When it comes to fashion, I have always been a clothing fanatic. I was voted best dressed in high school and was thiiiis close to going to college for fashion marketing. Clearly, my academic path has changed, but my passion for clothing has not. In fact, what began as a dangerous obsession standard, every day fashion, blossomed into a newfound love for gym fashion, also known as athleisure. I’ve found that for myself, I feel better when I’m rocking a confidence-boosting outfit… Whether in or out of the gym. An old joke that my friends and I tossed around was, “Look good, feel good, lift good” (I, too, am shuddering at that glaring grammatical flaw. But it works).
Over the course of time, more and more people began to ask about my favorite workout attire/combinations. I like to think I have an aesthetically pleasing style, and I do put in a good bit of effort into developing it. I figured it was about time to start sharing my tips! For the first apparel blog, I figured what better start than some of my all-time favorites! I want to take a moment to discuss some of my ride-or-die staples from the Mecca of fitness threads, Lululemon Athletica. Yes, Lululemon is a bit more taxing on the wallet, but the quality of their products stands the test of time. Although it may be more on the expensive side, these staples should get you well on your way to building your workout apparel closet.
When it comes to wardrobe-building in general, I recommend striking a balance between the more expensive, durable, “staple” items and less expensive items. I do think there is something to be said for purchasing quality products vs. cheaper alternatives in many cases. For example: I would much rather pay $100 for a pair of really high quality leggings that can make it through brutal workouts along with being wearable outside of the gym, as opposed to paying $40-$50 on a pair that last maybe a few months before needing to be retired. I also recommend (or at least, personally prefer) sticking to solids and neutrals, especially when purchasing items that are on the more expensive side. Trendy prints and colors that aren’t necessarily “timeless” are not where I like to shell out my cash. When it comes to my staples, I want them to be as versatile as possible.
So, let’s get started with some of my favorite “staple” items from Lululemon! I think of these items as staples because they are classic/easy to mix-and-match styles, many of which I have liked so much that I have purchase in other colors. There are items that I would not repurchase, but again, these Lulu-finds are ones that have earned a permanent rotation in my closet.
Favorite leggings: The Align Pant
Before the launch of the Align pant this past year, I was a huge Wunder Under fanatic. I was honestly a bit apprehensive to try the Aligns, simply for fear of not liking them as much as I loved my Wunder Unders. As soon as I tried on my first pair of black Align pants, I was eating my words. The Align pants are marketed to have a “naked” feel, i.e. they are not meant to function as compression gear. These are, however, the most comfortable workout pants I have ever owned. The stretch is phenomenal without being see-through (a big concern for weight-training females who spend a lot of time squatting, deadlifting, etc). Aligns feature a higher waistband that doesn’t pinch or constrict your waist/hips, so you aren’t distracted during training from your waistband digging into your sides. The feel is so comfortable that you truly do forget you’re wearing them. I also love that these leggings are simple enough that they can translate into your everyday wardrobe by pairing them with a cute sweater/tunic shirt, scarf, jacket, flannel, etc. These pants are truly functional for training and for life. Another reason these pants are worth the money. I personally wear a 2-4 in the Aligns, am 5’9,” approx. 125lbs.
Align Pants: $98, My favorite colors: grey, black, and olive/fatigue green.
Favorite tank: The Yogi Racerback III
Everyone loves a good, comfy tank. The Yogi racerback is not particularly clingy, but is still flattering to your body. As a tall girl, I love how these shirts are actually long enough! A lot of times, I run into seeing shirts (both regular wear and gym wear) that I love, but that cut a little too short. Thus, they make me look awkward and I can’t bring myself to buy them. I don’t like buying pieces that I “kind of” like… I need to feel fully confident in what I’m wearing, or else I won’t buy it. Additionally, these shirts do not feature a built-in bra, which I love. So many shirts from Lulu come with a shelf bra already built into the design, but I’m not a fan of built-in-bras. I much prefer having full control of my undergarments, so bonus points for that. These shirts are also great for layering! The Yogi racerback pairs well with jackets, scarves, pretty much any bottoms, and are another piece that can easily transition to non-gym wear. I wear a size 4 in these tanks.
Yogi Racerback III tank: $48, My favorite colors: grey, black, and white (if you get the white, make sure you take special care of it. White shows sweat very easily!
