Going to the gym? Dress like you mean it.

Athletic gear company Lululemon Athletica recently came under fire after it removed several styles of its popular yoga pants from shelves and online inventory due to the thin, revealing Luon material the pants were made of.

The products in question, including the popular Wunder Under and Groove pants, made up 17 percent of Lulu workout pants in stores at the time of the recall, and can cost the brand’s enthusiasts upward of $80 according to the company’s website. The question is, is it really worth it to pay the extra money for workout wear — whether it’s Lululemon or any other high-end brand?

Turns out, spending the extra money may be worth it, according to local fitness experts.


Dr. Adam Naylor of Sport Psychology Coaching in Greater Boston believes there are mental repercussions depending on what someone wears at the gym. “I think it can impact your desire to go to the gym and how you feel about yourself in the gym,” Naylor said. “If we feel like we don’t fit in, we don’t go to the gym.”

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Naylor added that not every person in the gym will feel comfortable in body-hugging athletic clothes, and that a better option for someone with a little less confidence may be more athletic-like gear.

“I think it’s really what’s a person’s comfort level,” Naylor said. “It may be a T-shirt that feels athletic-y and pair of shorts that don’t make you feel awk­ward.”

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Lululemon Athletica’s famous yoga pants can cost upward of $80.

According to a study done by the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University that examined how clothing affects the cognitive process, wearing a particular type of clothing can boost focus and attentiveness. The study deemed this “enclothed cognition.” In the case of the study, it was a white doctor’s coat. But why couldn’t wearing high-end workout wear — the type worn by fitness gurus — make the rest more committed to working out?

Sarah Dussault, Boston fitness blogger and creator of The College Diet Plan, likes the idea of dressing the part of a healthy athlete. As long as the hit to your wallet is for a worthy item.


“It’s one of those things that you do kind of get what you pay for,” Dussault said. “You pay more, and you kind of get the quality of the better product.”

The 20-something star of YouTube fitness videos under the name Sarah Fit claims she has tried almost all the popular brands of workout clothes but tends to stay away from trends that might fade next sea­son.

“Bright colors are better for me — granted I try not to be too with the trends,” Dussault said. “I have a few neon pieces, but if I’m going to spend a little bit more money on a piece of clothing that I like, I try not to spend it on trendy pieces that can go out of style.”

Dussault noted that bright colors and comfortable clothing have a positive impact on her workouts.

Still, Naylor and Dussault differ on whether making an expensive purchase will be a motivating factor in itself to get people to the gym: Naylor says no, Dussault says yes.


For those who can’t (or simply won’t) spend $80 on a pair of yoga pants or capris at the upscale athletic wear stores, Dussault recommends trying vendors like Marshalls, Old Navy, and Target, which she said feature great athletic lines. If you can spend a little more, try Nordstrom Rack, City Sports, Under Armour, Oakley, or Lululemon.

Emily Wright can be reached at