Pretty-Sweaty on the Socials

Hello! Quick little update on the digital world of Pretty-Sweaty:

  1. The Instagram account for this blog is now officially @prettysweaty 
  2. Below are some posts from the last few months.
  3. There is a twitter account for this blog @prettysweaty1 so you can now get fitness and fitstyle-themed bitchings, rantings, and ravings in bitesize form.
  4. I still hate tech-fabric shirts, so don’t worry, there’s stability in the world.

 

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EXP Core Review (Fitness fashion from Express)

Hey, guess who else has a new fitness wear line.  Express. Yep, that Express. It’s called EXP Core Performance, and they sent me an outfit to review, so I happily shall. Someone wants to send me clothes? YAASSS!

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Hello, EXP Core Performance.

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What they have: Workout Clothes for Women. A whole line of workout leggings,  workout tops, sports bras, and jackets.They say they’re “sexy, stylish, and built for maximum performance.” Oh. You wanna go after VSX Victoria’s Secret Sport? Ok. I hear you. Go for it.

They let me pick out from a selection of a few different pants and tops, and I chose these leggings because 1. I have too many crops right now and 2. HOLY SHIT CRAZY BUTTERFLY PATTERN I LOVE IT. And I chose the black top, obviously, because that’s what I wear. Black tops. And the lovely folks at EXP Core Performance sent me a sports bra to wear under it, too. Sweet!Outfit math expFullSizeRender

The workout leggings kind of rule. Ombre Animal Print EXP Core Compression Legging $69.90. And I’m not just saying that because I didn’t have to pay for them. The pattern is really fun, and it’s the first big, all-over pattern like this that has been flattering on my shape. ( Pear / T-Rex / Thunder-thighs.) The white at the bottom definitely helps because white looks bigger, so the effect is almost the same as if I were wearing bootcut/flared yoga pants. They balance out the thunder thighs. And the pattern at the top (read: the pattern across my ass) is dark and keeps the eye moving, so we’re good there, too. The only drawback is that this fabric is white with a print on it, so the inside of the pants are white, which means when the fabric stretches, it gets lighter because you’re seeing a little bit of that white come through. The black becomes dark grey when it is stretched across my thighs. So. Shopping tip: pay attention to the color of the inside of your workout pants. It’s not a deal breaker in this case, though. I think they still look good.FullSizeRender_2

But more importantly, they make me feel good. I feel like an olympic skier in them. They are edgy and obnoxious and you can’t really wear them and sit on the couch, because look at them! They are ACTION PANTS MADE FOR ACTION! Right?

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The tech and specs:

Fabric: They’re a slippery, almost bathing suit-type material, like Onzie leggings. Which means they wick well, and you could probably use them for bikram yoga or even swimming if you wanted to. Surfing? Maybe. But only if you get them really tight. There’s no drawstring. The fabric is not thick, and  that’s usually a deal breaker for me,  because: cellulite. But the pattern does the camouflaging that I usually count on a thicker fabric to do, so NBD.

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Fit: They have a high rise with a wide waistband, so that’s perfect. Everybody seems to be catching on to that now. As they should be. There’s no reason for anybody to have to have a muffin top. Hooray progress! Also, there’s a waistband key pocket, which is mandatory. I’m between sizes right now, so I ordered the higher size. So they’re not “performance” tight on me. (Except for on the thighs because everything is.)  But despite that, they didn’t slide down during a long walk, and they stayed in place pretty well during burpees and bouncing in a HIIT workout.

I’m impressed, Express. These are thoughtfully designed. Respect.

The workout top is a soft, drapey cotton.  Black EXP Core Strappy Tank $34.90. It’s loose enough and long enough, with some showy interest in the back. What more could you want? You might think “eh, it’s fine” when you look at it online, but it’s the kind of easy-to-wear piece you (I) will probably reach for first again and again. No brainer.

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The sports bra looks basic at first sight, too. (Mesh Back EXP Core Sports Bra $49) But the material actually has an almost shiny, leather-look, so it’s different and edgy, without being slutty.  The scoop of the neck and the width of the straps are flattering. It’s not too low cut,  and it covers the upper boob/ armpit fat. They know what they’re doing over there. And you know I don’t say that shit lightly. Of course, this is a “for looks” bra, not a “for running” bra. There’s no padding, and no special support structure. But it’s pretty slick looking. Oh yeah, and the back has mesh panels, too.FullSizeRender_3

EVERYTHING I got was thoughtfully designed. I’m pleasantly surprised, and actually pretty stoked. This EXP stuff is really flattering. For real.

