I bought my first coat from Varley last November and have since added more Varley pieces into my athleisure and workout wardrobe. Since I started wearing the brand, I’ve had so many questions about how I like it compared to Lululemon as well as requests for a review. I wanted to give the products a solid year before sharing my opinion, so here we are!
If you aren’t familiar, Varley is a luxury activewear brand that makes active essentials (leggings, tanks) alongside elevated knits, outerwear, and sweats. They claim to be a “fashion brand rooted in movement” rather than a workout apparel company, and it shows in the products’ quality, tonal palettes, and versatility.
Previously, I was wearing mostly Lululemon and Alo Yoga for errands and workouts, but I noticed the quality of both brands declining a bit over time. When I saw Varley’s collections, I loved the aesthetics and heard the fit and function were great, so I had to try. Let’s dive in!
Varley Clothing Review and Size Guide
Overall, I think Varley does luxe athleisure pieces better than anyone else out there, and the outerwear and layers are where they really shine. For the price point, I think you know what you’re purchasing. If you’re looking for a basic layer to wear in and out of the gym when you’re sweaty, I dont know that Varley is best. I personally love Varley for those days I want to be in comfy athleisure but look put together. Varley nails the details (shawl collars, twill trims, snaps, ribbing) to make it feel like you look chic and stylish, even if you’re just throwing a half zip, a vest, a puffer coat, or a sherpa over leggings for your daily coffee run.
In terms of actual activewear, I will say that their Always High Leggings are my absolute favorite workout leggings right now. They’re the perfect weight to walk or run in, come in a ton of colors, and feel amazing against your skin. I don’t wear too many of Varley’s other dedicated “workout” pieces, but the leggings are 10/10 in my book.
Varley vs. Lululemon
The main difference between Varley and Lululemon is that Varley is an activewear brand with a strong style spin and Lululemon is a yoga/activewear brand at its core. With Varley, you’ll see pieces that blend function and style but aren’t necessarily what you’d wear for an intense workout, whereas Lululemon has every sort of legging, tank, and bra you could imagine for any activity. Varley also tends to run a little more expensive than Lululemon (the Lulu Scuba Half Zip is $118 vs. the Varley Vine Half Zip at $158, for example). In my experience, Varley quality is better across the board.
Varley’s sizing very much depends on the pieces you’re buying, but generally speaking, I think their active styles (leggings, tanks, bras, socks, etc.) run true to size while their outerwear (sweatshirts, coats, jackets, vests) can be true to size or a little oversized. There are usually plenty of reviews on the Varley website to lead you in the right direction, and they share the intended cut of each product (oversized fit, close fit, etc.) in its respective Size Guide to help guide you.
I wash all my Varley workout pieces on a delicate cold cycle and hang dry them. Many of the outerwear styles are dry clean only, but I haven’t had an issue occasionally washing them on delicate or hand wash and hanging them to dry. My Varley workout leggings and tanks haven’t pilled in the one year I’ve owned them, and that’s with dozens of washes. Some get washed twice weekly!
Best Varley Items: My Favorite Pieces
One of the best things about Varley is that they tend to keep core pieces around for years while also adding seasonal collections and colors, so there are styles I absolutely love that I know you’ll be able to find today. Below are my Varley favorites. I’ll be sure to update this list as I try more pieces from the brand!
Vine Half-Zip Pullover
If you’re new to Varley, I highly recommend starting wtih the Vine Half Zip. It’s Varley’s most popular piece and will give you a feel for the brand’s quality, versatility, and ability to create pieces that make you feel put together even if you’re running out the door in less than five. I have this pullover in several colors and absolutely love the shawl collar. It runs a little large.
Jones Sherpa Coat
The Jones Coat was my first Varley piece and it’s what’s pictured on me in this post! This coat gives you cozy teddy bear status without ridiculous bulk. It’s very oversized, so I recommend sizing down at least one size. It has pulls at the waist for cinching if you want a more tailored effect, and the armholes are wide so you can wear sweatshirts, half zips, and long sleeves underneath. This coat is hands down my most-worn casual layer once cold weather arrives—I think it’s worth every penny!
Related: Off-Duty Fall Style
Always High Leggings
My husband gave me my very first pair of Lululemon leggings when we were dating, and believe it or not they just got tossed a year ago (lasted 8 years!). Sadly, Lulu leggings don’t last that long anymore—recently I’ve found that they start pilling at the 3-4 year mark. Lulu also tends to have thicker waist bands, pockets, and other details that I don’t prefer, which led me to the Varley Always High Leggings. I like a simple, steamlined legging in a fabric that pulls you in but doesn’t cut off your circulation if you know what I mean, and the Always High are perfect. I bought one pair and then immediately added more because I love them so much! Now, they’re just about all I wear for walks, runs, pilates, strength training, and errands. I’m 5’9″ and like the 25″ but they come in 27″ as well.