The much anticipated Athleta store at 3415 N Southport opened its doors this week! Just in time for the best season in Chicago (that would be summer), a private shopping event and opening celebration hosted at the new store brought a long line of curious fans. Athleta customers were greeted with yoga demonstrations, cocktails, appetizers and cupcakes. Guests received plenty of help from the sales consultants, many of whom are also fitness instructors.
I had the opportunity to find out more from Atheta’s Vice President of Marketing, Tess Roering who was in town for the opening. She told me this is the second store opening this year (now there are 11 stores open) and they plan to open 50 stores by 2013. I shared I have been a long time fan of Athleta from way back when they were only a catalog business. While the catalog business is still a huge part of their business, Tess was very excited about the new stores, which became possible since they partnered with Gap in 2008. “The only thing better than ordering from the catalog or online is that with a store, you can try things on.” She showed me the beautiful roomy dressing rooms which each included a shelf for your water bottle, a large space and a 3-way mirror so you don’t have to go outside of the room to check your fit. Perfect for trying on swimwear! There are touches like this throughout the store and details in the apparel that give women what they want! Athleta truly listens to the feedback from their cutomers who are “women who like to work out.”
I asked Tess, “Why did you choose the Lakeview location in Chicago?” She explained they already knew that they had customers here. “Not to sound like Big Brother, but this area is where we know women are ordering Athleta. We are located right under the “L” and near physical training centers, yoga studios and lots of nice restaurants. We want to be part of a community.”
I know I can use an update to my fitness wardrobe, so I had to ask her, “What’s new?” I am happy to report they follow fashion trends but always keep functionality and comfort a priority.
In their yoga wear Athleta offers bright colors, color blocking, layering and back details for added interest – since in yoga class you are often seen from the back!
These CYA “cover your assets” attached skirts on legging are a newer look. Tess showed me the details on the Athleta Contender Skirt Capri, $74 worn by this fit consultant (shown above) who is also a yoga instructor. It includes moisture wicking fabrics, pockets and zippers for yours phone, money or keys, a removable pouch, and reflective strips so you are seen when running at night!
Tess showed me how you can MIX & MATCH swimwear with bikini’s, briefs, swim skirts and shorts. All are in soft fabrics that can get wet and will dry quickly.
I know women who rave about Athleta dresses and skirts. I love this Athleta Pack Everywhere Dress, $79. You can literally roll it into a ball and it won’t wrinkle. It has removable padding, or you can wear a swimsuit under it and look appropriate wherever you go. The sold black version is a perfect hot weather city dress in which you can walk right to Oak Street Beach.
These Athleta Java Capris, $69, are made for yoga, but of course you can wear them around town after your class. There are sustainably reused coffee grounds in the fabric, called S.Cafe®, which makes them naturally anti-odor, quick drying, and UV resistant.
All of the products in the store are also offered online at Athleta. If your size is not available, there are kiosks in the store to order your size online and they will ship the item to you – free of charge! Another great bonus: free hemming at the store!
Lastly, Athleta will be offering FREE classes. Tess pointed out the rollers under all of the store fixtures. Well, they just roll them aside to clear out a large section of the store whenever they want to they hold a class! In April they are holding several classes and events per week. Classes include Bootcamp, Hatha Yoga Flow, Fun Runs, and Zumba, just to name a few! Stop at the store for a schedule or call 773.525.5881 for the latest information on Athleta’s in-store events.
I’ll see you there!
Chicago Southport Athleta Store | 3415 N. Southport Ave. | Chicago IL 60657 | 773.525.5881
Photos: Second City Style