In honor of all the Food Network that a bunch of you likely watched over the holiday break, I’m copping inspiration for this post’s title from Iron Chef. Although, maybe a FOOD reference was a bad idea.
I am writing this intro from 35,000 feet (first rule of airplane internet is always tell people you have airplane internet), and was delayed for almost 4 hours on the ground after boarding. How does that relate to food? I got upgraded and was banking on breakfast being served to me around 8:15a. It’s now after 12pm and I’m hangry.
Anyway, you’re not here for my first world problems. You’re here for pictures of pants.
Lululemon played Santa and brought parallel stripes back on Christmas night, in the form of the Wunder Under Hi-Rise Tight *Full-On Luxtreme ($98) – still available & the Wunder Under Hi-Rise Crop *Full-On Luon ($88) – which is now SOLD OUT. In a fit of FOMO, I anxiously and indecisively ordered both, plus the lazurite Pack it Down Again Jacket. Gift card from my Uncle didn’t even last 24 hours.
For a while now, Lulu’s signature “when the stripes do the thing” had been absent from their offerings. A long enough time passed that other brands (Athleta, Glyder) began to swoop in with doppelgängers. Athleta’s Stripe Contender 7/8 Tight ($66.99) seems to be the most popular of the lot, and I fell in love with them in March. A bunch of you felt the same way and pulled the trigger.
Now that lululemon’s risen up to steal your holiday money, I’ve now received the same question several times: how do Lululemon’s parallel stripes stack up to Athleta’s Stripe Contenders?
As soon as they got delivered, I shared an immediate one-on-one comparison over on my Instagram / IGTV Channel, a few days ago. Now that I’ve had some time to properly photograph the lulu pieces, it’s time for a true visual side by side, not my sitting on the floor of my spare bedroom rambling like an idiot.
Head on, there are the obvious differences to the educated eye. The color and stripe thickness vary, and the seam across the front sits a little bit lower on the lululemon. But to your clueless boyfriend/husband: they look like the same pants, babe.
SIDES & STRIPES
Here’s where it gets jazzy. Athleta’s tights have more paneling and strategic features, intended for functionality. Lululemon stays horizontal throughout, minimizing seams.
The WUC & WUP are intended for yoga, while the Contenders want you to take them for a run. They’re more compressive, have a drawstring to keep them up and multiple pockets to keep your keys & goos in check.
STRIPES DOING WHAT STRIPES DO
Let’s get to the real reason all of us keep going back to horizontally striped pants. The rear view.
The rise on Athleta’s tights is slightly lower, and much tighter. Think of the fit like a sport two-piece swimsuit. In order to stay put, it’s got to be a bit tighter in order not to move.
Athleta? Mini muffin (top) for the slightly squishy person like me. Necessary evil of pants that stay up when you do things. Lululemon? NO MUFFINS IN THIS BAKERY.
THREE’S A CROWD
If only there were two pieces in the equation… but there are not. Going through a set of Athleta fitting room photos from this fall, I realize there’s a third player in the game: Athleta’s Elation Virasana 7/8 Tight ($89).
Shown here is an M. Not going to lie, these run a bit snug. My issue with Athleta is that their number sizes work great… but when they pull the S/M/L thing, an L is always too big but M makes me feel a little like a sausage.
Once I squeezed into the M shown above (they fit like Spanx if any of you have any of their leggings), I looked and felt like a million bucks. The only reason I didn’t get them that day was because I only had ONE 20% coupon and the Stash Pocket Moto Tight on the brain. I was TRYING to be kinda financially responsible. Which sounds like total BS seeing that this post only exists because I spent almost $200 on practically identical pants/crops, that look incredibly similar to something perfectly good that I already own. Because I couldn’t decide on a difference of 8″ in length. There’s a joke in there somewhere.
Speaking of fiscal responsibility… if you’re an XXS there’s a fourth player in the game, Athleta’s cropped version, the Stripes Chaturanga Capri on sale for just $29.99.
It depends what you want them for.
For Running, CrossFit, and the ability store things: Stripe Contender 7/8 Tight
For Yoga, Spin class or looking hot on Instagram: Wunder Under Hi-Rise Tight
For feeling super sucked in, also looking hot on Instagram: Elation Virasana 7/8 Tight
Does writing this drawn out post help me decide whether I should keep the pants or the crops?
Ha! Nope. You?