Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lulu upgrades

Lululemon dropped their summer range campaign recently, and the sunshine and colours really had me pining for a number of items. Although the only one I could justify was the Stuff Your Bra as my current collection of sports bras will most likely not make it through summer. My current collection consists of a couple by Lulu, and one each by Blockout, Lorna Jane and Running Bare. However only three of those are on regular rotation as one of the Lululemon bras and the Running Bare one only suitable for cycling or low-impact activities. Three sports bras will not get me through summer.

Say what you want about the "Cult of Lulu", bright colours and bold prints will suck me in any day.
Check out the full campaign on their website.

The older of my two Lulu sports bras is an older style which is no longer available - it's called Run Engage and comes with convertible straps (that I always kept in a cross-back style) and a discreet pocket large enough to hold a key or two. The pocket is accessible from the top so it's easy to just stick your hand down your top and retrieve the keys once you're back at home. Like so many Lulu bras it comes with removable cups (which I don't use), but you can't really use those "pockets" to store anything. Trust me, I tried it with the All Sport bra and you lose your keys in there - it makes for a very awkward dance outside the front door.

Like this. Except on my chest. In public.
Image from here.
When I went shopping for my most recent sport bra a couple of years ago I couldn't find one that felt comfortable and had a pocket. I ended up with the All Sport because it is truly a fantastic sport bra, but was a little sad I no longer had the little key pocket. So these days I use a Spibelt to hold my mobile when I go out running with bottoms that can't hold the mobile itself, and the front door key is attached to a hair-tie that I keep on my wrist. I like that it's secure and I can keep an eye on it, but I don't actually enjoy wearing hair-ties around my wrist.

When I bought the Run Engage at the Bondi Junction store, I picked it up in a 10 as that was the correct size for Australian size 14 me. But when I found a sales assistant (or whatever it is Lulu call them) at their San Francisco store who was a similar build to me (but fitter), she suggested I try the All Sport in both an 8 and a 10 (the Run Engage had been discontinued at this point). I was hooked - I preferred the snug fit of the 8 and eventually the Run Engage was relegated to cycling.

Strangely the under-bust of the Size 10 Run Engage and Size 8 All Sport are quite similar, though the Run Engage has a larger bust measurement when flat...
... and is larger yet when you consider that it's shaped rather than flat. Note the convenient key pocket of the Run Engage that surely would not be difficult to add to the All Sport!

So now that Lulu have dropped their latest campaign, the Stuff Your Bra caught my eye because it had pockets! It's part of their regular range, but I hadn't really noticed it. I popped by their Doncaster store after parkrun one day and tried it on in an 8. The fit was fine, but having walked in wearing the All Sport meant I had a direct comparison, and the Stuff Your Bra just felt... bouncy? I actually jumped about on the spot in the change room. The sales assistant confirmed that the All Sport was more compressive and that's why she preferred the Stuff Your Bra. Why are all the Australian Lulu sales assistants flat-chested super-skinny types? The San Francisco store had far more variety in body shapes and thus was ultimately more helpful as they understand what you mean by a bra being overkill. I asked to try on a 6, which was a ridiculous idea in my head as a Lulu 6 is typically an Australian 10. Yes, the 6 was more supportive, but I was sure that the tight-fitting shoulder straps would bother me even on a short run!

I'm sure you're wondering why I'm sticking to Lulu despite not finding my ideal bra. It's because their sports bras have last longer than any of the other brands I've tried, and their wide shoulder straps are consistently comfortable (unless the sizing is obviously small). Lulu is also expensive, but the best bit about being back in Melbourne is that I can visit their Collingwood factory outlet. Of course, if you know exactly what you need, then the "we made too much" section of the website saves a trip into the city. Especially since there's free shipping.

No returns and no exchanges, so make sure you know what you're getting!

As long as you're happy to play the patient game, it's a great spot to pick up Lulu goodies. I was looking to add two more All Sport (as I am trying to minimise how much stuff I have), but I'm not the biggest fan of doubling-up on designs so I only picked up one of the sole design they had available in my size (the black and white Pretty Palm Black Angel Wing style pictured above). At $26 less than the typical retail price, you effectively buy three and have two "free". Also, I received the order the next day! Much easier than heading in to Collingwood!

As I said, I am trying to minimise how much stuff I have, so killing off the Blockout and Lorna Jane bras by using them as much as possible will still be happening, along with all my running shirts and tights*. I've ordered them in their drawer so the ones on top are those I like least (or are closest to death - hello random bits of elastane). Of course the order can sometimes be ignored if I'm going to run beyond the neighbourhood (e.g. parkrun) or just really want to wear a particular item!

*I used a pair of tights I hadn't used since my hammer throwing days the other week. Very much NOT comfortable for running. They'll be moved to sit next to my "yoga" pair of tights now.

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