Striped Stretch Pant Fail

Striped Athleta Chaturangas

When they came out last year, I was like “Whaaaaa? Those are cyuuuute.” But I own at least 4 pairs of Chaturangas already, and sort of doubted horizontal stripes across my widest bits would be a good idea.

But I have seen them on different ladies with different body types, and they do kind of look cute on a lot of people, so I kept them in the back of my mind…

Then I was out negative-shopping last week (returning things) and saw a pair on the sale rack at Athleta, so I had to try them on.

If you were wondering if striped leggings are for you, (and you’ve got a booty) here’s your answer: 

NOPE.

Oh well. A few more notes on them:

FABRIC:  much less stretchy than the other chaturangas I have.

FIT: the cut and rise are the same.

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#PearShapedProblems : training tops and running pants

Here’s what happens when I get dressed for bootcamp: I spend ten minutes trying to figure out which pair of black workout pants is tight enough to stay up during jumping jacks and such, thick enough to camouflage cellulite and sweat, but not so tight that my saggy double butt or lady bits are on full display.

 

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This chart is from YouBeauty, click on it for their butt-type specific exercises.

THEN, I put on whatever flowy top makes me feel least gross and goes down the longest.

THEN, I go to class and either my pants fall down the whole time, or my top flies up during burpees and mountain climbers and hip hikes.

The pants issue, I’ve figured out. I needed to 1. stop wearing Athelta Chaturangas and LuluLemon Wonder Unders to bootcamp, because both of them shits is designed for YOGA. Stretchy material, wide waistbands, basically designed to slip down and give you penguin crotch and muffin top if you dare to jog in place in them.

So I dug out my tub of workout clothes that are a size smaller, and (yippee!) some of those pants fit now. And most of them were intended for running and training, not yoga. So we’re good there. Also: don’t be afraid to wear something that feels “tight” because basically, if it feels “comfy” when you’re not working out, it’s going to fall down when you are. And nobody cares about your butt once the workout starts. Everyone’s busy either worrying about their own butts or trying not to quit and walk out in the middle of class. Just like you. (Want the full education on workout-pant types? I wrote about it here.)

Now the tops: that’s a little harder. You know I loathe clingy, roll-showing, muffin top maxing, tech tops. And I’d rather not wear a wife beater type tank top in public just yet. (mushy middle) So I basically have ONE TOP that really works for boot camp. The Athleta Breathe tank, which has a shit-ton of ruching and is really long, so it stays in place pretty well, but also has some distraction/camo action. Well, they don’t make that tank top anymore. So…sweet.

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Athleta Breathe Tank

What about bubble tops, Aimee?  Fuck bubble tops, that’s what. I’m a pear, so they balloon out at the one place I’m small – my waist, and also, because of my shape, they just slide up towards my narrowest part anyway. Also, I think they’re ugly. Unless you’re a super apple. Then, they’re probably your best option.

So I’ve been on the lookout for something that might work, and I sort of found something. It’s called the Sweat it Out top from Lucy. It’s sort of a straight cut, so it is snug-ish at the hip, but doesn’t cling anywhere else. So the cut is working in my favor. But it’s not perfect because the fabric is slippery. It’s better than a lot of tech fabrics because it’s thick (awesome) and seamless and doesn’t look cheap and tacky as fuck. But, it does slide up a little. I even made a point of wearing it with a more brushed cotton type of pant rather than a slippy slidy pair, and I still had to pull it down a fair amount. I will say it never rode all the way up, though. Just a few inches. (PS, they’re on sale now. Probably because you can’t tell the quality from the photograph.)

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Lucy Sweat it Out Tank

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I’ll keep my eyes open. And I might try some other kind of ruched top from Athleta like the Fastest Track or PR Tank 2 or Pure Tank. I don’t know. They look pretty tight-fitting. Might just have to suck it up and wear my Old Navy tank tops. They might not wick or anything, but at least they’re the right shape and they’re not slippery…(FYI, some of the shittier colors of the Fastest Track are on sale for as low as $18…)

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Athleta Fastest Track

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Athleta PR 2 Tank

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Athleta Pure Tank

 

 

 

Pretend Shopping Spree: Olympia Activewear

Olympia Activewear: the coolest sports bras in town by a San Francisco-based designer. Good job, Ms. Kaili Lickle.

Let’s pretend for a second that my boobs aren’t “I have a baby”-sized. And while we’re at it, let’s pretend that my ass isn’t “I have a new baby”-sized either. Here’s what I’d love to wear from Olympia.

