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ATHLETA FIT REVIEW (Part 1): Santorini High Neck Printed Dress, Santorini High Neck Mix Stripe Dress, Brookfield Dress, and Side Gather T-Shirt Dress

ATHLETA FIT REVIEW (Part 1): Santorini High Neck Printed Dress, Santorini High Neck Mix Stripe Dress, Brookfield Dress, and Side Gather T-Shirt Dress

Athlete Santorini Dress

You asked; I answered!  I know many of you (especially Canadians) are interested in Athleta and wonder if it’s worth the extra cost to get Athleta items shipped to Canada.  To the extent I can help with fit reviews, I’m happy to do it.  I spent all day Monday in Santa Monica hitting multiple stores to bring you fit reviews from other brands.  So, Cristina and I will be rolling out fit reviews in the near future.  We thought we should start with the Athleta Fit Review.  I tried on many things and am dividing the post into three by category.  The first, dresses.  Second, technical gear.  Lastly, vacation/streetwear.

By the way, The Adidas Deerupt I reviewed the other day are currently on sale! Click here to buy them on sale>Adidas Deerupt

As you all know, I have yet to purchase an Athleta item.  I keep going and trying things on but for some reason, I don’t like anything enough that compels me to make a purchase.  So, this is where I will need your help.  I don’t check Athleta often and am not “in the know” for the new items.  (Although I’m on the email list for special sales and events).  When there’s something that interests you, feel free to leave a comment about an item.  I’ll do my best to do a fit review in a timely manner.


For those of you that are new to Athleta, their sizing runs from XXS to XL or from 00 to 16.   Like Gap and Old Navy, I think sizing is generous.  During this recent trip, I received sizing guidance from a sales associate.  I told her that I wear a Lululemon size 4 and for most other clothing a size XS, S, 2 or 4.  Based on my information, she said I would be either a XXS or XS and for numbered clothing size, I would be a 0 or 2.  She was very accurate about my size.  For bras I am either a XS or S.  My bra size is 32D (on the smaller size of the d cup) for reference.  Surprisingly, some of the wide legged pants in a 0 were loose on me around the waist and hips.  So, if you’re more up and down like me, you should be aware of that fact.  While I could have fit into size XXS in tights, my personal preference is to go with an XS.  I like to have some wiggle room because depending on the day of the month, I might be up or down in weight.  And on the off chance I gain weight, I want to still be able to wear most of my gear without purchasing new gear.

Athlete Santorini Dress Athlete Santorini Dress Athlete Santorini Dress Athlete Santorini Dress Athlete Santorini Dress Athlete Santorini Dress


When I grabbed these two dresses, I didn’t realize they were the same style because they were located in different sections in the store.  These are made of sustainable modal with UPF protection.  The fabric has a nice weight and hand feel to it.  It is an empire cut dress which is flattering on most figures.  The only problematic thing may be the high neckline for ladies with a very full cup.  I think the shoulders were cut at a nice angle and would flatter most shoulders (wide and narrow).  The dress hem hit right above my knees (I’m 5’6″ with short legs).   The dress draped nicely around my waist and hips.  Because of the weight of the fabric, generous cut and empire waist, this dress would be very forgiving and hide perceived “flaws”.  In the Santorini Printed Dress, the store only had a size small, which I thought was too big.  I tried on an XS in the Santorini Mix Stripe Dress and I thought that size fit me better.  But I think I could have worn either size.  I think the print is not as flattering on me because the pattern placement made me look “bigger” than the mix stripe which creates a “thinner” silhouette.  For a good quality modal dress, the price is fair.  But I don’t know why I’d pay that amount for another designer but not Athleta.  The only explanation is I have a bias against spending that much at Athleta.  In all honesty, for an out and about dress, I think I can find a better dress at a better price from other brands/designers I wear.  This dress isn’t for me but I can imagine many of you liking it.

