Why is it that most active wear misses the mark when it comes to plus size women? I know that’s a sweeping generalisation because there are ‘some’ great brands doing great things but seriously there’s also a lot of labels doing nothing…which kinda feels like the ‘middle finger’ to chubby women like me.
People are overweight for all sorts of reasons, like illness, injury, depression, genetics, body Dysmorphia and some just love food and don’t get around to exercise. Just because a woman is curvy or fat (call it what you like) certainly doesn’t mean she doesn’t give a shit about herself. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to look and feel great. It certainly doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve nice active wear.
I’ve noticed a lot of active wear labels stop at a size 14 or 16 and even then their sizing is small. I’m not going to pull apart all the brands, I’ve tried on lots of tights and tops in the last couple of weeks (which was ugghh- excrucuiating) and there just isn’t much choice out there.
I went into so many sports stores and was shocked (and pretty pissed off) that some had absolutely nothing over a size 16…nothing! When I quizzed the staff they were all like “oh really? I’m sure we do” and then laughed it off. When I suggested that fat chicks wanted to get fit one said I should buy bike pants and a mans tee…ummm are you freaking kidding me?!!
I was in a national sports store and the assistant told me to get a dudes tee…I’m a size 16-18. There’s something wrong with that scenario don’t you think.
Buying active wear is akin to purchasing swimwear for most women. It’s nerve wracking and hard and can be bloody terrifying so most women do pull on leggings and an oversized tee (even a men’s tee) and make do. Women don’t want to stand out they want to fit in and be like the rest of the colourful n cool girls in the gym and why shouldn’t they?
They want quality, comfort and affordability because when you’re losing weight you’re also physically ‘downsizing’ and buying clothes to replace the ones you have grown out of. I don’t mind paying extra if the quality is there though and I have found a few labels will travel a few sizes with my changing size because they have quality technology behind the fabrics and design.
Here’s what I know..
-Overweight people want to feel motivated when exercising.
-Beautiful active wear motivates.
-Gorgeous active wear isn’t just for the school drop off or supermarket run.
-Exercise isn’t all about losing weight…I know right…revelation!
-Exercise is about wellness for the body, spirit and mind.
-Active wear should not feel uncomfortable or painful or fall down. Waistbands, power mesh, adjustable straps, leg lengths and fabric with technology all matter.
-Inclusion is so much nicer and more constructive than exclusion. Ahem, I’m talking to the major players in Active wear!
This was me testing out Bella Bodies new lifestyle tights*. A bit firm for yoga but perfect for walking, hiking and running. The power panels are ace.
Sure I’ve tried on some active wear that is sized into the 20’s in the chain stores and here’s what I found. It’s bland and boring and the smaller sizes get the pattern, print and cool features. I also don’t love that there’s no good technology in the fabrics. Seriously if brands are going to slug the hip pocket then give me something that lifts, holds in and wicks away…because I’m exercising not just doing the supermarket run.
Your pick of the chain stores was ‘One Active’ by Michelle Bridges but I wasn’t so impressed. I went to 2 Big W stores and the sizing was extremely limited…almost non existent, the product was ok, the pricing was budget and that sits well with some people. Target wasn’t much better, in fact the only larger sizes I found were just plain cotton leggings. The pricing was still budget.
Running Bare has made its way into my drawers on several occasions over the years, it’s an Aussie label and it lasts. Sizing goes up to a size 22 and the fits are ‘on size’ even generous in some styles. I own tees, a hoodie and tights in this label and the fit is outstanding, I also love that I can create a whole story with coordinating pieces.
The product comes with technology like supplex and is loaded with features like no bounce, power panels, internal pockets, A line tops, wider backs, iPod cord loops, draw cords, high rise waist bands and more. There’s design variety and the colours and prints are on trend not gaudy! Not all styles are available in plus size but there’s plenty of choice, although finding larger sizes in store is difficult so jump online and shop from the comfort of home just check the returns policy. I found A mart stocked the plus sizes whereas the sister store Rebel Sports didn’t. Prices are around $90 for print tights which might sound like ALOT but don’t underestimate the power of beautiful workout wear. If it lasts, fits well and motivates you it’s worth every cent.
Female for Life is an online store and another Aussie label started in 2009 because of the limited choice and quality available. I can totally vouch for it because I have been wearing the same yoga pants for over over three years and own a few of their yoga tops and running pants ( even though I don’t run). All stand the test of time!
The sizes start at a 6/8 and cater up to a 22/24 and there’s colour! Lately they have included some awesome prints and colour but be quick as some styles are seasonal…you snooze you lose. There’s varying leg lengths in pants, and they cater for gym, lounge, yoga and maternity styles, all bases are covered. While there’s not as many features like cord loops etc as Running Bare they do have technology behind their fabrics and they last…like the Duracell bunny they keep ongoing.
Like this yoga top below, it’s years old but I love the loose waist, racer back and pop of colour so I reach for it often.
Supplex is odour, stain and water resistant and has the comfort and feel of cotton without pilling. It also wicks moisture which keeps you drier and helps keep a stable body temperature. This fabric is used in most of the pants styles.
Viscose is semi natural and soft to the touch with a feel like cotton but it doesn’t stretch, pill or fade which makes it the perfect fabric for he looser fitting tops in the range.
Energie is a soft stretchy fabric used in tight fitting tops. It allows the skin to breathe while wicking away moisture and it won’t lose its shape. Even after multiple washes your tops will keep their great colour because this technology also has anti fade.
I’m no expert I just know what I like, and I like to share what I like with all of you…it’s what I do 🙂
I wish there were better budget options out there for plus size active wear but truthfully it’s slim pickings. For my money, buy quality because you ARE worth it.
Do you know any other quality workout labels that fit well and are super awesome? I would love you to add them to the comments section below.
Til next time,
You can take a look at Running Bare plus size online HERE and find it in store at Amart.
You can take a look at Female for life RIGHT HERE, check the size guide or email Mel with any queries.
You can find Bella Bodies new ‘Fitness lifestyle tights* HERE
*product gifted for my editorial consideration.