Jewels of worth come in a fancy felt bag, right? Lululemon believes the "family jewels" deserve the same sensitive, plush, and gentle treatment: Their new ABC ("Anti-Ball-Crushing") pant is designed to give "the boys" plenty of room to breathe, frolic, and be safe. And the wallet-lightening $128 design has proven to be a kick in the pants for the bottom line for the company, whose most recent claim to fame was unintentionally sheer yoga pants for women.
According to Bloomberg, the anti-ball-crushing pants are behind stiff growth: Same-store sales are up 16 percent in the last quarter, and stock prices have grown more than 34 percent in Q4, proving the best way to redirect attention from a sheer nightmare is to shoot right for the fellas’ groins. (Although some guys favor the objects of their affection having some junk in the trunk, they sure don’t like pants that make it feel like your junk is getting slammed in a trunk.)
Two big reasons for this growth are the focus on men in brick-and-mortar stores and more offerings for the XY set; clothing is now separated into three distinct lines for working out, post-workout, and going out. Lululemon’s flagship store in Vancouver features a men's section where guys can have custom shorts and liners created for them while they wait, as does Manhattan's 1,600-square-foot standalone men's store, which opened last fall. And in Los Angeles, the 5,700-square-foot Santa Monica flagship, which opened the day before Thanksgiving, features a 750-square-foot hybrid men's section that features live music, yoga, mindfulness meditation, fitness sessions, and, occasionally, a tapped keg.
I picked up a few pairs of anti-ball-crushing pants at the Santa Monica store in November. I didn't want to like them for two reasons: my inherent sense of thrift and, probably more importantly, the founder, former CEO Chip Wilson, was an arrogant asshat. Long before he said that women's bodies were to blame for the sheerness of Lulu's $100 yoga pant, he admitted to using the name Lululemon because the Japanese would have a tough time pronouncing it. ("It's funny watching them try to say it," he said.) He also went on record that plus sizes would cut into his mammoth margins and therefore he wouldn't make clothes for larger women.
But foot-in-thy-mouth-billionaire Wilson has moved on from the company. And the new iteration of Lululemon is awesome, regardless of whether you have a yoga body or one that could stand to spend more time in the gym, because the cut is flattering for most body types. So, as far as form goes, they’re pretty much batting 1,000, starting with the anti-ball-crushing tech. The ABC pants are great. The offer enough stretch for yoga, enough style for any casual dinners out, and the drawstrings on the legs make them great for cycling: With one quick cinch, I can bring the right leg up above my calf to keep it out of the chain.
Sure, a reviewer from The Guardian said the ABC pant wasn’t cool in a riff that talked about how The Ramones wouldn’t wear ’em. He’s probably right, but if you’re one of the 99 percent who aren’t taking your fashion cues from Marky, Joey, Johnny, or Dee Dee, the ABCs are worth checking out. And if the 6’6″ Joey (RIP) had wanted to wear them, they’re available in tall. Added bonus? The ABCs don’t wrinkle easily, so they’re also great for travel.
And for those runners who feel that they’ve got to get all Fort Knox with their jocks, the Lock ’em Down trunks have a “snug fit to keep you comfortable and supported in intense workouts (and even more intense meetings).” And probably even rocking out to AC/DC?
As far as shirts, go, the Metal Vent Tech long-sleeve has been a staple since I got it and it’s great for pedaling, yoga, and as a snowboarding base layer. Thanks to anti-stink tech, you can wear it a few times before washing it.
All of that’s a long way to answer a question GrindTV author Julie Kailus recently asked: Don’t men deserve luxe gear too? The answer is a resounding yes, from the bottom of our ABC britches.
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