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Tough, hardcore and beautiful. Perfect.

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Sporty with a sophisticated softness. Perfect.

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Awesome details on the waistbands and knees.

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Perfect proportions on the trim of the shorts and where the calf fabric starts on the leggings.

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And then this is actually something I could wear IRL.

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Also, cute headband. 🙂

Love love love the Olympia.

Long-ass hoodies.

WHY I GO LONG.

Pregnant or not, I am a pear. And I have a long torso. And I prefer long tops over short. And by “prefer” I mean “can only buy.” Because anything that’s not “long” will hit at my hip bones, and then ride up because the waist band is naturally going to try to find its way to a narrower area, that being my waist. Which means if my jacket is not long, all it’s good for is showing off my muffin top zone. I have a few jackets that I love, but never wear, because I was an idiot and bought pretty things that weren’t the right shape for me. Don’t do that. There’s no point in that. Repeat after me: The shit must fit.

You know I love me some Athleta, but so many of their tops and jackets are short. They’re even short on the models. I always look through the catalog and think “Um. You guys can see that right? Why would I buy something that looks too small on HER?”

But guess what. This winter they’ve got a purposefully long jacket. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO PEARS EVERYWHERE!

They call it the CYA (Cover Your Assets) Strength Hoodie. I have not tried it on but it looks like it’s intended to be their version of the Lululuemon Scuba Hoodie. Which is a somewhat thick terry cloth (sweatshirt material) hoodie. I don’t consider the Scuba to be a perfect long option. I’d call it a medium length. But if you size up enough, maybe. I have a Nice Asana jacket from Lululemon that is legit-long. Long long. It absolutely covers all of your bits. It’s great. But it’s not available anymore. A very good alternative is my very first Lululemon jacket, the Stride. Also great. Stretchy Luon fabric. Fairly long. I’ve used it for workout, for a layer under my puffer, as a cardigan substitute. It’s kind of my favorite item of clothing. It’s my armor. Too bad I’m too baby-fat to wear it right now. 😦

ATHLETA CYA STRENGTH HOODIE $128

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LULULEMON SCUBA II HOODIE $108

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LULULEMON NICE ASANA JACKET – no longer available

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LULULEMON STRIDE JACKET $118

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 11.07.37 AM Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 11.06.21 AM Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 11.07.27 AMAnd I just noticed Nancy Rose featuring some long-ish hoodies on my Instagram feed, so I checked those out for you. You’re welcome. I have not tried any Nancy Rose tops or jackets myself, but I do have a pair of pants, and the fabric is good, so I’d imagine their jackets are good. $170 good? I don’t know. But that’s up to you.

NANCY ROSE FAVORITE HOODIE $148

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NANCY ROSE MOTO JACKET $168

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And finally, a jacket I actually CAN wear right now with my baby-fat ass: The humble Gap Fit Maternity Lightweight All Weather Hoodie. I had one, but had to exchange it for a different size. Yes a bigger one. Shut up. That’s on backorder until January. And they’re just plain sold out online. Which makes me mentioning them kind of useless, but hey, maybe they’ll stock up in January. I thought the fabric and cut were really great for the price. I don’t know why they call it lightweight. It’s not thin at all. It’s the same weight as a medium-weight sweatshirt. I plan to live in it. If it ever gets here.

GAP BODY MATERNITY LIGHTWEIGHT ALL WEATHER HOODIE $54.95

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And pregnant or not, here are my fit tips for long-torso/ pear-shaped long-jacket shopping.

1. Don’t be vain. If you have to size up to get the length, that’s more important. Sure, a smaller size might fit better on the waist, but it doesn’t matter if the stupid thing is going to ride up. And if you feel like you’re between sizes, or need the top from this one and the bottom from that one, let it go. It’s really worth it to wait to find the right fit. You will wear the shit out of it for years and years. I’ve had my Lululemon Stride jacket for like 5 years and it’s still my favorite and it’s still going strong.

2. Wider waist bands are better. The wider the waist band (or more accurately, band at the bottom that will be on your butt) the less likely it is to ride up. Think about it like an Ace Bandage. A skinny one will move up and down because it doesn’t have enough real-estate to pull weight vs. the rest of the jacket, especially when you move. A wider band has some magical height-to-width ratio going on and physics helps it want to stay where it is.

3. Baggy on bottom isn’t necessarily best. You don’t want the bottom to be tight. You don’t want it to be loose. You want it to be snug. If it’s loose, then chances are the whole jacket is too big and you’re going to feel shlumpy in it. Also, you’ll get air up in there, which will make you cold. Also, it will add bulk on the bottom. And the whole point is to look and feel as sleek and streamlined as you can, right?

