Pretend Shopping Spree: Reebok

Like I said in my previous article about Reebok, I have a lot of respect for this funky, gritty, true to itself brand. They’re doing great work right now. And they’re making some great looking workout wear. For to enjoy: Reebok.

1. Combat Bralette $60 2. CrossFit High Impact Bra $70 3. Reebok X Tristan Eaton Collage Tight $65  4. Dance Shattered Glam Tight $55  5. Cardio Woven Jacket $110  6. Reebok X Face Stockholm $50

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Today’s WorkOutfit

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Admittedly, “work” today means worky work, like sitting on my ass at the computer work. Dressed like a dude in joggers, kicks, and a jacket. And 30 second hair. They have it so easy they don’t even know.

Joggers: Gapfit, Jacket: Mountain Hardware, Shoes: Toms, Tracker: Up2 by Jawbone

Calia by Carrie Underwood

Hey, Aimee, have you heard of Calia by Carrie Underwood?

Yes, of course I have! I pretend-shop for all the workout clothes all the time. Duh. But I haven’t written about it yet because 1. I’ve been busy with the newborn and 2. I checked it out a while back and my take was “Eh. It’s ok. But I’ve seen it all before.” However, it is sort of a big deal: it’s lovely-ish fitness stuff that’s more affordable than Lulu and very accessible. So OK. Fine, Carrie Underwood. Here you go.

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Get it, girl.

Calia by Carrie is a fitness apparel line by Carrie Underwood for Dick’s Sporting Goods. Dick’s is like Sports Authority but nicer. Carrie Underwood is known for American Idol, songs about Jesus and slashing tires, big blonde hair, lots of eye makeup, and really great legs.60553794cd84a631a91fc7988c66827a carrie_underwood2 carrie-underwood-300

She’s a vegetarian and often a vegan. She works out a lot. She tours a lot. (See legs.)  She married some hockey player and just had a baby around the same time I did. And yes, of course, she’s already rocking a mini dress. (LEGS.)

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Post-Baby Carrie

But she’s a celebrity and I’m not, so let’s not compare because I don’t have a staff or a tour or mini dresses to get back into. But lets do be happy that her waist looks (a teeny bit) thicker, as it should, and lets feel better about ourselves (me) that our (my) midsection is still thick four months after baby because 1. I haven’t been able to work out and 2. even Miss Carrie, who can and does, still has it. SWEET!! But lets also give much respect to the legs. THE LEGS. Bless your Barbie-worshiping, singing about Jesus driving metaphorical cars-heart. THE LEGS! Well done, woman.

She built those legs.  She did the “soft teen turns into tiny, ripped, mini-dress rocking super-star” transformation thing that happens a lot with Idol Alumnae (Katharine McPhee, Jennifer Hudson), so I say she is qualified to venture into fitness fashion. And everyone knows country = money, so congratulations, Dick’s Sporting Goods, for jumping on that obvious money train. (Darius Rucker, Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Republicans, etc. etc. etc.)

Calia by Carrie Underwood lives here caliastudio.com and the Dick’s site is here. I have no problem with her #staythepath / work in working out / the gym is where you are-type messaging. Totally authentic to what she does, having to train while touring and all. The ads look nice and the pink wash matches the color pallette of the line. Oh wait, I’m not supposed to be a Creative Director right now, I’m supposed to be a fashion blogger. Sorry, I’m both. Once a MadWoman always a MadWoman.

The Clothes

Calia Tops are $30-50-ish. Sweaters are more like $80. Every single piece is something you can find somewhere else: rouched tanks, cocoon cardigans, batwing sweaters, etc. You know, basic, sort of pretty stuff. Which is why I got that meh feeling back when I first checked it out. It’s nothing innovative. It’s nothing new. It’s just a “you gotta have one of each of these kind of pieces because they sell” kind of a thing. Which is exactly appropriate. I guess. But if I had the opportunity to create a line, I’d want to try and introduce at least one iconic piece that had something interesting or different or risky going on. (Like Stella McCartney for adidas, with the chest straps.) She probably couldn’t, even if she wanted to. Big business. Blah blah blah. But that’s how I feel about it. It’s perfectly safe.

Bottoms are $40ish for shorts, $65ish for tights and capris, and they’re so boring they just put me to sleep scrolling through them. Except these. These are kind of interesting. And props for the proportions and flattering seam-lines and wide waist band (good for muffin tops).

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Calia by Carrie Essential Tight Fit Printed Capris $65

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Calia by Carrie Essential Tight Fit Printed Capris $65

Also, there’s just so much heather grey. I love grey. More than people. But heather grey is the worst color for workout pants because it’s super bump-showy and sweat-showy.

There are also some bras, accessories and panties. The balconette bra is interesting, and the accessories are pretty enough. They’re just not necessary. Does Carrie Underwood need to make a yoga mat and a yoga block and a head band (nay, 5 different kinds of headbands) AND underpants? If I have my branding hat on, I say just do a few new things instead of doing everything. Even if everything is great, it’s too much to absorb right off the bat.

