I’ve talked about Carbon38 quite a few times before on the blog. Since I discovered them last year, they’ve created quite a name for themselves as one of the best places to shop for high-end activewear. I browse their site often, and it’s become one of my go-to sites for perusing the latest and greatest workout gear. C38 goes for a sexy, cool vibe with both the pieces they stock as well as how they style them. I really like that they use fitness instructors as their models, and that they’ve started to add measurement info on the “ambassador” tab of their product pages, which is incredibly useful.
Although lululemon dominated the market for stylish activewear for years, their grip has loosened considerably, both as their quality has been slipping and as more and more companies are moving into the space. In the ever-evolving activewear world, everyone seems to be wondering: what clothing brand is best poised to replace lululemon? I don’t think there’s a clear answer to that. The market has diversified so much that I highly doubt any single activewear line will dominate the spotlight again.
Instead, I think specialty stockists like Carbon38 are the future of activewear. We spandex junkies are increasingly noticing that many brands are producing stylish, functional, quality products. Still, even though we want to mix and match labels, we definitely value the convenience of one-stop shopping. Beyond that, Carbon38 does the legwork of hunting down new brands, then curates the best products from those brands for us to shop. At this point, any fitness fashion lover has to have Carbon38 on her radar.
Since I shop at Carbon38 myself, I was thrilled to add a couple new and different pieces to my spandex stash!
Disclosure: Carbon38 gifted me the crops and sports bra to share with you all. As usual, all text and opinions here are all mine.
Mini-reviews: Michi and Blue Life Fit
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t share the scoop on these two new pieces! :)
I’ve been dying to try Michi for quite a while, and was thrilled to get this pair of stardust crops. The fabric on these is fantastic and feels very luxe. It’s slick-faced, rather than cottony, but softer and silkier than most bottoms made of a similar fabric. It’s nicely opaque, too. I found these crops to fit true to size, maybe just slightly to the larger side if anything. I recommend taking your regular size, or your smaller size if you’re in between. I didn’t find the fabric to be compressive on me, but since I am on the small side of XS, your experience may vary there. (If Michi made an XXS, it would be a dream come true for me!)
The rise is higher, just a bit below the belly button, but you can fold down the waist if that’s more your speed. The waistband itself is made of a thicker, reinforced elastic material that’s firm enough to hold everything in, but soft enough not to cut in. The length is on the longer side for crops (my pair measures just shy of 22″), so these will work well if you’re tall, too. I had to slide the hem up just a little bit to keep it from gaping, so I’m considering hemming an inch or two off these for my shorter legs. They felt great when I tested them for a workout, both in terms of fit as well as the feel of the fabric. I would wear these anywhere–CrossFit, yoga, spin, barre, etc.
The mesh side accent and the extra side pocket add just the right amount of stylish yet subtle detail. The pocket has wide mesh layered over fine mesh so that you can slide your hands in and out without catching your fingers on the larger openings. The mesh down the side of the legs is noticeable and helps with ventilation, but wasn’t too revealing on me.
Trying out this pair of these crops helped shed light on why Michi’s prices are on the higher side: the quality strikes me as notably above average. Plus, they’re made in Canada, and I always like to see brands manufacturing close to home, even if it results in higher prices. Overall, these are a quality, versatile pair of crops suited to any fitness occasion.
Now for the sports bra. I have to admit I get into a bit of a sports bra rut a lot of the time, so this Blue Life Fit bra is a fun change of pace. There are no slots for cups, but the front fabric is quite thick, so I didn’t have any show-through issues. The band is not as sturdy as some other sports bra bands and has a lot of give, so overall, expect support to be in the light to medium range, depending on your body shape. Mine is an XS, and I think this size would be best for ladies who wear a 32 band, or possibly even 34s with a smaller cup size.
The coverage is, obviously, full in the front, which is great since there aren’t any issues with it cutting in, and I can fold forward and go upside-down without feeling like half of my business is falling out. :) The full coverage is nicely balanced by the mesh, which keeps it from getting too stuffy from a functional perspective, plus ups the sass factor. Take note that the solid snake fabric doesn’t cover very far back on the sides, so if you’re busty and/or have wide-set breasts, be mindful that the coverage may be low there.
The best part about this bra is how comfortable it is. It doesn’t dig in anywhere, and I comfortably wore it for hours at a time without any desire to change out of it (which is rare for me!). I also really appreciate that it’s made in the USA.
P.S. I couldn’t help but mix in my Alala fractal tee in poseidon with this outfit, since it happened to go perfectly (I previously reviewed this tee here). I love the little pop of snake that peeks out at the neckline. The tee is an ideal to-and-from layer to tone down the outfit from a sassier look to something a little more easy-going, but still stylish. I love that these new pieces integrate so nicely with what I already have.