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Seriously, you guys. When I saw Express in my email, I thought “I have not even looked in the window of that store since college.” And I’m 38. I shouldn’t be in there. But workout wear is for everybody, and EXP Core is a nice find. And you can order online so you don’t have to go in there and stand next to a size 00 seventeen year-old who hasn’t even put on her beer weight yet.

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Thumbs up for EXP Core.

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Fabletics Breezy Top

FABLETICS = subscription-ish fitness fashion company associated with Kate Hudson’s little ass. You join, and every month you have to buy or skip. They show you outfits based on your shape/style preferences. If that’s your thing, fine. I prefer to shop by piece. But you can do that too.

I have ordered four things from them, but I’m only talking about the Breezy Tank today because it’s my favorite. IMG_5343

This top is cotton-ish, thin, and super-drapey on one side. It’s a long tunic length and asymmetrical.  The left side is longer, has a bigger arm hole, and has more fabric that kind of drapes under the waist. I totally dig it because I like the big-armhole-shows-a-sports-bra thing but I can’t rock too much exposure because I’m not little in the middle right now. (And I have much back.)

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The quality is good, especially for the price. The draping is great. If you get it big enough it won’t be too clingy. (I’m getting better at buying for the size I am, not the size I think I should be…two tricks to that: 1. Telling myself this is a temporary state of affairs and 2. telling myself that I prefer a drapey fit, so I have to size up. You know. For style reasons.)

I’m not sure if it would be flattering on all body types, but I’m stoked for anything drapey and flowy in a new shape. I keep on buying baggy tanks on repeat and it’s getting silly. So FUCK YEAH for the Breezy Tank. Thanks, Kate Hudson’s sort of company!

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Pretend Shopping Spree at Nordstrom’s Zella

Zella is Nordstrom’s fitness apparel brand and they make good stuff for a good price. Also, they make plus sizes. No excuses for anybody! Here are some new cutes I’d like to order. If I weren’t 8.5 months pregnant…

PULSE TANK $64 // Love the racer front styling. Great if you’re proud of your shoulders.

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SPA OPEN BACK SLUB KNIT TEE $54 // Easy breezy version of a sweatshirt.

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LIVE IN 2 SPACE DYE CAPRIS $52 // Space Dye = Sweat Camo.

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SWEAT IT SOFT SPORT PANTS $58 // Sexiest sweat pants ever.Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 9.44.51 AM

 

BOMBER JACKET $158 // Look for lots of laser cut details this spring.

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MORE MESH TEE $68 // Yessssss. Tough. Love it. Possibly inspired by the mesh shapes with puffy outlines motif from last spring by ….crap I can’t remember which designer. Anyway. I see you, Zella. Screen Shot 2015-02-15 at 9.54.01 AM

 

Psst: Athleta Sale!

Athleta has a ton of stuff on sale, my pretties. Right here.

Scoop up some sweet clothes to sweat in for your New Year’s New You resolutions.

Please. Somebody buy cute things, because I’m 30 weeks pregnant and I can’t.. Waaaaaaah. Do it for me!

If I could fit into real clothes, here’s what I’d get: Plie Tights, Embodiment Tights, Stripe Crop Tee, Shanti Tie-Dye Tank, Bhakta Sweater, Cashmere Crave Sweater, Some grey Plattan Headphones by Urbanears, and yeah, sure, a Rope Belt for the fuck of it.

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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

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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.

 

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!

Anthro’s got Activewear

…and it’s exactly what you’d expect.

FYI: URBN’s sister brand, Antrhopologie, now has active wear, too. Their new (ish) line is called Pure + Good and it claims to be made “with luxury in mind.” As you would expect with something coming from Antrho, there are some ruffles, some mixed materials, and some lace. Girly details. And it’s as pricey as you’d expect. Leggings are $98. I can’t speak to the quality, because I just discovered it online this morning, but reviews seem to be about in line with reviews of all Antrho stuff: really cute, maybe shorter than it looks in the pictures, and questionable quality on some of the pieces. Also, it’s online only/mostly. Looks like Boulder might be the only brick and mortar location that carries activewear.

Overall: more Pretty than the Sweaty. I need stuff that looks like it can take a beating. But if Anthro’s your gig, congratulations and enjoy.

 

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