Athleisure fashion is all the rage right now. Before you dive in, here’s an in-depth guide on Lululemon vs Athleta, so that you can make a more informed purchase.
Whether you hit the gym every day, attend yoga classes semi-weekly, or have to haul groceries home from the shops occasionally, rockin’ athleisure will keep you comfortable. Stretchy clothes aren’t just for gym-goers, runners, or yogis—they can be worn by anyone, on any casual occasion.
When it comes to sourcing out high-quality and trendy athleisure and gym gear, two brands stand out among the rest: lululemon and Athleta. Despite both of them being on the pricier side, both brands use materials and fabrics that you can trust won’t fall apart easily.
Even if you hate working out, it’s incredibly important to have some activewear staples in your wardrobe. You really never know when you could need a head-to-toe outfit that you can comfortably move in.
Despite both of these athleisure brands selling items that are similar in style, their history differentiates them. The brand that’s best for you may hinge on how they got their start or what products you find best suit your personal style.
In order to help you determine whether or not lululemon or Athleta is your perfect match, we’ve done a deep dive into their histories, the shopping experience at lululemon vs Athleta, and the bestselling items from both brands. Lets get into it!
Luluemon Vs Athleta:
The history of lululemon
Canadian brand lululemon was founded in 1998 by Chip Wilson, a resident of Vancouver with a passion for technical, yoga-inspired clothing. Chip worked extremely hard to create a place where people could purchase clothing they could sweat in while building a community of like-minded individuals.
Lululemon’s customers were said to be concerned with healthy living, mindfulness, and achieving their personal goals. After garnering a whole lot of popularity at its storefronts in Vancouver, lululemon opened stores all over Canada and the rest of the globe.
The clothing sold by lululemon was initially designed for women to wear during yoga but the brand branched out into pieces for cycling, training, running, and other sweaty activities. Over the years, lululemon has also become a very popular athleisure retailer for men, even opening several stores just for men.
The downfall of lululemon was ironically the man that led it to success. After a slew of negative media coverage, which we will get into, Chip Wilson resigned as the chairman of lululemon.
Though he is no longer in a management role at the company, he is still the company’s biggest shareholder, with an 8 percent stake. Even though he’s said some off-color things during interviews, we just can’t stop spending all of our money at lululemon since everything is so fashionable and long-lasting.
Now it’s time to get into Chip Wilson’s unsavory comments. In 2013, he suggested that women complaining of “sheer” leggings was because they were trying to wear a size that’s too small and that it’s because their thighs were rubbing together.
He then stated that lululemon’s leggings aren’t for all body types. This, of course, outraged curvaceous women and we are pretty sure that Athleta saw this as an opportunity to swoop in, using curvy mannequins in every store.
Even though he’s said some off-color things during interviews, we just can’t stop spending all of our money at lululemon since everything is so fashionable and long-lasting.
The shopping experience at luluemon
In terms of style at lululemon, the company always has an impressive selection of neutral shades as well as some colors that are popular each season. Because of this, it’s insanely easy to purchase one style in about six different colors.
The clothing company is also deeply adored for its matching sports bra and legging sets, which are very chic for yoga and pilates.
When visiting one of its retail locations, the shopping experience can be a little daunting if you aren’t incredibly in shape or a professional athlete. The walls are covered with images of athletes (with perfect bodies) sporting lululemon, which is a constant reminder that you’re just wanting to buy leggings to wear while lounging at home.
The staff greet you the second you walk through the door and follow you as you explore the store, selecting items to try on. We appreciate their friendly customer service but sometimes it can be overwhelming.
If we’re being honest, we prefer purchasing our lululemon products online as that way we can skip the over-the-top customer service. Plus, if the pieces you purchase online don’t work out, you can easily return or exchange them at any in-person location.
All About Athleta
The history of Athleta is slightly less exciting, which might be a good thing. The brand was founded in 1998, the same year as lululemon, and was created to meet all of the clothing needs of active women. It was acquired by Gap, Inc. in 2008.
Producing clothing that makes women feel comfortable is what Athleta cares about most. When walking into an Athleta store, it becomes clear that the brand cares about inclusivity and offers clothing to women of all different shapes and sizes.
Instead of having stick-thin mannequins that are six feet tall, Athleta uses mannequins that are a variety of heights with different body types.
When it comes to style, Athleta carries a lot of pieces that look similar to those of lululemon’s. There isn’t a huge price difference between the brands but they do carry different colors, which is why activewear enthusiasts like to shop at both.
The shopping experience at Athleta
We just visited an Athleta store for the first time as it recently opened up at a nearby shopping mall—and we were not disappointed. Upon walking through the doors, we could see immediately that they carried so many styles that were similar to the popular ones sold at lululemon, just in different colors.
