I’ll be the first to say that I LOVE Bandier. The loud colors, the bold prints, and the intense pang of anxiety I feel every time I see a Georgetown student bounce out of SoulCycle wearing a matching set worth more than my car has been a welcome addition to my Instagram and IRL feed.
The aesthetic this high-end athleisure collective has curated provides a maximalist response to the Goop-promoted “neutrals or GTFO” approach to workout wear. It’s a fitness wardrobe that I’ve really come to appreciate…on Instagram. That’s because in order to be a daily #BandierBabe one must be willing to invest at least one-third of their monthly earnings into buying brightly colored hoodies you will likely wear in 10-minute increments (from car to yoga, from yoga to car.)
I definitely understand the idea that workout clothing is worth investing in. As someone with weird bodily proportions, my first Lululemon leggings were a straight-up game changer. That said, companies like Bandier are marketing an aspiration as much as they are quality, well-made clothes, and it’s not exactly impossible to replicate. In fact, my inspiration for this post came from a run-in with a retro-inspired hoody at Wal Mart that — apart from the giant “~Peace and Love!~” overlay on the back — definitely could have passed the #BandierBabe test with flying colors.
Turns out, there’s actually not a lot that physically separates the high-end designer products on Bandier and the God-only-knows-where-this-was-made finds on Shein, etc. Most leggings are made of a combination of spandex and polyester (the proportions vary) and the other gear is made up of a combination of cotton and spandex. I did notice that the cheaper brands did sub in nylon in place of spandex or polyester for certain pieces, but it doesn’t look like there’s a big difference there, either. Obviously, higher end stuff comes with its list of benefits: more consistent sizing, durable stitching, and better for washing/drying. Whether it’s worth paying 4-6x as much is up to you. As I said, I will gladly fork over a lesser-used organ for high-quality leggings. But a cropped hoody? Catch me in the bottom of the internet’s metaphorical bargain bin for that one.
Take one scroll through the Bandier or Outdoor Voices Instagram and you’ll start to catch the vibe: bright colors, fluid, non-committal poses, lots of $$$$. And again, if you’re someone who likes to invest in your workout gear, then that’s great! But, if you’re a fairweather gym member who loves to get the #LookForLess, then follow me. I can’t drag you to your hot yoga class, but I can make sure you look as a good as a 20-year-old GW student who gets 500 likes on every Instagram post when you show up. Godspeed!
SHOP: BANDIER STRIPE HOODY // SHEIN STRIPE ZIP-UP
SHOP: BANDIER HOODY // SHEIN HOODY
SHOP: BANDIER RAINBOW HOODY // SHEIN RAINBOW HOODY
SHOP: BANDIER LEGGINGS // AMAZON LEGGINGS
SHOP: BANDIER JOGGERS // SHEIN JOGGERS