In Which I Try Lululemon
I've said it before. I like my workout gear like I like all of my clothing: cheap and/or second hand. That narrows my options to places like Plato's Closet and TJMaxx, where I can get tights for $20 and a sports bra for $10. If it does the job reasonably well, I have no qualms about snagging cheap stuff.
Obviously, Lululemon is not in that category. They're the FEI horse to my budget Anglo. AKA I've never been in a store or on their website. Ever. However, that changed shortly after my birthday. Enter: gift card. My SO thinks I'm insane for running as far as I do, but he is supportive as all hell, being an athlete himself. So he enables me with gift cards and nice workout clothing. Don't mind if I do.
I've been on the hunt for a running skirt, since my shorts are driving me insane bunching up in the crotch and annoying the hell out of me. Chub rub and the chafe-age it creates is a bitch. The girls working were alarmingly nice (and had hella cool grey lipstick and grey hair, respectively), and they showed me the two skirts they carried: the Pace Setter and the Circuit Breaker. They gave me the rundown of all the details. I tried both on, but ended up taking the Circuit Breaker home with me for one very specific reason. It had magic stay-put rubber strips in the bottom of the undershorts. Endurance athletes cannot fuck around with friction. At $68 full price, minus a $50 gift card, I felt pretty good about the whole thing.
The wide waistband is awesome, and the pleats are a fun touch.
I have no friends to run with, so I have no pictures of it on my body, but I did two different runs with it to gauge the staying power of the undershorts and whether or not the waistband rode up. On my short, steady-pace run, they were fantastic. No movement, no bunching, and the waistband stayed put, too. Two days later, I did a series of sprints and thought for sure I'd have an issue. Wrong. Exact same staying power.
Two days after this purchase, I went back to the store for a "Run Design Party" the employees had told me about. Essentially, you sit around and snack and talk about gear features you love and hate. Sounded fun, and maybe I could find a running friend or two.
Everyone brought a piece of gear they hated except me. I missed that memo, but it wasn't a big deal. They went over each person's product to talk about the issues with it and tried to find a corresponding Lululemon product to fix the issues. Pockets are one of my concerns, and they put me into a pair of tights called the Speed Tight. They were snug and stayed up as best I could tell in a dressing room, and I even sized down to a 6 based on their recommendation. Apparently it would keep them up while running, but the glorious deep side pockets were what made them so amazing.
Cool, I thought. Now I've got some more info but hell will freeze over before I spend $110 on running tights. Here, again, I missed the memo. Apparently if you show up to one of these events, they literally give you the clothing item to try out. I was so shocked when the assistant manager told me that I almost argued with her. Almost.
There is an iPhone in that glorious pocket. Who knew? They're that good.
They joined me for an hour long trail run that Sunday in a local nature park. Since I'm obscenely short, I had to cuff them about 5 inches, but the hem has a reflective strip when you turn it up, so that worked out. I carried my car key in the back zip pocket over the butt and my phone in a deep pocket on the side. It didn't budge once, and because they're so snug, I never even noticed it was there. The tights moved with me when I climbed some logs and little rises, and I didn't notice any sliding down in the waist. When I threw in some sprints to see how the speed would affect the fit, nothing changed. I was very impressed.
Crappy pre-trail picture, but you can see the reflective turn-ups at the bottom.
I also wore them to the gym to lift, since why not? It has here I noticed the one issue I may have with them. They still felt comfortable and stretched plenty with my squats, but the rise wasn't exactly where I want for lifting. Since they have a center seam (the only thing I would change about them) I have to wear them a little lower than I'd like, otherwise I'm cameltoeing for the world to see. And nobody wants to see that. However, the little bit of lowering the waist gives me a bit of a muffin top, which I do not want to see. Nothing aggressive, just a little muffin, and I imagine it's because I got a 6 to keep them up while running. An 8 would probably be perfect to lift, but fall while I'm running. And honestly, they're running tights. I have plenty of other shit to wear when I lift.
Like my strategic angling to avoid negative cameltoe lighting?
Overall, I was extremely impressed with the quality of the two products I have. The fabrics appear durable and are very soft, and they're super comfortable. Both skirt and tights did exactly what I expected and was told they would do, and I can see them climbing up to the top of my favorite gear. Especially that skirt, since it's warming up soon (hopefully). The price is still pretty steep for me, though, and I am not sure I would ever buy anything without a sale or gift card to assist me. That's not to say that Lululemon isn't making high-quality products or that those products aren't worth a premium, since all signs point to yes based on my gear. I'm just a more budget-conscious (ok, fine, cheap) runner.
Hit me with a sale, though, Lulu? I'll be all over that shit.