Is mega-popular Fabletics activewear actually worth it?
The brand behind Lizzo's new shapewear offers enticing prices on cute clothes—but is the subscription a good deal?
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Between its funky patterns and trendy styles, Fabletics is a popular athleisure brand known for blending fashion and fitness. The oft-discussed activewear label has garnered plenty of fans over the years—including Reviewed staffer Rachel Moskowitz. When she tried the brand’s subscription box a couple years ago, she found the gym-ready designs worked well for her workouts (even if its autopay structure was less great for her wallet). To see if the brand’s offerings have changed since we last tested, we took it for another spin (and a yoga class, and a gym workout…) in 2022.
Because Fabletics clothing does double duty as both activewear and athleisure, we—Reviewed’s style writer and health and fitness writer—made retesting sporty styles a team sport, so to speak. To see if the brand is functional and fashionable, we tried several of its latest designs. For two weeks of workouts, we sweat, strolled, and lounged in three leggings—the Define High-Waisted 7/8 Legging ($70), the Oasis High-Waisted Twist 7/8 Legging ($85), and the High-Waisted Boost 7/8 Legging($85)—alongside three sports bras—the Oasis Twist Sports Bra ($60), the Oasis Twist-Front Sports Bra ($60), and the No Bounce Sports Bra ($70).
What are we wearing?
What is Fabletics?
Fabletics is a subscription-based activewear brand, which co-founders Adam Goldenberg and Don Ressler launched in 2013. The brand has launched celebrity collections over the years with stars including Vanessa Hudgens, Demi Lovato, and Kevin Hart. Aside from the famous faces associated with it, Fabletics is known for its Instagram-famous introductory offer where new members get two bottoms for $24. However, in order to take advantage of that—and score savings on the rest of the site—you need to become a VIP member and commit to paying $55 a month. This amounts to a store “credit” that you may redeem for any outfit or item with a retail price up to $80. In addition, you’ll also get 20% to 50% off the brand’s other offerings and access to the Fabletics FIT workout app.
Styles include workout clothing like leggings and sports bras as well as swimsuits, intimates, and loungewear, in women’s sizes XS to 4X and men’s sizes XS to XXL. The brand also teamed up with Lizzo to offer her shapewear line Yitty, which Fabletics members can also score VIP prices on.
How does Fabletics work?
On the first of the month, you can start shopping with your credit. If you have not made a selection by the fifth of the month—yes, only five days later—Fabletics charges your card on the sixth, leaving you with a store credit to spend on Fabletics items using the VIP discount. In that same five-day window, you may also log into your account to skip that month's purchase—but only that month's—which will avoid the charge. Fabletics also permits you to cancel your subscription “at any time,” but if you miss that five-day window, you may contact customer service to be refunded as a “one-time courtesy” (assuming you haven’t already requested that). Finally, any unused credits expire 12 months after purchase, but Fabletics will “remind you” to spend them before then.
What do you get with your Fabletics membership?
When you sign up, you can take advantage of the two for $24 leggings deal as well as a one-time discount of up to 80% off all Fabletics gear. This could be a very generous offer if you're looking to fill out your workout wardrobe—or just a tactic to get you to spend more than you intend.
After redeeming the introductory deal, you're enrolled in the monthly subscription, a potentially good value if you're someone who often spends way more than $55 a month on workout clothes. Furthermore, members can take advantage of reduced prices on everything in the store. Many leggings range from $70 to $90 at listed retail value, while sports bras go for $40 to $75 (members get up to 50% off). You don’t have to be a member to shop at Fabletics, but you’ll pay more—much more—for the clothing as a non-member.
Some other VIP perks worth mentioning: You can refer a friend to the VIP membership and receive $40 towards a Fabletics purchase. Additionally, Fabletics has a reward system that allows you to earn points—two points for every dollar that you spend and 20 points for each item you review. You can start earning free items at 500 points, or cash in for an outfit once you reach 2,000.
How can you get the most of your Fabletics membership?
Taking advantage of the monthly credit will save you a lot of money as a member—providing you find styles you like during the selection window and you’re comfortable spending $55 a month on new workout clothes. If you don't want new stuff (or to spend the cash) every month, you have the option to skip the month altogether, pay nothing, and still enjoy the other benefits of VIP membership. The catch (of course) is that you have to skip the month within the first five days of the month. Fabletics sends an email that you’re about to be charged—but to be honest, the company sends a lot of emails—so it's easy for the reminder to get lost in the shuffle. When using her Fabletics subscription, Rachel found that she forgot to skip the month once or twice and was saddled with a credit to spend. Setting reminders on all of her calendars helped make sure it didn’t happen again.
Fabletics offers returns on many items, but notes that some products “purchased through special promotions,” are final sale, so be sure to check the promotion disclaimers before you order. For anything eligible for return, you may do so within 90 days if you aren't satisfied, as long as it’s in new condition. You may return items in person to a Fabletics store if you happen to live near one of its over 70 locations or a Happy Return Bar, where you can drop it off packaging-free to be shipped back to the warehouse. If neither applies, you can print a return label to ship it back yourself. Refunds should arrive by 10 business days after the products reach the warehouse.
