Vuori vs. Lululemon

Activewear for young urban professionals has never been more popular. Since the COVID-19 pandemic made cozy WFH fits and at-home workouts the new normal, millennial and Gen Z women across the world have been ditching business casual and integrating athleisure into their daily routines.

There are so many activewear brands in the game now that it can seem overwhelming, if not impossible to make a decision. While Lululemon is the gold standard, and the name most people think of when they hear “leggings” or “joggers,” there are just as many other independent brands that promise the same quality—without the scandals associated with Lulu’s controversial founder Chip Wilson.

One of these brands is Vuori Clothing, which I had never heard of before I was asked to review them. As someone who had never really purchased athleticwear before, I was the ideal potential customer. You might be wondering, “How do Vuori joggers fit? How do Lululemon joggers fit in comparison? Is one company better than the other?”

I was excited to try both Vuori and Lululemon. I enjoyed the opportunity to compare the two brands based on quality, price point, branding, and company ethics. I knew that I wanted to choose the brand that was both high-quality and aligned with my personal sustainable values.

As I quickly learned, there was really no comparison to be made. In the Vuori vs. Lululemon standoff, Vuori was the clear winner. I’m going to explain why.

Why is Vuori So Great?

 Vuori’s branding is addictive. It lures you from the moment you see the first image of smiling, tanned, beach-bound Californians, ready to take their luxury athleticwear to the Malibu waves.

I live on the frigid East Coast, thousands of miles away from the sunlit coastline and the possibility of soaking up the sun at Point Dume. In the dead of winter, the branding on the Vuori website had an almost overpowering psychological impact on me. Not to mention, the emphasis on sustainability and commitment to using recycled materials sounded good to me.

Once I read more about Vuori, I learned that they weren’t just all talk. They actually are trying to revolutionize their industry. They aren’t just designing clothes; they are encouraging a lifestyle change among young professionals. Their mission statement says it all: “Breaking down the boundaries of traditional activewear, we are a new perspective on performance apparel.”

The reframing of their products as “performance apparel” is an intriguing linguistic choice. It’s a turn of phrase that inspires confidence, rather than makes you feel inferior or overwhelmed.

Rather than feeling put off by the physical demands of an active lifestyle, Vuori encourages you to ask, “How can I take small steps in my daily routine to make active lifestyle changes? How can these products help me achieve my fitness goals? And most importantly, how do Vuori joggers fit? How do Lululemon joggers fit? Which should I buy?”

Aspirational and Transformative

 From the moment I placed my Vuori order, I had the intuitive sense that I’d made a good decision. I was so excited to receive my package in the mail and kickstart my new workout regime. But there were a couple specific things that really drew me to Vuori more than Lululemon.

Firstly, the branding was effective at visually conveying the company mission statement. The models all looked active, fit, and most significantly, happy. They were smiling broadly, enjoying the sunshine and the opportunity to work out in a beautiful location. They weren’t intensely focused on a rigorous workout, frowning on a Peloton bike.

Lulu’s branding was more standard, though I appreciated the diversity of models they used. They showcased a variety of body types and races. I can admit that while Vuori spoke the language of the progressive and don’t have the history of associated scandals, they actually didn’t feature any models of color on their website that I can recall. Everyone was pretty much all-American: white, thin, extremely tan, blonde, and California cool. In this sense, I have to give props to the new CEO of Lululemon for making a change in the right direction.

Secondly, the Vuori products looked chic and luxurious. They looked just as high-quality as Lulu’s, in fact, and I really felt like I had made an investment in a product that would last years. Through rain and shine, they will continue to be durable and withstand even the most intense workout.

I got the sense that if I were to wear Vuori joggers to work out I might become the type of person who likes to work out. As someone who finds it hard to find motivation to work up a sweat, especially in the winter months, I needed something to push me in that direction. Vuori offered the perfect aspirational cue to get me up and moving.

Sure enough, once I implemented my Vuori apparel into my fitness routine, I felt much more excited about the prospect of doing it more often. While I liked the fit and the feel of the Lulu joggers, they failed to elicit the same sense of aspiration and motivation in myself that I felt when I wore the Vuori apparel. This is a testament to how effective Vuori’s branding truly is, I suppose.

How Do Vuori Joggers Fit? How do Lululemon Joggers Fit?

Let’s cut to the case. How do these “performance apparel” products from both companies stand up, from a practical standpoint? How do Vuori joggers fit?

I can say with confidence that they fit me comfortably and true to size. They were crafted from very high-quality fabric that was well worth the price point. If you aren’t happy with them, though, Vuori offers an “Investment in Happiness” guarantee: if you aren’t completely in love with your Vuori apparel, just ship it back free of charge.

How do Lululemon joggers fit? Honestly, they were a pretty close second. I found them comfortable and easy to move in. I’m not a huge fan of the company, which I will explain further in a moment, but I can say that their products came true to size and fit me comfortably.

I am petite, so I suppose this brand was always intended for my body type. If I looked different, I might not have had the same experience. I acknowledge that this is a company with a dark history of not only ignoring women over 110 pounds, but actively mocking them. More on that later.

What’s Wrong with Lululemon?

Well, it depends who you ask. Lululemon fans will live and die on the hill for this brand, claiming that their products are well worth the steep price. I would argue that the Lulu logo is more of a status symbol at this point, just like any other well-known brand.

They’re worn by the world’s biggest influencers, including Addison Rae and Charli D’Amelio. They have the stamp of approval of countless celebrities who have been spotted out in Lulu joggers. However, they don’t have what Vuori has: a proven track record of sustainable, forward-thinking ethics.

Simply put, Lululemon has a long history of scandals that they’re currently trying very hard to cover up. (This might explain the sudden influx of diverse models on their website.) You might remember the scandal back in 2013 when their founder, Chip Wilson, was forced to resign after he made controversial statements deemed sexist.

He seemed to believe that Lulu’s ideal customer was a thin woman with a “thigh gap.” Obviously, this alienated a wide range of potential customers who felt offended that he was attaching stigma to curvy women working out and attaching an unnecessary air of exclusivity to his products.

A new CEO was hired: 49-year-old Calvin McDonald, a young bearded hipster who previously worked for Google and is a self-proclaimed fitness fanatic. Since he took over Wilson’s coveted position, he has attempted to transform the reputation of the brand. He has tried, somewhat clumsily, to turn Lululemon woke.

One way in which he did this was by holding a “resist capitalism” event at the height of the pandemic. In 2020, when millions of people had lost their jobs overnight and the most vulnerable members of our society were dying of a new virus, this struck many people as exceptionally tone-deaf.

Conclusion

Overall, I was highly satisfied with my Vuori experience. I can’t say the same about Vuori’s biggest corporate competitor, Lululemon. Though I don’t necessarily want to make this a Vuori vs. Lululemon battle, and both companies have their merits, Vuori’s company values are more aligned with my own. I would recommend them more highly to friends and family.

On the other hand, Lululemon disappointed me. I wouldn’t voluntarily spend my money on their apparel, especially given its price point—if you’re going to invest in quality, try to do your research on the company’s background first.

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