Lululemon’s new leggings feature a “hugging” setting

Crafting a hug.
Crafting a hug.
Image: Reuters/Ben Nelms
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The latest concept from the athleisure behemoth Lululemon reads as parody, but will probably make the company millions.

Rather than categorizing its many, many varieties of stretchy pants by how the wearer would like to look, the brand’s new Engineered Sensation collection asks customers how they would like to feel.

“Feelings have always been important to humans,” Lululemon’s website points out.

Wearers of the company’s leggings and yoga pants will now be able to choose between the following feelings: tight, hugged, held-in, naked, and relaxed.

Tight, we presume, probably has a compression degree similar to that of Spanx: good if you’re smuggling cash through an airport, less good if you have to pee. Lululemon’s description specifies that “tight” garments’ support is of the athletic nature, which may distinguish it from the next engineered sensation on the scale: Hugged.

While the company doesn’t actually claim that the leggings will provide emotional support throughout the day, it does say the leggings are made to “feel like a comfortable embrace from a close friend.” (As opposed to, say, an awkward one from a weird uncle.)

Held-in, by comparison, concentrates more on areas such as hips, butt, and thighs, so it’s maybe it’s more like an acquaintance’s hands, gently placed on one’s bum? You can probably guess how naked would make you feel (though it’s a questionable choice of names considering Lululemon’s catastrophic 2013 recall on yoga pants that made the wearer look—rather than feel—naked). Relaxed is perhaps for when you’re like, “Get away from me, pants.”

Ridiculous as it sounds, Lululemon’s latest marketing strategy is probably going to work. The brand’s customers have demonstrated a cult-like loyalty, and of course our most special clothes connect to our emotions.

But for some of us, even the warmest hug won’t get us over the feeling that we’re wearing yoga pants.