Athleta Brookfield Dress Athleta Brookfield Dress


I first tried this dress on in a size XS and the sales associate thought it looked too big on me.  Because the lightweight fabric didn’t have “weight” like the modal, this dress didn’t follow my silhouette as much as the size down.  So, in the pictures, I’m wearing a size XXS, which would be the size I would get.  This dress is made from recycled poly and is perforated for ventilation.  This would be a great dress for hot summer days.  I would probably get it in a bright color rather than in black but the store didn’t have an XXS in any other color.  This dress hit slightly above my knee.  Between the two, I think the Santorini Dress is cut better for me but I really liked the lightweight fabric of the Brookfield Dress.  If you’re in between sizes, I’d recommend going a size down.  However, a size down might be a problem for fuller cup sizes.

Athleta Side Gathered T-Shirt Dress Athleta Side Gathered T-Shirt Dress Athleta Side Gathered T-Shirt Dress

See Also
Luluelmon Quilted Embrace Backpack


I found this dress near the cover-ups because it can be worn as a cover up or a dress.  I was drawn to it because of the cinching at the sides.  Unfortunately, the smallest size they had was a S.  I think I would have gotten the Side Gather T-Shirt Dress in an XXS.  Because this dress was two sizes too big, it didn’t “skim across” my body as it was designed to do and it was too long.  It is supposed to hit right above the knee.  This dress was made from a lighter weight modal so it didn’t feel as “heavy” as the Santorini dress.  I like the weight of this dress for summer afternoons.  I’d probably prefer the weight of the Santorini Dress for summer evenings.  For a dress that can act like a plain cover-up, I thought it was priced too high.  I think it’s more reasonable at $79 or $89.  I don’t think I’d spend $98 for a dress like this.  But on markdown, it would be a consideration for me.

I had so many items to try on that I didn’t search for more dresses.  On this shopping trip, I just grabbed things that were obvious and easy to grab.  After perusing Athleta’s website, I may have to go back to try on these dresses:

Draped Crew Dress

Sunlover Hilo UPF Dress

Rincon Dress

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View Comments (44)
  • I live in America, but love your posts. I switched to Athleta for my yoga pants because their Powervita fabric is so soft and durable. Lululemon’s Nulu pants pill like crazy. Powervita has a bit more compression. I also like the seam placement better because it is more flattering to my “apple” frame. I highly recommend.

    • If you like Powervita, you really have to try Lululemon’s Everlux (durable nulu like fabric with compression) but I understand if you may not like the cut of the In Movement Tight. I don’t wear Nulu to work out in. When I make my first Athleta purchas, I’m almost certain it will be a Powervita item! Thanks for reading!

      • Hi Again, I agree the Lulu Everlux is so much better than Nulu for compression. The seaming below the knee just doesn’t fit right and isn’t comfortable, not sure what the deal is with my legs! I have several tops, swimwear, jackets, and casual wear from Athleta and I am very satisfied with the quality and fit, but the items were carefully reviewed and selected before purchase. Overall, I am still an avid Lulu fan and they are my go-to for workout gear for everything except yoga. The Full-on Luxtreme takes the punishment from running, cycling and agility training. Thank you for you forum, I have enjoyed the fit reviews and inspiration.

        • What do you wear for yoga? I really do wish they’d make different style tights with Everlux. Wouldn’t that be great? Thankfully, the In Movement cut works for me. I tend to agree with you. If you choose wisely based on body type, some Athleta pieces can be great. I see many of my instructors wearing Athleta and it looks fabulous on them.

      • I love love love lululemon everlux! I bought many pairs of crop and 7/8 length. I can’t remember the names of the tights. I’m waiting for more colors and would love tank tops and jackets in this fabric

        • It’s the In Movement Tight/Crop. Tanks and jackets in Everlux would be great. I’d also really like another style tight as well.

  • Mrs.O the dresses look amazing on you!! honestly I have a hard time picking out a favourite, they all look good!
    damn Athleta for not entering the Canadian market, lol. We need them here ASAP!

    • Thanks, Danika. I know a lot of Canadians would like the option of purchasing Athleta. I just don’t understand why they are not taking advantage of the market. Your guess is as good as mine!

  • I ordered the Santorini dress a couple of years ago and returned it. I have also tried on a couple of dresses in the store but didn’t like them enough to purchase.

    I don’t find their dresses to be particularly flattering (at least on my figure). But I do love that they offer a lot of variety in their sizing.

    I have a couple of tights from them but don’t love the fabric and fit as much as Lulu. The waistbands are heavier and the fabric is thicker. I’m a fan of the Nulux and love the feel and fit of my Fast and Frees.

