Seeing as it’s Thursday and all, I thought I’d take a break from ranting about lululemon and spend a bit of time on something that has popped up more than a couple times in the comments on my past two posts. And what, you ask, might that be? Why, the cost of workout apparel, of course!
Now, I confess that I am a total bargain hunter when it comes to my workout clothes. I’ll splurge on some key items, but for the most part I try to spend as little as I can without sacrificing quality. One reason for this is the fact that I just don’t have that much money to spend. Another is the fact that even though Zoe wrote this, I could easily have said it about myself:
somehow, part of me just can’t justify spending fifty dollars on a shirt i’m going to run in or seventy five on a pair of stretchy yoga pants…i’m pretty happy with my target running shorts and old t-shirts.
Yeah, same here. So happy, in fact, that some of my workout gear dates back to my high school days. I’m 29 now. I’ll let you do the math. I have one sports bra that I’m pretty sure I got when I was fifteen. My bra size hasn’t really changed since then, so I just never stopped wearing it. And it shows.
Observe the frayed edges and holes. Admittedly, my other sports bras are in better shape (even the ones that are over ten years old, and there are more than a couple of those). I even have three that are only about two or three years old. They’re from Target, they cost $17, and they’re great. The thing is, though, that it doesn’t take much to keep my breasts from going anywhere when I’m running. They’re pretty small. Are these bras great for women who are more endowed than I am? Unfortunately, I can’t say.
When I buy shirts to run in, I’m also pretty likely to go to Target. Sometimes the material isn’t the softest, but I sweat so much that everything eventually ends up feeling the same (that is to say: wet) to me anyway. Long sleeved pull-overs I buy on sale through Running Warehouse (which I LOVE). I’ll spend time drooling over the stuff that’s high tech and pricey (and probably worth it in a lot of cases) but I always end up buying whatever’s cheapest. Brooks is one of my favorite brands because their stuff is high quality but not quite a high-priced as comparable items from other labels. The running tights I own are the cheapest ones I could find with key pockets in them, and I work pretty hard to find shorts on sale. The exception to this is the time I bought a pair of CW-X tights, and a pair of capris. I still have the tights (and I like them a lot), but I had to part with the capris (which I liked even more) when they started splitting in the inner thigh. As much as I loved those capris, I regretted paying so much for them as I handed them off to my younger sister (whose thighs are decidedly slimmer than mine).
Returning to our sheep, which is to say getting back to lululemon, one pretty consistent comment about their apparel was that it was expensive (some commenters were as put off and intimidated by this as I am, others just accept it as fact). For those who own lululemon apparel, though, the price tag is worth it. As Kimski noted,
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.
And Sonia shared a similar sentiment: “I own several lulu pieces of clothing and I consider every single one of them either a great investment or an awesome present.” I have to say, 2 pieces of clothing lasting through 8 years of wear and tear in the form of dancing and running is pretty impressive, especially in today’s market where most clothing companies make things that seem like they should be disposable. Let’s say that tomorrow you could pay $88 for a pair of groove pants, and still be wearing them 8 years from now. They’ve only cost you $11 a year, which is pretty negligible in the long run. Will you buy them?
Maybe it seems like a no-brainer to some people, but I can’t help but think of my 14-year-old sports bra. And hesitate. Sure, it looks like crap, but it still does what it’s supposed to. So technically, it’s been one hell of an investment. Splurge or save? My jury’s still out.
When it comes to your fitness apparel, do you splurge or save? Are there items you save on, and others you splurge on? What’s the cheapest item you have? The most expensive?