My favorite brand is lululemon, a Canadian company that came on the U. S. scene a few years ago. Suddenly there are lululemon stores in many Bay Area neighborhoods. They use great fabrics in interesting colors with lots of stretch. The quality is so good the clothes don’t ever seem to wear out, and the styles change frequently. If you are in need of activewear, you will usually find what you want at lululemon. They carry clothing for both men and women. Lucy is another similar brand. They are a bit less expensive and the styles are great. This chain is only for women.
Athleta is owned by Gap, and they opened recently on Fillmore in San Francisco. This line is just for women. Their prices are the most reasonable of the three stores, but I find their styles not as interesting and fit not as good those at lululemon.
If you are going on a spa vacation, it is easy to build a nice, comfortable wardrobe with any of these brands. I go to a spa in Mexico for a week every year. Here is what I usually pack for working out:
• 2 workout bottoms
• 5 t-shirts
• 1 warm jacket
• 1 or 2 long-sleeve tops to wear in combination with short-sleeve tops, a few tanks, exercise bras, and fun socks.
I keep the bottoms black and use color in the tops. All these items can be found at the stores mentioned above.
Nike has come out with a great, versatile workout sneaker, Nike Free Run +2. They come in great colors for both men and women and are light, low profile and perfect for the gym, walking or running. They are so nice looking you may think they are street wear, but they are really for exercise.
Remember, workout clothes are not interchangeable for street wear. Whether you are on a spa vacation or just taking yoga in your neighborhood, you should change into your street clothing once you are done exercising. Too many people think that comfy athletic pants and t-shirts are fine for going around town – they are not. As athletic clothing gets more attractive, the lines between street clothing and activewear are blurring. This has made my job harder because it is difficult to convince clients there is a difference between what you wear to a restaurant and what you wear to yoga. Don’t do downward dog at your local wine bar.
Micki Turner is a Bay Area image consultant and can be reached at www.mickiturner.com.