Wanted: Yogi Fashion Police to the Rescue.

Back when I was just a wee blogger, I wrote a post decrying the affordability (or lack thereof) of yoga. Reading it now, I still think I raise some good points, but I regret the smug feeling of satisfaction I got tearing apart lululemon and their sky-high prices. I proudly proclaimed that I practiced in $15 yoga pants from Target and Old Navy and, gosh darnit, that’s all anyone needs anyway.

Well, I take it back. I take it all back. I need fancy yoga clothes.

When I wrote that post, I was going to class once or twice a week. Now, I go to class once a week and teach three or four times a week. And I NEED NEW YOGA CLOTHES. And I need the nice stuff.

I still like my $15 Target and Old Navy pants. It’s just that when you only have two pairs of yoga pants you can stand wearing to get up in front of a group, and you wear them all the time, then you wash them all the time…well, they start looking downright yucky.

Yesterday I went to class in the following: faded black Old Navy yoga pants (fit well but look dingy), a blue Target athletic tank with built-in bra for support, that actually does support and stays down in down dog (I have exactly one of these), and because I’m too modest to wear the tight, bare-it-all tank top alone, a baggy gray t-shirt that says “I <3 boobs” (purchased for $5 on the quad in college during Breast Cancer Awareness Month).

I’m surprised I was allowed into class by the fashion police. And this is not out of the ordinary, unfortunately.

Here’s the thing: I acknowledge that I need new yoga clothes. I even acknowledge that I need the good stuff that can last years and withstand lots of washing. But I still can’t get over the sticker shock. I make money teaching yoga now, but that money either goes into the savings account for the hubs and me, or it goes to pay for yoga trainings. I do not have $50-$100 left over to spend on A SINGLE PAIR OF PANTS. (yes, the caps lock is necessary, because I’m yelling here. $98 for ONE pair of pants!!!! LULU! You’re killin’ me!)

Also, I struggle with ordering yoga clothes online because my body is not shaped like the typical yogini’s. So who knows what will fit? And the idea of spending $50-$100 on one pair of pants goes from unpleasant to downright painful when I consider shipping them back and forth across the country just so I can get the right size to fit my rather sizable @$$ (sorry grandpa, if you’re reading this).

So here is where I stop being philosophical and get shallow and materialistic. Here are the items I am currently looking at. From lucy.com:

Hatha power pant $88

Vital pant $68

From zobha.com

Essential Hi-Rise pant $80

Sophia tank - $58 (babs loves this one, I know)

From athleta.com (where they have the model with such an advanced six pack I thought she was a man for a moment):

Organic Cotton Salamba pant - $69

Chakra tank - $49

So, yogi fashion police, I need you. Are these way-overpriced clothes worth it? Are some of the clothes I’ve picked out better than others? I need the honest truth.

Curvy yoginis, I need your help too. If you have hips and a booty to squeeze into black spandex, I could use your suggestions on what works and what doesn’t.

I would like to stop going to class in baggy t-shirts and gray pants that used to be black.

And if you have any coupons to throw my way, I’d appreciate it ; )

Namaste,
Jamie

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24 responses to “Wanted: Yogi Fashion Police to the Rescue.

  1. I admit it, I hated lulu for their prices too. I hated them because everyone loved them so much. But I am addicted. This is a good and bad thing. Even though I am curvy (and will never have a six pack like the athleta model!), their pants fit me well (I am a sucker for the ever popular groove pant, and I love love love the crops). They wick away your sweat, they hug you just right, and they don’t turn grey after many washings like the cheap and comfy old navy pants (which I also own). I think it is worth noting that the luon NEEDS to be washed by itself, or you WILL get pill-y things all over it that will require a fabric shaver to remove. And no, I had never heard of that until the woman at lululemon told me to buy one!

    I am a bodyworker and regular yogini (~5x/week or so) and I wear my lulu clothes for both work and yoga. They hold up really well, if you wash them right, and even though they are chokingly expensive, I find that they are worth it. I just try to budget for the clothes – I may have less of them, but they hold up quite well so the collection builds after awhile.

    I haven’t loved the fit or style of the lucy stuff quite as much, but that might just be me. I would, however, also give patagonia a try. They have great crops and tops (I love their halters, in particular). And they’re a pretty eco-friendly company which is always a plus. I haven’t given athleta a try because I hesitate to buy stuff that I can’t try on, because I worry about sizing, but my fiance’s mom swears by their stuff!

