Optical Illusion: Look Like A Lululemon Lady Even Though You’re Poor

lululemon stepfordWhen I go to the gym, I usually wear a filthy Jesus and Mary Chain shirt with leggings and call it an outfit. I’m lucky enough to work out at an exceptionally lavish gym with tiny glass refrigerators filled with eucalyptus soaked towels and other wildly high quality amenities. The clientele is just as outrageously fancy as the equipment and I look like such a scrub compared to the other gym-goers. I’m not quite sure why they let me in.

In the cardio area of the gym, there are rows and rows of what appears to be an army of lady-clones bouncing up and down in unison with their perfect ponytails swishing, making me feel like a sweaty gremlin. The ellipticals seem to be set up in a hoplite phalanx formation. These people warriors look so well groomed and nonchalant at the gym. They intimidate the crap out of me. I want to join their ranks.

Other than their poise and perfect coifs, you can identify members of this gym robot army by their brand of clothing. You’ve seen them at your gym, at the Whole Foods and in line for green juices; they’re the Lululemon ladies and they’re fancy as fuck. So fancy that they’ll pay top dollar for bike shorts. If you want to be one of them, you have to dress like them, but who has that kind of cash?

I understand the appeal of Lululemon–truly, I do. Brand names can be fun and they allegedly have technology in their fabric (that’s nonsense). I even have a pair of their leggings and they make my booty look super fly. But what else makes my booty look super fly? Other than being 23, literally any super tight workout gear. Essentially any garbage pair of yoga pants or running tights will do the same thing to my ass, minus the price tag, faux scientific fabric and weird logo which I hope intentionally looks like the female reproductive system. All you really have to do to look like you’re in the Lululemon army is wear gym clothes that fit really well. It’s pretty simple because weird NASA wicking fabric is not at all necessary for exercise. I have some ideas for you. And by you, I mean me.

Here are 5 gym items you can buy that will make you look fancy like a Lululemon lady while on a budget:

Tank Top-

lululemon tank


Lululemon “free to be tank” for $58

Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 1.50.24 PMSoybu’s “bombshell tank” for $30 


LW5B46S_010824_1Lululemon’s “wunder under pant” for $92

Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 1.55.00 PMZanana “pin creased leggings” for $8.81



Lululemon’s “blissed out short” for $58


Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 3.23.19 PM
Fancy Yoga Mat-
Are you in the cult of Lululemon? Are there other rad brands like Soybu that offer Lululemon-ish gym glamor without the hefty price? If you know the benefits of sweating in really expensive clothes versus sweating in cheaper clothes, please let me know.
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    • cupcakemuffin

      I would sort of recommend Ellie for this type of cheaper-but-lululemon-esqe workout gear. They have a monthly subscription for 2 pieces per month for $50 (so $25 apiece), and the styles are very similar to Lululemon. You can cancel after ordering once or skip months, so you’re not locked into anything. (With no subscription, prices are on par with Lululemon.) The ‘sort of’ part of the recommendation is that their customer service is fairly atrocious — I think this is where they save money, plus they are relatively new and just have not worked out a lot of the kinks. But, if you’re willing to put up with that, I’ve found their pieces to be really cute and high quality.

    • Anna

      There are rumors that the “Kyodan” brand sold at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and the like are actually produced by Lululemon. I cannot verify said rumors, but my but does indeed look nice in those shorts!

      • Shannon

        I don’t know if this is true or not, either, but I just found a pair of Kyodan “studio” pants at Marshall’s for $35, and they look EXACTLY like the $108 pair of “studio pants” I bought from LuLu. Guess who’s going to be shopping more at Marshalls? This girl!!!

      • Kate

        Yep! I just got two pairs of Kyodan pants from TJ Maxx and being an Athleta girl I didn’t know that they resembled the studio pant from Lululemon. But they do…very close!

    • Andrea Dunlop

      Actually–I have yoga leggings that I love from Victoria’s Secret. If you can find stuff in the basic colors and not the weird glittery prints, they’re pretty bomb, I like them as much as my Lulus if not more. My spectacular-ta-ta-having gym buddy also swears by their sports bras. And there is always stuff on sale at the VS website. At least they don’t even PRETEND to be body positive or about health the way Lulu does–nope it’s pretty clear VS is all about gym babliness. Look I work with all women, the only hot dudes in my day happen at the gym. Ain’t no shame.

    • MJB

      I’ve heard that Lulu offers a pocket in the waistband, a nice feature for trainers and instructors. Who else offers that perk?

      But honestly, I am not paying 30 to 50 bucks for any item whose purpose is to cover me while I sweat like water fountain.

      • Browna

        old navy has a pocket in the waist band of most of their athletic shorts and pants. I particularly like their compression capris

      • Jennynoel

        I recently bought some Champion brand leggings from Target for about $20 that have I pocket in the waistband.

    • lorilozi

      seriously…these all look the same…same as the stuff I can find for $15 at kmart, what difference does it make? you’re there to workout, find something that’s practical comfortable and fitting is all that matters

    • Zab

      I’ve tried a bunch of brands and Lulu’s just last longer and look better in my opinion. I would rather buy fewer pieces that are high quality then have a large number of mediocre pieces…Though I have bought a few pieces from Gap that I really like and they were really reasonable too.

    • Eloise

      I will say, that my lululemon “the mat” was the best thing I ever purchased for yoga. Yes, it cost almost $70 for the version I bought, but it easily has paid for itself in me not slipping off the mat during hot yoga like you do on the cheaper “sticky” mats you can find at stores like target.

    • L

      my approach is to scope the “we made too much” section on a daily basis for sales. i agree that paying full price is cray but their stuff is super durable and makes my somewhat cottage cheesey ass look fab.

    • Fyn

      Why is the gym a freaking beauty contest all of a sudden? Personally, I’m there to sweat my ass off, I don’t give a rats ass if I “glisten” in my freaking GYM pants. Seriously? I’m not there to giggle and push out my boobs and get guys (oh, and jogging for 2 hours on a 0 incline? hate to tell ya, the treadmills getting a better workout than you!). I’m there to get my body in shape. I can buy 5 pairs of just as good pants at walmart that have lasted me 3 years, so bullshit on this “they’re so much more durable!”
      Sorry….I just am sick of getting the side eye for wearing *GASP* non name brand fucking pants!

    • Smemily

      I love Zobha and Moving Comfort. I buy them tight, stretch them over my big, round, squat-loving bum, and have no issues with my animal print skivvies peeking through.