What we like about Fabletics
The leggings pass the squat test
If you’ve ever fallen victim to see-through leggings exposing your panties to fellow gym-goers, never fear: Fabletics leggings pass the squat test with ease. Made of polyester-elastane fabric blends, none of the leggings we tested revealed what we were wearing underneath. We tested black, lilac, and printed leggings, all of which offer stellar coverage. Esther also previously purchased a pair of white leggings from Fabletics and finds them equally as squat-proof, despite their light hue.
The leggings don’t show sweat marks
Wearing these thick, full-coverage leggings when the temperature reached above 90 degrees meant we were sweating before we even got to the gym, but you wouldn’t have known it by looking at our outfits. After walking in the heat and completing an hour-long workout in them, we didn’t notice any discoloration or odd marks from perspiration, even in sticky spots like the underarms or backs of the knees.
Items come in a huge variety of styles and colors
Fabletics’ options suit a wide range of personal styles. The Define High-Waisted 7/8 Legging alone comes in 68 colors, for instance, while the Oasis Twist Sports Bra is available in 33 shades, ranging from neutrals to eye-catching prints. Whether you opt to wear them as a matching set or collect coordinating colors to mix and match, styling options abound.
The clothing is designed for a range of activities
Fabletics separates sports bras into low-, medium-, and high-impact options suited to different workouts and support preferences. During our testing, both No Bounce Sports Bra (high-impact) and the Oasis Twist Sports Bra (medium-impact) stayed in place with no slippage during a run or spin class.
The brand also offers several fit and fabric options for leggings: Oasis, designed for pilates, Define, designed for training and cardio, and Boost, a training/cardio option with a strappy “booty-lifting” waistband. While the Define and Boost leggings are fairly supportive and compressive, the Oasis leggings are by far the softest of the Fabletics styles, albeit not quite as buttery soft as, say, Lulemon’s Align Leggings.
The sports bras could do double duty as shirts
Amid a heat wave, we opted to wear the sports bras as shirts during our sweatiest workouts. While the styles lend themselves to several cute, coordinated workout looks, they also pair well with pants or high-waisted shorts for a casual night out. If you prefer to layer with a shirt, however, note that the knot on the Oasis sports bras can cause a visible bump.
The site’s photos help you find the best fit
When it comes to product photos, Fabletics’ website has some of the most extensive options we’ve seen. Each product page offers the option to see how the style looks on multiple models with a range of listed heights and sizes.
What we don’t like about Fabletics
The subscription model could get expensive
In theory, you can keep your VIP status without spending any money month-to-month, but if you forget to “skip” each month, the $55 fees add up quickly. And while the subscription model may make it seem like you’re saving money, we would argue many of Fabletics’ options are overpriced to begin with, and the discounted membership rate is closer to what they’re worth. The clothes are cute, but they’re not as breathable or luxurious as brands like Athleta or Lululemon that offer athletic clothing at similar pre-membership prices.
The sizing is inconsistent
We requested the company send us samples of the Oasis Twist Sports Bra in size small, as that’s the size we both take. Upon arrival and initial inspection, Hannah discovered that one was actually the very similar (and similarly named) Oasis Twist-Front Sports Bra—and the two bras fit slightly differently. The Twist-Front version provides more lift and support than the Twist, which is lower cut and has a looser band. Further complicating things, while the product pages list slightly different descriptions, many of the same photos appear on both. The bras are cute and comfortable other than the sizing disparity, just bear in mind that sizes might not fit and feel the same across all products.
Is Fabletics easy to cancel?
If you want out of the VIP membership, it's not as easy as pressing a button. That said, it's not the hardest thing in the world, either.
While cancellation is free, you must use the website’s live chat—available seven days a week between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Eastern time—or call an agent, available 24/7. Naturally, whomever you speak with might try to charm you back in by offering incentives to stay an active VIP member—Rachel’s offered her $10 store credit—but if you stay strong and hold your ground, you'll be done within five minutes.
Is Fabletics worth it?
Thanks to the fashion-forward, squat proof designs, purchasing a pair of Fabletics leggings for $24 is quite the score. The leggings Hannah and Esther tested are labeled at full price for $70 to $85, but are both eligible for the intro deal. Plus, after trying the brand again in 2022, we’re still impressed with the amount of trendy options offered across categories. If you're not on top of your membership, however, either by spending your credit or opting to skip each month, you could end up with hundreds of dollars in Fabletics credit you didn't bank on. When testing the subscription, Rachel found she purchased so many workout clothes in the first few months, her membership soon became unnecessary, though she maintained her VIP status by stopping her autopayment each month to have the option of purchasing new gear at discounted prices when the whim struck.
If you want to regularly shop new workout apparel and can remember to shop or skip each month, Fabletics could work for you. Plus, because the site offers athleisure, intimates, and swimwear, you may find styles you’ll be happy to wear both in and out of the gym. That said, are you really getting a value in being a Fabletics member? That’s really up to you, your budget, and your activewear needs.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.