet!!

Anonymous said...

Spot on! I too noticed the single store FB page merge to just regional. In the past, I enjoyed sifting through pictures, seeing eds wearing newest and greatest, and scrolling through events. Checking out friends and their "ambassador" news and updates. Instead of connecting us, I feel further disconnected from the local stores and in-store/featured studio yoga. Annoyed with the repeat production of colors: flash, mint, Caspian blue. I have all those colors from 2011. Decline of quality, fabric, and selection was not up to par this year. Definitely not as enthusiastic so it's true the love is waning. Thanks for the year in review! Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

My personal fave of 2015 is the original What the Sport Tank. I know a lot of people hated the original for some reason, but I thought it fit much more flattering than the WTS II, which I think is slightly too short and seems to have an awkward shape (and I'm short myself). I bought the original WTS in 3 colors and it was definitely my go to tank for Arizona summers. Somewhat shapely (unlike the 105 singlet), yet not too clingy (I don't like body skimming pieces). I wish they'd bring back new colors in the original.

Second favorite has to be the Run for Days bra. Pockets for gels AND anti-stink? YES, PLEASE!!! I think bras are the worst offenders for smell. Lululemon, PLEASE bring this back! Also, I hope they keep the Stuff Your Bra coming. Again, the gel pockets are awesome for long distance running.

Anonymous said...

One more comment - I have never really loved Swiftlys as they aren't super flattering on me, but I have LOVED the recent black/dark heathered colors. SO pretty (dark heather sapphire blue, cranberry, green, tender violet, striped cranberry, etc.). Keep those coming and I might break down and buy one! Wish all colors came in all styles though (i.e., why doesn't the dark heather green come in a SS?).

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 11:14 pm - Var-City Muscle tank was at the top of my list, too. I hate the swiftly prints, too. The Space Dye ones are my favorite swiftlys since they're so soft.

@ anon 11:15 pm - That is terrible. Maybe have it delivered to a friend's house instead?

@ Courtney Kahn - those are the coordinating pieces that I thought were missing most from seasonal collections. Those, quilted waistbands, and a matching Define or other jacket so you have people buying multiple pieces when picking up the seasonal print items.

@ anon 6:08 am - I bought more of the athleisure stuff last year, more sweaters for sure. I prefer cotton sweaters and none of the sweaters this year appealed to me, whereas last year I bought four sweaters. I do like the 5 Year Yogini LS a lot but I would love the vitasea to be a bit thicker. It's funny you say you find some prints too young (which I felt sometimes, too) because I thought this year finally had some styles appealing to older women, with tanks and tops with more coverage for the first time in a long time. Tough It Out Tank is one I can think of, Mesh With Me SS, etc.

@ anon 6:12 am - agree about a wish for more running jackets.

@ anon 6:42 am - the holiday offerings were horribly meager.

@Anon 9:28 am - the lack of specific store Facebook pages was especially frustrating to me when I am trying to find out store hours. I especially felt this during the holiday shopping period. I am glad for the stores that do continue to post educator photos. They really help sell the product to a lot of people. I wish the new digital media people would wise up as to how much grassroots enthusiasm is generated by those photos. The old digital media person left in the spring so that is one reason this change was made.

Anonymous said...

I thought for sure that the Race Your Pace rulu sweater would be coming back. It got rave reviews, and I hoped there would be new colours this year. Nope. I ended up getting a Rest Less pullover because it was the closest thing to what I wanted, but it wasn't the same.

Anonymous said...

Thanks LuluAddict for the 2015 recap. For me I couldn't help but wonder, who was manning this ship in 2015 and frankly for the past couple of years. Yes Mr. Potdevin, while focusing on expanding internationally and on the mens line, instead of what made Lululemon great in the first place, great quality product, too many mistakes were made, some still not corrected and it makes me wonder just where is Lululemon headed? I hope someone at LLL reads your review LuluAddict and finally takes some steps to correcting all that went wrong.

