I tried Lululemon's new plus sizes—are they actually worth it?
I put them through some intense workouts to find out.
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If there is one thing that has stayed consistent this past year, it has been my workout routine. I’m not a gym rat by any means, but I do enjoy exercising. Whether it’s using the elliptical or stair climber, movement is a way to celebrate my body and take care of it.
My go-to workout clothes are usually oversized men’s T-shirts and bike shorts. They aren’t cute or trendy, but finding activewear to fit my body—I wear a size 18/20—can be a challenge. Fortunately, many brands have started to realize that there are other body types out there.
I'm a strong believer that stylish and comfortable workout clothes are something that everyone should have access to regardless of their size. After all, who doesn’t get an instant confidence boost when they’re wearing clothes that make them feel good? I know that when I do, my workouts are always better and a more pleasurable experience.
Up until recently, I had never stepped foot into a Lululemon store because the brand didn’t carry my size. But in September 2020, Lululemon introduced plus sizes up to size 20 in six of its core styles: the Fast and Free Tights, the Define Jacket, the Align Pant, the Wunder Train High Rise Tights, the Ready to Rulu Jogger and the Long Distance Tee. Since then, the brand has continued to add new size and fit offerings.
What I like about Lululemon’s plus-sized workout clothes
I instantly gravitated towards the black Define Jacket because having warm workout gear during the winter is a must. Made from Luon fabric (a blend of Lycra and nylon materials), Lululemon describes the slim-fit jacket as cottony soft, breathable, and sweat-wicking. At first glance, I was skeptical whether it would fit because although the size tag read correctly, it looked tiny.
But when I put it on, I was surprised to find it fit exactly as I'd want it to. It hugs all the right places and doesn't ride up when I raise my arms. One of my pet peeves with workout tops is that they can ride or roll up as I move, but that doesn't happen at all with the Define jacket, even while I'm running. What's even more impressive is the warmth. I’ve tried other workout jackets that claim (but fail) to keep the chill out, but the Lululemon jacket's snugly-cuffed sleeves actually did that.
For my next workout, I wore the Wunder Train High Rise Tights. I’m picky when it comes to workout pants because I carry most of my weight in my legs and the fit needs to be just right.
The tights feel soft to the touch and glide right on without pulling or tugging. Made with the brand's Everlux fabric (which the brand says is "a unique yarn combination"), they're breathable and quick-drying, so my legs never feel too hot or sweaty when I'm exercising. I'm very impressed with the sweat-wicking capabilities of Lululemon's material—after an hour-long cardio workout, there were no sweat stains to be found on my pants. More importantly, the Wunder Under tights fit comfortably over my legs without being too tight or suffocating.
What I don’t like about Lululemon’s plus-sized workout clothes
I found that while I was working out, the waistband lacked enough compression to keep it glued to my skin. As a result, I was constantly pulling up the Wunder Under leggings. I also needed more support and compression from the material itself. It almost felt as if Lululemon extended the sizes, but didn’t keep in mind that the different proportions of a plus-sized person's body might require a different design.
I also noticed that the extended sizes are only available in darker colors like black, green, brown, and blue. As someone who loves the color pink, I was bummed to see that Lululemon doesn't carry the more vibrant colors and patterns in larger sizes.
Are Lululemon plus-sized clothes worth buying?
Would I buy all of my workout clothes from Lululemon? Probably not. However, I would buy a few more pieces because they are comfortable and cute. As someone who wants to fit in as much as possible while at the gym, I like that Lululemon has finally made it easier for plus-sized women to do that.
In terms of price, the pieces are on the expensive side (though comparable to regular Lulu prices), but they both look and feel high quality. Unlike many other workout clothes that can become sheer as they stretch, the pants are not see-through at all. That’s always a bonus when it comes to feeling more secure and comfortable during a workout, especially if you're squatting.
If you can find workout clothes that work for you at a cheaper price, I’d say go for it. However, to me, spending a little more on some core pieces is worth it for comfort, fit, and style.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.