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Alisa Wolfson Headshot

When Did Lululemon Become a Noun Synonymous With Leggings?

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With all the the talk about Lululemon's "dumpy" new CEO Laurent Potdevin at the helm of the fitness conscious company, it only seems fitting to explore the brand's highly contoured and often copycatted clothing -- and what's made it the most sought after non-athletic, athletic apparel.

Since launching in 1998, Lululemon has revolutionized workout wear, making gym clothes much more than garb destined solely for the inside of a sweaty, stinky fitness forum. Whereas people used to carry around a bag of spandex garb that would only see the fluorescent lights of their athletic arena, they now wear their "Wunder Under" pants proudly in public.

In addition to the brand's intended use (yoga, cycling, running and anything else sweat-inducing), I've seen the glorified garments in coffee shops, movie theaters, high-end restaurants, the workplace and just about every possible errand-running situation I've come in contact with (dry cleaners, nail salons, supermarkets, etc.) Paired with matching tops, designer blazers, puffy down coats and equally expensive cotton t-shirts, it seems that their pants have become particularly popular -- on par with a pair of blue jeans. On the west coast, namely Los Angeles, these pants are a wardrobe staple. They're easy to throw on and move around in, and they somehow seem to suck the body in in just the right places, something the body conscious population can't quite get enough of.

The Canadian company has become a symbol of status, with a hefty price tag attached to their form-fitting Luon (read: fancy for spandex) fabric. They've basically created a niche for luxe athletic apparel, a category that used to be reserved for the pricier styles designed under large labels like Adidas, Nike and Reebok. In fact, people have dubbed Lululemon a noun, synonymous with the word leggings. Lululemons or Lulus are widely interpreted as legging-style workout pants among the fitness savvy fashion set.

Are Lululemon leggings the Juicy Couture velour sweatsuits of the current decade? Will we look back and think, "What were we thinking?" or are they around to stay and suck in our cellulite?