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Calia by Carrie Inner Power Heathered Balconette Bra $41

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Calia by Carrie Inner Power Heathered Balconette Bra $41

That being said, I kind of like the fruit infusion water bottle and would totally try the toeless grip socks for Dailey Method, despite the creepy mannequin foot model. Dailey Method socks always slip off of me. Aaaaand I have tingers. Toeless socks are worth a shot. And shit, two pairs for $10 is great. Imma order some of those right now. Carrie wins again.

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Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 9.22.48 AM Calia by Carrie Fruit Infusion Water Bottle $30 and No-Toe No-Heel Grip Bottom Socks $10 for 2 pairs (!)

Instagrams.

1. Hey look! It’s not yoga pants and sweatshirt!  I mean. Technically, stretch pants are yoga pants and neither of those are pants, but nowadays…they pass. Anyway: a shirt with buttons WAS WORN. And I went OUT OF THE HOUSE. High five, me.

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2. Introducing the hottest new strength training equipment: The Ergo Baby carrier. Add resistance to new-mom activities like eating ham straight from the package and trying to finish one damn email! Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 1.35.44 PM

 

3. Not working out. Being excited about technically being able to workout.

This is me in the home gym soon after the doctor gave me the go ahead to do any kind of workout I want/can. Right now that means ten minutes of leg lifts and planks when I can sneak them in because naps > reps for a while. But still. Good news.

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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.

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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

 

Why I don’t miss sugar or wheat. And why you can’t be annoyed by that.

In the past, if you told me “I just don’t eat sweets” I would hear “I’m a pretentious liar who can’t deal with the fact that I’m on a diet.”

Today, I would say “Really? Me too? Why? Do they make you sick?” and I’d talk to you for a half hour about inflammation and the politics of the food industry and stuff.

Today is the 100th day I have been off sugar. And of those 100 days, I only had bread once. It was inspired by the lady who documented her 100 days at the gym and Whole30. I had bigger plans, but my “Whole100” devolved into just 100 days w/o sugar and wheat. I don’t care. Progress is progress and 100 days is game changer. A change has been made.

Sugar and wheat/bread/flour/whatevers make my whole body ache like I have the flu. After dinner EVERY DAY I would curl up and whine. Sometimes I’d take a bath to feel better. Like, multiple times a week. I have no idea why I accepted that existing meant feeling like crap for so long. I didn’t even think about it. I’m sure there are other things I’m doing to myself now that make me feel like crap that I should work on next. But my point is this: you can read all the books on sugar and wheat (I have) but until you have a powerful, meaningful reason to not eat them, they’re literally addictive drug-like things and they will make their way into your face. Once I realized that I felt like shit all the time, and it was their fault, making them go away was psychologically effortless.

Physically, there was a bit of effort. Yes, I went through the carb flu. And I felt like the walking dead. And no I haven’t lost any weight despite not eating most carbs. (excuse me while I go have an IT’S NOT FAIR!!! hissy fit…) But now that I’ve kicked the habit, I just don’t want to go back to eating that shit that makes me feel like shit. Also, I don’t want to have to start at square one with the carb flu. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

People can talk about positive motivation all they want. You can say you’re working out “to be healthy” and I will still translate that statement in my head to “I’m working out to be thinner.” Sure they’re the same thing. But don’t bullshit me. “Healthy” and “Clean” and “Strong” are not concepts that motivate.

Negative motivation is more powerful. It’s real. It embraces what really matters to you, and that, my friend is what WILL GET YOU THERE.

So lets be a little more honest, OK?

I don’t eat non-produce carbs because they make me feel like shit.

I’m working out because I don’t want my body to look and feel like it does. I don’t want to be self-conscious, and hate getting dressed, and have a nervous breakdown when someone invites me to the beach. Basically, I don’t want to feel like shit.

Those thoughts get me moving. I am literally running away from the negative. “Better cardiovascular fitness” does not get me to put on a jog bra.

Why are you doing P90X? Because you don’t want to keep on taking “before” pictures.

Why are you running a marathon? Because you have something to prove.

Why are you going to boot camp? Because you can’t push yourself hard enough on your own.

Why are you lifting weights? Because at some point someone made you feel weak. (Who can’t say that?) And you need to feel like you can kick someone’s ass.            Or you’re going bald.

Why do I go to Dailey Method classes? Because my butt is sagging lower by the day and will soon reach my knees. And the only way I’m going to workout hard enough to change that, is by paying so much for class that I’ll feel like shit if I half-ass it. (I have the Dailey Method DVDs, but they lack this feature.)

So if someone is honest enough to say “I’m going to spin because I feel fat” do them a favor. Don’t say “You’re not fat.” Say “That’s awesome. Do you like it?”

We’re all doing what we’re doing because in one way or another we don’t want to feel like shit. We’re motivated by the negative. And that’s a very positive thing.