Lululemon Align Pants Review

Dude.

Lululemon has a new (to me) pair of all-purpose/ yoga leggings. And they are uh-maze-balls.

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Don’t ask me why they styled them with these hideous slides. There are many mysteries in this life.

They’re called the Align Pant. And they’re made out of clouds and dreams.

They’re so stretchy you can put them on on a fat day and not hate yourself.

And so buttery soft and pliable, you put them on and feel like you are instantly as flexible as a pretzel. *high kick*

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Why is this awesome? Well, I’m a little heavier after a summer of work (read: not working out) and wine (because summer), so my workout pants all shame me every time I rally hard enough to put them on…

So I’ve been looking for a pair of “throw on, feel ok, even on not-skinny days, but don’t have to size up” magic pants, totally did not expect for them to come from Lululemon, but here they are.

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I mean seriously, I’ve tried on probably every style of legging that Athleta has, which is saying something, but couldn’t find what I was looking for. No, not even the Powervita line (which is supposed to be their soft and supportive but not too-compressive fabric).  Powervita was soft, but not like these puppies. MAN. They are soft. The fabric is called Nulu.

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Lululemon Align Pants

+super soft-feeling Nulu fabric

+mega stretchy, not compressive at all

+high waist

+flattering heart-shaped seam above your butt that makes you look like you have glute muscles

+double seam on the inner thigh, so there’s no seam right in the middle, I’m assuming so there’s less chafing

+leggings you can still wear on fat days

+they come in dark, creamy fall colors

+f yeah

I’m really excited to have something that doesn’t make me feel like shit when I put it on, which is how all clothes make me feel right now. So I’m really excited for these kind, soft pants. Maybe I’ll take a picture one day, but not today, because like I said, I feel like shit in my own skin. I’m sure you understand. Sad trombone high five, sister. Whatever. #Fitfall?

Anyway, look, they have a pocket too.

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Bandier is giving Carbon 38 a run…

Move over Carbon 38, I’m maybe feeling Bandier.

Bandier is a fitness fashion boutique selling their own and other brands, online and in some brick and mortar locations. And they have some pants that cost $50, while Carbon 38 doesn’t.

Here are some tasty things I saw on their site:

Terez Performance Leggings $78

I can tell that they are white on the inside, so they’ll look grey/see-through when stretched, which is a bummer. But still. I haven’t seen this kind of illustration-style graphic on leggings before…

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Kule X Bandier The Jordyn $125

Kule is the hipster sweatshirt brand of the moment. So Bandier is on top of it with this collab. I’m not showing you the velour track jackets because I refuse. Nor am I going to show you the leggings with black and white horizontal stripes that are a riff on Althleta and Onzie and a few others. But I do love these “knee socks built in”-looking leggings. Pretty clever. (I apologize for the arrows. I’m a lazy screen-grabber, those arrows are from the bandier site, they’re not active.)

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Beyond Yoga Ombre High Waisted Long Legging $115

I know. Burnout fabric is years old. Ombre is years old. But put them together and it feels a little new. And super cozy. Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 11.24.18 AM.png

Laain Sheila Diamond Legging $215

I can’t decide if these are rad or if they’d be a sweaty mess but I can’t look away, so I think I might love them…And I love blue on blue…so, yeah. I LOVE THEM! Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 11.31.18 AM.png

The Upside Tails Bomber $305

Now I’m not saying this will work, but mega points for trying.

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Dagne Dover Dakota Backpack $175

How cute is this? Is it rubber???!!!?? No. It’s neoprene. So great.

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Terez Tall band Capri Iridescent Oil Spill $59

And for Halloween extra credit: Unicorn Pants!!!

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What I like about Bandier:

  • The site isn’t overwhelming.
  • They don’t show pictures of things that are sold out (Why, Carbon 38? Why?).
  • It’s a little more funky than “sexy rich lady.” (Still, lots of expensive things, but the vibe is different.)
  • Check ’em out.

New Balance x J.Crew

J. Crew now has a workout wear line, in collaboration with New Balance.

  1. Because, of course.
  2. Because everybody else has one and they’re the only two brands left.
  3. Because NB makes retro 80s preppy runners that J.Crew does sell, so it’s actually a totally organic pairing.

Real talk?  J.Crew having a workout wear line is funny, and don’t think I’m not going to call their shit out for it. There has never been a single muscle on a single female model in all of J.Crew, and the preferred workout program of the waif prep schooler is anorexia/bulimia, not Crossfit or even barre. Maybe her mom went to a barre class once, but she joked the whole time about how she needed a martini to get through it. Yes, I know J.Crew is an aspirational brand that true East Coast Wasp folk with Old Money and Important Art don’t really shop, but I’m a middle class girl from the midwest, so that’s as far as my actual knowledge of/ignorant assumptions about true prep go.

Deep breath. Focus. OK. J.Crew x NB. Let’s seewhatchagot.

