Health at every size

It’s been really interesting reading everyone’s comments about lululemon.  I’m happy to see that there are readers out there who own some of their stuff and really like it; it’s good to know that the product is good.  I was also struck by how many people mentioned the fact that they feel intimidated by the brand/stores.  Honestly, I thought I was the only one who hadn’t been into a store because she couldn’t work up the nerve to do it.

While reading through the comments on yesterday’s post, I mentioned on Twitter that I’d be interested in hearing from someone from lululemon regarding the company’s thoughts on health and body type.  The response I got was just as disappointing as my experience with their website:

Le sigh.  My response to this was, “@lululemon It would be awesome to see that represented on your website–it could have a huge impact and help change ideas about health.”  Okay, so not the most eloquent thing that was ever said, but it’s Twitter, after all.  And I think my overall point is fairly clear: healthy comes in every shape and size, but in order for people to recognize that, and in order for our society’s twisted and narrow view that healthy=thin to change, pressure needs to be applied.  And let’s be honest, I can blog about how much this bothers me, and how wrong it is for companies to continue to support this view until the cows come home, but it’s not going to change much of anything.  That’s why these companies should start taking more responsibility for the images they’re using to promote their brand.  It can be done.  Dove did it (and they continue to do it–pop on over to their website.  One of the images displayed on the front page is of a curvy woman in a towel and nothing else.  She looks happy and gorgeous, and it makes me want to buy whatever it is she used in her shower).  Why don’t other brands follow suit?  Seriously, what the hell is holding them back?

If I seem a bit worked up, it’s because this is an issue that really gets under my skin, and my super stubborn side doesn’t want to just say, “Well, this is what companies do” and let it go.  I don’t want to settle for a tweet that toes the party line, I want to see something change, even if it’s in a small way.  So maybe I will keep blogging about this.  And I’ll also continue to encourage people to submit stories to be featured in Embrace:Me, so that none of us forgets that we’re beautiful and healthy regardless of whether we can put on those hot yoga shorts and fit right in at a lululemon photoshoot.  Healthy is not contingent on the size of your pants or a number on the scale; I hope that at some point, this will be accepted widely enough that I won’t feel like I have to keep harping on it.



  1. Randomly found your site via Twitter, and I want to chime in on this issue.
    I too was intimidated to walk into a lululemon, but during Winter Break, I was in the DC area and saw one while I was shopping in Georgetown. I thought, “what the heck? I’ll walk in.” As soon as I walked in, I felt extremely out of place. All around me were women who were stick thin and bubbly. One saleslady came up to me (a little too eager for my taste) and asked what I was looking for. I said I was just browsing around for anything really. She looked at me and with a rather weird look asked, “So….you’re a runner?” I politely said yes that I was and she hmmmm and ahhhh and said, “Well I can see if I can find something that will fit you. Although the sizes are small and I’m not sure if it will fit.” I couldn’t believe it. I am not overweight by any means (nor close to it- I’m 5ft 7in and weigh between 137-143) and I felt completely insulted and walked right out as soon as she turned her back to me. I’m not one to make an opinion of a company on one bad experience, but I definitely will think twice about walking into their store again.

    1. Yikes, what an unpleasant experience to have *anywhere*. I’m sorry that happened to you. I know I always worry about experiences like that, and I’m glad you didn’t hang around to see what else would happen!

  2. Dove did do it, but they are also owned by Unilever (yes, the same one that owns the men’s Axe body spray products, featuring beautiful slender women literally throwing themselves at Axe wearing men). I smell hypocritical marketing ploys.

    I’ve been wearing lululemon products for many years (they originated here in Canada). I now own probably 5 lulu products, (2 of which has lasted me about 8 years of dancing and now running) and I wore one of their hoodies and reversible yoga pants for the majority of 4 months of traveling overseas, so I can’t argue with their quality. The price is hefty, but worth the investment in my mind.

    I would like to see lululemon have more diversity of sizes and ‘healthy’ body types used, but they arn’t the only ones. Look at any (non-plus size) clothing store ads and you’ll see similar body types. Sadly they market towards their target market (aka the body types they feature) and they will probably continue to do so as long as it keeps making them money.

    1. Hypocritical marketing ploys are the worst. Kellogg’s owns Special K, but also Kashi. It always makes me wonder where the marketing decisions come from. Is the parent company just not really interested in how the product is marketed, as long as it makes money? That’s my guess.

  3. Preach on sister!

    Kimsky is right though, lululemon isn’t the only ones guilty of this… most clothing companies are. I just think it’s easier to feel frustrated with them because of their whole manifesto. But I am mortified by Katy’s experience, no matter what store that happened at it would be terrible.

  4. I still applaud Ann Taylor’s response to the same query from fans – dressing their staff (of every size and shape) in their clothing. It gave us a better idea of how their clothes fit real women and I think launched a new respect for their brand!

  5. Last night, after posting my comment on how I generally liked Lululemon, even though I thought they did a poor job of accomodating larger boobs…I totally had a dream in which I tried to get some sort of running one piece suit (it’s a dream, ok! 🙂 and could not fit into any of their clothes. I laughed quite a bit this morning at how transparent that dream was.
    I’ve never had a negative experience with them, but what happened to the (quite a bit more slender than I) commentator above is horrific, and makes me rethink going there again.

    1. I’m pretty sure you could actually get a one-piece running suit if you wanted one. There are definitely running dresses out there. I’ve never tried one, though. I just feel like it would be a wedgie/camel toe nightmare.

  6. what a bummer that lululemon didn’t have more of a response to you. i would be interested to see what they REALLY think about this topic. i agree that i am intimidated by the brand, but still really covet some of the items after seeing so many other bloggers loving them.

    i’ve never actually stepped into one of their stores, but i’m hoping that katy’s experience wasn’t a normal occurrence and she just happened to get a bad saleswoman.

  7. I’m glad that you wrote your post on lulu clothes and that you’re actually contacting the companies involved – it’s really inspiring, instead of just accepting the status quo or complaining about it!!

    I think that lululemon is an East Coast chain? As such, I’ve never heard of it before. But just from their website, I know that it isn’t a chain for me. Those types of pants are not marketed to people like me – I have large thighs and hips, and would never, ever set foot in a store that featured photos like they have on their website. And you’re totally right – it’s because I feel like I’m not their demographic.

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