In Defense of Lululemon

I've been reading a lot of bad press about Lululemon. Articles saying they shun larger sizes and are therefore sexist. They are a cult. They were run by a weirdo and there for those associated with the brand must be weird.

Internet bashing and psuedo-intellectual/ egalitarian outrage is so hot right now. So on trend.


Size snobbery

I am a competitive powerlifter and weightlifter. My idea of cardiovascular conditioning is pushing a 200-plus pound sled along a street for sprint intervals. As such, I'm not built like your average lady. As such, most stores do not carry clothes that cater to my shape. In all my attempts at finding jeans, I have found one cut from one brand that works most of the time. Not all of the time, just most.

I could cry and moan about how the fashion-industrial complex is kowtowing to patriarchal standards of how women should look and be shaped. How, through clothing, society is trying to tell me that being strong, and athlete shaped is wrong. Blah blah blah. I realize I'm part of a population minority. And I don't expect most places to cater to me. I'll never be able to buy pants or jackets at H&M or any locally fashioned clothing store.

But guess what? Lululemon fits me better than Adidas. Better than Nike. Better than Reebok. Athleta fits well, but Lululemon still fits better.

Instead of bitching about my physique being discriminated against, I just spend my money at places that do fit.


Sexism

This I honestly don't know about. My boyfriend loves the shirts he finds there. The CEO at his company only wears Lulu shirts at work. Many of the guys I work with wear the board shorts. Doesn't seem like they're getting turned away.


Cult Employees

This claim comes from news that Lululemon encourages and pays for their employess to take the Landmark courses. Landmark is considered to be culty. I have some understanding of this because I took some similar "culty" classes myself a year ago, and have friends and acquaintances who have done Landmark.

Landmark is a form of Large Group Awareness Training. What they set out to do is through group activities, one on one interactions, and follow up discussions, help you understand how your reactions to events and interactions shape the way you move through your life and within relationships.

The reason it seems culty to most is that (1) the members are encouraged to enroll their friends and family into the courses. When friends and family come to the "graduation" they are given a sort of hard sell about it. This puts off a LOT of people.

That plus (2) they can't really let you in on the specifics of the training and what goes on. The exercises and interactions are all meant to be fresh to the participants. You will behave differently with no prior warning than if you have time to contemplate the "correct" way to approach a situation. Key discoveries lie in the newness of the experience. However, from the outside, the secrecy seems weird.

Many people have some real big realizations in how they react to these exercises is how they react to situations in life. It gives them the awareness to make better decisions, or at least have more options, in how they approach people, relationships, and situations.


They are run by weird Chip Wilson

He's actually not at the helm anymore. Either he stepped out or was forcibly replaced by Christine McCormick Day.

From what I've read, his "weirdness" is all about his obsession with Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged". So much so that they apparently had some "Who is John Galt?" stuff on their shopping bags and website. When the world of yoga tends to lean liberal, you have to imagine that blatant libertarianism or conservatism is going to have a backlash.

But for me, I just can't get politically worked up by yoga clothes that actually fit me, and don't make me stink to high holy hell. Speaking of….


Ridiculously Expensive

Yes, a pair of Wunderunder tights could run $90. It helps that I get a discount for being a trainer/ coach. But here is the thing, these days I almost only wear Lululemon, Reebok, and Athleta. Why? They treat their fabric with anti-microbial silver ions. And it fucking works.

I'm in these clothes all day. And it's not just during my workout that I get sweaty, I'm working as I teach and run around and whatnot. Also, I tend to split my own training sessions into parts throughout the day, and I don't want to carry three outfits with me. When I was all "I'm not paying over $70 for tights" and just wore Nike, Adidas, and Champion, I always smelled like a dumpster diver by the end of the day. I bit the bullet, switched to these more expensive pieces, and wow, no smell! Also, better fit.


So I get that some people are gonna get riled up about a few or all of the above topics. But I'll still be voting for Lulu with my dollars.