by Melissa “will somebody PLEASE make me an Ambassador?” Urban
**Note: I don’t often write something JUST for one sex or the other… my posts tend to be pretty gender-neutral. You may think today’s write-up is directed at my female audience, but that is not true. It is directed to the females wearing the pants, AND the husbands and boyfriends who think you are bananas for shelling out that much money for a pair of “sweats”.**
There’s been a lot of buzz about the clothing company Lululemon – on the CrossFit Boards, on the Virtuosity blog, even on YouTube. Lulus and CrossFit have been partnered up as long as I’ve been on the scene – girls in Main Page videos all seem to sport the trademark colored waistbands of Lulu’s “Groove” style pants. So what’s the deal with Lululemon? Are they just a status symbol, a cultish CrossFit trend, or is there something of substance in those pants? As my Lulu collection is worth more than my car, I will share my expert analysis with you here.
Let’s cut right to the money shot, because I’m an instant gratification kind of girl, and this is really what you’re all waiting to hear. Ladies, a pair of Lulus will make your ass look fantastic six ways to Sunday. Which is more than enough reason all by itself to run – not walk – to your nearest Lulu retailer, grab a pair of Grooves and shove a Benjamin down the jog bra of the first sales girl you see. Case closed, and enjoy the rest of your Wednesday morning.
Still here? I suppose some people need more than just a nice looking ass to justify the expense. In which case, here you go.
Lululemon clothing is extremely well made. For one, the material retains its shape and style, even through weekly washings in warm water and drying on high. The pants don’t stretch out, shrink or lose their shape and the colors don’t run or fade. And even after rolling around on the floor with TGUs, scraping a bar up the front of my shins while deadlifting and banging my knees against the ground with walking lunges on an asphalt track, the material holds up – no holes, scuffs or pilling. Plus they absorb sweat like crazy (again, while holding their shape), and dry evenly and quickly, so you never feel sticky.
On top of their excellent construction, Lulu pants are extremely flattering on every single person I’ve ever seen trot out of their dressing room.There are so many different styles that they more than accommodate every size, shape and body type. They’ve paid attention to the details, too, so there are no irritating seams, or places where the fabric or waistband bunches, gathers or sticks out. And they come in three lengths, including tall for us 5’ 10” and up girls (with a 35” inseam). A little too long? The store will also hem your pants for free.
And if you’re looking for additional justification on the hefty price tag, some styles (like the Groove Sneaker) are completely reversible – a colored or patterned waistband on one side, and flat black on the other. Which, I have repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) argued in the Urban Court of High Finance, brings the actual price down to $50 a pair.
Finally, if you’re like me, you LIVE in your gym clothes. Five days a week, I wear Lulus to the gym. Plus they make up the bottom half of my Sunday morning breakfast/shopping/movie-going attire. Yes, these pants are so nice that they work equally well out of the gym. So I wear Lulus, on average, six days a week, almost every week of my life. Plus I wear them to certifications, and all my kettlebell coaching session, so in those instances, they are my work uniform. And all of a sudden, spending $100 on an article of clothing that will hold up for at least a year or two AND that I am guaranteed to wear every single week of my life sounds pretty sensible to me.
I can’t really speak to the workout tops, because I only own a few and I don’t wear them as frequently as the pants. However, I have several well endowed girlfriends who swear that Lulu jog bras are the ONLY thing they can comfortably run in. I’ll have to take their word for it, because I don’t have that issue. At all.
So there you have it. Will a pair of Lululemon pants put 10# on your squat or shave a minute off your 400M sprint? Probably not. But you might as well look good trying.
The defense rests
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I had never heard of lululemon until a few weeks ago, when it became a topic of discussion on Christin Street’s log over at the CF boards. Unfortunately, it seems that the one lululemon store in NC (in Charlotte) has closed, so I’ve only seen the clothing online. Which is probably a good thing, since I’m sure my hubby’s reaction would right along the lines of “are you nuts!?”
My own gym style runs more toward T-shirts and basketball or soccer shorts, with the occasional Under Armor Heat Gear shirt thrown in. My favorite shorts are Adidas ClimaLite soccer shorts, and thanks to Number One Son’s recent 6-inch growth spurt, I now have about 5 pairs.
Kevin Daigle says
I was just kidding yesterday haha….Honestly…I don’t fault you (or other girls) for wanting/buying these things. I won’t hesitate to spend 50+ bucks on a pair of jeans that fits right (mainly because its RARE due to my dachshund-length legs and very large quads). I bought a $50 pair of under armour sweat pants last week (which need to be hemmed).
If you ask me, guys are just as bad….perhaps not USUALLY about clothing (especially since god has not yet invented garments which are flattering on me), but with other things. For Example I spent enough money building the engine for my race car to buy an entire corvette…..try justifying that. Sometimes its good to be single.
So therefore, $100 for a pair of pants? Whatever makes you (or the people who stare at your ass) happy. I’m probably not going to buy pants with a built-in cod piece, but odds are I’ll spend thousands on some custom part for my race car. Or some other guy will buy a 10,000 dollar home theater setup.
