The Sour Taste of Lululemon Sizing. ~ Mel Squarey

Via elephant journal
on May 16, 2012
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lululemon, pants, crops, sexy, butt,

I am opening up a big can of whoop-a** on the Lululemon dynasty.

I’ve been inspired in part by an elephant journal article on yoga uniforms in the West. I can’t say that I’d really thought about it before that point other than discussing the tiny outfits that come romping through my yoga class.

Let me be clear here. It’s not that I hate Lululemon, or the fact that everyone in class is wearing the same stuff, it’s more of a morality issue that I’m in debate with. I see value in feeling fly while entering the gym, hitting the track, or going to your yoga class. We all know that feeling fresh and clean can help with confidence boosting. We may need to feel fly to even get up out of bed in the morning to sweat. If this is your reason to get up and make your body healthy then I think that I’m okay with that. Honestly!

My problem is that Lululemon and companies like them have failed larger people in society. If you take a second and browse around your local sweaty place of practice you’ll see two things. People who look fly in their tops and pants and people who are wearing their t-shirts and baggy sweatpants from 1995.

Very few athletic sportswear companies have stepped up to the plate to size their merchandise for larger people. I’m not just talking about people who have a few extra pounds, I’m talking about people who are tall and lanky, who have bigger feet, hips, or busts. These people want to look just as fly as everyone else in the gym.

These people have separate issues when thinking of fit and design of product. For example, if a woman who has a heavy chest ever put on your standard Lululemon top you’d find that the second she did a downward-facing-dog her tatta’s would be hanging downward with the dog. It’s not comfortable or sensible to feel like you’re coming out of your clothing and it’s about time the Lululemon’s of the world take the hint.

My theory is that if you offered a $98 yoga pant that:

1. fit any woman above a size 12,

2. made sure it didn’t give her huge camel toe and

3. made sure it was mid-waisted so that healthy butt wouldn’t be revealed mid-clas,

then you’d be in serious business.

Just imagine, the fact that larger/taller people spend more money for well-fitted apparel is absolutely well known. For myself, I’ve banned my 1995 apparel and have adopted several fly pieces to help boost my mood when I’m down-doggin’ in class.

I know how hard it is for someone to find athletic clothing that fits the more-than-average person. As a teacher, I represent yoga to my students. If I don’t feel fly then they don’t feel my vibes. This is an open call for the plus sized clothing market to make top of the line, stylish and durable athletic apparel.

 Peace ~ Melissa Squarey.

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Melissa Lesley Squarey was born and raised on the rugged, mystical, and epic island of Newfoundland, Canada. Melissa has been studying hatha yoga for 10 years and is currently completing a 200hr Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher Training with plans for more trainings in the therapeutic style of yoga in the near future. Melissa lives her practice of yoga through love and service. Melissa believes that the size, shape, or capability of the physical body does not limit the ability for anyone to practice yoga. Melissa regularly updates her website  with various thoughts on yogic theory and everyday life. Check out    Melissa on Twitter: @MSquareyYoga or Facebook.


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89 Responses to “The Sour Taste of Lululemon Sizing. ~ Mel Squarey”

  1. Lululemon is a juniors and Barbie doll establishment. If you are not one of those two body types, move along. There's nothing for you to see there.

  2. Try Nordstrom says:

    Nordstrom actually has a line called Zella, which is very close to Lululemon in style and quality. I believe the line was developed by a former Lululemon designer. The kicker is that unlike Lululemon, who doesn’t want to promote the unhealthy lifestyle of plus-sized people who want to work out and get healthy, Nordstrom does have a plus-sized line of Zella. So bravo to Lululemon and their skewed morality. Zella is less expensive too. God forbid anyone encourage bigger people to get fit by making them feel good about how they look while exercising.

  3. lauriet says:

    I disagree with those claiming that Lulu makes a high impact bra that keeps the ta-taz tamed. I personally tried one of these ta ta tamers on and my girls were all over the place and the bra didn’t fit right with any adjustment I made. Never will turn in my Under armour high impact bra. They are way more supportive than the ta ta tamer anyday!

