LuLaRoe … ugh.
When I first heard of LuLaRoe, I thought it was a joke. Here’s how I found out it wasn’t and why it is the most ridiculous trend since all of the 80s combined.
One morning I heard my phone buzz with a new text message. It was early; I was in the middle of the craziness of getting the kids to school, so I was only half paying attention. I quickly glanced at my phone and saw a picture of a woman in mismatched clothes with something wrapped around her head. My first thought was that my very socially-minded girlfriend was rallying the troops to support a cause, and wanted me to write my state representative or something of the like. Was she sick? A refugee? Somehow displaced in the world? Once I got my girls on the bus, I looked again and saw that the woman was taking a selfie, wearing a frumpy outfit, and for some reason, took a printed skirt and wrapped it around her head. Let me say that again, in case you think there’s a typo; SHE HAD A PRINTED SKIRT WRAPPED AROUND HER HEAD. Apparently, she was part of some wardrobe challenge promoting creative ways to get dressed for work. The message from my friend simply read, “This woman is an attorney. What is happening?”
What is happening is LuLaRoe, an MLM company, selling the idea that it’s entirely normal for grown women to wear mismatched lycra and odd combinations of clothing all day, every day, everywhere. I read someone describe it as Gymboree for adults, and she wasn’t saying it as a compliment. Over the last few weeks, I’ve been asked dozens of times to share my thoughts on the clothes, which surprised me because if you spend 30 seconds on this blog, you won’t be shocked to hear that I think it’s (1) ridiculous, (2) inappropriate, and (3) ugly. What bugs me the most, though, is that they’re selling it as style, and it’s not. They’re just a company with a solid marketing game selling truly unattractive articles of clothing, convincing women that this is the best they can look. It feels like they are taking advantage of a demographic that might not know better, and inundating an already saturated market with more bad choices for women.
If you like it, wear it, but I want you to know why you have better options.
Could you wear a few of the pieces you already own? Maybe, if you pair them with normal items of clothing.
Should you wardrobe yourself in it? That’s a hard “no.”
If you have any interest in looking sophisticated, modern, polished, pulled together, or chic, LuLaRoe is not for you.
I’m not even going to get into their business practices, which based on my research sounds sketchy and convoluted. For today, I’m talking pure principles of style.
- There is no theory behind their “style.”
Think about all the home design shows we watch. We see the before-and-after images, and it’s only when the room is finished that you notice the impact that furniture placement, scale, accessories, and color have on the finished product. Just like interior design, graphic design, or any other kind of art, dressing well is based on composition. It’s a dance between balance and scale, texture and print, and fabric weight, colors, and layers. Wrapping oneself in lycra from head to toe does not make an outfit. LuLaRoe lacks any style theory: It’s just juvenile prints and colors on stretch fabric.
- It’s not flattering.
Raise your hand if you’d like to look slimmer.
Fabric and cut have a lot to do with highlighting your best assets and minimizing the areas that make you uncomfortable. For example, the right pocket placement on the back of a jean can visually lift your bottom and give you a fantastic booty. A blazer with two – three buttons, that hit you under your bust line, will pull your waist in and create a feminine hourglass shape. The right length of a skirt can give you legs for miles. You need structure to highlight and bring out your shape.
Often, when we have a body part we’re not crazy about, (and we all do), our first instinct is to cover it with something like an oversized tunic or sweater, but more times than not, by covering it you only enhance it. In fact, you’re probably making yourself look bigger than you are. All LuLaRoe does is either cling or hang off your body. Wearing swingy, stretch pieces, oversized layered tops, and bottoms does nothing for you. Stretch with no structure shows all your rolls, makes your belly bigger and highlights everything you want to hide. Add to that the childlike prints and you have a receipt for an outfit disaster.
- The prints are really bad.
I have girls who are seven and ten years old, and they would die of embarrassment if I made them wear the mildest of the patterns they sell. For argument’s sake, let’s put aside their seasonal leggings covered in pumpkins (kill me now), or my personal favorite, your Disney character of choice. Because I’m actually beyond words about them. (I can’t emphasize enough that this is being sold to WOMEN.) Their basic patterns and their focus on mixing any old patterns together is making grown women look like they raided their toddlers closets and got dressed in the dark.
Patterns, when executed well, will add visual interest to your outfit. This is one of the ways we create depth, a key component in the composition of an outfit. Aside from depth, some patterns can elongate the line of your body, creating an elegant look. Instead of enhancing an outfit, LuLaRoe is making women look like they gave up on style.
In terms of mixing patterns, there’s a lot of theory behind doing it well. It requires paying attention to details and pairing a dominating pattern with a secondary one. You have to play off tones and colors and understand that every pattern has movement. When done well, it can look super chic, but their examples of mixing and matching are haphazard and nonsensical.
- They promote leggings as pants culture.
I can’t believe I’m still having this conversation, but this idea that comfort trumps everything and you should be able to wear what are essentially pajamas and go about your day is insanity. All this “I really want to be comfortable” talk is out of control. I want to be able to drink wine and hang out all day while I make passive income, but that’s not how the world works. You have to wear actual pants. Are they as comfortable as leggings? No, but you’re also not wearing a corset, so calm down and WEAR PANTS.
- They’re creating more bad options.
This is my biggest gripe. Retail is full of choices that do nothing for women. But recently, some brands, specialty businesses, and designers are listening to the needs of women and solving some of our problems. Wit & Wisdom has affordable pants that look modern and help with tummy control. Lo&Sons designed a super-durable travel bag that women across the country celebrate. Rothy’s is making chic ballet flats that are comfortable, stylish, washable and eco-friendly. Heck, even Khloe Kardashian came out with a line of fashion jeans for all shapes that go up to a size 24, and the fit is out of this world. My point is that there are companies, often run by women, making it easier to shop and get out the door looking and feeling our best. LuLaRoe is promoting bad taste. I spent an hour the other day on Instagram, scrolling through #lularoe outfits and was ASTONISHED at the level of bad taste. These women were lovely and could look fantastic, instead, they looked dowdy and frumpy. That actually makes me mad, because I would bet anything that someone in their corporate knows they are selling hard working women crap.
LuLaRoe customers are passionate about the brand, so I know I’ll take heat for this. I just don’t understand how millions of women are convinced that this looks nice because it seems so obviously unattractive. I hope we’ll look back on this as another crazy trend, the same way we think about the 80s and wonder why no one noticed how terrible gold lame’, fanny packs, and neon tights were. Until then, I’ll be over here in my corner advocating for classic, timeless style.
Don’t forget! Our 30 Day Style Challenge starts on Friday 10/13.