EMMA WHITEHAIR’S YOGA KIT REVIEW
You know when I feel my bad-ass best? When wearing a pair of form fitting yoga pants. Ideally four-way stretch and/or compression. I just love the way the fabric sucks in and smooths out while sculpting a perky posterior. Match that with a body skimming support tank and a luxe hoodie and I’m ninja-ready for anything. And because I love wearing kit so much, I have become THAT girl. You know, the one who uses the excuse of a class in the evening to wear activewear all day. And why the hell not? I mean, when performance-wear works for you, who wants to keep it to the studio.
Rarely needing much by way of an excuse to refresh my yoga kit – with International Yoga Day, today 21st June. I marked the occasion by dropping-in to see what was new from my favourite labels.
A yogawear review would not be complete without an honorable mention to lululemon Athletica, the trailblazing Vancouver-based brand with a cult-like global fan base embracing the ”Lulu” lifestyle. Renowned for their technical leggings, the in-store pants wall is categorised by sensation. Relaxed (away from the body), Naked (close to the body but not restrictive), Held-In (a bit tighter), Hugged (even tighter) and Tight (full compression). I opted for the Hugged fit in the classic Wunder Under style. A no-fuss second skin yoga tight, with high, flat waistband. The cool feeling ‘Full-On Luxtreme’ fabric offsetting the fresh new ‘Summer Haze Multi’ light teal smatter print.
You don’t necessarily need a trip over the pond for great yoga brands though. With so many that are home-grown – here is my edit of six of the best London labels that have also passed my pretzel pose and sweaty mat test with flying colours…
Sweaty Betty has come a long way since it was started in Notting Hill in 1998 (the same year as Lululemon). At the time this was an up-and-coming area with some of the first stylish fitness studios. Yet, most women were still wearing basic cotton leggings and tees. Founder, Tamara Hill-Norton, saw a gap in the market for technical activewear, so I guess you could say she started the activewear revolution.
From the current collection, I’m a fan of the seamless longline stretch Namaska yoga vest. Made with super soft bamboo – a natural antibacterial performance fabric. Also the power ⅞ side mesh leggings – super flattering with a supportive high-stretch fabric, high-waist and sexy mesh panels.
Another company that was started in Notting Hill (this one just over a decade ago), Lucas Hugh is the go-to brand for all Katniss Everdeen wannabes (just me?). Having provided the wardrobe for the iconic Hunger Games ‘Catching Fire’ training scene, this uber-luxe label has a high-tech sci-fi style that’ll bring out your inner workout warrior.
Lucas Hugh has created what I shall refer to as the The Holy Grail of yoga tops. The Black Star tank skims rather than clings, has a supportive concealed bra and even stays in place with headstand practice.
Every Second Counts
Also born in Notting Hill, Every Second Counts was founded by former magazine Fashion Director and total fitness babe, Sally Dixon.
I have the ‘Love Every Moment’ outfit – featuring an uber pretty pink and coral print, offset against ubiquitous black. The leggings are a great all-rounder with flattering side panel and with back-of-knee ventilation. The hook and eye fastening at the back of the sports bra make it much easier to slip on and off that usual pull-on sports bras.
While the cross back detail and double spaghetti straps give support, along with sex appeal.
This the conscious yogi’s label of choice. Sustainable, non-toxic and eco-friendly, Manuka Life also works in partnership with Women for Women – a charity that helps women in war-torn regions rebuild their lives. Manuka Life is also a certified member of SEDEX, an organisation dedicated to driving improvements in responsible and ethical business practices in global supply chains.
From the summer collection, I have the seamless Asana legging in indigo with contrast ice blue jacquard triangles and matching crop top. Which is so super comfortable it feels like you’re not wearing anything at all. The triangle motif has been designed to represent bringing the masculine and feminine polar energies together in balance. The male energy is depicted as a upward-pointing triangle, representing the solar, masculine, Yang energy. The downward-pointing triangle represents the feminine womb, and the qualities of the lunar, feminine, Yin energy. Just what you need to balance your divine feminine with your inner gladiator while in a challenging asana.
SukiShufu was founded and designed by ex-gymnast, turned banker, turned fashion designer, Caroline White. Caroline describes the clothing as “athluxury for urban lives,” designed and cut to be as comfortable to lounge in as it is to work out in. Caroline had seen and worn such extravagant and luxurious materials as a gymnast and wanted to bring them to modern, everyday activewear. It is this design aesthetic that continues to mark SukiShufu as a pioneer in their space, being the first brand to use technical velvet and technical lace.
From this jazzy collection, I have the gloss leggings and Miso crop top set. (Note that Sukishufu runs small so you will need to go up a size.) I love the licorice look the pants give my legs and the flattering low-neckline of the bra-top. The brand has a signature faux leather back panel on most styles, and as counterintuitive as it is to go for the leather look for yoga – the fabric is actually completely breathable. Great for yoga, even better on a dance floor.
Boom Boom Athletica
Founded by Ann Johansson, a Swedish/Canadian ultra-marathon runner, Boom Boom Athletica is a relatively newbie on the – you guessed it – Notting Hill scene. Utilising high performance fabrics from Italian mills, the pieces are cut and sewn in Portugal and the USA.
From the current collection I was first seduced by the drawstring waist Hi Shine Track Short. Perfect for hot yoga while modest enough to wear and from the studio on a summer day. The High Compression Legging have a gorgeous silky handle with sexy mesh strategically placed to aerate and avoid bunching. While the no-slip grip waistband keeps them securely covering one’s but even in the deepest forward folds. Reminding me of my much loved Vexed Generation fleece I lived in in the noughties (showing my age?) – this long and bodycon lux hoodie is a natty little number to throw on when (pretending to be) between classes.