sheree’s life in black & white


The renovation clock is ticking. We've blacked out our online store as we move ahead with our site's renovation. We've affectionately called the place "Boutique Noir" because let's face it, it sounds better that way. To celebrate the state of affairs, we interviewed Sheree Waterson, our Executive VP of Merchandise Management. Why? You'll see. 

Sheree is the woman ultimately behind the fabulous colour you know and love from lululemon. We are all intrigued by the way she plays with texture, shape and proportion, all with function at the core, no matter what she’s creating.

We’re also intrigued by the amount of black in her wardrobe. The woman can wear black. I mean really wear black. Think 29 days out of 30: black shoes, pants, tops, jackets, hair, nail polish, accessories – all black. Considering our online store is about to look a lot like Sheree’s wardrobe, it only seemed fitting to spend a little time with the woman to talk about her favourite colour. (Is black a colour?)

Sheree's white leather couch

the woman in black

Elissa: So how long have you been wearing all black?
Since I started in the business. I used to wear a lot of colour. When I started, I was a buyer for designer sportswear. We used to travel a lot and so, you know, your wardrobe has to be easy. Truthfully, I love dressing this way because it’s easy to play with proportion when you keep the palette all black. My clothes are all black and my environment has to be white. I admit. I send myself white flowers. I need a clean blank canvas to create so that ADD doesn't creep in.

It’s funny, when I lived in San Fran, I had some friends who had a shop called “Alabaster”. They helped me decorate my apartment.  I said I wanted this particular Napolean couch in white velvet and another piece in white silk satin, a look inspired by this Oscar De La Renta dress.  “Honey,” she said, “we can’t do that. It’s going to look like a wedding cake in here.” That was the point.


E: So you own a lot of black luon?
Oh yeah. (she laughs.)

E: Do you own any coloured luon?
S: A bit. I have some jewel-tone pieces, Dark Classic Sport Grey, Snorkel Blue, Flush…but mostly black. It’s about proportion and function at that point.

E: Before you were at lululemon you were...
S: Before I was at lululemon I was President of Speedo North America and before that, I was the VP of Women's at Levi's.

 (At this point, the accessories designers interrupt with a colour board to show Sheree. It’s for upcoming water bottles. I get to observe a really unique moment where Sheree challenges them to get inside her head and try to understand what’s working for her and what is not. I have never seen anyone speak so passionately about colour’s ability to inspire, to drive emotions and to communicate.)

S to designers: The colour has to blow me away – I mean literally. It has to blow me away.  This finish? (She points to a metallic bottle) This slays me. I walk by this and think “quality”. It’s really just a water bottle. It’s the opposite of intellectual. It’s purely creative. Are you with me?

(After ten minutes of interacting over water bottle colours and graphics, the designers leave the office to go back to the drawing board.)

Sheree's desk

S to E: Did that make sense? Did I communicate that well?

E: Yes, I get it. I have a mother who did women’s colour analysis in the eighties, so I totally get the whole language of colour thing. I’m curious: how many black pairs of shoes do you own?
(She’d rather not comment, but she did mention she’s in the triple digits. Whoa.)

E: Who’s your style icon?
I don’t know. It’s hard for me to say. I don’t really think anyone dresses that great these days. Who rocks hard? (Sheree looks at Janine, a designer who is standing within earshot.)  

E: Ok, if you take “style icon” and replace that with whose work do you love?
Oh, easy.  I love Givenchy. Ricardo Tisci, McQueen - I love Rick Owens. His favourite colour is black too. We're soul mates.

E: Black or red licorice? 
S: Black!

E: White or dark chocolate?
Oooh, it depends on the brand.
Janine: Gummi bears!
S: GUMMI BEARS! Vitamin Gummi bears! (We all laugh.)

E: Favourite workout?
S: Kundalini Semperviva with Gloria, or Yoga West with Hari Singh, or Ghurmuk Kaur Khalsa when she’s in Vancouver. (I find this amusing. A lot of people who practice Kundalini wear all white.)

whitewash manifesto

Goals for the year?
Go to Harvard. (Check. She heads to Boston for a two-month leadership course on Saturday. Ironically, she’s wearing a stunning cherry red cropped jacket to celebrate. There’s a long silence. She looks me square in the eyes.) Truthfully, I am so wrapped up in work that the thing that I really care about – really care about – is that the team that I work with is the most inspired, happiest team in the world. That is it. I can’t think of anything else that I’d rather have. Except more yoga. Do more yoga.
Erika (Sheree's Executive Assistant): …and drink more water.
S: More water, yes.

E: …out of a sexy water bottle?
Yes, out of a really sexy water bottle! Exactly.  It has to be chartreuse. No, really. (Her expression goes completely stoic.) Chartreuse is the number one colour in the world.

want more?

  • Meet some of the other people behind our products. Say hello to Katie.
  • Follow our designers on their trip to Europe. Croissants and goals abound.
  • Find out about the product black-out. Read our reno page.

We like Sheree's philosophy as much as we love her office. Sometimes things are simpler in black and white. Consider our all-black selection our clean slate as we tidy things up behind the scenes. Thanks so much for your patience!

read more related posts:


sheree, you are just too cool. can i be you one day? ps. black is my favourite colour too. it’s meant to be.

Comment by tiffany a. — April 4, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

Love this Elissa & Sheree! Such insider info on Sheree’s fabulous wardrobe. :)

Comment by Eric Nelson — April 4, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

This is the total opposite of me – you can find me in space dye Wunder Unders, Cool Racerbacks – often two at a time with a bright Flow Y sticking out – and a Snorkel Blue scarf. It takes all kinds!

Comment by Liz — April 4, 2011 @ 5:48 pm

Sheree is the raddest, baddest chick around the lululemon office by far. The way she dresses is indeed like architecture – and moreover, it is inspiring to see the infinite ways a piece can be interpreted! Fabulous article EW.

Comment by Alexis — April 5, 2011 @ 3:57 pm

Sheeree sounds rather too self absorbed to be a leader…

Comment by Byph — April 5, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

As a lululemon devotee and current Harvard student (yay boston!) I LOVE black, but all my friends say it’s too morbid. How do you pull off all black without looking… say… morbid?

Comment by Sara — April 5, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

@Byph Not the case, my friend. She is very committed to her team. Seeing the passion in her eyes when she talked about them was so inspiring.

Comment by Elissa Joy — April 5, 2011 @ 5:36 pm

Great interview. As a female in a male-dominated industry (software) it’s inspiring for me to see fun, strong women at the top. Go Sheree.

Comment by Nicole — April 6, 2011 @ 6:05 am

Hi Sara,
In my mind, black is more classic than morbid, but, to avoid that “Wednesday Adams” look, a coloured accessory goes a long way. I’m a big fan of brightly patterned scarves to bring a little life into a dark outfit.
~ Laura

Comment by lululemon athletica GEC — April 6, 2011 @ 10:28 am

I agree that it’s so much easier to wear all black. But, on the flip side, color just adds more fun to life :)

Comment by Kilee — April 6, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

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