By Dr. Ashley O'Rourke PT, DPT, ATC, LAT
From lounging to exercising lululemon has it covered. Their high quality materials, impeccable customer service and FREE HEMMING + FREE SHIPPING make them worth the splurge!
*I am part of the lululemon collective and may make a small commission if you make a purchase through the links below*
1. Align Pants
THE. MOST. VERSATILE. PANT. EVER. If you are looking to buy only one item that you will wear more times than you can count- this is it. There’s nothing better than that feeling of forgetting you’re even wearing pants. The buttery fabric does just that. Not too constricting, they don’t press on your stomach or cut into your skin. They are the ideal pants to wear while lounging around, but also great to wear under an oversized sweater for a cute fall outfit or to wear while stretching or doing yoga. They’re great for going for a walk and I, personally, find them perfectly acceptable for a run as well. I would not recommend them for HIIT workouts or crossfit or anything where you are going to be down on a rough/hard gym floor because the fabric is more delicate. Since the fabric is so buttery soft, it is not as durable for this type of contact and will easily pill due to the friction. For this type of workout I would recommend the Wunder Under or All the Right Places tight.
This is a staple in my closet. I wear it for everything from lounging around to cooler runs/walks, but also to the office where I work as a physical therapist. It’s lightweight and non-bulkiness is perfect for treating patients because it doesn’t get in my way. It also allows for a patient to see my form while I demonstrate an exercise. I own this in every color. This, along with the On the Fly pants 7/8 are my everyday uniform.
If you are looking for pants that are flexible, but can pass as business casual- look no further. These are it. Period. I will never look back. They are perfect for females in the health/fitness/medical field and I recommend them to every fellow female physical therapist/athletic trainer I meet.
Lululemon was there for me when no other brand was. Finding pants for female physical therapists is hard when you have to dress business casual. I tried everything from Nike and Adidas golf pants to Banana Republic cropped dress pants- nothing worked. The dress pants were too constricting and wouldn’t allow me to demonstrate exercises to my patients and the golf pants made me look frumpy. All of my coworkers were male. They would wear and rave about the men’s lululemon ABC pants so I drove to the store that day to see if they had anything similar for women. Unfortunately, they did not, however, they did tell me that they had a female buy the smallest pair of ABC men’s pants and just had them hemmed. (Another reason I love lululemon- FREE HEMMING. This is super exciting when you’re 5’3” like me and need petite sizing for your bottoms). I tried them on, but they still swallowed me whole. The store worker pointed to the pants on a mannequin and told me that she had seen people dress them up and wear them out at night. I was not sold by what I saw. They were baggy and unflattering, but I was desperate so I tried them on anyway. To my surprise they were PERFECT. EXACTLY what I had been looking for. I guess I had sized down in them because they were more form-fitting on me than what the mannequin had on and, as a result, they looked identical to the Banana Republic cropped dress pants I had on when I walked into the store. The employee was convincing as well. She too was surprised by what they looked like. She told me that when they first came out, she had no interest in purchasing them for herself, but that after seeing them on me sized down she, herself, was going to buy a pair. I guess that was the secret- size down. With my polo untucked covering the draw string, they 100% passed as business casual yet they gave the comfort and ability to move like a legging. I was so excited and relieved. I can honestly say that I’ve never looked back and I will never change to another pant- EVER. I own these pants in every single color they have ever made. The “knit” are a little dressier, but the non-knit are more comfortable and moveable. I own both and both work just fine for what I need. I recommend the 7/8 versus the crop or full length and I get them hemmed about an inch so that they don’t touch the top of the tongue of my shoe. I can’t tell you how many times my patient’ have commented on how much they like them or how flattering they are. Every person I have recommended them to has absolutely loved them. I always recommend them to females in my field because they literally changed my life since I have to wear them every day and they allow me to do my job better. I’ve had female students who have gone out and bought them same-day after their first day working alongside me- never have they been disappointed.
For those of you like me, who do not have much to worry about up top, this is my favorite. I’m a sucker for just how fun and intricate the back strappiness is and it gives me all the support I need (B Cup). It’s lightweight, breathable and doesn’t make me feel constricted in my chest or make it hard to breathe. It’s perfect for lounging, yoga, pilates etc, but if you’re small enough chested like me, I find it perfectly fine for any exercise activity including running/jumping activities.
My second choice bra is the Free to be Serene Bra or the Free to be Serene Long Line. Again, it has the fun straps in the back, but has a little more coverage/support. This one is better for high impact activities like running, jumping or a HIIT workout, but is not too constricting.
These are similar to the Align as they don’t have any additions like pockets or mesh etc. They are seamless, but provide a little additional strength to the fabric. They are still designed for yoga, but the material is a little more durable. It is moisture-wicking and has a smooth, cool feel.
Designed for running/training, you can think of these like an Align tight geared toward working out. They are sweat-wicking, breathable and smooth. There do have seams for a little more support and the pant leg cuffs have reflective detailing for safety while running.
This is by far my favorite bag for going to the gym, taking my change of clothes to work or for an overnight trip. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the “heathered black” color (though I would call it heathered grey, personally) and I own it myself in this color. It has a very modern and sleek look and feel. The quality of the material means that it feels durable and sturdy. I will say that the Cassis color is a close second for me since I am also a huge burgundy person.
If you’re someone who sweats a lot or you plan on doing hot yoga- this is a must. I made the mistake of going to hot yoga without a towel one time and I was slipping all over my mat- to the point that I might has well have just left because I couldn't hold any of the positions anyway due to the sliding. Also, with the current COVID pandemic, more and more gyms and studios are requiring that member’s bring a towel with them or they cannot participate.
10. Yoga Mat
They may seem a little on the expensive side, but trust me, there is a huge difference between a higher quality, thicker yoga mat and a thin one that it pretty much just a glorified moisture-wicking towel. Their 5 mm thickness are easy on your knees and elbows.
11. SPLURGE: Winter Warrior Parka
If I lived somewhere colder, I’d probably invest in a nice warm parka like this one. One thing I hate is being cold and I get very cold very easily. My fingers, toes and the tip of my nose are perpetually like icicles and a big gift like this from someone would make me all warm and fuzzy inside ;)
12. ON A BUDGET: Cardio Cross Trainer Headband
A headband is both a practical and stylish gift, but also the perfect stocking stuffer or Secret Santa gift where there is a budget limit.
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