Vancouver, British Columbia’s Lululemon has put a stamp on the men’s active lifestyle biz, by opening its first standalone men’s store in New York City. Premium, technical performance apparel is nothing new of course, but there’s more to Lululemon’s and its sleek 1,600-sq.-foot SoHo home than meets the eye. Here, five reasons why we’re just a little excited about the new space, why it’s worth visiting, and why we’re bracing ourselves for more like-minded active lifestyle brands in the new year.
1. You no longer have to wade through yards of women’s stretch pants to get to yours.
Say goodbye to figuring what’s his and hers in this new store. There’s also a community space and table outfitted with a chilled water tap in the back for guys to chill out.
2. Smarter, updated merchandising.
Whether you’re hitting the gym, Tough Mudder or half marathon, Lululemon has you covered. The company and store have regrouped all its men’s offerings into sweat, post-sweat and no sweat categories, so it’s now much easier and faster to find what you need based on activity and in a variety of modern styles. As Marshall Rutman, brand manager, puts it, “We want the person to feel like they’re in an athlete’s home.”
3. It offers dope-looking menswear.
We’re talking Lululemon’s no sweat category, which offers some of the best-styled wardrobe staples we’ve seen recently with a sleek, urban edge. Think softly tailored blazers, zip-up hoodies and sweatshirts to button-downs and pants in innovative silky-smooth fabrics with flat seams, chest vents and reflective panels that don’t look out of place or like they’re trying too hard. A lot of brands have tried to do this and still look too technical or tricky in the end; Lululemon offers an effortless balance of weightless style and function. Its ABC (anti-ball crushing) pant, for example, made from four-way stretch Warpstreme, is as seriously comfortable and streamlined for the city as it is engineered for riding or hiking. Check out The Away Game campaign featuring Andrew Ference of the Edmonton Oilers for a look at the smart new assortment.
4. You can customize your running shorts.
The men’s store offers The Joinery, an on-site custom service that allows you to build your shorts. Choose from four short silhouettes and three different liners (or none at all) to get the most out of your bottoms. Liners range from the “keep it brief” liner (an ultra-light brief ideal for runners) to the “game on” multi-sport compatible liner and longer, sweat-busting “format” liner. The Joinery, which cuts shorts in as little as 15 minutes, also serves as a social hub for special events, workshops and meet-ups.
5. It has cool brand ambassadors like Michael Chernow of The Meatball Shop and Grant Belton of Flywheel Sports.
While the store imparts a modern West Coast feel with its cedar panels, natural concrete, raw steel fixtures and glass, it also features local elements such as commissioned portraits and memorabilia by a variety of local brand ambassadors including Belton and Tone House NYC head coach Shaun Jenkins. One of the brand’s enduring messages is community, and if you’re looking to take your workout to a new level with some of the best city trainers, you may want to start here.