One of the biggest disappointments for me in 2015 was the horrible stripes and snake print swiftlies. I refused to buy any of these and won't on markdown either. Thank goodness though that by the end of the year Swiftlies got the proper attention they deserve with the use of black heathering instead of white with the darker richer winter colours. Alas, however, Canada has yet to see the dark green one and the blue sapphire one although available was confused with the striped one when ordered on line. I did not see this one in stores at all. This takes us to probably one of the most frustrating issues as a customer we all faced in 2015, not being able to get our hands on the product we wanted because it never made it to our shores. Really, why should I give Lululemon credit for a great designed product like the Mesh With Me LS when I wasn't able to buy it???

My wish for 2016 is for LLL to clean up all the messes made in 2015. Give us what we want, good quality, well designed technical gear and casual wear. Show your customers respect with well intentioned actions that will then earn back the respect of your customers that has been lacking of late.

Anonymous said...

one last thing...LLL was sooooo over assorted it was a joke. They could cut the # of SKU's in half and do a better job zeroing in on key styles in great seasonal colors. Items and colors that create multiple sales would do wonders for the business. I think we should form a focus group and be part of line final!

Anonymous said...

I agree. My love for Lululemon is waning. I have been buying Lululemon since 2005 and I was a very loyal customer. I have a closet full of Lululemon clothes and it is my go to brand for working out and casual wear. I cannot believe that my last purchase was in July 2015 which is definitely indicative of my waning love. My love is waning because the prices are higher and the quality is lower, the colour scheme is all over the map and there are not enough bright and fun colours, the designs are not interesting looking, the clothes lack a lot of unique and personal touches and the clothes are looking like any other athletic brand. I went post Christmas shopping and I did not see one thing that I wanted at Lululemon. Instead I ended up buying a Oiselle running top, a Prana top and a Lole dress at other stores. These other brands had great sale prices too! I still check out Lululemon to check out the new upload but I am no longer running to my computer at upload time and madly hitting the refresh button. Hopefully, Lululemon will improve their product offerings for 2016.

emily said...

2015 was an interesting year, for sure! I used to totally count on Lululemon for my running gear, but was consistently disappointed. Most of the items I purchased were older styles, but in newer colors (Swiftly tanks, CRBs, etc.).

I miss having a clear color story. Twice, I've bought Run Times Shorts and struggled to find a tank that matched (without resorting to black or white). It shouldn't be that hard! If a short has pinks and purples, then the pink and purple tanks being sold should match! Thankfully, I have a decent tank selection and could usually find something suitable. But they would sell me more if there was some color consistency.

I also wish they'd get a handle on prints. It's getting harder to find solid tops to match printed bottoms! I like having bottoms with some prints in them (versus solid black or navy all the time). But so many of the tops are patterned and are just "off."

I also feel like Lululemon needs to start adjusting for bigger phones. I had to keep my phone in the teeny waist pocket for my run yesterday because it's now too big for the zippered back pocket. So, it sat against my stomach for the entire run, which isn't ideal.

I'd love to see more solid Swiftly Tanks and CRBs. I miss the Groovy Run Short, but have made peace with the Run Times.

Things I loved:
Pedal to the Medal Singlet--great running tank for warm climates! I wish they would've done more colors!

Pace Rival Crops: great crops--FINALLY a staple style with pockets. I hope it continues to stick around in new colors.

What the Sport Short--love these for long runs in the summer! I can fit a 10-oz Nathan bottle in the pocket! I only wish they were about an inch longer because the bottom hits at the spot where my thighs are biggest. The longer version is a bit too long for me. Also, they need to add a skirt to these for a great running skort!

Five Mile Long-Sleeve--great running top for a warmer climate. So many of the LS tops are too heavy for regular use. This one is a great weight.

Splendour Bra--I'm not sure when this debuted but it just came on my radar. I love it. It has great support for a B/C cup like me.

Swiftly with the black heather--I love them because they are more pigmented and better match the patterned bottoms.

Lululover said...