  4. Natalie B says:

    Ever heard of Cult of California? Active wear Made for bigger girls by a bigger girl. Their stuff is pretty fly. Google it. 🙂

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  6. […] well-acquainted with the all of the joys (feeling like a sexy, curvaceous goddess) and miseries (um… do you have jeans that fit a 28-inch waist and 38-inch hips?) that come from carrying lots of junk in the […]

  7. Ayurvedic Travel TipsWhat timing – Yoga Journal sent a email today featuring in-flight Ayurvedic beauty tips.

  8. JoyFULL says:

    it seems that there is a lack of compassion AND awareness of the experience of being a large sized person today. I understand that there may be hostility towards us- as many of you slender people work around the clock to keep your bodies healthy and fit. However, it is this judgment against us that causes such pain and may think it should help..but SHAME is a form of abuse…and counterproductive. Perhaps you could not see the 'fat rolls' in your fellow human being as ridiculous..but instead make it your "practice' learn to love ALL kinds of human beings regardless of shape and size. The "fat and beautiful' approach to life is very difficult to create and maintain inside the fat persons psyche when society has such harsh judgements about us (like you). I mean, think about it…you are essentially saying, "When i see a fat person's fat rolls..they are disgusting and should hide themselves from society." This is EXTREMELY narcisstic as a human being, and limits your capacity to enjoy the human experience. On a personal has taken me about 15 years to finally feel comfortable enough in my own obese fat rolled body to enter the sleek and fit world and join you in the exercise rooms in OUR society. Your above comments are the words my mind heard every day of my conscious life – which became the broken record in my head- that helped enable me to hide away from the world and DO NOTHING in my own house. The little flab grew and grew becasue I sensed that I was somehow NOT BEAUTIFUL enough to be seen. So in some sense you should feel proud of yourself…it worked…many of us have hidden ourselves so that you would not have to see us and ridicule us..but we finally realized that there is only one life to live..fat or not…and we INTEND to live it and accept ourselves as we our magnificient fatness..seriously– befireind a fat person…you just might learn how to befriend yourself. Life is short, let the rolls be seen!

  9. amphibi1yogini says:

    I am not healthy and I am thin. Who are these snobs to judge?

  10. Allison says:

    Thank you, JoyFULL.

    As someone who's not obese, but just a tad pudgy (not at my "happy" weight), I find those comments abusive and horrifying — and ones that would make me question the very value of the Elephant Journal community. Seriously? Yes, people are out of shape. Shaming them is NOT the way to help, and certainly will make people less willing to even try. Frankly, you (Yogini) come across as a self-centered bitch. The world does not exist to please you.

  11. Sara says:

    So Lulu is for smaller people that doesn’t mean it’s the devil. Not everything is abo

  12. CatieMay says:

    Sounds a bit like A&F! That's actually discrimination and very much illegal for them to have said that to you.

  13. Sarah says:

    here's another brand i'd like to bring up: I AM BEYOND. while i appreciate their attire is soft, made in the USA, and holds up well, it is so strange in the waist area that every time i bend over or take janu sirsasana my crack is exposed. someone please make some clothing that i like and that stays put!

  14. AlcheMystic says:

    Well this argument just flies in the face of everything yoga is supposed to stand for and teach. Adding "just sayin'" at the end of your statement is just passive aggressive.

  15. Sarah says:

    if you want us to work out, eat right, etc, what clothing do you propose we wear while we're losing the weight? baggy tshirts and sweatpants don't really work for yoga, ever tried to practice in that before?

  16. AlcheMystic says:

    You do realize that at a size 12-ish the main stream media and yoga as big business marketing machine consider YOU to be fat, right? I agree with your comment about people trying to be PC but the rest of your comment just feels like you are projecting your own issues onto everyone else that may be even the slightest degree over weight.

  17. Jen says:

    Love it!! Thank you, no wonder I do not shop there as an average sized woman!!