This provides a great alternative for those who love lululemon but aren’t keen on its seasonal colors.
The curvy mannequins with realistic body shapes made us feel comfortable and accepted. Even the advertisements on the large screens near the changerooms featured famous American athlete Simone Biles, who is shorter and very muscular.
At Athleta, the staff are a little bit more relaxed and less concerned that you’re going to steal something so they let you browse the store on your own. We definitely liked this low-pressure vibe.
In terms of products, Athleta had rows and rows of leggings, shirts, tank tops, and sports bras. Some of their sports bras and leggings were even made out of raspberry-colored velour, which definitely caught our attention.
Thirty minutes later, we left the store with a deep V-neck, forest green sports bra that will be perfect for the gym, pilates, and yoga.
Differences Between Lululemon Vs Athleta
The main difference between the two brands is the activities that they make clothing for. A lot of the clothing carried by lululemon is suitable for yoga whereas Athleta creates clothing for a wider range of activities, including hiking, weight training, running, and street wear.
For those who prefer the look of streetwear over the yoga aesthetic, Athleta is likely a better choice.
At both brands, leggings cost around $90 to $150 and tops cost anywhere from $50 to $100. While it might seem like a lot of money to spend on clothes you’ll be sweating in, you’re paying for quality fabrics and craftsmanship.
Our Top Picks From Lululemon vs Athleta
The Align High-Rise Pants in 28-inch ($98 to $118) are by far the most popular leggings sold at lululemon. This style comes in 28 different colors and patterns and is available in sizes up to 20. Since they are high-waisted, they pair perfectly with the Align Tank Top.
Athleta’s Salutation Stash Pocket II Tights are high-waisted, made from a breathable and quick-drying fabric, and feature small pockets on the side to hold your essential items. These leggings come in sizes XXS to 3X and cost $98.
2. Long-sleeved tops
The Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Shirt 2.0 from lululemon is the ideal shirt for walking in colder weather or for when you go to the gym in the wintertime.
It’s a staple at lululemon and the store always has it in stock. The long sleeve has special thumbholes and is made with a fabric that decreases the chance of bacteria growth on sweaty clothing. This top retails for $78.
Athleta’s Momentum Top ($79) comes in eight different colors, including black, dark violet, navy, and pink. And because everyone should be able to wear comfortable workout clothing, the top is available in sizes XXS to 3X. It’s made with a fabric that conceals odor, making it perfect for gym sessions and spin classes.
3. Tank tops
Lululemon’s Align Tank Top is slightly cropped and has built-in bra cups so ladies can go braless when working out. It’s designed for yoga but that doesn’t stop fashionistas from wearing it out with a pair of high-waisted jeans. The Align Tank Top costs $58.
The Momentum Shine Tank from Athleta is simple but stands out due to the shimmery fabric it’s made from. This tank top can be worn to and from your workout or during low-impact activities. Add this pretty activewear top to your collection for $49.
For those building their perfect capsule wardrobe, we suggest starting with a sports bra, pair of full-length leggings, semi-fitted tank top, breathable long-sleeved top, and a lightweight jacket or quarter zip. With these items, all of your bases will be covered.
Before you start purchasing stretchy items from either brand, there are several things you should consider. Think about the pieces’ overall functionality and what exact activities they can be worn for.
It’s also crucial to think long and hard about the colors you purchase. While the hot pink long-sleeved top grabs your attention, it might be a little too flashy for frequent wear.
If you’re an outfit repeater (there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this), people are less likely to remember a black or grey top as opposed to a brightly colored top.
But when it comes to sports bras, you can have a little more fun as unlike normal clothing, it’s totally okay if your sports bra shows through your workout top.
Fashionistas who have some dimpling on their legs may also feel more comfortable wearing leggings or bike shorts in a darker color as lighter shades may reveal more than they would like.
However, at the end of the day, the activewear essentials you purchase should make you feel confident and ready to crush your workout class or a trip to the mall.
Overall, we truly adore both brands, which makes it difficult to choose just one between lululemon vs Athleta. The brand that’s right for you really depends on the activities you like to do. Lululemon is best suited for folks who do yoga, attend Pilates classes, and work out at the gym.
On the other hand, Athleta’s styles are more appropriate for streetwear like those times you have errands to run or when you’re meeting a friend for coffee. In a perfect world, a wardrobe would have an equal amount of pieces from both high-quality clothing brands.
We hope you enjoyed our analysis of lululemon Vs Athleta! If you’re looking for more fashion reads, check out the related posts below – we’re sure you’ll love them just as much!