    Hope this helps!

  2. oooh do i gots things to say ’bout this.

    my issues with lulu, in addition to all previously mentioned gripes, also include that i feel icked out by whatever weird fiber they “created”. i like cotton. natural fibers. i dont see how people can sit around in those pants and not feel like they are being attacked by science.

    HOWEVER (i do caps lock because its a big however). i did spend a bit of time this week darning (w needle and thread) not one but two of my yoga pants. the ones i didnt end up darning? yeah, those would be the lulu ones i got for free by teaching a class at one of their stores.

    i have other lulu gear, too, that i got when one of their stores was closing. waaaaaay deeply discounted.

    in the end, i think i rather just have to buy more, but stay with the cotton. hard tail makes longer lasting stuff than old navy (my choice as well), but more $$$

    okay. genug. i could write a post on this…!

    xxoo-emma

  3. I came to the same, somewhat sad, conclusion about a year ago. I have bought lulu leggings and love them. I do feel that it’s ridiculous to pay $75, but they hold up so much better that they come close (though not all the way) to the same price for buying multiple pairs of leggings. Plus the fit and compression is awesome. (I’m pretty curve-less, but I imagine that if you find the right size, they would stretch to fit lots of shapes.)

    I like lucy a lot as well and would recommend signing up for their emails. I get a 20% off coupon every week it seems. They also have great seasonal sales. I’ve gotten leggings for $20, and tops for as low as $15. You just have to keep checking back periodically. I would never pay full price for something at lucy; there is ALWAYS a sale or coupon.

    Good luck!

  4. Are you are facebook? (I can almost guess the answer). There is a group called “lululemon exchange” where people sell their new and used stuff they don’t want anymore- sometimes some great deals to be found on used groove pants! The trick is knowing your size. Are you crazy far away from the nearest lulu to try stuff on as a guideline?

    The other way to get over sticker shock is calculate how many practices you’ll do in a month, 6 months, a year etc.. how often will you wear them? Divide the price by it and voila, price per wear. Makes it seem a lot more tolerable! Learned that trick on “what not to wear” hehe!

    I personally haven’t tried other yoga wear! But we have a store here called “Winners” (I don’t know the name of your equivalent- they sell name brand stuff at discounted prices?) sometimes has good athletic wear like adidas DriFit etc etc. Some good bargains to be found!

  5. OK… about the pieces you’ve mentioned. LOVE Lucy Hath Power Pant! I think they’re worth the money. They make your ass look fantastic, legs look longer, and I prefer them to Lulu’s pants. (AND Lucy makes pants in the short length and therefore, I love them.) I’ve never tried the Zobha pants (no short length) but I ADORE every top I’ve ever bought from Zobha. I wear one of about five of their tops all weekend long.. with jeans, skirts, to class… definitely worth they money! I can’t speak to Athleta, because I’ve never bought anything from them… (They never gave me a discount.)

  6. Damn it. I was hoping to avoid buying those incredibly expensive lulu pants forever. You’re busting my righteous indignation and pride-in-Target-pants phase!

    Those lulu pants do look pretty great…

  7. I don’t mind spending money on good quality things when I know that they will last. That’s just how I am with money! I know that if I’m looking for serious quality and durability, I’ll have to pay for it! Add in enviro-friendly fabrics and ethical production and, yes, it hurts the pocket. But usually I’m so happy with what I buy that it’s ok! Also considering how many hours (and hours… and hours) I spend in yoga clothes I figure it’s worth it from a time perspective also!

    My yoga wardrobe is a mix of cheap and expensive, but the expensive lasts so much longer and better! I have a pair of Lulu capris that still look completely new and I wear them all the time, same with tank tops – colours are still bright and all, and they still stretch, support and fit just right.

    That’s my take sweetie – it’s good to save money but you also need to spend a bit on yourself. Life is too short to live only for tomorrow. Take 25-30% of what you earn from teaching yoga and put it in a separate account to spend on little pleasures. Good financial management is the kind that lets you loosen your purse every now and then!

  8. First I’d like to say that you crack me up! And so did Emma when she talked about being “attacked by science.” Too funny.