  18. Lanie says:

    Let's take the ego judgement out of the equation (you're not attractive enough to even look at, cruel and unloving, you need to do more Yoga persons who think like this) and look at the true health of anyone who IS 20-30-40-50+ pounds overweight. I don't care about the rolls, I don't care about seeing the rolls or the dimples or the anatomy, the body is the body, skin, organs, brains, muscle, veins, nerves, tissues, cells. I've been unhealthy to the point of disease knocking on my forehead (McFly, anybody home?). I've been overweight, just like the other 68% of Americans (yay we're number 1!), I've been sick, I've been depressed about it, I've been hooked on food since I was a kid, it was leftovers from being home alone and left to eat canned Ravioli every day (or whatever else I wanted, mostly fast food, donuts, deli sandwiches). That was my MO until I woke up and changed. It's not about being pretty or fitting into fancy pants, its about loving yourself enough to take care of yourself properly. It's about waking up and really looking at what you are putting in your mouth. It's about understanding that certain foods turn you into a self loathing couch potato, they are literally addicting and toxic to all of the body, the create the fog and turn on the broken records. Depression is no joke, but know that processed food, especially sugar and flour can keep you where you are. Clean up your eating, keep doing Yoga and any of these stuck up brands will fit, if that's the goal.

  19. Sara says:

    I can never find pants to fit me. I have a big butt and hips and their pants are a horrible fit. Tops give great support for my tatas (but I am average size there). I wish stores in general would come out with clothes to fit women who have hips (I didn't have hips until I had my daughter).

  20. AnneCornell4 says:

    I am so glad to see this blog that expresses what I feel. I recently posted something on the Lululemon website about their sizing practices and I was attacked by size 2's and size 4's who assured me that I was the unreasonable one. They couldn't understand why only sizing to a size 12 when the average American woman is a size 14 was inappropriate. People who make the argument that Lululemon is just a store and if they choose only to market to small people then so be it are missing the point. Lululemon is more than a store. In my yoga community of Omaha Nebraska, half of every yoga class is dressed in adorable Lululemon tops and bottoms. They constantly have get togethers and demonstrations at their store. My yoga teachers have been hired as "Lululemon Ambassadors" and their photos are displayed in the store. It is more than a store, it represents the local yoga community and it has closed its doors to many of the yogis in the community. It is an exclusive club that only small people can belong to. I practice yoga and spin several times a week. I love yoga, it is a huge part of my life. But God forbid, I wear a size 16! So I do not feel welcome in a Lululemon store, nor do I feel like I am welcome in their "club". When every other department store and other athletic wear go to size 16, Lulu cuts off at a 12. The excuse that I've heard is that it would cost more to produce clothes up to a size 16. In response to that I say then charge a higher price for the 14's and 16's. And by golly guess what, they go to size XXL in men's wear and they don't charge any more so I guess it's not a problem for the men. I truly believe it is a conscious decision by the corporation to market only to what they perceive as being "attractive" women so that they can sell more. They know that catty self centered women love being members of exclusive clubs so they have created the ultimate exclusive club. This would be fine if it wasn't clothing for an activity that preaches love peace and kindness……..

  21. AnneCornell4 says:

    Wow, what a hateful thing to say. Just so you know (although I don't think you care), I am very fit. I do yoga at least every other day; spin at least twice a week; hike regularly; go biking, etc. My b/p is low, as is my blood sugar. I don't eat meat and seldom eat any kind of processed food. My grocery cart is usually filled with organic fruit and veges. But guess what? I'm a size 16. So your theory that if you eat right and work out you will fit in "normal clothes" is not only ignorant but also bigoted and mean spirited.

  22. Giuliana says:

    I have the same problem…i just tie a knot at the end and not wear shoes…ahahaha..just kidding..I know how to sew, so i save $15 for hemming!!!!!

  23. AnneCornell4 says:

    Another ignorant response. I don't eat processed foods and work out almost every day. I still wear a size 16 and I know others who are just large muscular people. And I'm not depressed, having a pretty good life here….sorry to disappoint you.

  24. AnneCornell4 says:

    Thank you.

  25. AnneCornell4 says:

    Did you really just say "giant heifer", wow.. I'm thinking you are missing something in yoga class. Hateful and hurtful words.

  26. loverofyogaclothes says:

    I totally don't get the lulu hype. In 2004 they were amazing, back when their clothing was actually manufactured in Canada; I still have items from then that look brand new. Then when I purchased items in 2006 and 2007 I was horrified at the reduction in quality. The pants pilled like none other; drove me NUTS!!! Canadian friends told me they'd outsourced production to China. Not to mention, they lost many of their cuter, more distinctive styles and went mainstream with garishly-colored fabrics and fashion to suit the masses. Where I was once a great lover of Lulu now I patronize companies with more options (and less controversial policies/former CEO's). To me Lulu is the Abercrombie and Fitch of the yoga community. Total schlock. I would be embarrassed to be seen wearing it today, because to me it represents much about modern yoga I find problematic, including their limited sizing range!!