My favs of 2015 were :
5 Mile long sleeve,
Shine on LS,
Picnic play dress,
Nulu pants,
Shine on CRB,
Cyber stripe HT,
All the right places WUC,
If you are lucky LS.
I liked several items from overseas uploads, but they haven't made it to US . I also discovered Carbon38 and fell in love with Michi, Alala , Vimmia and Alo. I still buy lulu , but mostly because of resale market. I tend to get tired of my activewear quickly and sell things all the time.

emily said...

Oh! I also agree that the price increases are crazy! I do not understand why I would pay $148 for a running tight that should be $98 (at the most)! I also don't understand the discrepancy in pricing different styles. All the Right Places Crops are $118 (WAY over-priced), but the Pace Rivals and Inspires are somewhat reasonably priced in the $80-90 range.

The Tight Stuff Tight at $148 is ridiculous!!! I tried them on and just didn't get it.

Laura P said...

Really great recap for the Lulu year. Your thoughtfulness of the overall product is one of the reasons I really enjoy following your blog. I totally agree about the photos. I can’t believe they feel these photos are giving consumers the information they need to purchase an online product. My local store experience has been super uninspired this year. The educator dialogue seems very scripted and not the natural product enthusiasts I’ve encountered in the past.

As a really loyal Lulu consumer (upwards of 95% of my athletic wear and athlesiure come from Lulu), I found myself really disappointed and sometimes frustrated with the brand this year. I know, what a problem to have right? Please take my money!

The brand feels totally disjointed. Pieces don’t easily pair together in the fun way they used to. It’s not as easy to mix prints and releases feel all over the place. With the last upload I’m buying pieces I wont likely wear until summer, but I feel like if I don’t grab them now they may not be available when I want/need them.

Seems to me the brand is scrambling to keep up with the mass influx of newer brands entering the space. Outdoor Voices has made some interesting partnerships, like with Class Pass, and I’m noticing more Alo, YogaSmoga, and Splits59 in my classes. Furthermore, it’s really cute. Where I don’t think those brands measure up yet is quality. However, I’ve noticed inconsistent sizing (to core products) and less than awesome fabrics this year. As a result WMTM is loaded with stock that isn’t going anywhere. Even hats and scarves that tend to move pretty quickly are lingering.

I’m not ready to jump ship yet and I’m hopeful that Lulu can turn it around. That said, I’ve enjoyed the addition of the Align pant this year. So awesome for hot yoga and summer workouts and I’m happy they are introducing some great colors.

Anonymous said...

My love for Lulu has waned an exorbitant amount over this past year for pretty much every reason you mentioned. Good recap and you put into words what the rest of us "ex" lulu addicts have been feeling. I hope someone at Lulu who has the ability to impart change reads it!

All being said, I sold my diversity bag due to lack of zipper. I have yet to try pace rivals which I'm remedying by my recent purchase of the blue striped ones (waiting on delivery). There weren't too many winners for me in 2015 mostly because I tend to stay with the classics and Lulu discontinued most of what I buy - Dance Studio Crops, Pacesetter Skirts, 105 singlets, shorted length on the speed tights (Tall people matter too!) lack of color in Tall DSP's and Tall Pace Rival skirts. Then ignored the nice basics - solid color CRB's, solid/WAFS swiftlies (too many weird prints), lack of cohesiveness in each long can you blame the port mess for that? Lol! Due to the combo of this my purchases have been pretty much older items off ebay instead and other than Seawheeze store items i've purchased no new lulu has entered my house almost the entire year.

Anonymous said...

Thanks LLA! Happy new year everyone! I liked the dresses and some new pieces. Sometimes I like colors recycled :)! I want heathered Paris pink back ! Angry regarding pricing increases with pants and other items and whacky store pricing. For instance, I was in store yesterday and saw the. "Face the frost 1/2 zip" priced on MARK DOWN ie. final sale at $109! It's real price is $108!! Wtf ?!?!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your review, as always LLA. Appreciate your hard work.