    I am a sucker for lulu. When I bought my first pair of groove pants, my husband thought I’d gone off the deep end – and they were cheaper five years ago! But I have washed those suckers AT LEAST once each week for five years, and I’m still wearing them. The black is still black, and the colors are still vibrant. Over the years I’ve added more lulu clothes to my yoga wardrobe so now I probably have five pairs of pants, which is nice since I pretty much either practice or teach yoga every day. I also run in them. The groove pants are my favorites, but I have some other styles too.

    I’ve tried some Lucy pants, and they were too tight on my butt and thighs – I felt zipped into them, and not in a good way. But I think trying things on is your best bet there.

    I’ve tried Athleta bermuda-length shorts, and I love to run in them. They fit well. I haven’t tried their yoga pants, but my guess is they’d be similar. I do NOT like their yoga tanks – they don’t have enough support for me, and I just gave two away b/c I couldn’t take it anymore. It’s hard for me to buy stuff I can’t try on – I don’t have much luck.

    That said, I’ve been staring at the Zobha stuff in magazines for years, and next time I have some money to spend on yoga clothes, I’m trying them out. Their stuff is just beautiful.

    I’m going on way too long, but I agree with the comments that say sometimes you’ve just got to splurge. These clothes will literally last you years, and, some may call it shallow, but I think it’s nice to feel good about what I’m wearing. Oh, and one more good thing about the lulu tanks is that they’re long. I hate when my shirt falls down in down dog, shoulder stand, etc., and it’s nice not to have that distraction.

    Be sure to update us on what you decide! :)

  9. I cannot believe how long my last comment was – sorry!
    But I forgot to tell you something, so I’m back —

    I am certainly not speaking for lulu, but my understanding is that they often give a 15% discount to yoga teachers who teach at least 2x/week. It’s worth checking out!

  10. I have nothing to say about Lululemon as we don’t have them in the UK. We do have Sweaty Betty which I love but is sooo pricey. However my SB pants have lasted forever and cheaper ones wear out. Sometimes it’s worth spending the money….

    Especially if you are a teacher. Teaching yoga is my profession and like any other job I need to be 100% professional in it, not flakey, not scruffy. I need to represent yoga in all it’s forms. And as part of that I believe that I need to look smart. When I worked in law I wouldn’t have turned up to work in jeans and a Nirvana tshirt so I dont’ do it when I’m teaching. I know yoga isn’t about external appearance and how good we look but I do think that a professional appearance is an investment in your business.

    That said, when I go to class as a student I’ll turn up in my pajamas!

    This wasn’t really what you were asking but I’m just putting my two pennies in really.

  11. I bought the Lucy pants when I got a $50 off coupon for completing an online survey. Hated forking out the high cost, even with the coupon (had been wearing Old Navy yoga pants for 10+ years at $16 or so) – but completely fell in love with them. Now the only pants I will wear. They are so flattering. If you sign up for the mailing list – you will get tons of coupons and never have to pay full price. Also – if you are a yoga instructor, you can sign up as a Lucy Pro and get 30% off all regular price items. I am up to 5 pairs now…

  12. I absolutely love your posts!

    Noticeably absent from the discussion is Prana. Am I missing something? Their stuff is still pricey but not as pricey as Lucy or Lulu, and it holds up really well. I have a Prana top that I wear for practice and teaching about three times a week and I’ve had it for four years…I think it was $40. Not too shabby. My favorite place to get yoga gear is vickerey.com. I definitely heart Zobha. The tank you have posted is AMAZING! I don’t think you will be disappointed with it. I have the Essential pants and I really like them (though they are super long, I’ll try the capri next). They are as thick and heavy as the lulu groove pants, so better for summer.

    And, I know yoga and teaching isn’t about what you wear and how you look…but when the monkey mind isn’t worrying about comfort or boobs popping out, the practice really does gain a new level. So does teaching!

  13. Well, I’m a professional style advisor so I guess I should comment… in short, are you worth it?

    I also have a wardrobe ranging from dirt cheap to designer. Yes, I have a few designer items even if they’re just unnecessary pieces of ego- we can decorate our temples however we want, I should think.