Favorite sports bra: The Flow-Y bra
I love my fancy, strappy sports bras, but I also spent an exorbitant amount of time trying to find what I felt was my perfect “regular” sports bra. Then I found the Flow-Y bra. This bra is designed for more “light” support as opposed to extremely heavy-duty ta-ta taming, but I still have found that these bras keep me locked and loaded. While the website description says this style is oriented towards yoga and running, I have worn this bra for everything from running to resistance training to Weightlifting… Aka this bra is my ride-or-die. I love the classic fit and subtle mesh detail on the back (small details are key and are part of why I love Lululemon so much). The cut of these bras is a bit lower in the front than your standard Under Armour-type sports bra, but I haven’t ever run into any “Janet Jackson at the VMAs” slip-ups while wearing mine. I simply find that the slightly lower cut is a bit more flattering and less constricting than other sports bras I have tried. Last but not least, you can get a little creative with the Flow-y bra. Once upon a time, I decided to take one of the straps and cross it over my body, giving the bra a single-strapped look. If I had a dollar for every comment I got asking where I got that bra, I could have bought five more. The straps are thing enough that you get support and hold, but also have a little creative freedom with making a whole new look. I’m always down for that. With this sports bra and any other sports bras from Lululemon, I definitely recommend going to a physical store and trying them on as opposed to ordering online. Depending on the width of your lats and the style of sports bra, you may need to size up from your regular Lululemon shirt size.
Flow-Y bra: $48, My favorite colors: black and white. They do have 9 colorways in this particular style, so it may be time for me to get out of my neutrals comfort zone and venture into the land of some color.
Favorite jacket: The Define jacket
If you’re like me and have to deal with some cooler climates throughout the year, you need a good jacket for to-and-from the gym, comfy grocery runs, outdoor sporting events, and whatever else you can think of. In comes the Define jacket. Now, I love a slouchy hoodie as much as the next person, but when I’m out-and-about, I tend to favor looking a bit more put-together and tailored, even if it’s just going to the gym. The Define jacket features a highly flattering taper at the waist, soft and comfy fabric, and a flattering hip length cut. I definitely get a “sporty chic” vibe from these when I put mine on. Another big selling point for me in thumbholes. This may sound like a weird selling point, which it kind of is, but whatever. We all have our thing. Mine is thumbholes. Another bonus is that these jackets feature fold-over cuffs for your hands so you can keep your phalanges nice and toasty. Happy phalanges, happy life. Or something like that. Tailored look, thumbholes, happy phalanges, what more could you want in a jacket? I wear a size 4 in these.
Define jacket: $118, My favorite colors: heathered/marled grey (not currently in production), light olive (also not currently in production). You can also never go wrong with standard black or grey!
Favorite accessory: The Fringe-Fighter headband
This is probably my most asked about clothing item in the history of my entire life. Seriously. A headband. In the headband’s defense, every girl with a mane could use a good one. I personally have been through quite a few ups-and-downs with regards to headband selection. I don’t like thin-cut headbands because my bangs still fall in my face, or the headband itself simply slides off. I also don’t find the skinny headbands very flattering on me. Many headbands that I’ve tried in the past have given me headaches due to their tightness. I personally have an awkwardly shaped head (at least according to standard headband manufacturers), so I used to think I was doomed forever. Then I found the Fringe Fighter. These headbands stay on my head without sliding but also without constricting my skull (it’s kind of hard to focus on a max-effort squat if your head is pounding because your stupid headband is too tight). The band is thick but still has enough space for some slight scrunching (or if you want to leave it at its full thickness, do you). They’re also reversible, giving you creative freedom to allow your inner fashionista to run free.
Fringe Fighter headband: $18, My favorite color: black/heathered black
There ya have it, folks! Those are my top five favorite staple items from Lululemon. While I have quite a few miscellaneous items and other styles, these are the ones that I default to most often. If you’re looking to start building your workout-wardrobe, these would be some great starter pieces. You can fill in the blanks as necessary, but these should provide you with a long-lasting, solid foundation. Also, don’t forget: if you’re a personal trainer, fitness instructor, etc, make sure you sign up for the Research and Development program (R&D) at Lululemon! Being and R&D member saves you 15% off all of your purchases in-store. The R&D discount does not work online, but if you go into your local Lululemon and want to order something online through the store, you can still use your R&D discount in that particular scenario.
Hopefully this blog post helped you out! Never underestimate the power of a good outfit, no matter where you are.
The La F’Em Fashion Mantra: Personal style is an outward manifestation of parts of our souls. Wear you. Your style, your heart, your life. They don’t like it? F ‘em. Find your femme, and live it.