2015 definitely stunk for me. I bought a ton of basics just to restock and replenish the old, but the new offerings didn't wow me and I'm frankly bored with Lulu. I see no innovation, I only see cost-cutting, greedy merchandising tactics and sneaky price increases, hoping we'll continue to be suckers.
Look at the website, look at the reviews. I'd guess that at least half of the 5-star reviews are from Educators trying to do damage control when they've pushed out some product with massive pilling and unraveling seams. Quality has gone down again, we know this.
I branched out this year and bought a pair of ALO leggings and I was pleasantly shocked at how good the quality is. I felt scammed. All the money I've spent on Lulu and they keep screwing us over.
Yeah, I got some good things, a couple of nice Defines, but that's another bone of contention. These Defines sell like CRAZY and yet they won't make more. Scuba II's? Same thing. Let's get rid of it. CRB's? People are begging for more. It's just infuriating.
I'm sick of the push and pull with this company. Winter 2015 was the final straw. 2016 I will commit to looking elsewhere...

Anonymous said...

I agree that this year as a whole was TOTALLY lackluster, topped off by a VERY WEAK holiday season. Best new pieces of the year are scuba III, align pants, and the full down for a run line from this winter: pullover, vest and jacket with the jacket coming out on top.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 11:06 am - Agree with everything you said 1000%. I wonder where they are headed, too. Agree 100% about print swiftlys. The only print swiftly I have is the one I bought at Sea Wheeze. I do have a couple of tonka stripe swiftlys but my preference is for the Space Dye versions and solid ones to wear with all my print and patterned bottoms.

@emily - Totally agree about not making enough tops to coordinate with the bottoms, especially CRBs. I think they are starting to make adjustments for a large phone. The new Kriss Cross half zip fits my new iPhone 6s+. I think that is why were starting to see a lot more bottoms with thigh pockets, too. I would love for the Groovy Run to come back. The Splendour bra is really cute but doesn't come in a 12 so it's not for me at this time. I suspect I'd show a ton of cleavage in it anyway.

@Lululover - I checked out the Vimmia site the other day. I really like some of their prints a lot - very pretty and feminine. Though, more than a few of their designs seem to be lululemon "Inspired". How is the fit and the fabrics on the brand? It's on my list of brands to check out since they are made in LA.

@laura P - Thank you. My biggest issues with other brands tends to be in fit and feel of the fabric. Also, I haven't found a company that makes as good a built in bra in tanks as lululemon. However, some companies do have some super soft fabrics, like Outdoor Voices. Their styles are limited right now, though, and their tops are short. I am ready to try the Aligns but have been waiting for them to come out with a crop. I don't often wear long luon pants to the gym since it's too hot and the Aligns feel too thin for me to wear as casual wear. I think Align crops would be great for warmer weather workouts.

@ anon 1:09 pm - I love the Dance Studio crops. I wish they would come back.

@ anon 1:32 pm - I don't mind recycled colors, like Paris or Lolo Purple, coming back after a year or two. What I don't understand is why we got Pink Lemonade, Light Flare, Flash Light, and Grapefruit CRBs all at the same time. That is what I mean by colors coming out just to use fabric and no one looking as to whether the color story makes sense. See and

@ anon 2:06 pm - I need to check out Alo since so many of you are mentioning it.

Lululover said...

Oops I meant Align & Define LS, not shine on

Anonymous said...

One thing I wanted to add to this conversation is the jet crop slim in black luxtreme. These pants have been a workhorse for me since they were released. They can be casual or dressy depending on how you style them and they are so comfortable. I love them so much I just bought a second pair in black as a back up. Some of the other prints in this pant are not as nice and I did not like the fit of the luon version as much. But the black luxtreme, almost perfection for me.

I do agree with others here that the love is waning. I was frustrated on many occasions to see the US or overseas markets get something that we did not get in Canada. It seems to me that Canadians shoppers really lost out with Lulu this year, I assume due to the low Canadian $ and the fact that Lulu can make more money now selling product in other countries. That's sad for a company that was born and grew out of a vancouver market.

Anonymous said...

You guys are making me want the Toasty Tech Tights!

