Nothing will test your bank balance quite like a three month trip.
I was at the end of a jaunt across the US, Canada, Cuba and Mexico; somewhere just before Palm Springs I’d almost well and truly run out of money. Even though I was a 37-year-old adult, I still called my parents and asked if they could please spot me a grand to cover the week I had left.
I drove a hire car into LA and spent the last few days living as cheaply as I could. Given this consisted of a fair amount of In-N-Out, I wasn’t really that upset.
On my very last day I found myself whiling away time at The Grove, one of the city’s more upmarket shopping malls. I’d sat in Barnes & Noble reading, bought a frappucino, then wandered through the other stores for a last browse. I probably had enough to buy one last thing, if it so took my fancy.
I’d heard of Athleta before but couldn’t say I’d ever bought anything there previously. It’s in the same family of brads at Gap and Banana Republic, and they make an assortment of activewear – probably similar to something like Lorna Jane here in Australia.
I ended up buying a loose fit khaki sleeveless top there and it’s still one of my favourite exercise tops I’ve ever worn. The fit was excellent and the quality matched it. From memory I paid about AUD$40 and it was wildly on sale, so not quite bargain basement prices. It was definitely worth it though.
A couple of years later I found myself back in Los Angeles and trying to find a pair of black sports leggings with mesh inserts. I’d tried on quite a few pairs at different places, like Victoria’s Secret and some Gap Fit ones, but none were quite right.
Of course the Athleta ones were.
Of course they were about AUD$150.
Of course I bought them.
I was in far less dire financial straits on this trip so it was more of a treat to finish up the holiday. And again, almost two years on, they remain my favourite pair of tights to wear. They’re a really thick, flattering material that doesn’t show up every lump and bump, they stay up during even the toughest F45 class, there’s very little sign of wear and tear even though I wear them probably twice a week, and they still look damn cool.
I’ll admit that because I wear active wear to the gym so often, it’s not an outfit of choice for me unless I’m exercising. But for those who are disposed, Athleta’s pieces would do very nicely because they seem to combine a bit of street style with genuine function.
It’s not a brand that I ever hear many people talking about when shopping in the US, so here’s a couple of seconds of fame for it. If you’re looking for stylish but hard working pieces then I’d highly recommend checking out a store if you find yourself travelling through the States.
After all, anywhere that makes stuff you’d spend your last handful of dollars on and not regret it must be alright.