So GO NUTS! Thats why they give us these black credit cards right? haha.
I have to say, this is a toughie for me. I love love love the pants. But I worked for the company- I opened their first store in New York city with them.
It was difficult to get a job there for specific reasons- mainly they have great benefits. Even part-time employees got to take fitness classes from ANYWHERE free of charge. As many as they wanted per week. We got great discounts on the clothes (because we were required to wear them) and I have to agree with Melissa there, they are amazing clothes.
Lululemon is made with a four way stitch- which means that they will virtually never rip at the seams, they’ve got more lycra then a bathing suit which makes them super moisture wicking and drying and spandex which keeps them from losing their shape.
However I do have to say- that despite all the benefits, everyone that opened the store with Lulu had quit within 6 months. They would only hire ‘athletic’ body types, and (I really don’t mean this to toot my own horn) but they’re like abercrombie in the way that they expect their employees to be ‘models’ of the clothing.
After a few months, they started requiring more and more of us outside of our regular duties. We started to be required to go to certain classes, take at least 2 yoga classes a week (despite our regular fitness regime), we were looked down upon if we didn’t have the latest clothing (regardless of whether we were in school or paying for other things) and surrounded by people that were body OBSESSED (which meant there was constant verbal pressure on our bodies). Needless to say, it was an impossible environment to work in, and to this day I still call them ‘children of the corn.’
Not sure if that inspires you to buy more lulu (I haven’t since I left the store- despite the incredible amount of quality in the brand), but I thought I’d let everyone know my experience (and the experience of the 50-some odd people that opened the store that now loathe the brand).
I’m pretty sure that if you take in your Level I, II, or III cert, you can get the 15% off trainer discount.
Just sayin’. You can thank me later.
Melissa Byers says
Holy crap, Brynith… that’s a pretty amazing story. I hope your experience was the result of one store or franchise manager going off the reservation, and not what the company as a whole is promoting.
I can understand a fitness clothing company wanting to hire people who represent the brand well, but we all know that does NOT translate to an Abercrombie body type. As for the obsession and demands made on the employees of your store, I don’t get that. They’re selling GYM CLOTHES. Nobody’s curing cancer.
Thank you for sharing your perspective.
Dudette, you get more badass every day. I’m listening to your tunage, while I work. I want one of your pull-up shirts. Are you selling them somewhere? As for Lulu’s, amen to all of that and we work damn hard for our firm booties (and other body parts)–they deserve good threads. And as a spendthrift, I totally get plenty of mileage from my workout clothes. I wear them more often than anything else.
Christin Street says
Great post Byers. I’ll admit I was skeptical in the beginning but after the hubby bought me a few pair for Xmas(which dipped into our life savings btw), I’m in love!
There is one other brand, Zella, that is equally good.
To become an “ambassador” for Lululemon(ie get the discount) you have to be a full time instructor. Despite having 2 training certifications, I tried with no luck! Humph! After reading the above story, I’m relieved since being an “ambassador” also requires “other responsibilities.”
I am with you sister! Unfortunately we don’t have a lulu store close by. I am almost glad I can’t buy them online, could be dangerous. At the level 1 in Toronto the ladies (and there were many) all dressed head to toe in lulu. They all looked fantastic!
There are two levels of discount. The R&D program where you have to be a fitness professional of some sort. You get 15% off and the only responsibility is having to give feedback on the clothes that you buy via their website. It's a pretty good deal. Easy to get.
The Ambassadorship is a one-time, one-year contract with them and is only available to prominent instructors in the community that embody the lululemon philosophy. You get $1000 in free clothes and are obliged to go to openings and be available for events and promotions.
I've done the R&D thing and am now I'm an ambassador. I've had my picture in BusinessWeek magazine and been on a billboard in Times Square. So it's been a pretty sweet deal all in all.
Lululemon is community driven. They send all their staff out into the community to take classes all the time and they make an effort to promote lots of community events.
The women's clothes are extremely flattering. The men's clothes are hit or miss. I own some pants and hoodies that I love. I have a lot of things that I only wore once.
The lululemon stuff is just crazy expensive in Australia but I wouldn’t mind an ass like yours so maybe I’ll at least try a pair on (which generally translates to me purchasing 4 pairs of something – piggy bank, get ready for a smashing!).
Jason M Struck, RKC says
i attempted to confirm this ass business you were talking about. Could not. Not a single picture of one woman’s ass on that entire webpage.
Part of my Yoga=No Ass conspiracy theory. Just getting stronger.
After showing this entry and the Lululemon website to my boyfriend several weeks ago, I received my very own pair of Groove Down Pants for Valentine’s Day. I was very excited! I was cautioned to be careful while deadlifting or doing knee-pushups, but your write-up of these pants make me think that they are badass enough to take the beating with no problem.
So far I have noticed that they are incredibly comfortable, and VERY flattering. I am tempted to wear them anytime and anywhere.
I am curious, have you purchased these pants recently, since the issue with possible reduced quality? I have pants that are a few years old and are still looking great but am nervous to buy new ones.