Favorites include:
- thigh pockets! (finally)
- the greens - so many pretty greens this year - and the reds - love bordeaux! and black cherry, dashing purple..
- Also just picked up a follow your bliss bag on sale and love it. For a big bag its not too big and it actually works great for the office

Dislikes include:
- the sensations (really?!)
- mesh! Way too much way, too late on the trend
- And, the pants revam also came with way too many styles. Even for a follower, I can't keep track.. Most of this stuff just looks the same to me.

Wish list for this year includes:
- More purse size bags (love the bag designs, but most of them are way too big or way too small)
- More loose tanks

Hello 2016! Good bye drop crotch (I hope!)

Anonymous said...

I disagree....maybe your love be is waning because for everything there is a season. Maybe your time with Lulu has run its course. I would really
Like to see less complaining and just stick to the functionality of the clothing. If you don't like it, say why and move on. There are tons of us that still love and don't have to follow every move they make with a gripe. I do appreciate honest criticism.....sometimes it seems like if one person's a dominos effect. They have a broad range of taste to accommodate. Thanks LLA for what you do. I personally am excited for 2016 LL wear. If you are not....there are a lot more places to choose from!

Anonymous said...

Don't get me started on how much I miss the DANCE STUDIO CROPS and yes GROOVY RUN SHORTS!!! I too have made peace with my Run Times @Emily ha ha... I absolutely believe that they took away the Groovy Run Short and gave us the Run Times with a shorter inseam to cut costs and that really irked me. As much as I like the Run Times, especially on hot days, I really want a run short with at least a 4 1/2 -5" inseam and the Tracker Short is not a good fit for me. I am going to have to look elsewhere for a longer short.

As for shelving the Dance Studio Crop then giving us the In Flux Crop well the In Flux did not win me over and the sizing is very weird. There is no way that the In Flux are as comfortable as the DSC and it was just plain mean and ill-advised taking away such a coveted staple piece.

LLA I wasn't a fan of all those various shades of pink which to me, none looked like a real pink. I didn't buy any of those pinks. My favourite was vintage pink but there were so few items in that colour. I would love to see paris pink again.

Anonymous said...

Could not agree more with everything you said! I have returned several items this year whose seams unraveled after only 1 or 2 wearings. Very disappointing, especially when it's something you really love that can't be replaced. I am also quite annoyed that lulu never seems to make enough 2s and 12s. I am a 2 and size 2 tank tops sell out in 5 minutes. I sincerely hope someone at corporate is reading your blog and will correct these issues. I also hope they will bring back the 105f singlet!!!

That said, my favorites this year have been the radiant long sleeve (even though it's thin this year, I love the style and bought every color), the Bhakti yoga jacket which I basically live in, the &go destination jacket (so flattering on!), the all sport bra III, and my tech mesh high times pants.

Anonymous said...

This is what kills me about Lulu. You have women here BEGGING for you to take our money!! What is wrong with this company? Why can they not clean up this mess and give us what we are asking for?
It's simply baffling that they are not able to right the ship and correct the problems. It's run like a third-world company, no innovation, no direction. And I can guarantee that I'll be here next year saying the same.darn.thing...

Julia said...

Great recap, LLA!

The single largest lululemon fail for me in 2015 was the lack of Run: Stuff Your Bra colors in the US. Canada got a parade of colors and prints, while the US got nothing after the first batch came out in the spring.

I have a feeling that the lack of consistent product between the US and Canada markets will continue. There were items beside the RSYB that Canada got but the US did not get and vice versa (still waiting on that Berry Rumble Rest Less PO). It was not an issue in previous years--not sure what changed.

The attempts to pass previously released merchandise by as new, like the Runbeam Hoodies, were really lame. Lululemon needs to suck it up, note that the items were not good sellers, and send them to markdown like every other retailer would.

My favorite of the year was the Pace Rival crop, and I plan to sell off some of my Inspires soon because I don't reach for them anymore. The Down for a Run line was great. As a nighttime runner, I really appreciated the variety of reflective run tights and crops, despite the high price tags. Also, the selection of run hats was awesome!

My biggest hope for this year is an awesome SeaWheeze line! Aside from SW, I'm planning to buy a lot less this year. My closet is well stocked, and I don't need more activewear right now.