    One thing I do buy from Athleta is their Sculptek skinny jeans. They are so comfortable and are the only jeans I wear anymore. They also offer their jeans in tall. But, the sizing is tricky with them. I had to do some returns even when I knew my size from a previous pair.

    I agree that none of the dresses are keepers. You look great, Mrs O, and the dresses are just meh. We should love what we purchase, not think it’s just okay.

    • Anne, I agree with you. I prefer Lulu’s fabric and fit better for my body type. There’s just something slightly off for me. But I see so many women wearing Athleta and looking great in it that I just don’t understand why I don’t think it looks as nice on me. For out and about dresses, I have many that I believe are cut better for me. Athleta dresses are just not the styles that I gravitate towards. But the other dresses I did not try on are more my style. For street wear, I think there are much better brands out there.

      I’ve never tried Athleta jeans. Partly because I’m a premium jean snob. The jeans I have are really comfortable, stretchy and cut just right for me!

      • I’ve purchased at least 16 items from athleta and have returned 15 of them. Dresses, pants, bathing suits and I kept a shirt. I’ve tried to like athleta, but they just don’t hang/fit right on me. The shirt I kept didn’t hold its shape. I just feel that the quality and fit of lululemon is still better. I’m trying sweaty Betty now since Nordstrom’s carries the brand. Just ordered a tank top. Thanks again for your fit reviews- they are very helpful.

        • I’ve had my eye on Sweaty Betty. I had no idea Nordstrom’s carries hat label. I’d love to know what you think about the item when you receive it.

  • I live in Canada and have only ever ordered one item from Athleta: the patchwork salutation tights. Did not care for them at all. Sizing is VERY generous, I didn’t like the pattern as much in real life (plus the pair I received had a horrible pattern placement), didn’t care for the material (felt very thick and not particularly breathable & found there was a fair amount of fading) and the one and only time I wore the tights they kept slipping like crazy. Like even though they are high-waisted I was worried about flashing some cheek (was carrying something with both hands so I couldn’t always pull them back up)!
    I’m assuming the excessive slipping was due to a size issue (even though I followed their sizing chart).
    I also wasn’t that impressed with their customer service (I guess I’m too used to the cheery “I’m sorry to hear that J, we apologize for that….” from Lulu). Athleta returns are a ridiculous process from Canada.
    Needless to say, I won’t be shopping there again anytime soon!
    I personally don’t like any of the above dresses (although you look great as always Mrs. O). And I agree that the pricing seems too high.

    • Thanks, J! I feel the material is thick and hot as well. I feel the same way about Alo Yoga material but I deal with it because I love the designs so much better than Athleta. Alo’s sizing is also better and closer to Lululemon although they size XXS-XL.

  • Thanks Mrs O! I’ve been thinking about getting the santorini dress for travel this summer. Not fond of the high neck but may check out the regular neckline. I’ve also been thinking about the jeans that someone mentioned earlier. But I wonder if the price is worth it. One item I do purchase from Athleta is their powervita pant, love those.

  • I love the Santorini dress. I have about three, including the striped one you tried on. The Athleta jeans are great too. I like a lot of the casual clothes Athleta offers.

    • Out of all the choices for the Santorini Dress, I think the Mix Stripe one is the one I like most. Do you wear your dresses often?

      • I think I have bought one Santorini dress each of the past three years. The striped one was this year’s choice. Yes, I wear them often. I wear them to go out for coffee, to the brewpub with friends, to movies, to trips to the mall. Basically anywhere I want to be casual and comfortable but a little bit pulled together. I also take one whenever I travel. With Birkenstocks and maybe a scarf (possibly a Vinyasa) to protect from overaggressive air conditioning, I feel and look good.

        • That’s a great way to style the Santorini Dress. I’m so bad at accessorizing! That’s something I have to get better at.

  • I have several casual items from Athleta that I love. I also love their swimsuits. I don’t wear their workout gear as much, although I do have a few items. I just tend to prefer Lululemon for that.
    I will agree that their Powervita is amazing!!

    • I did like their swimsuits. The colors were great. I just didn’t have a chance to try any on. What style swimsuit do you prefer?

