#3 Review of Activewear Brands (Part 1)
It's the second day of Phase 2 (social activities have resumed and eating out is permitted)! Is it just me or has the weather been really cold and rainy lately? As expected, the crowds have been insane. Visited Orchard for my chiropractic appointment yesterday morning and by the time I left Wisma (that was around 11:30 am), there were queues everywhere and parking was full. Today wasn't any better - Daiso at Plaza Singapura was filled to the brim; say goodbye to social distancing. I don't blame Singaporeans, after all, I was one of those who snapped up at the opportunity to go outdoors, but maybe I'll be staying at home the next few days just to wait for the hype to simmer down.
I'm not an indoors person (if you know me well enough) and this has been the longest time I've stayed at home. While it may seem that the past two and a half months have been torturous for me, I've actually learned how to adapt and found various activities to keep myself entertained. Starting a blog, baking, doing housework, decluttering, online courses, and of course, EXERCISING.
If you are someone who lives and breathes an active lifestyle, you can empathize with me when I say activewear is essential. I'm either wearing home shorts or tights, there is no in-between. My workout tights have become a staple ever since I committed to a regular exercise routine and I can even change tights multiple times a day. I'm really heartened to know that more people are picking up fitness during this period; it is better late than never. And what better way to motivate yourself than to adorn yourself with amazing and hella cute activewear?
Just to spell it out blatantly: I am NOT an influencer (not even close to it) and neither do I aspire to be one. This is probably going to be a very extra and unnecessary post but regardless, I'd like to give my two cents/review/recommendations on some of the popular fitness brands I've tried since I have A LOT of activewear lying around. There are over 1,000 brands out there so I can't do a review of every single one but I'll pick my top 8.
For the men who are reading this post, I'd like to apologize that I can't do a review of men's activewear (my boyfriend basically wears his army clothes to workout in). BUT maybe if I become really famous one day, I will buy some popular male activewear pieces for my boyfriend to try and do a review of them (HINT: SPONSOR ME). Without further ado, from the most to least expensive brand, here goes:
1. Lululemon (https://www.lululemon.com.hk/en-hk/)
Price Range: $$$ ($ if you get the Taobao imitations)
This brand needs no introduction because everyone has definitely heard of Lululemon before because. They are literally EVERYWHERE and even have stocks listed on NASDAQ.
Pros: I love the quality of their pieces. They place a lot of emphasis on their R&D and are always launching new fabric (the latest is their Everlux Fabric). Up to date, I own only two pieces of legitimate Lululemon pieces - their Wunder Under tights and longline bra. I can vouch that their quality is superb. I can't say for all models/types but at least for Wunder Under and probably Align, the fitting is great, the waistband hugs my waist perfectly (even hides my tummy) and the tights are perfect for high-intensity workouts since the fabric is engineered by some dual-knit construction which allows the tights to cool and wick-off sweat. If you are someone who cares about durability, then I'm sure you wouldn't mind paying a few hundred for a piece that lasts you 3-5 years.
Cons: However, as mentioned, their pieces are extremely expensive. My heart (and wallet) breaks every time I spend money on this brand. While I like their pieces, the price sometimes isn't worth a poor soul like myself. Here are some additional tricks I'd like to share:
You can always navigate to their "WE MADE TOO MUCH" tab for discounted items. But sometimes even the discounted prices are still way too expensive for a fresh grad
Wait for them to hold a sale (which I have no idea when and how often) or purchase them overseas
Buy second-hand pieces from someone else (and you can even negotiate on the pricing)
Get one of your friends, who are Lululemon employees, to buy pieces for you (since they have a 40% discount). Just make sure you don't get caught/you and your friend wear the same size
Buy an imitation piece on Taobao (I'm not going to link the website here in case it gets flagged for fraud but PM me if you'd like to know where to get them). Quality-wise will never live up to the real Lululemon (their material is NOT sweat-wicking) but the Align imitations are 1/8 the price of the actual Align tights and are pretty impressive for that price point
2. Lorna Jane (https://www.lornajane.sg/)
Price Range: $$-$$$
You may have heard of this company before and in fact, a few fitness studios in Singapore are distributors of this brand. They are an Australian activewear brand that is designed for women by women. The only physical flagship store they have in Singapore is at Duxton (you can google it) and if you are in the fitness industry, good news, you can apply to be an ambassador and get 50% off your first purchase and subsequently 15% discount (or is it 20%) on all full-priced items.
Pros: I own a few pieces of Lorna Jane tights and I like that they have variety and lots of cute colors. Also, if you check out their page religiously, they always have random sales (there is even a tab called SALES on their website) and new designs that they launch quite frequently.