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 4:21 pm - the Jet crop slims have been a great success. I don't understand what was going on with distribution in foreign countries and us. So many items went to 50% off markdown in Australia and the UK for Boxing Day that didn't get nearly as good a markdown here so I assume lululemon knows they could sell if for more in North America. I just don't get the mindset. Maybe the fact that the foreign sales weren't nearly as good as they thought they were going to be means they'll bring back more product to NA.

@ anon 4:27 pm - My sister bought a few pairs of Toasty Tech tights this year. I never thought I needed them before but it's been so cold in California this winter I am very tempted to get a pair. Agree with "sensations", too much mesh, purse sized bags, and loose tanks. The drop crotch fad can't end soon enough for me.

@anon 4:38 pm - Laurent? ;-) My love is not waning, actually, but I've been reading a lot of comments that people are buying less and less (I think I personally spent the most ever this year) and they are turning to other brands and that is why I titled the post as I did - it's a reflection of the customer base, not me. People were especially disappointed at how lackluster the Christmas season was this year. I do try other brands now and then but lululemon is very tough to beat with fit, functionality, and fabrics, plus I have an enormous collection where something from my older stuff will always coordinate with new stuff so I have not been tempted or incentivized to stray very much. Lululemon tries a lot of things so you have to be a bit of a prospector to separate the great pieces from the duds.

Moreover, this is a year end review and I think lululemon has issues it should address - and seasonal collection cohesion/coordination is a big one - and my and the reader's feedback is valid, negative as it may be. The problem is a lot of us have been buying the brand for years and years and remember how things used to be so that is what lululemon is competing against, not some amorphous goal. As for 2016, I am cautiously optimistic since I am really liking the new Strap It Like It's Hot Tank and Bra and 5 Mile LS. This quarter is when the new tank designs are supposed to hit so I am very excited to see what is released. People are responding well to the Blooming Pixie Multi prints and the 5 Mile LS so if lululemon makes it, people will definitely buy it.

@ anon 5:10 pm - Vintage Pink is a gorgeous pink. I hope it makes a reappearance. Hopefully Groovy Runs will come back, they've gone away and been brought back before. Also, they've been making longer inseam 5" shorts but I haven't liked to many except the Go the Distance short.

@ Julia - It was baffling why the US didn't get more Stuff Your Bras this summer. A terrible, terrible oversight. I was hoping for the Stuff Your Bra tank to come back because I like that a lot, too.

Courtney Kahn said...

I too can only hope the LLL merchants are tuned in to luluaddict. Regardless, I posted a note on earlier today under product/women's entitled "Hoping Lulu Merchants Read for Year End Recap". I have to think LLL too is aware of it's mistakes...time will tell.

Anonymous said...

I am also losing my love for lululemon gear. I bought substantially less this year than in the past, and almost everything I bought was an old favourite (trackers, run times, crb, swiftly). The only new item I liked this year was the sculpt tank (that was this year, right? I didn't buy one until this year, anyway) I thought that was a great shape and was really a great addition.

Overall, the styles are dull and the colours random. Even the quality wasn't as good - I had several items that faded, bagged after a single wear, or had seam issues, while my old lulu still looks fine. The price increases in the face of this were ridiculous, and I found myself reluctant to pay even wmtm prices for anything. The value just wasn't there.

As far as customer service, they had a terrible year. I don't set foot in my local store anymore because they have such high staff turnover and very disinterested staff. Most of the previous staff really understood customer service - they'd offer to check in the back/other stores for sizes etc. The last time I went in was with a crb that unravelled at the hem within 3 weeks of buying it, and the store clerk (I refuse to refer to them as "educators") told me that an unravelling hem didn't "affect the functionality" of the tank & she wouldn't take it back. Thankfully, one of her colleagues overheard and stepped in to do the return and damage it out.

Things are the same on the men's side - my partner won't buy any more shorts from lulu as every single pair has had the liner fall apart in less than a year of regular but gentle use. We've both bought stuff from other brands for yoga and running and found the quality to be on par with the current quality at lululemon, just with much better return policies!