    Higher end, higher price, higher quality indeed. It’s always good to start out with a few of those items. I don’t own any high-end yoga gear yet, but since you’re teaching, I say go for it. Like, with Nordstrom’s, you know you’re getting a guarantee for life- they’ll even replace and fix things- but I’m normally not spending $1200 on something unless it’s prom or a red carpet event! I am perfectly happy forming 65% of my wardrobe at Forever 21, which makes it a lot easier to wear something new and yet still fashionable all the time. Those clothes cost ten bucks and may just fall apart after a few wearings.

    I do yoga 6 days a week (unless it’s a moon day of course), and honestly, I do all of it in sweatpants from Target and my old university athletics store. It doesn’t matter what clothes you use so long as you can move. But… like I said… you’re a teacher, and you want to feel and look good, don’t you?

  14. Oh. I forgot to say. In the end, it also doesn’t matter which brand you choose if it FITS. I don’t order things online unless I’ve tried them on in the store.

  15. wow, you really generated some good commentary! I can’t comment, I haven’t ever seen any of these brands at Goodwill! ;)

  16. hehe- “mom”- LOVE IT! My mom commented the other day on my post… :)

    So you know my thoughts on Lulu… lol. But I guess to be fair, I talk mostly of awesome canadian companies like Skyler http://www.skyler.ca/about.html (LOVE), Karma and Tonic (also love). These companies are actually above in quality compared to Lulu and comparable in style, same price range AND they are actually made in Canada (gasp- really??), instead of China.

    I’ve actually found that in the past two years Lulu’s quality has drastically decreased… I have pants from 5 years ago, and pants I bought a few years ago… and the difference is pretty obvious.

    hehe- eco plug, I’ve heard that Pantagonia has fabulous clothing as well…. :)

    I’m willing to pay nice prices for clothing that wasn’t made in sweat shops by small children AND that actually stretch and move well with my body. I’ll buy synthetic fabrics that are made well and wear well that are made in Canada above “organic cotton” made in China (ahem- Lulu pants, that suck anyways).

    But you know what? I have enough lulu gear from prior years that I cannot really judge :)

    I agree that YOU deserve to look FABULOUS as you teach something you love.

  17. WOW. I had no idea this post would generate SO MANY responses. And strong responses at that! I love it.

    I have really enjoyed reading everyone’s opinions, but I have to say I am no closer to reaching a decision. Some of you love lulu, some hate it and feel that they are being attacked by science (I love you Emma). Some love lucy, some hate it. But you all tell me to bite the bullet and spend the big bucks : )

    The one thing we all seem to agree on is that buying clothes without trying them on is the WORST. Unfortunately for me, the closest Lucy and Lululemons are over two hours away. Perhaps I need to make a day trip purely to size myself there, for research and blog photos if for no other reason. : )

    I also didn’t know about facebook trading groups and possible teacher discounts. And I will look into prAna and patagonia, as well.

    I have a feeling it will be a long time before I make any purchases!

    You guys are the best!

  18. I didn’t read all the other comments so forgive me if I’m repeating something that’s already been covered.. but I think it’s quite hilarious that you are too modest to wear a tank top but have no problem with a Tshirt that says “I <3 Boobs!"

  19. Oh, EcoYogini, I didn’t know any of that about lulu! My heart is broken. I hate when people say this, but I guess ignorance really can be bliss.

  20. Unfortunately I cannot comment as I have no yoga clothing from Lulu or any other “yoga clothing” company. I’m rather thrifty and my two favorite yoga pants only cost me $2 – and they look GREAT! I agree with Suburban Yogini’s comments about looking nice for teaching. I guess I’ll have to look into some of the clothing given the comments, but truthfully, I don’t NEED anything right now. Let us know what you get . . . better yet, MODEL it for us here!

  21. Oh well, I can’t really say anything about Lululemon, we Europeans are not so lucky (I guess our bank accounts are, then).
    To be honest my best yoga clothes come from H&M, let’s see how long these will last.
    But I agree also with Rachel, and I think that when I teach I’ll invest in nice and high quality yoga clothes. I’ll have to check what’s available on the old continent!

  22. I need some new duds, too. I’m usually happy enough with my Target purchases, but I also sew, so I can alter stuff if it gaps too much around the waist (accommodating curves here, too).

    You might see what you can find during your trip to San Fran. I’ll bet there’s lots of yoga gear on sale or maybe even available second-hand (if that doesn’t gross you out).

    I am such a total cheapskate, I just can’t stomach lulu prices.

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