The Hunt: Things That Make You Go Om

By Donna Garlough | Boston Magazine |

Another January, another opportunity to meditate your way to a healthier, more self-actualized self. But if you haven’t really broken a sweat since your Nordic-Track days, chances are your exercise wardrobe is out of shape, too. Whether you plan to do your downward-dogging at a bare-bones studio or at a haute spot like the Sports Club/LA, cutoff sweats simply won’t cut it. (Looking the part is half the battle, after all.) The loot at the following local yoga-gear purveyors will keep you bending it with the best.

LULULEMON

The top-shelf Canadian workout line Lululemon continues its reign over gyms and yoga studios citywide, thanks in part to a new store at the Mandarin Oriental that joins recently opened locations in the Burlington Mall, Natick Collection, and Hingham’s Derby Street Shoppes. In addition to supportive tanks ($48–$54) and well-cut pants ($90–$110), serious yogis and seriously fanatical customers fill their gym bags with Lulu’s high-performance sticky mats, yoga straps, foam blocks, and other props.

776 Boylston St., Boston, 617-262-2030, and other locations, lululemon.com.

EQUINOX

"Exclusive" is an understatement at Equinox, where membership runs about $140 a month (after a $450-plus initiation fee) and the cardio floor teems with pretty people. Fittingly, the gym’s downstairs store, which is open to the public, prides itself on exclusive-to-Equinox pieces like women’s yoga wear from Sugoi, Beyond Yoga, and Zobha. Upscale accessories—$32 Sigg water bottles, $74 DaliMama mats—line the shelves. Leggings, jackets, and tanks from Hard Tail ($28–$108) work overtime, as they can easily double as streetwear.

131 Dartmouth St., Boston, 617-578-0892, equinoxfitness.com.

FRONT

Best known for eclectic home goods, Front also has a cache of funky yoga gear from Charlestown-based designer Plank that’s worth seeking out. Quirky graphics give yoga mats ($65–$85) a shot of personality: The "Pill" version, for instance, is screened with a photo of spilled capsules, while "Shag" is printed to look like plush carpet. Plus, Plank’s colorful but utilitarian leather-trimmed canvas totes, messengers, and mat bags ($175–$260) are perfect for stashing post-practice duds without screaming, "Sweaty gym clothes inside!"

25 Channel Center St., Boston, 617-670-3782.

X-HALE BOUTIQUE

Schlepping from work to daycare to Bikram class calls for ultraversatile clothing, so it’s not surprising that X-hale owner Dina Marks set up shop in Newton. Suburban moms on the go can pop in to stock up on racer-back tanks from Rese Pilates ($50–$60), sporty Ion Actif pants (about $75), and figure-flattering Joia tops and bottoms, along with other yoga essentials like skidless mats. If 8 a.m. Itsy Bitsy Yoga often turns into a morning play date, the designer—but comfortable!—denim from Goldsign and True Religion, weatherproof Aquatalia boots ($250–$500), and roomy bags from Tano (about $250) and Kale (about $650) are also worth a look.

25 Lincoln St., Newton Highlands, 617-581-6530, xhaleboutique.com.

CORE DE VIE

Since this airy boutique opened last May, Beacon Hill’s yoga-hungry masses have swarmed here to load up on green-chic pants and bra tops made of beechwood fiber and cotton from Sense Clothing ($55–$120), as well as breathable basics from OmGirl and Lululemon ($30–$100), before hitting one of the shop’s popular yoga, Pilates, and Gyrotonic classes. Core de Vie also carries Vibram FiveFingers ($70–$85), muscle-strengthening shoes that give runners and yogis alike the natural "barefooting" effect.

40 Charles St., Boston, 617-720-0411, coredevie.com.

THE SPORTS CLUB/LA

Vying with Equinox for the title of "Best Gym as Runway" is the Sports Club/LA. Its clothing offerings, sold inside the spa, fill the bill accordingly. In addition to Lululemon pieces, the shop homes in on eco-friendly items like Ivee’s bamboo-fabric pants and jackets ($78–$98) and Restore Clothing’s odor-resistant tanks, hoodies, and pants ($60–$100).

4 Avery St., Boston, 617-375-8200, thesportsclubla.com.   


OTHER SPOTS WORTH POPPING INTO

• Our on-staff yoga fiend likes the selection of togs at the City Sports chain, especially the Boylston Street and Porter Square locations. 480 Boylston St., Boston, 617-267-3900; 1815 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-661-1666; and other locations; citysports.com.

• Small but well stocked, one-year-old Moda at North End Yoga carries everything from karma-calming oils and soaps to mat bags and workout clothes. Look for harder-to-find lines such as Samamama, Anjaly, and Manduka. Bonus: Gear is 10 percent off with membership purchase. 57 Salem St., Boston, 617-227-6632, northendyoga.com.

• Out of the department stores, Nordstrom is the winner, offering affordable yoga/climbing-wear from Prana and cushy Zella knits, as well as mainstream brands like Danskin and Nike. 290 Speen St., Natick, 508-318-2600; 75 Middlesex Tnpk., Burlington, 781-345-7800; nordstrom.com.

• If there is such a thing as an It yoga mat, it might just be the bright blue Yogitoes version hawked at Baptiste Power Yoga (though less image-conscious yogis can pick up these cushy mats in other colors, too). 2000 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, 617-661-9642; 25 Harvard St., Brookline; 617-232-9642, baronbaptiste.com.