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The Strategist Guide to Shopping at Lululemon

Photo: Courtesy of the vendor

You may have noticed some posts from our friends at the Strategist on the Cut. They’ll be dropping in every now and again, sharing their expertise on the basics you don’t have time to research and the weird and wonderful things you don’t yet know you need.

Anyone who has shopped at a bigger-box store knows it can be hard to figure out where to begin. There are dozens upon dozens of options that all seem as worthy as the next, but the reality is that products from any given brand are not all created equal. When you shop as regularly as we do, you learn that many brands just do some things better than they do other things. Lululemon, with all of its stretchy, sweat-wicking offerings, is one of those brands, with an expansive inventory (more than 100 styles of leggings alone!) that can be overwhelming to sort through. To make it a little easier, we’ve culled through our archives and put together a list of all the Lululemon gear we’ve written about (along with the occasional piece that the Cut swears by, too). Read on for all of our favorite Lululemon finds, from Navarro-cheerleader-approved scrunchies to marathon-runner-recommended shorts (and tights and tops) to leggings beloved by fitness folk and new moms alike.

Women’s bottoms

Lululemon’s Align pants are one of the most universally beloved pairs we’ve written about. Fitness instructor Ashley Rosenberg calls the style a “forever classic” that’s “just unbeatable.” Expecting mothers, yoga instructors, and other fitness folk all agree, praising their high-rise fit, durability, and four-way stretch. Strategist contributing editor Jessica Silvester is another fan: She wore these while seven months pregnant and told us the same pair still fits her years later: “My proportions have more or less returned to normal, but the fabric has snapped back, too; it continues to conform to my shape.”

This shorter version of the Align pants also works as both workoutwear and loungewear, according to the Cut’s Diana Tsui. Made with lycra fiber that helps the pants hold their shape, Tsui says they offer a snug fit “without squishing any internal organs.” She adds: “They’re so ridiculously comfortable that I also wear them to sleep.”

These elevated joggers work as well for lounging or working out as they do for days that require you to look more put together, according to author Lauren Weisberger, who told us she can’t live without them. “These pants that are like regular pants. I’ve convinced myself that they can be worn in real situations, so I’ve worn them to meetings,” she says. “The material is kind of crêpe-y and silky and hangs better than it has any business hanging.”

The Strategist’s resident running expert, senior writer Karen Iorio Adelson, calls this style one of her favorite pairs of running shorts. She likes that they are roomy enough around the legs, have a nifty side zipper pocket, and are long enough without getting in the way. “The slightly longer length provides generous coverage which can be nice on longer runs,” according to Adelson.

Photo: Retailer

“When the weather’s verging on too cold for shorts, fitted styles like these are warmer than loose ones since they allow for less airflow,” Adelson says of these shorts, which she also loves to run in. “These are thin enough that you’ll never overheat,” she adds, noting that she “also loves the generously sized pockets, which fit my phone, keys, and some energy gels.”

Photo: Retailer

Adelson also likes to wear these cropped tights on runs in cooler weather. “I started wearing these in the past year, and now I have them in three different colors,” she writes. “Like the Fast and Free shorts, they’re so thin and stretchy they feel like a second skin.”

Women’s tops

Fitness instructor Hollis Tuttle, who is also a Lululemon ambassador, says that this Lululemon racerback goes the extra mile during runs: “It’s very breathable, light (even when sweaty), dries quickly, and does not chafe.” The lightweight fabric is interwoven with naturally antimicrobial silver thread to prevent odor (Tuttle calls it “anti-stink technology”). Adelson — who is not a Lululemon ambassador — is also a fan, telling us that “this top is a workhorse that gets me through most of the summer.”

According to personal trainer and yoga teacher Lauren Seib, this versatile split-back top will help you avoid unsightly back sweat during heavy workouts: “Wear it ‘open and flowy’ for barre and crushing weights in the gym or tied up in the back for practicing your arm balances next vinyasa.”

This workout top with a built-in bra — a feature that Lululemon calls “the original life hack” — is Y7 founder and CEO Sarah Larson Levey’s favorite for low-intensity workouts. “I love that it has a built-in bra and vertical ribbing, which makes it super-slimming, so it doesn’t bunch up during workouts.” The cups are removable, too, so the amount of coverage is totally up to you.

Photo: Retailer

This relaxed-fitting tank, according to Adelson, has “little perforations” that allow for airflow. “It doesn’t cling to your body,” she says, adding that “the material is very soft to the touch.”

Photo: Retailer

Adelson describes this short-sleeved top as “soft to the touch, lightweight, and sweat wicking,” noting she’s worn it “on everything from casual jogs to full marathons.” The “relaxed” style, she adds, “has a loose fit, so it looks more like a casual T-shirt than a skintight running shirt.”

Tuttle told us that this long-sleeve top is “light and moves well without chafing,” adding that it can be both “a great top or midlayer piece.” Another feature she likes is that it “has thumb holes for a little extra protection over my hands.” Like other Lululemon tops on this list, it’s also woven with bacterial-killing silver thread to help minimize odor.

Strategist junior writer Chloe Anello calls this “a great lightweight fleece” to throw on when there’s a chill in the air, whether at home or outdoors. “It protects me from a breeze, but I also won’t overheat.”

Women’s bras, underwear, and accessories

Lululemon’s Long Line Energy Bra has an extra inch of fabric in its band for added support and security, according to Tuttle, who says the design makes it ideal for running or high-impact workouts. “I don’t often wear shirts while working out, and I like the bit of extra coverage that this bra provides,” she says. “I feel less naked but still stay cool in the middle.”