Right. The whole point of being picky about your workout wear is so it makes you feel good and comfortable and powerful and stoked. Your workout wear should make you feel like you’re wearing your very own superhero suit. If it’s not making you feel like a badass, screw it. It’s not doing it’s job and it’s not good enough for you.

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I’m ready for boot camp now.

 

Workout Review: Heaven and Hell Bootcamp

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Gotta love Groupon.

This year I also took advantage of a Groupon for a local boot camp called Heaven and Hell. I’ve never done a boot camp before. And frankly, I used to think boot camp sounded terrifying and miserable and always took place outside before dawn in the rain with someone yelling at you. I am not a “no pain no gain” person. I am an “I have to enjoy it or else I won’t go” fitness person. But luckily, I was totally wrong about boot camp.

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About Heaven and Hell.

Heaven and Hell describes itself as “functional group training.” I never really understood what “functional fitness” meant, but I am getting the impression it means “moving your body and some weight around in all sorts of different directions.“ This class takes place in a strip mall (I live in the burbs, so that’s where everything is), in an open room, with every piece of fitness equipment you could dream of. Like…medicine balls, heavy balls, battle ropes, bosu trainers, sand bags, stability balls, kettle bells, dumbells, weighted bars, bands, rebounding step thingies, regular steps, plyo benches, giant tires, TRX, chin up bars, jump ropes, mini balance pods, weighted mini balls, slider disk thingies, and probably ten other things I’m not remembering. Basically, it’s a fitness playground. And it’s hella fun.

What it is, is circuit training. The instructor creates 7-12 ish different exercises (depending on class size), demos them at the beginning, and then you do each one for a certain amount of time, or you do two timed-sets with a mini break, and then you move to the next exercise. You usually go around 3 or 4 times in the 45 minute class, with a core training session (planks, pilates, on your back ab work) in the middle or at the end.

Results?

It’s great. You can’t get bored. If an exercise sucks, it’s only going to last like a minute and you only have to do it a few times. 45 minutes is the perfect class length. There are all sorts of people in there, so there’s always someone struggling more than you and always someone going turbo to look up to. I love it love it love it. You gain good cardio fitness, get some good core results, and your arms and shoulders get results because of the push ups and whatnot.

Between Dailey Method and Heaven and Hell Boot camp this summer, I was really having a great time, looking forward to all of my classes, enjoying feeling fitter and fitter, and getting visible results. I mean, look at my arms in this picture! That’s not from “lifting.” That’s from all sorts of different fun types of moves and equipment and body resistance stuff.

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Courtesy of Kelly Allison Photography. KellyAllisonPhoto.com

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Look, ma! An Ab! ONE AB.

AND, at one point, before everything went to shit and I stopped going to both, I swear I was starting to see more than just that one oblique I could always see if I sucked in hard and leaned over to the side.

 

CONCLUSION

Three word review for Heaven and Hell Bootcamp: Fitness. Playground. Fun.

I don’t have many pictures from bootcamp, but I tended to take happy sweaty selfies afterward, so that tells you something.

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Pants that last? Kyodan. (and are they secretly lulu?)

Had somebody ask recently about durable leggings:

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Good question, CJ!

I personally haven’t had any durability issues with any pants except the cotton ones form Old Navy Active. (They fade and look pretty homeless pretty fast.) Everything else seems to last a reasonable amount of time. (Grain of salt: I am a workout leggings hoarder and many pairs in rotation, so each pair gets rest.) So I’m not an expert in durability. BUT I do have an outdoor roller-blade hockey playing friend who took a pretty gnarly knees first-spill on asphalt in a pair of capris by Kyodan and she swears they didn’t suffer a bit. Pretty impressive. I mean, if they can stand up to asphalt I would think they can handle a year of thighs rubbing together? (That’s where my stuff wears out first. I think I patched a pair of favorite jeans like 7 times in the crotchular area. #pearshapedproblems.) Anyway. Kyodan.

What is Kyodan? It’s a more affordable fitness wear brand that’s carried at T.J. Maxx. People really like them, and they even have a Facebook fan page. That says something.

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These running capris from Kyodan cost $25

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These guys are $20. And they look a lot like the Chaturanga from Athleta. 

