Full disclosure: I secretly wanted to love Lululemon's men’s gear when the company sent me a box of clothes to test. I just wasn't prepared to admit it.
The company has become synonymous with women's yoga gear. If you close your eyes and think Lululemon, I doubt any masculine visuals come to mind. Hence my surprise when I read the hyper-masculine product descriptions (the ABC in the ABC Pant stands for “anti-ball-crushing”). And as it turns out, those men’s products are pretty darn high-performance, too.
While Lululemon has produced men's clothing almost since it started in 1998, only in the past two years has it moved to make that apparel its own business, including developing plans to build standalone men's stores. But it’s not easy separating that unit from the tried-and-true women’s brand.
"By far our biggest challenge is that we are perceived as a women's yoga brand," Lululemon Brand Manager Marshall Rutman said. "The easiest way to work on that is to get product on people. Once we get people in the product, that perception goes away."
We agree, Marshall. Don’t get me wrong: Lululemon products are still expensive, both for men and women. But you get what you pay for, and the high quality of the Lululemon apparel is readily apparent in the details. While I found the jackets a little overbuilt, I loved the pants, shorts, and shirts I reviewed.
We think you’ll love the following three items, too—and you won’t even be afraid to admit it.
Assert Tech Short Sleeve ($68)
Scott Rosenfield, online associate managing editor at Outside, claims this lightweight, hip-length shirt is his favorite piece of Lululemon gear. The cat 2 road cyclist loved the athletic fit, and how the sleeves were cut to hug his body. "The shoulders are oriented forward, like how my arms naturally rest," he wrote in an email. Rosenfield also dug the shirt’s featherweight knit. It’s one of those rare articles of clothing that’s just as comfortable to wear while trail running as it is during a day in the office.
For the People Short ($68)
My running shorts keep getting shorter and shorter, so I was surprised to discover how much I loved Lululemon’s For the People Short with its 11.5-inch inseam. The flat seams disappeared on jogs and the short’s Luon fabric was so stretchy that the long length didn't hinder my movements at all. Plus, the tapered cut helps keep these shorts from looking too baggy. These simple shorts, with their zipper-less pocket, became my go-to shorts for runs and yoga classes.
ABC Pant ($128)
My brother Pete—who's both bigger and manlier than I am—tested the ABC (or anti-ball-crushing) Pant. He found that while the pants have a casual look suitable for the office, they also perform exceptionally well in the gym.
Pete completed his first GoRuck Challenge in San Francisco while wearing these pants. During 13 hours of callisthenic punishment, the pants never let him down. "With the fabric’s stretchiness and give, I didn't feel at all restricted during squats, man makers, or buddy carries," he says.
Plus, the Warpstream fabric dried very quickly and didn’t chafe at all during the many dips he had to make into the Pacific. Most surprising was how well the pants were received by fellow GoRuck participants. "They received style points from a former Green Beret," Pete says.