I'm hoping that they get back on track with cohesive colour lines, better design, and better quality, but I'd be surprised if they can turn things around in 2016 - assuming they even want to.

Anonymous said...

LLA - I LOVE my toasty techs. I thought I was crazy and stupid, living in Southern California, for buying Toasty Techs AND brushed speed tights. But when those cold Santa Ana winds blow it's downright frigid! I haven't pulled tags on my Toasty's yet because I haven't done any night runs of late. I also have plans to hike the PCT and Mt. Whitney so they'll get used at some point. But, seeing as how we are JUST starting our winter season and it's obviously (thankfully) going to be much colder/wetter than we've experienced in several years i've no doubt they'll get some use whether here or in the local mountains, hiking or skiing. Now...I just have to decide if the Runderfuls (which I loved - just wish the outer part was a little longer) will make their way to my closet! Lol! Who knew we'd be clamoring for fluff and brushed and warm huh?

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 9:19 pm - My husband and I went to the Desert Hills outlets this morning and there was a cold wind blowing. I wore my Face the Frost tech fleece half zip and a Miss Misty over it and I was barely warm enough, lol. I was telling my husband in year's past I'd hardly get any wear out of my pique and herringbone pullovers and not it's all I am wearing. Plain rulu POs are not warm enough right now. ;-)

@anon 8:34 pm - what a bummer about the liner in your husband's shorts. I am rather miffed that I my Turn Around Tights have a hole in the top of the thigh now. It started as a pull but has turned into a full on hole. I am hoping my store can do a repair because I love them and they are no longer available. I've never had a hole like that develop in any lulu I've owned before.

RiseandShine said...

Thanks for a wonderful summary, LLA!

One more negative, that many here have touched on but not called out explicitly, is the relentless retiring of classic items for no apparent reason. Over the last two years, Pace Setters, 105F, Dance Studio Jacket, Scuba IIs, and many, many more were replaced with styles that customers didn't love. Don't they teach the parable of "the new Coke" in business school anymore? Sure, you have to evolve in order to survive, but after a few big fails along these lines, you'd think they'd be reluctant to keep killing off some of their most treasured styles, but nope.

On the positive side, in addition to great fabrics, the fit of most Lulu is completely superior to other brands. I tried on the Down For a Run vest last week and the old Lulu magic was definitely there. It looks like a regular old down vest, but when I put it on, I swear I grew 3 inches and lost 15 pounds. How a down vest can look elegant, I have no idea, but it was.

Also, compiling my own "best of" for the year reminded me of how much great Lulu I bought this year. The first half the year saw a lot of great Easter egg colored Swiftlies (heathered tranquil blue, heathered pistachio, heathered pretty purple) and gator green was a big color hit over the summer. There were also a few great prints - brushed illusion, backspin in peacock, and floral backdrop, to name a few.

I think I just have to adjust some of my expectations for the company. Though the hits are fewer and farther between, there's still some great product to be found.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 4:38 - I do agree that interests fade, and probably nobody will be into Lulu forever. However, none of these complaints are new, and LLA's far from the only one making them. Lululemon's quality has taken a considerable drop in the past few years, while prices have jumped up, and the company doesn't seem interested in listening to its customers. Lulu seems to have gotten out of the downward spiral that led to Pantsgate, but it hasn't completely recovered - when a product is good, it's great, but there's so much inconsistency.

I'm not brand-monogamous and love discovering new athletic clothing lines, but I have yet to find a brand that's on the same level in both style and quality/performance (at least compared to Lulu at its best). And a lot of the newer trendy athleisure brands are at a higher price point, with no real regard to performance - in the past year I've seen a lot of $70-90 sports bras that look like they're just built for standing around and looking pretty.