Finding a supportive sports bra for bigger busts can be a difficult task, but fitness influencer Christine Abramo says the Enlite Bra, which has thick, supportive, crisscrossing back straps, is a great option, especially for medium- to high-intensity workouts. “Think of this as your little black dress. It’s simple and goes with everything,” she explains. It’s designed for B to E cups, and the bonded underband helps prevent it from riding up.

Bethany Lyons, the founder and CEO of Lyons Den Power Yoga, told us that the Lululemon Flow Y Bra is “forever and always” her go-to for boot-camping, spinning, or other medium-impact activities that call for moderate support and coverage. It’s made from lightweight, four-way stretch material, with minimal seams and removable cups, making it an ideal bra if you’re after that barely-there feel. “It’s versatile, looks good under anything, is comfortable, and gives great coverage,” Lyons adds.

According to Navarro College cheerleader Morgan Simianer, a lot of her female teammates “wear Lululemon sports bras.” She adds that “it depends on the girl, and certain things can be pricey, so preferences vary.”

Hairstylist Ryan Cunningham recommends this headband from Lululemon to “people who like to exercise and can’t put [their hair] in a ponytail.” The style has moisture-wicking ability and features velvet bonding that he says won’t pull at your hair.

Simianer also told us that this Lululemon scrunchie is a popular item among her teammates. She says the Cheer stars all have them in “multiple colors” and “try to mix and match them with what we’re wearing.”

A slightly sweeter version of the the scrunchie above, this Uplifting Scrunchie with a bow is the one that contributor Elizabeth DuBois uses to tie her hair back for practically any kind of workout. “I struggled to find a hair tie to work out in until I found this breathable scrunchie — which not only dries fast thanks to its sweat-wicking fabric but more importantly holds my high bun in place whether I’m pedaling through Soul Cycle or attempting Warrior 3 at Modo Yoga,” she told us.

SoulCycle instructor Bevin Prince told us she will only wear this frictionless Lululemon thong on the bike because it’s “like a second skin that moves with my body.” If you don’t like thongs, there’s also a bikini version.

While many pairs of running shorts have a built-in liner, running coach Jess Movold says that when she does wear underwear, this Lululemon thong is her go-to because it is “almost unnoticeable.”

Trainer Megan Norregaard told us that this Lululemon backpack is her favorite gym bag because it is “functional and stylish” as well as “durable and water-resistant.” Other details to like include a water-bottle holder, laptop sleeve, expandable pocket for dirty clothes, and an exterior phone pocket.

Men’s bottoms

Sports bras and scrunchies aren’t the only thing from Lululemon that Navarro cheerleaders love. According to the team’s assistant coach Andy Cosferent, guys on the squad often wear these shorts to practice in.

This lined version of the above shorts is a favorite pair of Matt Jared, the co-founder of yoga and meditation nonprofit United We Om, who recommends them as some of the best gym shorts for men. He wears his to teach classes, telling us that “the fit is loose and relaxed, but they stay in place and don’t pinch, no matter what shape I find myself in.” Jared adds that he “especially likes the liner, which has serious moisture-wicking capabilities and keeps everything in place.” If you prefer shorts that are linerless, Lululemon also sells this style without one.

These slightly shorter lined Pace Breaker shorts are a favorite gym short of Chris Keyloun, a coach at New York City rowing studio Rowgatta, who likes that the “comfortable liner allows you to move in all directions.” He’s also a fan of their well-placed pockets, which include a zipper pocket made to hold smartphones. “It will hold your phone securely in place whether you’re rowing a 6K or sprinting a 2K,” Keyloun says. Lululemon makes a linerless version of this style, too.

Strategist writer Louis Cheslaw says these pants are “transformative,” calling out flattering design details like their flat front and dark color, their size range that runs to XXL, and adding that the pants’ “stretchy, proprietary Warpstreme fabric keeps me from overheating and can accommodate any position I sit in.”

Another cool-guy-approved pair of Lululemon pants, these joggers — which are as suitable for working out as they are for lounging — are a favorite of Donnell Baldwin, a former style director for Mr Porter. He’s owned a pair for years, promising the price is worth it because “they don’t fall apart.”

Men’s tops

Yoga instructor Ben Wisch says that this tank’s moisture-wicking material and “strategic” mesh ventilation are two reasons why he wears it to teach classes. We think those are two reasons to wear it for other workouts, too.

Like the women’s Swiftly long-sleeve crewneck, this long-sleeve Lululemon men’s crewneck has silver threads to reduce odor, in addition to being breathable and moisture-wicking.

Men’s underwear and accessories

Both master personal trainer Ariel Brill and Dominic Mangine, a founding coach of rowing studio Rowgatta, swear by this pair of Lululemon boxer briefs as one of the best pairs of men’s performance underwear. According to Mangine, it is “an awesome option for training because of the comfortable fit and sweat-wicking fabric.”

“Albeit pricey, anyone who owns Lululemon can confirm not only the quality but also the comfort of its products,” says SheaMoisture model Keith, who told us that this three-pack of Always in Motion boxers is a gift he’d never turn down. “If you’re looking for a lovely gift for your significant other, Lululemon Always in Motion boxers is it.”

When we asked Italian opera singer Luca Pisaroni about the must-have objects among his peers, he told us that “everybody wears these.” The full-coverage unisex scarf, he adds, is “frequently used in the opera industry because it is a 360-degree, long scarf that you can wrap around your neck. We all have them because we are all throat and neck freaks.”

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The Strategist Guide to Shopping at Lululemon