Highlights/ Actually Useful Sport Pieces

1. Seamless Hoodie 2. Softshell Jacket (Practical, cool, athleisureness.) 3. Perfect Tank Top (Love the thick stripe, perfectly sea-preppy.) 3. Performance Color Block Leggings (Get the blue and orange, not the blue and grey b/c they’ll chop you off and make you look thicker in the thigh.) 4. Polka Dot Running Short (So cute they look like PJs.)

And the Ehhhhhhh, not so much-es.

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1. Seamless Capri Leggings (pro: they’d be super comfortable. con: they come in three shades of hell no, super unflattering if you have any bumps and also they will show all of the butt sweat.) 2. Performance Capris in Color Block Polka Dot (Light grey? For the back panel? That’s not gonna work. For an-y-body.)

That’s it. I don’t have time to go through it all. Overall: it’s brand-appropriate in style, patterns and colorways. But none of it is anything you can’t find anywhere else. Conclusion: they’ve checked the obligatory “we have a fitness line now” box, it all makes sense for them, but it didn’t push anything, and it’s definitely not a “holy shit did you see what J.Crew did in fitness???” Which is kind of a shame because I think there’s a lot of potential there… I have ideas….call me Jenna. 😉

 

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

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.

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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I’m never wearing a bathing suit again.

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from salt gypsy

Swim leggings. Wait, what? Yes. Swim leggings. Leggings you wear while swimming. AKA Swim Tights. AKA Surf Leggings. These are a thing. I guess surfers wear them (makes sense) and now you can get them at more and more places like Urban OutfittersAthleta, Prana, even Land’s EndNordstrom carries Onzie, which makes RIDICULOUSLY obnoxious-cute patterns and started as a bikram yoga brand. Their fabric is kind of slippery and weird, but that’s because its meant to get wet and also to dry quickly. Bikram. According to their website “Onzie yoga gear is perfect for hot yoga, but can also be used for pilates, spinning, swimming, surfing, running or hooping. Our clothes can be worn as everyday wear or into chlorine and salt water environments.”

What? Sweet. Because I just had a baby and I haven’t really been able to start working out for real yet and I’m NOT trying to wear a bathing suit. In fact, I’m NEVER trying to wear a bathing suit. Who is? Shit. Swim leggings? I’m fucking sold. I’m never wearing a stupid, make me feel terrible about myself and miserable while I should be enjoying playing in the water, bathing suit again! Score one for freedom!!!! FUCKING SWIM TIGHTS, MOTHER BITCHES!!! HOORAY!!!!

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(These are from Salt Gypsy, available through Without Walls/ Urban Outfitters.)

 

Also…If there’s ever a time to take a step back to a more modest approach to swimwear, maybe it’s now. For me, 100%. But also, maybe, for America. #justsayin #merica #hotdogpizza #highfructosecornsyrup #processedfood #healthcrisis #obesityepidemic

 

These three are all Onzie. Silly funs. I mean. There’s a tiger on your butt. A BUTT TIGER.

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This is how Atlhleta does it. Reviews make it sound like their swim tights are  muffin-toppy, though. But they’re only $22, so if you’re skinny, go for it!cn9161471

 

And Land’s End. Keeping it real. This is how most of us should probably dress for public swimming. Their shirts don’t go straight up and down as if they’re built for little boys. Crazy concept, huh?

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I ordered these two (Thank you, Nordstrom anniversary sale.) The city print ones are a fail because, yes, of course that print is not the best for the thighs. I knew that would happen but had to try anyway. Second pair’s not here yet. We’ll see. BTW, there are more sizes on the Onzie site than Nordstrom’s.

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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

 

New hot shit.

Yep. Still pregnant. So I’m just going to keep on fantasy shopping. Enjoy.

KORAL ACTIVEWEAR

This stuff is what Victoria’s Secret models probably actually wear to workout.

Lustrus Legging: $92 on revolveclothing.com

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Caliber Hoodie: $190

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Summit Bra and Transport Leggings: $110 and $118 shopbop.com

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MICHI NY

Sexy / Edgy / Badassness  MichiNY.com

Revolt Tee $95

revolt tee $95

Lure Shirt $158

michy lure $158

 

Luna Legging $179

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Helix Bra $169

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JAWBONE

And of course, a half a year or so after I get my Jawbone UP24, they come out with a cuter one: UP3 by Jawbone  $179 coming soon. Jawbone.com  Self Magazine is showing one in grey. GREY! I love grey more than people. Definitely like this better than the really bracelet-y Tory Burch type thingies that other trackers are making. Keep it sporty, y’all.

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HEROINE SPORT heroinesport.com

This is a new “hybrid activewear collection” from NY designer Nima Taherzadeh of NIMA. Most of the stuff is OK, sure, but I’ve seen it. But the bras are quite interesting. You know. If you’re a skinny little thing who can go topless when you work out. Bless your heart.

Performance Bra: $75

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X-Bra: $85

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SPLITS 59

Sexy slim pants and stuff favored by Dailey Method instructors. splits59.com

Langley Slim Fit Tight $106

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Nova Trailblazer Performance Capri III $98Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 3.43.35 PM