I think it's fair to complain.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog LuluAddict and I love that you understand when some of your readers vent their frustrations and negative reviews of product that it comes from loving LLL and wanting LLL to be successful because, Hey we all want LLL to thrive so we can continue to buy What We Love! If we didn't love LLL we wouldn't take the time and energy to speak up and vent our concerns. In today's world social media is or can be a company's best friend in that they can glean important feedback from their customer base for free. If companies are doing a good job they will hear about, if they are doing a bad job they will hear about. The chances are much greater that a company will step it up and make improvements if they hear from their customers what they don't like as well as what they do like. Social medial is a win win for the company and the consumer. Never before has the consumer had such a direct link to the ears of a company. If we don't take advantage of this then it is our loss and our ignorance for not realizing the power of social media.

So LuluAddict thank you for this blog where we can discuss our likes and dislikes. I love your honesty and intelligence in knowing how important this blog is for both the Lululemon consumer as well as the company.

Happy New Year!

LuluAddict said...

@ anon 6:45 am - thank you and thank you for reading.

@riseandshine - my bank account definitely says there were lots of great and good products to buy this year. Change takes a long time to percolate through large companies so I expect this year to be a very interesting year.

@ anon 4:51 am - I browse Carbon 38 and Bandier a lot checking out the offerings of other higher priced brands and some of the items do look cute but not a lot of it looks functional. Like you said, you'd look pretty standing around in it. On the other hand, I was checking out rain jackets last night on the Arc'Teryx and Patagonia sites and a lot of their stuff is functional as hell (though, mostly made of polyester, I guess because it's so durable) but with rather blah styling. lululemon is one of the few companies that straddles a very functional/performance aspect with a more fashionable approach.

Anonymous said...

UGH!! I completely agree ! The Define and scuba 2s are my FAV! I almost quit lulu when they discontinued the define and scuba the first time ....

Anonymous said...

Ps. The "nulu " fabric feels EXACTLY like a pair of crops I bought from under armour 2 years ago for half the price of lulus except almost no pulling and they didn't bag out!

Anonymous said...

The things I would really like to see make a comeback are the stride jacket (without the hood), the 105f singlet (with the scalloped trim), and the iconic wrap (both the sweater and t-shirt versions). All 3 of these items are selling beyond their retail value on eBay (even used!) so it seems like a no brained for lulu to bring them back.

Anonymous said...

My personal opinion is that they don't discontinue beloved items because they aren't selling well but to pull them off them off for awhile and bring them back at a higher price point. This happened with the define. They used to be $99, got replaced by the forme and then came back at $108 (and then $118 for textures). They tried to do that for the CRB and refresh racer(?) but failed to pull them all completely first (remember they tried to raise the price of the heathered cranberry CRB to $48?). I'm sure the DSJ will be back at a higher price point when the in flux goes away. And I'm sure when the tanks wall gets revamped, we'll likely see a price restructuring for their "innovation". I also think prices have gone up due to the change in return policy. When you have people returning things that are well used and years old (and I've seen it with my own eyes in store), that cost has to be absorbed somewhere and a lot of the times that gets passed onto the consumer.

I love Lulu and really thought when Day was let go that Potdevin would bring Lulu back to its former glory - that so far hasn't happened. I don't know what his vision is for the company but hopefully we get a better idea for 2016. The company won't tank as they are always getting new customers who don't know Lulu's history but for older customers who have been shopping for awhile...well, you can see from all the complaints that collectively they aren't happy. Personally I'm pretty neutral. I've shopped at Lulu long enough that I have a good sized collection. I buy stuff that interests me and is of good quality (I've passed on pieces I've really liked because I thought the quality was crappy or the feel of the fabric was polyestery or the price point was way too high) and I'm ok with that since there's always new items coming out to lust over.

Anyway, this comment is getting too long but I wish everyone a happy 2016!

Anonymous said...

My first pair of turn around tights got a hole on the butt. I was wearing them at night while walking my dog and couldn't figure out why my butt was cold. Luckily it was when they were re-released this year so I was able to exchange them. I adore them for workouts and lounging.

Anonymous said...

I am pretty much done with lulu
the only things I really like this year are :
the what the sport tank and shorts and the enhearten tank.
on thing I still like from lulu is their high support bras.
stuff your bra the all sport and the tata tamer.
for yoga I don't get anything at lulu.

guess the love had to end at some point