Cons: I personally don't LOVE their tights because for one, (at least for the ones I own) they are made of this super thick and unbreathable material. The waistband is always very thick as well and it's not really up my alley. Secondly, their sizing is really weird and inconsistent. I'm a US4/UK8 and based on their sizing chart, I should be an XS/S. But somehow when I got an S for one of their models (I forgot which one), I could not even pull them up my thighs. I may have huge thighs but then again, I fit S perfectly for their recent Amy Phone Pocket 7/8 leggings.
Lastly, if you are someone who cares passionately about body positivity and empowerment, Lorna Jane may not be the brand for you. There was an expose written sometime last year about how the brand uses "its power and popularity to pander to narrow, prescriptive body stereotypes and beauty ideals".
To save yourself the trouble, my tip would be to scout online for the pieces you want, then head over to their physical store to try on the pieces before placing the order online. You can also purchase them directly in their flagship store but my experience is that the stocks in-store are always very limited (meaning they either don't have the color you want or don't have the exact model you were looking for).
3. Nimble Activewear (https://nimbleactivewear.com/)
Price Range: $$-$$$
This is a brand that is up and coming even though not many have heard about it. It is another Australian activewear brand that is developed with sustainable materials. One of my friends introduced me to this brand and can I point out firstly that their colours are beautiful? Almost every pair of tights have a matching sports bra so that's a huge plus point for me (I love matching pieces).
Pros: I kind of touched on the pros above but if there's one thing I have to say: Nimble houses one of the most aesthetic pieces of activewear I have ever seen. If you are one of those girls who are into athleisure, this is your brand. Almost all their tights are high waisted so you can tuck your tummies into them (I definitely take advantage of that).
Cons: Their lighter colours are not sweatproof. Maybe this is a problem across the board for all light-coloured tights but I got their Studio to Street II in Sea Foam (they no longer have this on their website by the way) and when I work out in them, the sweat stains are extremely prominent. It's so bad that I look like I peed myself. As they are an Australian brand, their tights are really long. I have to cuff them at the ankles and pull them really high up my waist (which looks very odd to me). However, if you have relatively longer legs, then I guess this won't be a problem for you.
My verdict is that you should stick with the darker colours if you want to wear this brand to work out intensely in. The lighter colours are fine and super recommended (they are so pretty) if they are just worn for lounging around/leisure. I don't think they have a flagship store in Singapore so it's sadly not possible, for now, to try them on before placing an order online.
4. Under Armour (https://www.underarmour.com.sg/en-sg/)
Price Range: $$
Another common brand that I'm sure you'll be familiar with - they are in the same echelon as the Nikes and Adidas. I don't really know the details but they have rather cool technology embedded into their activewear to keep athletes cool in the sun, etc.
Pros: Under Armour is more of a performance brand. For this particular sports bra I own, the level of support is incredible. As I used to run quite frequently, I always found it a challenge to find a sports bra that was comfortable and yet provided me with maximum support for my boobs. The Nike bras I had always gave me rash burns and the rest just didn't give me enough support. That was until I discovered Under Armour. Firstly, I love how the padding is embedded into the bra itself. I hate it when the bra pads get dislodged when I put my sports bras into the washer.
Secondly, it doesn't chafe my skin at all. It is compressive, giving me the support I need, but does not irritate my skin at all. Lastly, it is sweat-wicking and does not stink up even if I am completely drenched in sweat. This goes for their tights as well - compressive, breathable and really great for high-performance sports like running or martial arts. A quick shoutout to their backpacks and drawstring bags as well - they are one of my favourites.
Cons: I guess the only con about this brand is that it's not the most aesthetic looking. You won't ever see someone donning Under Armour for an Instagram picture or to go for a quick grocery run. Most of the people I know who vouch for UA are athletes.
5. Kydra (https://www.kydra.co/)
Price Range: $-$$
This is a local brand founded by two young men. It's quite impressive that the entire Kydra empire was built by two male millennials; huge respect goes out to them.
Pros: Kydra pieces are also extremely aesthetic. I'm a sucker for pastel coloured activewear so whenever I see brands producing them, this is my reaction:
Jokes aside, their pieces are really very beautiful. My favourite bra is their Thalia Bra in Smokewater. Their tights are also buttery soft and hug your legs perfectly. They are not as compressive as Lululemon/UA's tights but provides enough support for a HIIT workout. Additionally, their prices are pretty affordable as well if you're comparing to Lorna Jane or Nimble Activewear. A lot of influencers support Kydra and you can even try on their pieces at Design Orchard. Plus points to them for having a rather wide range of male activewear, which is a rare find in Singapore and I like how their pieces are very versatile. You can literally wear their pieces to workout and then go out for a casual dinner afterwards.
