Whether you are a feminist or not, a smart modern woman pays attention to what she wears when she works out, as it not only makes her feel better, but helps her perform better as well. Lorna Jane has been sport’s fashionistas secret in Australia for many years but since the end of last year the brand has landed on the British shores and is planting firmly its bright flagpoles in the capital.
On a day when the weather has been racking havoc on people, with sun being followed by icicle downpours and gales and when I felt like curling up on the sofa under a wool blanket instead of venturing out, Lorna Jane hosted its Spring collection presentation at the new fitness place called Psycle just off Oxford street. If you gazed in from the darkness outside, you would have seen lots of happy faces, explosion of fluoro colours and multiple white cycling shoes standing to attention. Psycle and Lorna Jane partnership was beckoning you in, with Psycle actually being Lorna Jane’s first UK retail stockist, as well as the soon to be coolest spinning place in London.
Lorna Jane’s latest collectionfuses contemporary prints and bold colours ( lemon, tangerine, fluoro pink, purple-you name it, she’s got it !) with smart technical fabrics and performance-led design that will take you from the serenity of a yoga class to high impact aerobics or sweat dripping spin class ( come to Psycle for that, they are perfect ! ).
Lorna Jane has the sense of well-being and female empowerment at the core of her brand & I highly recommend getting your hands on her book ‘More of the fit woman’s secrets’ that makes for an uplifting reading and visuals that inspire.
Her pieces are understated but always elegant and cool, appealing to both a younger generation of women, as well as women in their 30s or 40s. There is always the breezy brightness that draws your eye and makes you want to try her clothes on. The clothes are cut to fit the body but fabrics have stretch so they don’t cling in the places you don’t want it to.
Check out the Tropicana bra ( one of the star pieces of the spring collection for the obvious reason but it also offers medium support which is adequate for most workouts ) if you are bored with your classic sports bra colour. It is made from LJ Excel Classic fabric which allows your skin to breathe, while drawing sweat away from the body. You also have the padding for extra support and shape, which is easily removed if you are more voluptuous.
Or if you have more conservative tastes, you can choose your running or yoga clothes from those whites and
or hot pinks and greys, as well as black leggings :
While some of the styles might seem a little too young, in real life they look good on any woman who cares about her appearance and wants her workout gear to compliment her style. It comes down to the design detailing that make you feel feminine, yet focussed when you are working our at home, in the gym or outside.
Another of Lorna Jane’s stand out traits is the sense of humour that comes across from the slogans that she choses to emboss on her tank tops. There is honesty in the fact that in order to look good, one has to work hard at it, as life gathers pace and years whizz by. It’s always nice to be reminded that laughter makes life brighter and extends our life span by flooding our bodies with endorphins.
Psycle will carry about eight to ten of Lorna Jane styles, so you can browse before or after workout or ask staff for recommendations.
Now, to Psycle. It will officially open its doors on February 24th ( one of its co-founders is former CEO of Fitness First Colin Waggett who has many years of experience in fitness business ) but in the meantime it offers classes to showcase the team and the concept. You don’t have to bring in your cycle shoes – they come in perfect white and the team has a variety of sizes on offer – just be careful not to skip down the stairs to the studios. The shoes used at Psycle are ‘cleated’ and will increase the connection between your legs and the bike, engaging hamstrings and glutes.
Psycle ‘aspires to be the most addictive fitness concept in London’ through musically motivated classes ( take just one class and I dare you not to fall in love with it. Just the music alone during the class, however modern or conservative your music choices normally are, will blow your socks off ). The team’s philosophy is rooted in ‘the belief that your state of mind is key to how often and how hard you exercise and they hope that they ‘will inspire you both mentally and physically to transform your body’.
The studios take inspiration from British contemporary design, with concrete walls and reclaimed wood. As the class starts the instructor dims the lights down and revs the soundtrack up, so you don’t have to feel self-conscious or competitive but will spin away to the best of your ability on any given day. The fluoro lights go up and down, stimulating your brand with an array of colours, while the music starts pumping and whoosh you go on your bike, doing a high intensity & low impact interval training workout, which was developed by Tim Weeks, a former athlete and Olympic coach. I am not going to re-cap the class for you, suffice to say that after several years off the spin bikes, I loved every minute of it. Instructions are precise but you can turn the bike’s gear up or down, depending on your fitness level. Here you have fun while working out, no judgement, just fun and safety in exercise. You start with stretches and then gather pace.
The class that I attended took 45 minutes and comprised women of different ages and fitness levels. Most women wore slim-fitting workout gear, with sleeveless tops or even just in cropped pants & sports bras. Our instructor for the evening was Psycle’s nutritionist & instructor Rhian Stephenson. Staff walked around helping to make adjustments to the stationary bikes ( when you book yourself into a class online you can pre-select one depending on where you want to be positioned in the studio ) and helping you slot in your shoes onto bike’s pedals. I remember well the times when you had to strap your shoes to bike’s pedals and often things got ‘undone’ in a very disconcerning way .)
You exercise not just your legs but your core and your arms as well. When you take a class see if there is a ‘bunny hop move’ which looks funny yet works you hard in all the right places. We worked through a version of Prince’s Purple Rain that was almost unrecognisable but magnificent and what our instructor made us do to Rihanna and Eminem’s ‘Monster’ was epic. We finished the workout with working our arms with weights-you will have a choice of lighter or slightly heavier ones and then we cooled down to Michal Jackson’s ‘Man in the Mirror’. When I got off the bike I felt a euphoric high that kept me buzzing for hours and made me feel fitter & more ‘pulled together’ muscle wise after just one session. Lorna Jane’s red tank made me feel powerful and able and as I thanked Rhian, I made a vow to return to this fantastic hub of fashion and fitness where the music surprises you and the instructor and the bike become your compass to better fitness and how well you feel in the temple that is your body.
When you finish the class, drop your shoes and towel into the basket, get your clothes out of the electric locker, walk upstairs and grab a juice or nutritional snack made by Purearth and Detox Kitchen before your exist into the street and feel the sense of achievement.