I was having coffee with a fashion-forward friend who suggested that all women need one great workout garment. A go-to outfit that can be worn comfortably to the gym and that’s good looking enough to then wear to the grocery store or a board meeting. Although we’d never admit to…
actually doing this (ahem!) we’ve all had those days where getting a workout in is more important than an immediate shower.
When I asked my friend where she found these magical workout clothes, she told me her favorite place is the Canadian-born retailer Lululemon Athletica, which has North Shore locations in Northbrook Court (2176 Northbrook Ct., Northbrook, 847-480-1749) and Evanston (1622 Sherman Ave., Evanston, 847-424-1512).
Once inside Lululemon, I forget that I’m looking for plain black stretchy pants when I see the first mannequin that has a look better suited for a night on the town than an early morning power walk.
Upon closer inspection, I notice that a cute tank and running tights have been layered with an easy-to-wear cotton dress and the most adorable coat called the “Game Day Jacket.” Made of pre-shrunken terry with Lycra, it’s the perfect top to wear to and from the gym—or to and from anywhere.
The selection of pants is endless—cropped, long, fitted or loose. And what I love is that the pants, like Lululemon’s well-made tanks and jackets, come in the actual sizes women are used to shopping for (2, 4, 6 … 12)—not just small, medium and large. Lululemon’s pants are made of trademarked luon fabric.
As an added bonus, Lululemon offers free tailoring on all of its clothing.
While Lululemon’s prices are higher than some (although I did find some great sale items on my visit), you’re paying for quality. It’s attention to detail that sets Lululemon apart from its competitors. For example, the gussets in the pants prevent them from riding up, and the eye-catching “Move” tank is made from anti-stick, anti-chafing organic material.
Plus, the store sets aside space for your children to color as you try on clothes. This fitness retailer recognizes that it’s part of a larger community.
“These are our local ambassadors,” says Sean Monroe, a salesman at the Northbrook location, pointing at artistic photographs of local yoga and fitness instructors hanging on the store walls.
Every Sunday, the Northbrook Lululemon offers free yoga classes from 9:30-10:45 a.m., and the Evanston store offers free yoga on Sunday at 10 a.m. All of the racks are on wheels, so the staff can convert the space into a yoga studio. Ten to 15 people come every week. Each store offers different classes at different times, so be sure to check the Lululemon Web site to find class times near you.
In the middle of the store, there’s a community message board where local fitness instructors, life coaches, salon owners and others can promote their services. “No matter where you are in the world, you’ll find a message board like this one,” Monroe says.
One shopper grabbed my arm as I left the store with my tank purchase neatly folded in my reusable Lululemon shopping bag.
“Once you shop at Lululemon, you’ll become addicted,” she says. “But it’s the good kind of addiction.”
Lululemon has seven stores in Illinois—including its Northbrook Court and Evanston locations. To learn more about Lululemon or to purchase their products online, visit their Web site.