      • their swimsuits sag and stretch out after about 5 wears. I love Lululemon swim. Great quality and doesn’t sag or stretch out after many many wears

        • I have several Lululemon two piece swimsuits and I love them because they are very functional. I did like the Athleta one pieces. I don’t do watersports. The only time I wear a swimsuit is by the pool or hanging out at the beach. I’m low key; so they might hold up better for me. But it’s good to know Lululemon suits withstand the test of time and activity. I always hate it when my swimsuits stretch and sag; especially when they can be expensive.

          • I do a lot of lap swimming (3000+ meters) and open water swims. I always hand wash my swimwear right after to keep them clean and nice. Lululemon swimwear is far superior in terms of fabric and fit. They NEVER stretch out on me. I am very hard on my swimwear.

            • Wow! I’m impressed. I’ve always been impressed by swimmers. I had a bad experience as a child so I’m not a strong swimmer and I don’t like being in water where I can’t stand and my head is above water. Lol. I wish I could swim. Don’t even ask me to tread water. Haha.

              • Hiring a swim coach will probably help you to conquer the fear. I started swimming at age 3 and swam for my college then started doing triathlons at age 10 and still do it. 1 full distance ironman a year. This is how I keep in shape. I’m not a big gym person. I have a tri coach 5 months out of the year. I think you can conquer swim w the right coach.

                • Now, I’m even more impressed! I always admire triathletes. I don’t know how you guys do it. I love that all the women on this site are such athletes and use our Lululemon and other athletic gear with a clear focus of being fit. And this group is so diverse and representative of all shapes and sizes and fitness levels.

  • I’d love if you or Christina would do a post about favourite Lululemon items /materials and the specific sports or type of activites you use them for. I find myself getting more and more particular about what I wear to work out in. Thanks!

    • Christina, that’s a really good idea and I think it’s a topic that would open up a lot of dialog within the community. It would be fun to share how we style, use and wear our Lululemon gear and what activities we do in them. There are definitely pieces I use for workouts, lounging and streetwear.

    • Excellent idea. I’ve definitely become very particular about what I like for Olympic lifting. I mix and match a lot of different brands now too because I’m looking for very specific elements.

  • I bought so many Athleta items from gym clothes to casual wear. HORRIBLE quality. I spent a lot on their Modal fabric things and they all fell apart. All the items looks like a cat got to it especially on the inside. Lululemon Modal things were better quality and that’s not saying much. I will never buy anything Athleta. I returned all the modal things with receipts and the cashier still gave me a hard time. I basically told her Athleta quality sucks and I fully expect a full refund. She tried to give me a refund based on the sale price when I paid full price! WTF . I had the manager come and got my FULL REFUND. ugh! good grief!

    • It seems the Athleta tide has changed . . . I seem to recall last year this time everybody was discussing how Athleta stepped up their game and the quality and designs had gotten better. In years past, I didn’t think Athleta quality could compare to Lululemon quality. Now, I’m not sure how much it has improved but I’ve noticed the prices keep going up. I honestly like a lot of Gap Fit pieces more than Athleta and it’s a much better price point. I just wonder if my preexisting bias (from early reviews of Athleta when they first entered the scene) still influences me enough to prevent me from actually buying something. I do know some Athleta brand ambassadors that secretly tell me they love all their Lululemon gear and wish they could wear more of it. But since they get a lot of free stuff, they wear Athleta.

      • You’re right Athleta USED to be good quality and nice reasonable prices. Now they are same price basically as Lululemon and quality has gone down. I’ve been monitoring Athleta and I’m not very pleased so I gave up. Lululemon is superior in terms to style. I’m 5’6” w athletic build on thin side and Lulu is mostly a perfect fit for me. I used to have to try on 15+ items at Athleta and it was hard to find especially with tights and tanks that fit me well. When I try on 15+ items at Lulu, I have to fight myself NOT BUY ALL 15 items !

        I will check out Gap Fit thank u for that info.

        • Just so you know, GapFit has generous sizing as well. I tend to stick to tanks and some jackets. I haven’t tried too many tights because I think they feel hot. But for similar quality as Athleta, the price point is much better.

