Lululemon running pants are awesome but they cost fucktons of money. It’s a problem. No one likes to admit they are spending $88 on a small piece of stretchy fabric when you could get an almost equally good small piece of stretchy fabric at Target for $22.
I myself have just acquired my first pair of lululemon running pants and I would like to offer a reason as to why they are worth $88 dollars: there’s a seam across the top of the butt that makes my ass look better than it does in any other running pants, ever. That’s it. That is the reason.
There are other things to admire about my new lululemon running pants. For instance, they also have sleek and clever side pockets that are a better solution to running-pants pockets (secure but accessible) than any other running pants pockets, ever, and are also, like the butt-seam, mysteriously flattering. There’s also a very stretchy fabric on the back of my calves (comfortable), and a sort of sheer seam on the sides (cool).
Here’s a reason that has nothing to do with why my lululemon running pants are “worth” 88 dollars: that they will “last a long time.” This is a rationale often offered for why we running/yoga ladies should truck off to lululemon with our hard-earned cash in hand, and hold our heads up high while doing it.
My opinion, and this is the point of this essay, is that this durability reason is bullshit and should be discarded and, let’s be clear, never used.
Point: it may, in fact, be true that lululemon pants last a long time. I have only had this pair, which is my first, for two weeks, and so I have no room to speak about their comparative longevity. Many people have told me that their durability is admirable, and I hope it is—not because my investment of $88 would then somehow be made more legitimate but because the longer they last, the longer they will be able to continue to do their special ass-flattering magic.
I mean it’s hard, right, because you want these $88 pants, and you know you could get $22 pants and then donate the remaining $66 to fending off global apocalypse, and it’s tough to admit you’d rather spend that money on your ass. It’s so much easier to ventriloquize this abstract logic that “it costs four times as much because it will last four times as long.”
Longevity logic is fine for a lot of things, other things for which I am currently shopping, for instance deck lumber and washing machines. But happily I do not have to wear deck lumber or washing machines on my ass or my thighs, which are the parts of my body about which I am absolutely the most insecure, whereas my ass and my thighs are exactly where my running pants go. Thus it strikes me that washing machines and running pants serve different purposes—one purely utilitarian, one largely emotional—and thus it should not be required that I select them on the same criteria.
Lululemon pants make me feel good about my ass. That’s enough. It’s even admirable. But: it’s not all. And even as I was just saying, hey, look, people: give your real reason for wanting lululemon pants, it’s okay—I was lying to you. I was not telling you, really, what they mean to me.
Here’s my real reason for desiring and loathing and desiring lululemon pants again: lululemon is a popular girls’ store. Most of me doesn’t even feel entitled to go there. It triggers my deep, somewhat shameful, somewhat ferociously defended, desire to look composed, put-together, tasteful, effortless: like I belong everywhere, like everyone wants me where ever I go. Like that special popular-girl magic belongs to me.
Right now, there’s some brilliant nexus of butt-seam technology and social media strategy that’s given lululemon running pants the popular girl feeling, and they are willing to sell that magic, to me, to put on my ass. It costs $88 dollars.
And so this is why, really, it doesn’t matter if lululemon running pants last a long time: the popular girl feeling they give you won’t.
But that doesn’t mean they’re not worth it. It might be to you. It apparently is to me. Feelings are real, even shameful ones, and if ass-seam-magic and popular girl mojo are worth $88 dollars to my feelings, that’s as good a value as any. What I should not do—should not allow my self to do—is to make emotional decisions about appearance and status, decisions available to me because of my class, and then to hide them behind the façade of durability and utility.
Sarah Mesle: A Little Judgy