Happy 2015! You may have noticed that I took a brief hiatus after Christmas. I’m back now and with a resolution to make this blog bigger and better in its second year (that’s right, I’ve been at this 1 year!!). This includes more posts, diverse content, and (ultimately) a refined design. I’ll get there…stay tuned!
To get kick-started into the new year, I’m dedicating a series of posts to workout wear. Nothing motivates you off the couch or out of bed better than knowing you’ve got a stylish outfit to strut in the gym (a penalty fee for a missed class also helps)!
My original idea for this post was to find several alternatives to higher-priced, popular workout brands. Therefore, I decided to road-test 3 brands – a consistent sampling including a pair of leggings, a sports bra, and a sweatshirt from each. Below are my initial findings:
I began with a new online, membership-based service called Fabletics. Touted as an alternative to Lululemon (at a fraction of the price), Kate Hudson is not only the face of the company but a partial owner as well. Need-less-to-say, I was eager to try it.
- Price. None of their leggings exceed $70 and shipping is free when your purchase is over $49. They also advertise that you can get an entire “outfit” starting at $49.95 (more on that below).
- Quality and design. On-trend colors and designs revival other more expensive brands. The leggings were of sturdy construction and the thick material provided great compression. No see-thru concerns here!
- Membership requirements. The membership offers the best prices…but, unless you remember to “skip a month” before the 5th, you get charged $49.95 each month (whether you intend to make a purchase or not). This total remains in your account until you apply it towards a purchase.
- Outfit pairings. While your first “outfit” may be as little as $25, I would prefer to create my own outfits (I don’t operate well within constraints).
- Fit. I ordered my normal size yet all of the pieces were extraordinarily small.
- Free, but not easy returns. Returning requires a phone call and, while the customer service agent was very friendly, I was unable to exchange without them first receiving my return (due my reduced price for my first outfit). Therefore, I still have a credit in my account awaiting my re-purchase.
I’ve seen a lot of EXP Core in fashion magazines and on other blogs. The concept is fashion-forward athletic wear made by the trend-driven retailer Express. Their leggings and bras are offered in fun prints with unique detailing, such as pockets large enough to fit your iPhone.
- Price. Again, their leggings are generally under $70 and they often offer promotions. **Currently buy one, get one 50% off!
- Fun design. I love the prints and unique details. For example, the sweatshirt I ordered has an open back, perfect for showing off the strappy sports bra that also came in my delivery.
- Cheap material. The leggings had a sheen to them, which is often a symptom of inexpensive material. And although compression, they were not flattering – particularly in the pattern I chose. Perhaps this last one is more “user error” in that the print was not flattering on me…in the least.
- Low in-store inventory. I found the pieces I wanted and at a discount online. The site offers easy returns either via mail or in-store. Returns were easy enough when I went into my local store; however, there was very little EXP Core inventory in the store. Therefore, in-person exchanges or even shopping seems unlikely.
Where to go when on the hunt for quality yet inexpensive and on-trend pieces to update your wardrobe? Well, look no further than The Gap, of course. Brick and mortar Gap stores can be found most anywhere, yet only certain ones carry their athletic line, GapFit. You are guaranteed a larger selection and often better deals can be found online, with the ease of returning to your local store.
- Quality product and solid construction. If you’re a Gap shopper, their workout line is consistent with the quality and design of their apparel line. Also, the style is in keeping with their “classic-with-a-twist” aesthetic.
- Price. Again, when looking for a less expensive alternative for workout wear, their leggings are also less than $70 full-price. And, you will often find some kind of promotion or sale at the Gap..wait for it (always).
- Inconsistent sizing. The tank I ordered was huge yet the leggings and bra ran small; meanwhile the sweatshirt was true-to-size. Ordinarily, I am a consistent size in Gap apparel, so this was a surprise.
- Lackluster design elements. If you’re in the market for black and grey, GapFit can be a solid option. However, I’m interested in fun colors and patterns. The patterns I found to be unexciting and had an inexpensive quality when stretched.
- Sale pricing. A con? I know…what am I saying here? The Gap’s pricing seems a little like finding the price you want to pay for an airline ticket – everyone on the flight paid a different price for the same seat. The Gap does not consolidate their online and in-store businesses; therefore, you never know if you’re getting the very best price when you are shopping online or in the store. Personally, this really annoys me. I’m willing to pay what I was rung up for (obviously, I made that choice when looking at the price tag), but to know that someone else got the exact item, at the same time for less really chaps me!
Overall, I wasn’t entirely sold on the items that I ordered. As stated above, quality and sizing were consistent concerns. And, as I’ve said numerous times previous, it’s not a deal if you have to frequently replace an item or if you don’t wear it because you don’t 100% love it. In the end, finding just the right piece that makes you feel good and motivates you, may be worth the higher price tag.
Stay tuned later this week for outfit shots and details on what I ended up keeping (both from the 3 brands above and including other favorites). Finally, this week’s “Friday Favorites” will feature 5 workout must-haves.
What’s your resolution? What do you want to see more of in 2015? Leave a comment with any inspiration – comments and suggestions always welcome. Thanks for reading! ~Jenn