I have never been a fitness clothing snob. I will buy any brand, provided that the items I’m purchasing accomplish three things: I like the feel of the fabric, I can accomplish my workout, and the price works with my budget. While Beyond Yoga is my go-to for the first two, it isn’t always in the budget. When Target announced that they were upping their clothing game and getting in some new designers, I was thrilled. Target’s workout gear has always been affordable, so I was optimistic for the new line Joy Lab.
In order to truly test out Joy Lab, we went straight to my Pure Barre studio. Pure Barre has a cult-like following, and I could literally talk for hours about how much I love it. For those unfamiliar with the workout, the simplest way to describe Pure Bare is “ballet inspired strength training.” If the clothes could hold up for this workout, I knew they would be good to go for anything.
Okay, these high-waisted pants are great. First, they are actually truly high-waisted. Often I feel like companies call any pant that falls higher than your hipbones “high waisted.” These come an inch above my belly button, which I absolutely love. In barre we do a lot of planks, and move from standing to sitting to laying on the floor, so not having to worry about readjusting pants is critical.
I also love the paneling on the legs. They take a plain black yoga pant to a whole new level. I have these in grey with black panels as well, and they are equally as fun. The best part, though? They are very long. Taller girls, or barre girls that like to hook their pants over their socks are in for a treat! The only downside to these pants is the fabric. They are stretchy enough, for sure. However, they aren’t the softest. After years of Beyond Yoga, this is a little hard to adjust to. All in all, though, worth the money.
This t-shirt is a bit of a disappointment. It looks great on the hanger, and the first time you put it on it is just darling. The fabric is light and breathable. However, this is clearly designed for people that don’t actually want to workout. The flutter-back is cut so high that the second you even lean forward both your whole back, and your whole stomach are exposed. As a modest person, this is a problem for me.
The new Joy Lab bras, however, are excellent. They are more of a long-line cut, which, considering how many muscle tanks with large armholes I own, is a real draw. The different patterns are all so fun that I might just buy ever color. They are super comfortable, but not incredibly supportive, so these are definitely meant for low impact workouts.
I have mixed feelings about this sweatshirt. First, I love a good crew-neck. Further, the fabric of this sweatshirt is exactly what you want from a cozy sweater to throw on after a workout. It is unbelievably soft. Lastly, it is longer in the back than the front, for an added level of comfort and modesty. The only downside? The super high-cut slits on the side. I love a good side slit, but these are a little aggressive. Luckily, when worn with the high-waisted pants, it isn’t too bad!
Overall, while I am a fan of most of what Joy Lab is doing, it is still very much Target quality. I will go there for workout clothes that I can donate after a year without feeling like I wasted my money, but they will never be my favorite.
At the end of the day, the one thing that really makes or breaks an athleisure look is something no brand can give me: The perfect height for a high pony.