Thursday, May 31, 2012

Adventures with Workout Clothing Stereotypes

Most of my workout clothes are from Target or other discount stores and are often not in the best taste.  Some of my nicer ones I got as gifts.

I am of the breed who thinks that if it's comfortable, it doesn't really matter what brand my clothing is.  Yes, sometimes brand is a hint of the quality of the clothing, but not always.  And when it comes to workout clothing, they all die in my sweat, so they are all seen as equals in my book.

Tops are easy, as I accumulate all sorts of shirts from races.  I've gotten to the point where if the shirt isn't women's cut or doesn't fit well, it goes straight to donation, as my workout clothing drawer is pretty full already.  Since it takes me a long time to wear out any of my gear, even the cheap ones, I don't even think about buying replacements that often.

As for bottoms, while I have many, they have kind of served different purposes.  I basically only wear my Nike tempo shorts (gift) to races/long runs now, while some of my Target ones are reserved for general cardio.  I have tight Nike capris (rare purchase at outlet) for colder weather and Target crops for "easy" workouts or cold-weather short runs/walks.  Some shorts are cute but too short to run in comfortably and are reserved for swimming and such.

Anyway, I was forced to think about all of this when my sister got me a Lululemon gift card for my birthday.  To be honest (and don't hate for this one measly opinion), my previous categorization of people who wear Lululemon was basically: well-to-do, stay-at-home-while-spending-all-of-husband's-money (mom role optional), yoga-crazed, blonde, sheep, hyperfeminine, vain, etc. etc.  Having studied psychology in college+grad school, I am not going to deny that we all have our stereotypes, regardless of how well-educated or "politically correct" we are or how dumb or wrong it seems to have them.  Now I've admitted to mine. 

At my age, though, I want to be open-minded and not make assumptions before trying things, so instead of thinking about how cult-like and racist I've heard Lululemon is among other things, I decided to see for myself.  (I should add that many companies are attached to negative moral behavior, intentional or not, so I'm putting that aside for now).

There is a store very close to where I work, but the only time I stepped in there, I picked up a shirt and ran out (not literally but sorta) after seeing the price tag.  Of course, I've since realized that I don't buy workout clothing too often, so I guess it isn't so bad to drop more money if it's going to last and feel comfortable.

This was my first foray in the "Lulu" dressing room.  I tried on a bunch of running shorts but did not feel like any of them justified a $68 price tag, gift card or not.  I mean, many of my life's thrills are in finding a bargain, and in general, this is totally not the place for that.  Many of the shorts were just too darn short or had too many cutesy textures that could get uncomfortable after a while.  My stereotypes of this place were so bad, apparently, that when I saw "preshrunk" on the label, I didn't read it as "previously shrunk" but as "this will give you a precious/presh' runk (trunk)."  Yes, I am a very flawed person.

The whole myth about the pants/shorts making your butt look good?

I don't know.  I can't believe I'm posting this photo -- work clothes aside, but I felt like I needed to provide a true testimony.  Since I started running years ago, I've been pretty, um, all right in that area of my body, and I don't think any one pair of pants makes any real difference compared to other pants (though Bar Method might!).  However, they were comfortable, and I did like the little hidden pocket at the top for cards/keys... plus, I don't have any workout pants that reach all the way down the leg... even if they are crops for taller people.

So I put aside all my pre-set notions and made my first purchase.  My overall experience there was okay -- I found the sales-girls to be pretty fake, but it's not like I've never seen that before at other stores.  One of the girls kind of offended me when she said something like, "We'll, I'm a 4, so you must be... an 8?"  But I digress.

Does owning one of these things make me subject to those not-so-great assumptions I have had?  I don't know, but for now, I'll wipe the slate clean and see if I really wear this and whether it's worth its cost, everything else aside.  Opinions... can grow and change once you've done the proper research and had the proper experiences.



  1. I'm curious to see how the pants work out for you once you've put them through the paces on a run or other workout...

    I've got a similar philosophy of workout clothing (both on wearing race t-shirts and on being creeped out by lulu). But then again, I wear Nike running shoes these days...

  2. "This will give you a precious/presh' runk (trunk)."

    That made me laugh out loud.

    Aside from the clothes I wear to race in, which are a little more specialized (team jersey, arm sleeves, bike shorts, ultra-lightweight tights/pants, etc...), I pretty much exclusively wear target stuff (capris all year round because I have a tendency to fall and tear up my knees) and either a target tank or a race shirt. I don't know much about Lululemon, but it's never seemed worth the price tag to me.

  3. I just bought a few pairs of yoga pants with a very generous gift card. I would NEVER have bought them otherwise but after a few weeks, I am in love with my studio pants. they look awesome with everything I own. I will have to replace them when they wear out. I figure wearing them twice a week every week for the next year...Im getting my moneys worth.

  4. Hee hee, I'm kind of like you. I love the a bargain and have some of the same stereotype-feelings towards the trophy wife moms who wear lulu head to toe etc. However, I do love their running clothing and although I get excited to see clearance price tags, have shelled out the cash for a few things at Lulu and they have become my absolute favourite things to run in. They might be pricey but they really do last. And for the record, I'm not really a fan of the overall "culture" of the brand or staff, but the clothes are good. Enjoy the pants!

  5. "I'm a 4 so you must be an 8?" WTF? Another reason for me to never step foot in one of their stores. When I was a size 16, I hated that I couldn't shop there because I wanted to be like my friends that did and apparently they think a size 14/16 isn't worthy of their clothing. Now that I'm a size 8, they can kiss my bootay while I continue to pluck down $ at Marshall's, TJ Maxx and Target for my workout gear. I too love a good bargain!

  6. I am usually the bargain shopper when it comes to my workout clothes, but I don't mind paying full price for something that I know is going to last me awhile (good shorts, socks).

  7. I can totally relate to this! I go by what's on sale, what's comfy, functional, etc. I haven't tried any Lulu stuff yet as I can't handle paying that much for one workout top or bottom! But I have heard people rave about the quality of their products. What an unfortunate interaction- I'm a 4, you must be an 8? That is not okay... I'd email and complain!

  8. Sorry that the salesperson there was not helpful. Size 8? That's pretty crazy. I normally just tell them that I am okay and that I a very slow shopper and that they don't need to help me unless I can't find a size. They have some nice stuff. They are not the end all of workout wear but you know me, I literally have a ton of workout stuff and the one thing I like about their stuff is that after many many uses it still smells relatively fresh unlike some other stuff I have.

  9. Wow...I've never shopped there because the prices are outrageous. I didn't know about the effed-up history/antics on top of that. Yikes.

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