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Are Lululemon's viral ABC pants worth $138? I tested 2 pairs for a year to find out

If I had to wear one pair of pants for the rest of my life, it would be these.

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I tested two pairs of viral Lululemon pants — here's the one that came out on top (Warpstreme, left; Utilitech, right)(photos via Lululemon & Alex Cyr).

Last year, I noticed a gap in my wardrobe. I, a writer who works from home, but who frequently roams the city to run errands and meet colleagues, had no good pants for any of that stuff. I had countless pairs of sweats and slacks that passed for pyjamas; and then, I had an assortment of stiff, denim-esque trousers, battered with time and rendered tighter and more rigid with each drier run.

My birthday was coming up, so I asked my close ones to buy me "good, versatile pants." My ask worked: I received my first pair of Lululemon ABC (always be comfortable) pants: matte black, slim-fit Warpstremes. They were warmer and far less restrictive than my jeans; yet their clean, understated look made them appropriate for almost every public-facing event. I started wearing them in professional settings, business casual dinners, family gatherings, and even on work-from-home days.

Lululemon ABC Slim Fit Warpstreme

Shop the ABC Slim-Fit Trouser 34" Warpstreme pants in 10 colours.

$138 at Lululemon

By the end of the week, or maybe month, I ran into an obvious problem: a man cannot live in a single pair of pants. So, I bought two more versions of the ABC pants and became acquainted with their iterations. They come in four fits: classic, relaxed, slim and skinny. To me, a 145-lb distance running mesomorph, the skinnies are a bit restrictive, and the relaxed and classics fit a bit loose. So, the slims are my choice. I have, however, diversified in materials, and now own Warpstremes and Utilitechs: a slightly more textured version that keeps all the stretch.

Review: Lululemon Slim Fit Warpstreme

  • Impeccable shape retention

  • Quick drying and insulated

  • Four-way flex

  • Reflective details under the cuffs

Still my favourite of the two, my original Warpstremes remain in good-as-new shape after a year of wearing and washing them at least weekly. I detect no wrinkles, shrinkage, or stray seams — in fact, I feel they have almost shaped to fit my legs. They have a Goldilocks fit: falling snug and close to my body without tightly hugging my legs as skinny jeans would.

I immediately realized these trousers were great to wear around the house and also to sport while out and about; but what made me love them more was seeing how they held up in tough situations, like a rainstorm or cold winter day. Their fast-drying properties are remarkable and rival classic nylon sport pants, and they are insulated enough to hold up in the cold weather. As a bonus, they also have a few secret specs like a hidden, zippered key nook inside of the right back pocket, and reflective details under the cuffs. If I had to wear just one pair of pants for the rest of my life, runs and gym sessions included, they would be my pick.

If I had to wear just one pair of pants for the rest of my life, runs and gym sessions included, they would be my pick.

Lululemon ABC Slim Fit Utilitech

Shop the ABC Slim-Fit 5 Pocket Pant 32" Utilitech pants in six colours.

$138 at Lululemon

Review: Lululemon Slim Fit Utilitech

  • Four-way stretch

  • Hidden zipper in the back pocket

  • Slightly coarser and more textured than Warpstremes

The Utilitech, like the Warpstremes, features the main, slim-fitting ABC pants specs: a four-way stretch, a close-to-the-leg fit that doesn’t completely hug the thighs, and reflective cuffs, for example. They are also made with roomy hips to encourage a zero-restriction range of motion while having abrasion-resistant skin. But, their material (roughly half Elastomultiester like the Warpstreme; the other half, instead of recycled polyester, is cotton and elastane) is heavier, a bit stiffer, and not as resilient in the rain. They also require a bit more TLC, as ironing them intensely or dry cleaning them may cause them to shrink.

Still, the Utilitech’s redeeming quality is that it has more of a traditional, denim-like texture and look. So, while I think the Warpstreme is superior, the difference should not be great enough to preclude their purchase. They are still endlessly more comfy than most of their competitors and counterparts, and the combination of the two (or, multiple pairs of each, if I’m speaking from experience) can complement a wide-ranging wardrobe.

They are still endlessly more comfy than most of their competitors and counterparts.

Verdict

If you're choosing between Lululemon's Slim Fit Utilitech and Slim Fit Warpstreme, I suggest going with the latter. After a year of wearing them, they remain my favourite pair of pants for errands, days out, cold weather runs and more.

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