Cons: While their tights are comfortable and very well-suited for the kind of exercises I do, I'm not feeling the threading. It may just be a personal problem but the threading kept digging into my tailbone when I did my core workout (Russian twists, sit-ups, etc.) and it left a very ugly scab near my butt. Also, a lot of influencers are ambassadors for this brand so be prepared to bump into someone else in town wearing the same pieces as you are. I guess this goes for all local activewear brands. It's not really a downside about the brand per se but some people have an issue with owning common pieces. Let me know your thoughts.
6. Trybe Active (https://www.trybe.sg/)
Price Range: $-$$
I'm a bit bias towards this brand because my friend is one of the founders. Like Kydra, this is a local brand and is relatively new in the activewear scene in Singapore. I can give you an extensive review of the different models since I own almost every single piece but I'll just give my general thoughts on it to streamline things.
Pros: Firstly, they are extremely affordable. Their sports bras are around SGD40++ and tights are priced at SGD60-80. If you are a newbie to fitness and would like to own a few pieces to kickstart your journey, this is a good option. Secondly, the quality is great for HIIT workouts and really comfortable to wear; meaning they don't chafe your skin. Their designs/colours are also really unique and their pieces are named after their friends (how cute is that). Some models also provide really good support and their bra pads are solid - you won't have to worry about nip slips. Thirdly, they release new designs every once a while so you'll always have a refreshed wardrobe. Lastly, bonus points go to the fact that they are an advocate for environmental sustainability and are a supporter of the Sexual Assault Care Centre (SACC). Also, they recently launched male activewear. For now, they only have one design for men's top but I'm sure they are in the process of designing more models.
Cons: Their designs are not for everyone. To be fair, some designs don't look nice on certain body types. I certainly do not look good in their Amber V bra line. You'll have to try all their models to understand what I mean. Also, Singapore is a very small country so as mentioned in the Kydra review, there is a high possibility you'll bump into a stranger wearing the same pieces as you are. On the sizing, I would say that they are more consistent than Lorna Jane's but it's still not the same across all models. I'm usually a size M for their sports bras but I had to size down for their Belle Lumiere bra line. Again, my advice would be to try them out in person. There are a few fitness studios that house Trybe's pieces (check out Boom Singapore).
7. MyWheyStop (https://mywheystop.com/)
Price Range: $
When I first found out about this brand, I was amazed because of how affordable their pieces are. It's rare to find local brands that sell quality tights for less than SGD50. I later found out that the founders of this brand were my junior college friends/acquaintances. Seems like a lot of my friends are venturing into activewear, maybe I'll launch my own brand one day.
Pros: Really, REALLY affordable. Their cheapest pair of leggings are priced at SGD29 - can you believe it? Quality-wise is honestly not too shabby, I'm impressed. They carry some very unique pieces and I like how they give off a very next-door-neighbour/down-to-earth vibe. MyWheyStop is also one of the rare few local brands that sell tights in XL size, so kudos to them! When you check out their website, you will find that they sell accessories and supplements as well.
Cons: My only gripe with this brand is the material of their activewear. This is just a personal preference but I prefer tights that have a more elastic feel to them. MyWheyStop's tights are majority made of Nylon and Spandex, which does not feel the best on my skin. That being said, I would still recommend you to try out their pieces if you have a tight budget. Also, #supportlocal
8. Moving Peach (https://shopee.sg/movingpeach.sg)
Price Range: $
This is by far the most raved-about brand on Shopee. To clarify, Moving Peach is one of those activewear brands manufactured in China. If you think MyWheyStop is cheap, this will blow your mind. Their cheapest pair of tights are priced at only SGD14.
Yes, you heard that right. I've never bought anything from this brand before but many of my friends, who are yoga instructors, swear by this brand. I briefly browsed through their online store and the pieces look pretty reasonable. Perhaps I will buy some pieces just to try them out. For the particular price range, I wouldn't be fussed much about the quality and will keep low expectations. But if they somehow manage to blow my mind, then I guess it's a goodbye to the other brands.
There you have it - a rather in-depth review about some of the activewear brands. Please feel free to share with me your experience wearing some of the above brands, it'll be good to hear varying perspectives. Also, do PM me if you'd like to find out which exact pieces/models I own.
Just FYI, I have some MyProtein pieces at my friend's place and I will definitely buy more activewear from other brands in the future, so keep a lookout for my part 2/3/4 review!