    That said, I have a new love–Athleta! They make clothes for so many sizes–talls, petites, XXL–they hold up fantastic to rugged wear and last as long as they say they will. Plus as an instructor I get 30% off, and the styles/colors are so much more creative and interesting than at Lulu. I'm a grad student, and don't work there, but truly am grateful that there is at least one company out there making durable clothes we can rock it in!

  27. billycallahan says:

    If it sold, they would stock it. Bigger people should probably wear baggy sweat pants instead of skin tight yoga pants anyway.

  28. billycallahan says:

    You are totally correct. Now anyone who is a normal size has to look for XXS or size 0 because heavy people want to feel good about their size.

  29. Joyfull says:

    The comments about what the larger sector should wear is hilarious!!! I am in boot camp 3’s a week, do yoga, dance classes, and am currently training for a Marathon. I am a size 26/28. And yousay Wear sweatpants!!&&@”@$(!!! ….. How shallow!! How idiotic and ignorant. All kinds of bodies need to feel comfortable to live. Shaming is so lame and outdated. Try working on yourself and leave the rest of us alone.

  30. gypsygirl says:

    … Lulu does free hemming on all their pant ladies! I take advantage of that every time 😉

  31. Krishnabrodhi says:

    You pretty much said exactly what I was going to say.

  32. Krishnabrodhi says:

    I mentioned this article to my girlfriend and she immediately did a google search and found LOADS of companies that offer plus size yoga clothes and active wear of all kinds. I don't understand the need to "should" companies into creating products for every single niche demographic and body type. Especially when there are plenty of companies that are doing exactly what you are complaining that Lululemon isn't. I think they only thing that the company has "failed" is your expectation that the customer, no matter what, is always right. And that doesn't mean they malicious in having a selection that doesn't fit every single body. Please move towards a positive direction by promoting the companies that are doing what you like instead of spreading negative energy by blasting a company for doing what is within their free market rights to do that you don't like.

  33. CAP says:

    Opinions are like assholes and Yoga chica is just that. If you think only what you call trim and fit people are healthy and beautiful you need to remove yoga from your life because you obviously are not a true yoga…you just do yoga. Big difference.

  34. CAP says:

    I am not at all surprised by the hateful comments by supposed "yogis" on here. They are just ignorant girls that DO yoga. There is such a difference and since Lulu came on the scene making yoga "the thing" to do, it has changed yoga. Real yogis are kind and gentle to one another. The judgmental and critical words by the girls above don't mean anything. To the women who are larger, who cares! Be healthy, thats what we all need, just to be healthy. We live in a world that favors thin women. Doesn't mean anything at all. Ignore comments by ignorant people. What they say means nothing. You don't owe ANYONE a reason for your size. Just be healthy at whatever size you are eat. Eat well, exercise and wear what makes you feel good. If someone judges or criticizes it says everything about them and NOTHING about you. They have an ugly heart and ugly spirit and it will come back on them. Be your yoga. Be kind and gentle to those you meet and you can never go wrong 🙂

  35. Nina says:

    There´s a new brand coming out of Scandinavia, that does great yoga apparel for larger women. Check out Run and Relax, I bought a pair for my mom to come with me to yoga class, and she got every color they have. Love them – even though they are pricey, like lulu pants.

  36. Melissa says:

    What about the people who are starting on a journey to be healthier and want to look good and feel good doing it. Read the article. Maybe if Lulu offered higher sized clothing more people would buy the clothes and get trim. It would encourage them and make them feel empowered to fit into the smaller sizes. Narrow minded wimp who probably eats shit every day and still weighs an ounce. Judge all you want, it's your karma.

  37. Lindsey says:

    I have found that the Nike workout pants come in short, and this is the only brand I have found full-length pants in that aren't too long. I'm 5'3 and they hit right about a half inch above the floor.

  38. Melissa says:

    I do yoga in baggy t-shirts and sweatpants all the time. It's comfortable. Sure, I wind up staring down my own shirt in Down Dog, and if I want to work a lot on inversions I have to strip down to my sports bra, but for just a regular practice baggy t-shirts and sweats work just fine. You don't have to wear spandex to do tree pose.