Lululemon made the wrong kind of headlines four years ago when its co-founder and then CEO blamed “some women’s bodies” for a flaw in its yoga pants. Despite much hyped changes in the company since then (including that executive’s departure), one woman’s recent experience in a Lululemon store shows that it could still have room for improvement.
“You only have one size 12 in everything,” blogger Adrian Wood wrote on Facebook after her visit to a store in Miami, Fla. “One, it has usually vamoosed by the time I make the trek to the big city. Two, can’t you have more than just one size 12? Three, why nothing above a size 12? Modern day shaming for folks that may be a touch rounder than your employees.”
Wood, a mother of four who writes the blog Tales of an Educated Debutante from her home in eastern North Carolina, was on a family vacation when she decided to see if the brand was right for her.
“I’m always thinking if I get the right exercise clothes, maybe I’ll be inspired to exercise,” Wood tells Yahoo Style. “Somehow in my brain, I’m like, ‘Maybe if I had stuff that looks like it went together, I would be more motivated to do something.’ [When you buy workout clothes at] T.J. Maxx, you’re always looking a little hodgepodge.”
Wood wondered why a company would limit itself to small sizes when the average American woman is a size 16 or 18. A recent study found that many plus-size women resort to buying their athletic gear in the men’s department.
“I could be thinner, but I think I look pretty good,” Wood tells Yahoo. “It was like, after 12 you’re just not allowed to come in here?”
In 2013, on the heels of Lululemon’s infamous see-through-pants controversy, insiders revealed that stores purposely kept their larger sizes understocked and often hidden in the back. The Canadian company has since replaced Chip Wilson, the aforementioned co-founder and CEO (he of the “some women’s bodies” fame), and placed a new emphasis on offering men’s clothing. Larger sizes, however, are still not part of its market. The largest size available on its website is size 14.
“There are more of us than there are of you,” Wood wrote. “You know, women who have had a few kids, eaten one too many bologna sandwiches and feel a slight push to exercise again.”
While some shoppers have become gradually accustomed to the fact that athletic clothing is higher-priced, more fashion-forward, and more delicate than the sweatpants of yore, Wood’s post is a refreshing reality check.
“You’ve clearly bought into the philosophy, if we charge more, they’ll want it more,” she wrote. She balked at the laundering instructions a saleswoman gave her, as well as the offer to hem a shirt she liked. “I have pants from two years ago that have scotch tape keeping them ‘hemmed.’ The offer of sewing made me think what in the Hell am I doing in here?”
That’s not to say Wood wasn’t willing to spend on the right outfits. She said she walked out of the store with $400 worth of merchandise. Although much of that she bought because the fit salesman in a yoga outfit was making her self-conscious.
She also has high praise for the store’s selection of postworkout clothing. “That’s a whole new niche business,” she said. “It’s great stuff. I put on my pajamas after I’ve worked out. I did buy a shirt from that section. It needs hems.”
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