Fashion, Fat Fitness

Searching For The Perfect Fitness Fit (Part 1)

Ahhh, January… ’tis the season for resolution making and goal setting. I may not be a gym rat, but I do enjoy getting out and moving my body for fun. This is the perfect time of year to recommit to healthier habits and intentional self care. Retailers everywhere are ready and willing to take our dollars to make our wildest healthy dreams come true. Even the Aldi ads have been full of fitness gear and health food! (Just what you expect from a discount grocer!)

I always feel more motivated to exercise when I am rocking a cute fit. As a Plus Sized person, finding great fitness gear can be rather difficult. I mean, retailers are improving in providing more options, but……it often seems that the Plus Size activewear comes in very basic colors and is not terribly cute. Many times, the clothes don’t support the unique fit issues we have with our bodies. And worst of all, they are rarely available in store to try on unless you shop at a Plus Size boutique. When I have a race coming up, I don’t want to have to wait for the long online shopping process to get a new pair of leggings.

So, I decided to take advantage of the January promotions and do a Plus Size activewear haul. While doing my research, I found there are actually a LOT of brands offering extended sizing, so this may turn into a series of posts. For the purposes of this haul, I chose five brands, purchasing a pair of leggings, a bra, and one additional item to try on from each. Keep in mind that most of these brands offer multiple styles of each item, but I just stuck with one. I will include a little about the brand and my opinion of how each item fit.

For reference: I am 43 years old. I stand at 5’8″ and weigh approximately 300 lbs. I am apple shaped, wearing my weight pretty evenly, but more through my middle. I usually wear a size 22/24 or a 3X and a 46 D bra. My shoe size is 11W, and I have very flat feet. I participate in a competitive 5K per month. My favorite types of exercise are vigorous walking, light jogging, and dance… plus I would like to pick up a yoga habit this year.

So, here goes haul #1…

Lane Bryant: Obviously, as a Plus Size retailer, Lane Bryant is a fantastic place to find fitness gear. Moreover, it’s available in a physical store if you need something immediately, which is an added bonus. Their activewear collection is known as Livi Active, with a wide variety of leggings, bras, tanks/tees, jackets, and loungewear to choose. There are several levels of support throughout the line and the clothes are designed with the needs of Plus Size bodies in mind.

  • Leggings– I chose the 7/8 Power Legging for the cute galaxy print. I have purchased leggings from Lane Bryant multiple times and have always been satisfied with the fit and comfort. This pair features large pockets on both legs and an internal pocket in the waistband. They are moisture wicking, high-waisted, soft, and stay put during a workout. They will definitely become part of my favorites rotation.
  • Bra– I did not love the Soft Low-Impact No Wire Bra. I’ve purchased other sports bras from Lane Bryant before that are much more comfortable. This one just felt rather tight and left marks on my body from the halter straps. I DO recommend trying their bras… just maybe not this one.
  • Socks- These Wicking Active Socks are my favorite! They are cushioned and breathable. They are the only socks I like to wear during a 5K.

Torrid: This is another one of my favorite Plus Size retailers. Their clothes skew to a younger audience than Lane Bryant, but I always find pieces that I love. In general, it seems that their leggings and sports bras fit more into the loungewear and lifestyle realm, but there are a few items that could be great for lower impact workouts.

  • Leggings– The Brushed Wicking Active Leggings are amazing!!! They are incredibly soft and warm enough for a winter outdoor workout. The high waisted cut stayed in place during my run, but were also incredibly comfy for lounging around the house. Typically, I don’t like the matte fabric Torrid uses in their active leggings, but these are definitely my new favorite.
  • Bra– The Brushed Lattice Back Bra is constructed out of the same fabric, so it is equally as soft. It was also supportive enough for a low impact workout, but cozy enough to wear all day.
  • Tank– Then there’s the Wicking Active Cami… soft, supportive, and flattering. I like that it held my body snugly, but didn’t ride or roll up at all. I wish Torrid would offer it in more colors.

