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Lululemon’s Massive Leggings Redesign, Explained

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Lululemon, the Canadian activewear retailer nearly synonymous with top-of-the-line leggings, has given its bottoms a complete overhaul. In addition to length, color, and silhouette, beginning today you can now shop by "engineered sensation" — that is, how do you want to feel in your stretchy pants?

Antonia Iamartino, the brand's design director of future concepts, tells Racked the company found women were buying a range of sizes to achieve custom fits for different activities: shopping a size up for a flexible fit (Pilates, yoga), and going down for sucked-in sports (running, cross-training). "Our customers were making their own solution," Iamartino says, preempting the development of the four sensations, in stores today and on the brand's site this evening.

Essentially, the concept is a compression spectrum, available in both existing and new fabrics and silhouettes. On the looser end there is Relaxed ("nothing in your way"), followed by Naked ("light-weight, second-skin"), Held-In ("support to your key muscle groups"), Hugged ("a comfortable embrace," and what the brand tells us is their classic fit), and Tight ("locked and loaded").

In addition to the sensations, Lululemon is also launching four new pant silhouettes today, two of which are also available in cropped lengths. Iamarino's personal favorite is the Align pant in the Naked sensation, which is also the debut of a four way stretch fabric called NuLu (for now, it's only available in this silhouette and in black, but they plan to roll out the fabric to other styles down the line). It's flexible enough for both yoga and spin ("no dragging at the knees!"), and she tells us it's passed Lulu cult classic Wunder Under as her go-to.

The other new styles are the All the Right Places pant, which features zoned compression and zip-free pockets on the sides as well as the waistband, and comes in the Held-In fit; the Zone In tight, also in Held-In and built for yoga with a no-dig waistband; and the Tight Stuff Tight in, of course, the ultra zipped-in Tight sensation, designed for runners with a compression waistband that stays in place and a bonded, laser-cut hem that won't roll up. Despite the emphasis on compression and contoured panels, Iamartino was careful to explain that they didn't design anything intense enough to influence physiology. "Your blood flow won't be impacted," she says. "It's not like you put these pants on and you're strong, you take them off and you're not strong."

Racked Video: Lululemon Haul