Luxury Activewear Brands: Pros, Cons, and Where to Find Them for Less

I recently got into a Twitter conversion about luxury activewear, and it inspired me to share some thoughts about some of the brands I have tried and liked. I only have a few pieces from each brand, but I've definitely put them to the test in plenty of workouts. So whether you have had your eye on any of these brands, or are looking to step up your activewear game here is a little about fit, functionality, and how to get the best sales!

Let's start with what is probably the best known brand, lululemon. Although they are typically associated with leggings, I actually have 3 jackets (the Define, a fleece hoodie, and a bomber type jacket from last year) and a crop top. Whenever I have tried their leggings on, they have been too long for me. I'm aware they do alterations, but I just feel like that is too much effort while there are so many other great leggings out there that fit right off the hanger. 
On to the products I own, I think the Define jacket is the perfect warmup layer. It is so functional with pockets and what they call "cuffins". Which are cuffs that can fold out over your hands, as it looks like this jacket was created with runners in mind. I wear it into the studio and for the beginning of most workouts I go to. I also really like the other jackets I have, they both have really great material and structure. The crop top I have (from this post) stays put in any workout and the material wicks sweat really well. The only negative things I've really heard about their products is the leggings not holding up. But they also have a lifetime guarantee and will replace them.
As for deals, the items I have from lulu have been given to me as Christmas or birthday gifts. So I have not personally had much luck finding any great markdowns. But they do occasionally have a "We Made Too Much" sale, and usually have an annual Black Friday sale as well. I wouldn't say they're groundbreaking discounts, but I've also seen a lot of pieces on secondhand sites and thrift stores.

Another better known brand is the Gap brand, Athleta. I wouldn't really consider them to be a luxury brand in comparison to others, but their pricing is pretty similar to lululemon. However, it is more often discounted. I have 2 pairs of leggings, a sports bra, and a tank from Athleta. I think they're all really nice quality and fit made with functional and durable material. The leggings usually have some functional pockets and the pairs I have had for awhile still feel brand new. They also have extended sizing, I love that they have an XXSP size for the shorties, but they go all the way up to 3x. As for affordability, they usually have a decent selection in the sale section. There is also sometimes offer an additional percentage off those markdowns, and storewide sales. I've found the pairs of leggings I have for around $40 each and the tank and sports bra came down to about $20 each. Plus if you're a fitness instructor, they have a program that gives you 30% off!

I feel like one is more of a brand you would see on Instagram than at your local gym, Outdoor Voices. I've listened to their origin story on a few podcasts, and they seem to have a really strong brand. I got the set in the above photo on a Black Friday sale the year before last for about 50% off. There is a chance I should have sized up, but I honestly have to say I don't love it. Although I really like their entire aesthetic, I think the seams on the colorblock leggings make them uncomfortable. I usually can't wear them for long before or after a workout. The "TechSweat" material as the name implies, is great for wicking sweat. But it has a very different feel from a fabric you would expect to see in an activewear piece. As for the crop top that went with it, it has a nice fit except for the elastic band around my ribs feels quite tight. I thought maybe both pieces needed to be washed and worn a few times and they would feel better, but they didn't change. I remember reading some reviews on Nordstrom (which they are no longer sold on) around when I first got the set, and the reviewers seemed to echo some of my thoughts. So I would say from the limited experience I have, I do not think the pieces I have from this brand would be worth the price. However, it does look like all that is left from when they were sold at Nordstrom is now marked way down on Nordstrom Rack.

You've seen this one on the blog a few times before, K Deer! I have worked with them twice now through an influencer agency, and the pieces from those collaborations (2 pairs of leggings, 1 sports bra, 1 tank) are always in my regular rotation. The material of the leggings and sports bra is a light spandex-feel that wicks sweat and has UPF protection. Their signature stripe styles also donate a percentage to different charities! The fit on the leggings is a really flattering high waist. These are my favorite for any workout I know will be extra sweaty, but they are also super comfortable to wear outside of a workout.   I also think they are worth a higher price, but they do have a sale section on the website and are sometimes available on Nordstrom Rack.

A brand I've become a little obsessed with in the last year or so is Koral. They are at my local favorite Fit Atelier where I have bought their probably most popular Lustrous Leggings and a more fun iridescent pair. Koral's pricing is a little bit lower than some others, and I think really nice quality. The lustrous leggings have a similar feel to what I mentioned above with K Deer, light and very functional. Their pieces are also very versatile to be worn outside of a workout. While I'm not a huge fan of dressing up my activewear....I typically like to pick one and either be dressed up, or be in activewear. But I once took these leggings from work, to a workout, and out to dinner. I also think black leggings are boring most of the time, but not these shiny ones! As for finding sales they are on Nordstrom Rack a lot of the larger sites with some markdowns (around $50) like Carbon38, Bandier, and department stores like Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.

Let's close out the post with my most recent acquisition, Ultracor. I had seen the brand here and there on Nordstrom but the Fit Atelier ladies really love some Ultracor. So I had to see if it lived up to the hype. Although I cannot bring myself to pay $198 for leggings, it definitely does! I found the pair I wore in this post on the SoulCycle (this was a collaboration style) Black Friday sale for $49. I basically could not believe my eyes when I saw them for that price. They just feel like no other leggings I have worn before, and they have some of the prettiest, unique designs. They are also lined in black, so they will never look see through when you're doing squats or any bending. I think they are definitely worth a higher price, but I will of course still look for a sale. They are on larger sites like Bandier and Carbon38 that have a sale section and site-wide sales. They are of course also on my local favorite Fit Atelier, that has fairly regular sales online. And while putting this post together, I also just found out they have some marked down styles on Zappos!

Thanks for reading!

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