Old Navy: Old Navy, a branch of Gap Inc., has been a go-to for family fashion for nearly 30 years. When I worked for the company, Plus Sizes were readily available in Old Navy brick and mortar stores. Sadly, they abandoned that concept years ago, but they never gave up on throwing us a bone online. The clothes are fun, affordable, and often include great promos.

  • Leggings– The High Waisted Elevate CozeCore Leggings are SO SOFT! The fabric is stretchy and supportive, with anti-chafe technology. (Thank goodness… no chub rub!) They would be my new favorite leggings… but no pockets? Sniff… so close!
  • Bra– The Medium Support Strappy Bra is supportive and comfortable. Plus, it’s really breathable and moisture wicking. I really like that the strap detail is sewn together so that it stays pretty without twisting or scooting all over.
  • Tank– Then, the Graphic Muscle Tank… it’s flowy, soft, and motivational. It will be great to pick up in a variety of colors and prints for summer workouts.

Fabletics: The brainchild of actress, Kate Hudson, Fabletics is an online activewear company that offers luxe looks at a more affordable price. Currently available in sizes XXS-4X, membership is free (just skip months you don’t want to purchase) and offers beautiful new outfits weekly. Styles sell out fast, so check often. Fabletics does a lot of collections with fitness/dance celebrities. This is one of the only brands that offers cute, gym-worthy styles in Plus Sizes. I have purchased a lot of gear from Fabletics over the last three years and am really happy with almost every single item.

  • Leggings- I jumped on the High Waisted Luxe Leggings because of the beautiful shimmery fabric. This was a New Year look they offered for a limited time. The leggings are really beautiful in person. They are high waisted and supportive. My issue was the fabric was not super stretchy. Because of the way I wear my weight, the leggings had a tendency to roll when I sat down, and they caused a bit of chub rub.
  • Bra– The Blare High Impact Bra is super supportive for higher impact activities. I have a few bras in this style. They are great for running and tap dancing.

POP Fit: POP Fit is an online lifestyle brand, focused on representation and inclusivity. Their clothing is available in a size range from XXS-4XL. More than anything, I love their media branding. POP Fit advertising includes MANY body types… from many sizes, ethnicities, and abilities. It really matters to see how clothing will look on a body like mine BEFORE I make a purchase. POP Fit celebrates the warrior in us all!

Their clothing is quite functional. I enjoy the deep pockets (big enough to fit a bottle of water or a large phone) and the fact that they are not see-through! They are comfy enough to lounge around the house in, but supportive enough to do a vigorous workout. POP Fit offers a monthly subscription service ($35 per month for a pair of leggings and other benefits) or as a single purchase.

  • Leggings– I purchased the Harlow Leggings in a bright floral pattern. I absolutely love them. They are high-waisted, stretchy, and stay in place while I move. They feature deep pockets, which are great for a hands-free workout, and durable contoured stitching.
  • Tank– I chose the Natasha Tank because of its cute shape, color, and back detail. I was really disappointed with this top. It is very short waisted and continually rode up as I ran on the treadmill. It was more like a crop top by mid-workout, and I had to keep yanking it down.
  • Bra- I decided to get the Yara Bra because the of the strappy back design. This was an absolute NO WAY. It is so deeply cut on the sides that I was afraid my boobs were falling out. The back just crept into my fat folds and disappeared. Even for just wearing a day at school I felt completely unsupported. I can’t imagine doing an activity with any sort of impact! I love POP Fit’s brand mission and the representation they use in their media. I just think they have a long way to go before I would purchase a top from them again.

This activewear haul was a mixed bag, for sure. I found some clear winners, and a few things I will definitely donate soon. Whether it’s hitting the treadmill, the trail… or reading beneath a blanket, I found some activewear that I know will motivate me to move this winter. Hopefully, it will lead you to a great fitness fit too. What are some of your go-to brands that I didn’t mention? I’d love to do another haul.

Till then, keep moving!

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