New fitness fashion brand: JoyLab by Target review

Target has been sniping successful brands and making their own versions for a few years now, but this spring they’ve really stepped on the gas in the fashion brand style-biting department…

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I get that they have to follow trends, but it’s a little blatant. And as a card maker who’s had one of her designs low-key copied by Paper Source and who has a few other maker friends who this has happened to…I can only imagine how these big, established brands feel about Target copying their whole entire vibe. Eeeeeesh. Not very cool. Anyway. Tabling the issues of brand-swiping and business ethics and moving back into FITNESS FASHION REVIEW LAND…

Target now has a fitness fashion brand called JoyLab that’s kind of like Outdoor Voices + all the other cute fit fashion brands rolled into one trendy package.

JOYLAB REVIEW

The quality is pretty good. Better than Target’s terrible Champion/ C9 stuff (so thin, so clingy, makes me so angry), but not as thick as “real” fitness brands. Then again, what do you want for under $35 per piece? Basically, if you have cellulite, you might be able to get away with their pants, depending on the color and how few fucks you give. But I only found one pair of pants that I felt OK in, and they have a distracting pattern.

But the bra tops are all really cute. They cover a lot of different trends in color, pattern, and cut. Mostly I noticed a lot of “long line” bras/ bra tops which means they go further down towards your waist and *some* people can wear them as tops with high-waisted leggings. ICYMI, this is my formula to find out if you are one of those people. (From my post about jog bra trends from a while back.)

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And JoyLab has a lot of cute jackets and sweatshirts. A few different takes on bombers (mesh, scuba, sweatshirt, etc.) and a lot of cute sweatshirts. But the sweatshirts are mostly pretty cropped, so I only tried on the (totally predictable for me) big baggy long one. I’d put pictures of the jackets and sweatshirts here, but the pictures online don’t even come close to doing them justice. You have to see them in person.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT JOYLAB BY TARGET

  • Affordable. Pants $35. Bras $20.
  • You get more than what you pay for in the style dept.
  • You get about what you pay for in the quality department.
  • 900 times better than C9.
  • Check out their jackets.

Here are some JoyLab things I bought:

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Here are some other JoyLab things I tried on:

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Here are some other cute JoyLab things:

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And Imma just put this here…

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Why so ‘spensive? (The rise of $100 yoga pants.)

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Oh, workout clothes. You so silly. The really good pants can cost $100. And the nice tops can cost $70ish. You only wear the stuff for an hour at a time. And then it’s going to smell like butt. Literally. Where do they get off charging that much for smell-like-butt clothes?

Well. Back in the day I would have thought it was just branding and luxury marketing and all that seventh grade stuff. Charge more and people will think it’s better. Then every yoga mom has to have a Lulu logo on her butt.  But now that I actually design and manufacture stuff myself (paper goods, not clothes. bsandrs.com) and have a friend who designs and manufactures jeans (tallwaterjeans.com), I understand the work that goes into production and development and how much quality costs. And also, the more workouts I try, and the more laundry I do, the more I appreciate high-functioning stuff.

So. Why do they charge that much for smell-like-butt clothes? I’ll tell ya.

1. Quality of fabric. The fabric matters a ton. The fabric is what determines sheerness, wicking, longevity, fit, whether or not your cellulite shows, whether or not they keep their shape or stretch out, how easy they are to get in and out of, and whether or not the pants will slide down when you get sweaty. That’s why LuluLemon got big. Not just because they were design leaders, but also because of Luon fabric.

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LuluLemon

 

2. Technology. Not only do they have to be the right thickness and all of that, these fabrics have to breathe and wick and stretch both ways.  They have breathable panels in body-mapped places. And those silver seams? Those actually cool you down and don’t absorb your stink. (I worked on adidas for years. Trust me. I know things.) F-yeah, science.

athleta

Athleta

3. Design. Designing fitted things is hard. Designing fitted things that stay in place while flexing to and fro is hard. Figuring out how wide to make a waist band and how tight or high it needs to be to keep your poppin fresh dough from spilling out is hard. Placing the seams in a way that draws the eye around your leg, cutting the strap so you don’t get armpit boob, adding a key pocket without actually adding a pocket is hard. (It adds material, complicates pattern, takes longer to manufacture…) These are the things that make good pieces good. And they’re what make you keep on choosing to wear that one top or those certain pants instead of all the others.

Splits 59

Splits59 Spinning Crops

 

 

4. Engineering. If you have more than a B cup you know you need a real jog bra, and you understand what a feat of engineering that those suckers are. (Bounce. Moving Comfort.) And some workout pants even have built in spanx-y panels and butt lifters and stuff (Lucy). Compression patterns support your muscles and help you work longer. It’s way more complex then sewing two halves of a pattern together.

Moving Comfort Rebound Racer

Moving Comfort

 

So you see, a quality piece of fitness apparel takes a lot of work and design and R&D. It’s made with stuff that costs a lot more than cotton because it has to do a lot more than cotton. And the benefit you get out of that piece (comfort, support, confidence, performance) is directly related to how much work went into creating it.

I still have my first pairs of Athleta and LuluLemon capris. They’re at least 5 years old. And I still pick those guys from my drawer before all of the rest. Meanwhile, the Old Navy Active yoga crops I just bought for less than the cost of my lunch are thin and scratchy, don’t have stretchy thread, and will be busted in a matter of months. There’s cost per wear. And there’s just wasting time churning through cheap stuff when one great piece will remove “shop for gym pants” from your to-do list for years.

I am absolutely not trying to peer pressure you into buying something you can’t afford. (Hello, I wear old navy tank tops 90% of the time.)  But I am for sure telling you that there IS a difference and you will get A LOT of use out of the good stuff for a LONG time.

And yeah. It’s way cuter.

LuLuLemon