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Hell, as long as I’m looking around for Kyodan on TJMaxx.com, here are some more things from them:

Kyodan Open Back Burnout “long bra” tank $17

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Kyodan Aztek Mesh Back Athletic Shirt $20

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Now, there are some rumors going around the interwebs that Kyodan might be manufactured in the same facility as LuluLemon, and might be a way to get Lulu without paying out the lulu for it. But there are also a lot of people who say that’s bunk and the quality is not the same. I don’t know. I have a hard time shopping in T.J. Maxx for non-home stuff. (I can’t stand digging through sloppy unorganized racks. It feels like a garage sale.) BUT, they have a website, so you don’t have to work too hard to buy some Kyodan and find out for yourself. If you do, let me know the verdict!

How to wash your workout wear.

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OK. So. Now that you’ve ponied up 100 bucks for a schmancy high performing pair of workout pants, you need to take proper care of them to make them last.

Why? Because if you don’t, they will start to hold onto odor, they’ll stop wicking, and they’ll lose the perfect stretch and compression you paid so much for.

HOW should you wash athletic clothes? 

-In COLD water. (hot is bad for elastics)

-Only with other performance fabrics. Why? Because heavier/ rougher fabrics will beat up the sport fabric. Rough it up. Stretch it out. Cause it to pill.

-And HANG DRY. Before and after you wash. You should really hang your workout clothes up after you peel them off. Let the sweat evaporate, don’t throw them into your laundry pile all crumpled up and wet to fester and rot. Hang them to dry after washing, too. I am personally a hang dry-only freak. I hang dry everything except for sheets and towels. Because I can’t handle the emotional damage that shrinking will cause. I’m dead serious about this. Do not wash my clothes. Beware the wrath of the girl whose favorite whatever doesn’t fit anymore because it accidentally got thrown in the dryer. You do not want to be on the receiving end of that torrent of uncut rage and tears.

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Don’t even aim a blow dryer at my shit. I will cut you.

WHAT kind of detergent should you wash your athletic clothes with? 

-POWDER not liquid. Why? Because you don’t want residue. Any residue stuck to the fibers will coat them and keep them from wicking. You also don’t want fabric softeners or “optical brighteners” because they also coat fibers.  So unfortunately, Woolite is out.

-This is also why “Tide plus Febreeze” or any regular wash that just adds an odor eliminator doesn’t cut it.

-Most “sports detergents” focus only on body oils and odor. Apparently, active wear really likes to become permanently stinky. Because body oils and stinks bond differently to synthetics than they do to cotton. I guess I’ve noticed that a little, but overall, I’m more concerned with keeping the wicking performance and elasticity. And I assume if a detergent is good enough to preserve elasticity, it’s probably already got the odor and body oils thing covered.

Even the most “sporty” sports detergents (Win, Sport Wash) are liquid. So despite their macho labels, high prices, and sports-store distribution, they’re totally not ideal for keeping the physical performance properties of the fibers in tact. WTF right? BUT. Good news…

There are a few powdered sports washes out there, Vapor Fresh Sports Laundry Detergent (which is a good source of information, too) and Sports Suds. I haven’t tried either, but it seems like they should be good.

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I usually use Forever New. It comes in through the “fine garment care” door instead of the “odor eliminating” one. It’s for delicates and it says that it “preserves fiber flex” and “maintains elasticity.” I mean, if people wash their french lingerie in it, I trust it.

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Here, I’ve done the shopping for you!

Forever New: $14.50 for 32oz (16 washes)  on Amazon, prime eligible.

Vapor Fresh: $22 for 80oz (32 washes) + shipping on their site, same on Amazon, but prime eligible.

Sports Suds: $21 for 14oz (34 loads) through Amazon, prime eligible.

I was about to just order some more Forever New, but after doing this research for y’all it’s obvious that these other guys are cheaper per load, so I’m going to try Vapor Fresh, too. Although, I’m still not sold.  I don’t trust a detergent designed by a boy to eliminate stink to take care of lycra and preserve stretch as well as a lingerie detergent. Hmmm… Either way, I’ve gotta stop using the Tide with Febreeze. My clothes just feel slimy. Bad news.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE  The residue from liquid detergent is coating your washer too. So you’re supposed to clean it out by washing old towels in your new powdered detergent first. Not sure how this is going to work for me since we wash everything else in liquid…but…I guess we’ll just have to gradually switch from liquid to powder for everything. No reason not to.

Here’s what Sports Suds says about that:

http://www.sportsuds.com/First-Use-Information.html

So. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you you’re doing everything wrong. But now you know. And I learned some new stuff too. If it makes you feel better, I can’t do my stinky-ass laundry for a few days because I’m waiting for the special detergents to get here…