Friday, May 6, 2011

Mixed Review on the Relaxed Fit Pant for Maternity

First of all, despite the blog postings I’ve read to the contrary, Lululemon does not carry a maternity line.  And, according to the store saleswoman, they never have.  That said, Lululemon does offer a few pieces that are a good fit for expectant mothers: one is the Relaxed Fit Pant and another is the Mudra Wrap.   Both look really great and are very comfortable.

The Relaxed Fit Pant was the first item I ever purchased from Lululemon and it looks great on me. Plus, it is one of the most comfortable pair of pants I own. They’re perfect when I need something a little dessier and with a little more body than my other yoga pants. Something that can go from home to the grocery store or to the mall without looking like I left straight from the gym or yoga studio. I am 5 feet 7 in tall.  I used to wear a size 12 before my pregnancy and, at 34 weeks, I’ve gained the average amount of weight for my size. 

I do not do yoga but as an expectant mom and mother of two toddler boys I am constantly on the floor playing with my kids, and that demands very comfortable pants that allow freedom of movement. The all black relaxed feet pant fit the bill because of the thicker fabric; the zipper pocket in the back make them look dressier. More importantly, the waistband rolls down for a lower rise, which makes it very comfortable and it doesn’t not look saggy in the crouch area.  I like a tighter look on the hips, so I went for the size 10 and it was even more comfortable than the size 12, which was too loose. There is a drawcord at the waist for adjustability. After my baby is born I plan to wear them with the waistband higher as they shape my body well.

However, my initial satisfaction faded after only one washing. I flipped the pants inside out and washed them with dark colors, some of which contained cotton. Afterward, I dried all items in a clothes dryer using medium heat. The pants now look like they are a year old, with a lot of pilling and fuzz balls in between the legs. And since the fabric is black the pilling is very noticeable. 

I went back to the store and the salesperson told me the pants may have pilled because I mixed them with cotton items when washing them. That alone, or a combination of friction when walking - could have caused the damage. She said that a fabric shaver – which you may own to remove fuzz balls from sweaters - would help solve the problem and repair it to a nicer look. She offered to help me right away.  In fact, she had a fabric shaver and showed me how use it on my pants. It made them look a little better, but they still look like a very worn pair of pants. Besides, am I expected to shave them constantly to make them look nice? Since I am not currently thin and fit like a yoga person, I will, of course, get some friction between my legs. I Just did not expect to have all this trouble for a $98 yoga pant.  I do own a pair of $30 pants from the Gap and a pair of $35 pants from Adidas, both of which have been through other pregnancies and a lot more over three years. I throw them in and out of the wash without any special care and they still look brand new. 

The good news is the salesperson is willing to exchange my pants for a new pair. They did not have the black in stock so I ended up with a coal pair, which I think may be better in case the fuzziness comes back. I’ll try to wash and dry them only with like items. But as every mom, and maybe every woman, knows it will not take long before a cotton item gets mixed in again while washing. It’s bound to happen when you’re too busy or when someone (like your husband) helps you by doing your laundry and washes your delicate items with other clothes.  I sure hope this pair holds up a little longer.

  • Comfortable
  •  Looks good, fits good
  • Good customer service
  •  Not sure about the quality of the fabric
  • Caution when washing/drying

Monday, April 4, 2011

Word of Mouth Advertising

I met R at the bus stop. A tall, big black guy in his mid-twenties with an engaging smile, offering me some of his dark chocolate/marzipan bar. Definitely a good way to pass the time waiting for the bus. 

The chocolate got us talking about cocoa plants R had seen in Panama and Costa Rica and that led us to talking about traveling, and then he's asking me what I do and I answer and I ask him what he does.

"I'm in recovery," he says with his upbeat smile. "So I go to meetings and do yoga . . ."

"Yoga?" I ask. "Do you do on your own or do you go to classes?"

"On my own." He tells me how he's bought yoga DVDs on eBay and at HalfPrice Books. I tell him how I tried yoga DVDs from the library before deciding what to buy.'

There's a yoga studio just a few blocks from the bus stop where we were standing, but I guess classes there might be out of his price range. So I ask, "Do you know about the free yoga classes at Lululemon in the U Village?"

"Free yoga? No."

I tell him about the early class Saturday mornings and the not so early class Sunday mornings, how Saturday has less people but Sunday you can sleep in. How there are different instructors each month. R writes "Lululemon U Village" on a scrap of paper.

Our bus arrives. We sit in different places so our conversation ends -- until R bids me good-bye when he gets off first.

I don't know how convenient the busses are to U Village on Sat. and Sun. morning. Maybe he has a bike or a car like me, I think, and he's taking the bus downtown because it's the best way to get downtown. But even if R doesn't ever make it to the class, just to know that those free classes are an option, that's a good thing while he's doing yoga on his own. But I think he will go to a class and check it out. Hope so. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

What Are The Odds?

Last night I saw a friend on the ferry I haven't seen in a while so we shared a glass of wine and caught up on things on the ride home.  I noticed she still carried her miscellaneous stuff in one of those eco-friendly Lululemon shopping bags.  "Still addicted to the clothing?" I casually inquired. Since her husband was sitting within earshot she hushed her voice and murmured, "at any given time there's a 30% I'm wearing something from Lululemon." She then rearranged her sweater to reveal her favorite Lulu crew neck tee.  

Okay, so that may not be so surprising - but here's the part worth noting:  she bought the tee nearly THREE years ago.  And it still looks BRAND NEW. 

Even her husband was impressed.  Me? I know where I'm headed today....

