Monday, November 11, 2013

Very important questions, not all of which are shoe-related

-If Lululemon wants to make leggings that are too small for most Americans, should we storm the barricades? What about how they're also too expensive for most Americans? (Depending which is the greater obstacle to you buying them, your outrage shall fall accordingly.) It's as if there's a Lululemon paradox - while they apparently once made good yoga pants, the appeal of the brand no doubt partially does come from the fact that it's so deeply associated with the rich-and-thin on whose backsides you see the logo. The Whole Foods yoga moms, their Lululemon power-leisure suits accessorized with Liz Taylor-esque diamond rings and Chanel quilted handbags, their carts filled not with 365 Brand and bulk legumes but fresh everything, their smattering of produce somehow adding up to $500 but no worries. It's like the "Fight Club" episode of "30 Rock" - we all kind of want to be that woman, even if we fundamentally don't. But then the pants take on such power that it starts to look, to some, like almost a civil right to have access to them. How dare they not exist in a size 18, at an Old Navy price point! Jessica Wakeman's conclusion - one can just buy stretch pants elsewhere - is quite right, but seems as if it might have preempted the entire discussion.

-Can someone of non-German descent, but born in Germany, ever be German?

-Can the same person want shoes like this, but also shoes like this?


Londoner said...

Depending which is the greater obstacle to you buying them, your outrage shall fall accordingly

Is there a high demand for Lululemon gear among working and lower middle-class women? I'm reasonably certain they prefer Juicy Couture and similar loungewear brands. When they do splurge, it's for True Religion/7 For All Mankind type designer jeans.

The kind of people who would actually want to lay down that kind of cash for yoga pants can already afford to do so, so I expect the first obstacle will generate a lot more heat and light than the second. I'm sure the second obstacle will get some lip service, but in dutiful rather than passionate tones.

Londoner said...

Just to add, I'm reminded of the famous Groucho Marx quote: "I don't want to belong to any club that would accept people like me as a member."

It's the built-in exclusivity that makes these items aspirational. Those not deemed worthy enough to hand their money over to Lululemon would lose all interest in the brand if it became more inclusive.

I could be wrong, though. It's been known to happen before.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy said...

Given that Lululemon-looking clothes are sold at Target, I doubt if the look is only of interest to one demographic. (Also, I think the era of the high-end sweatsuit is done, but when it was a thing, plenty of rich women were going in for it.)

But more to the point, if this is about having a spare $100 for yoga pants, it's definitely not just about social class. There are many (so many!) well-educated women for whom this would too much money.