          • Thank u. I figured Gap fit runs big. I’m also a big fan of Ultracor. Their tights are superb quality but not great for warm weather. They also feel hot. I buy them from Bandier and their customer service is great.

            • I forgot to comment on a point you made. I think we are built similarly. It’s funny to think I’m “athletic on the slim side”. I always think I’m average. There’s stiff competition in Los Angeles. But I notice the same thing with Lululemon; the fit is just right for me. In looking back at some pictures of things I didn’t think fit me well from Lululemon, I think those items still fit me better than the Athleta stuff I tried on. You’ll see when you read Part 2 and Part 3. Yes, I often fight myself not to buy everything I tried on. And it’s even harder to do that because all of you are all so lovely and encouraging. I could probably fill an entire closet with all my athletic gear! Let’s not even talk about my regular and work clothes, shoes, handbags and watches. Haha!

              • Yes we are similarly built but you have more muscle tone that I want ! If I had a job, I’d be in big trouble and hubby would go bankrupt. I quit work a few years ago to raise 3 toddlers. I have to save money for our kids college one day lol. But oh man Lululemon gets me every time! I’m glad Athleta didn’t work out for me. One less brand to spend money on

                • You have more than one full time job raising three children. Yes, we all have things to save for but it’s so hard not to be persuaded to spend more money on things we like. I really have to fight with myself to not keep spending. It doesn’t help that my hubby is so supportive of my spending habits. He knows I keep us on a budget and try to snag as many deals as I can get. He’s always telling me to keep things I want to return because I felt guilty about the purchase.

  • Thanks for this. I do like Athleta a lot, WHEN I find something great. It’s been hit-or-miss, but I have to say that so has Lulu. What I like about Athleta: They use a variety of body types consistently, and show that fit comes in lots of sizes. (Even the “bigger” models look like they exercise, which I really like. Fit doesn’t come in one size!) They don’t airbrush their photos, they have a lot of transparency in their manufacturing process, and they support empowering women & fair trade production. Those things are important to me.
    In my opinion, a lot of what made Lululemon so appealing to me (the attention to detail, manufactured in Canada back in the day, the special styles that were differentiated), aren’t there anymore.
    So now I just buy what I like and what fits well, and it’s my closet is a hodgepodge of brands. I do like the fit of Nike a lot (although not thrilled about their corporate culture and the harassment issues coming to light now- I’m watching that!), I wear some Lulu, some Athleta, and testing out new brands on Bandier and Carbon38.
    The only total duds for me/my body type are Outdoor Voices and Sweaty Betty. I just can’t seem to make anything from either work. (I’m 5’3″, muscular/lean, typical crossfit bod)

    • I’m curious about what about Sweaty Betty fit doesn’t work for you? I’m thinking of ordering a pair of upcoming tights to review but they are very pricey for cross-border shipping.

    • The fact that we can mix and match from other quality brands is the best part of this trend. These brands have finally figured out that women work out hard and we need stylish technical gear. We need stuff that’s functional but can be streetwear as well. True athleisure items are just that — a sporty look but not for working out.

  • For Canadians looking for other options, I have been loving the total knockout leggings by Victoria Secret. They pretty new out and kind of feel like a mixture of nulux and luxtreme. They have side pockets as well. I wear a 6 in the nulux pants and wear a medium in the VS pants. Make sure it is the total pants not the regular knockout ones. I just got some capris and a top from RYU. I got the tough capri and the tech tank top. The capris are amazing, i thought at first the waistband would be too big and they would slide down but they were perfect. They didn’t move an inch. The material is very silky but very strong feeling with a nice stretch. They only thing was that they did inch up on my calf a tiny bit,not nearly as much as the fast and free capris. They are comin* to the canfitpro trade show in August in Toronto so i am hoping to get more then. They are priced on the higher end but the material is amazing. Love the tank top as well. Love I can get them in Canada.

    • I would have never thought Victoria’s Secret leggings could be functional. I’m pretty much dismissive with it and put it in the athleisure category not technical/functional category. The only thing I wear from VS are panties. They don’t carry my size and with the options that Nordstrom’s have, I can’t wear VS bras anymore. That was more of a first bra/young adult phase for me when all I wore was VS. When you’re young, everything looks good. As you age, you need quality and fit.

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