Friday, April 1, 2011

guilty pleasure after 6 mile run

especially after slipping on my lulu pants and sipping a latte with nora. nothing better.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Yoga for Free -- Revisited

Early Stretch, Facing U Village's Quiet Parking Lot
I've left my house very early on weekend mornings to go skiing, mountain biking, and climbing, or to catch a ferry or a plane. Compared to how early I might leave to catch the first chair skiing, my 7:40 departure on Saturday morning was not that early. However, getting up early for a weekend yoga class, it felt a bit harsh.

8:00 Saturday morning is way earlier in the morning than 9:30 Sunday morning, the time of the U Village Lululemon's other yoga class. But I knew that just because the Saturday start time was so much earlier, this class was likely to be much smaller. Which it was. Only eight students attended so we had plenty of space and personal instruction, compared to 28 last Sunday.
Our instructor was the highly professional and experienced Puja. She had an interesting theme or narration running through the class, a bit of a Saturday morning sermonette. During the class, she read and referred back to a particular Eleanor Roosevelt quote:

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.

Facing fear is not a topic I'm facing these days but maybe it's something Puja is dealing with.

Puja's class was a little less strenuous than Pam's last Sunday. Not quite so many planks and downward facing dog cycles. No sweating for me and maybe for none of the other attendees. We did plenty of stretches, lunges, maybe a bit more balance work as some did headstands while others of us did shoulder stands. Still, it was a similar routine of one hour of Hatha Yoga in a friendly, non-competitive atmosphere.
Personal Instruction in a Smaller Class
After the class, I spoke with Ellen who has been attending the class regularly. Previously she practiced yoga at another studio in the area. Ellen says she likes the variety of instructors that rotate in and out of Lululemon's weekend classes. Yoga helps her build her strength and balance, she says.

Sam Godfrey, an employee at the University Village store, brought two of her friends to the class, the two males among us. Sam's friend, Kyle, said it was his first time doing yoga but he thought it was good. 
Sam With Yoga Newbies Daniel & Kyle
Sam has worked at Lululemon just two months. Previously she worked at Nordstrom's. She does not see her work at Lululemon as "retail," though of course there is that aspect. It's about "community involvement, helping people, and education," she said. Bringing two friends to the class and showing up at 8 am when her shift didn't start until 12, yes, that's involvement, I think.

If you want to sleep in, I suggest the Sun. 9:30 class. For more space and personal attention, the Sat. 8:00 class. Either way, it's a great deal to get professional instruction at a truly affordable price. At the moment (3/30/11), the University Village April calendar shows no classes scheduled. Give the store a call at 206 524 6025 or check the calendar before you go. 
A Bit More Room to Move in Early Sat. Class

Lululemon for Active Folks

You may already know that Lululemon branded clothing is great for active people.  Here are a few reasons why I love Lululemon:

It's great for aerial dance, especially working on rope.
When rehearsing for my latest aerial dance piece at Versatile Arts, a ninja on rope, I found that the only apparel that could withstand the course rope was my Lululemon tights.  I must admit, when buying my first pair of Lululemon tights, I wondered if they were worth the price as they are a bit more expensive than your average dance tight.  I now know that Lululemon apparel is worth every penny.  The amount of money I spent on one pair of Lululemons is less than what I would have invested in multiple pairs of tights when rehearsing on rope.

Lululemon apparel always looks great, on everyone.

Whether your out and about on the weekend, or wearing Lululemon during your workout training, Lululemon makes everyone look great.  I wear my Lululemon apparel during workout sessions with my personal trainer, Dawn Brent (The Exercise Space), then to the grocery store, and pretty much all weekend long.  Lululemon clothing is versatile, so you can pretty much wear it anywhere.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Yoga for Free

The Seattle University Village Lululemon store is currently offering free yoga classes 8 AM on Saturday and 9:30 AM on Sunday. (Be sure to check their calendar for classes because they aren't always weekly.) I visited the Sunday class.

I didn't know where in U Village the store is so called ahead, but found the directions I received were a little off, causing me to arrive a few minutes late. The room was already full of 28 laid-out yoga mats, everyone already in a posture. I laid out my mat on the last spot left and joined the movement.

Our instructor Sunday was Pam Granston, representing Hot Yoga of Laurelhurst, this month's sponsor of Sunday yoga instructors. Pam also teaches at New Seattle Massage. Her contact information is on their web site.
Pam in Revolved Crescent Lunge 

It was a vigorous class – less than an hour for me since I arrived late. Even still, I found myself scanning my classmates for a watch to see what time it was. "Only 10:15."

We did a lot of Upward Dog, Downward-Facing Dog, and Plank as we moved from one pose to another. We practiced some variations of Sun Salutation, Warrior poses, Dancer pose for a little balance work, and Bridge for those with enough flexibility.  A mixture of Indian and Western music played. Hint: Take a place away from the speakers if you want to always hear the instructor.
Pam Supervises Downward Dog

After class, I spoke with a few of the participants. Tiffany had brought her friend, Hannah, to the class. Tiffany said she'd come once before, maybe a year ago. Not only was it Hannah's first time, she didn't know the name of the store until I mentioned Lululemon. Both said the class had been great. Tiffany said that having classes weekly instead of monthly was a new thing at Lululemon.

Class Attendees Included 1 Girl & 1 Man - Otherwise All Female Adults

Sheryl and Olive were also there for only there second time in a year, but praised the class and our instructor. Sheryl is a trainer and yoga practitioner herself and Sunday is her only day off, she said.

As soon as the yoga students cleared out, the staff began rolling merchandise onto the floor. Megan said that this was a particularly full class. Megan works regularly at U Village Lululemon but has had the opportunity to fill in at Bellevue and the downtown Pacific Place store. The U Village clientele is more focused, she said, compared to the other shops. "It’s not a mall. People come in knowing what they want."

I'm thinking I'll try the Saturday class next. With that 8 AM start time, maybe it's a little less crowded.

Megan Rolls Out Inventory