Whether you are a fan of working out or simply looking for a comfortable outfit for your daily errands, activewear has fast become the perfect choice of attire for most women. However, looking for perfect fitting plus size activewear & workout clothes can become a quest of its own.
Because the variety and quality of plus-size workout clothes began to grow only recently, it’s hard to find pieces that are both good-looking and functional. But, it’s time to forget baggy tour t-shirts and loose pants. This guide covers the key features of high-quality plus-size activewear and how to find the best pieces for your next outing.
What makes plus size activewear different?
One of the biggest factors when choosing plus-size activewear is how well it fits plus size bodies. Larger bodies tend to have different shape types and a bit more oomph in certain areas that must be accounted for in the cut of the clothes. For instance, some women are bottom-heavy, some have larger arm circumference, and others are well-endowed in the top.
All body shapes are beautiful, but the modern fashion industry can often have a problem accommodating and accepting that. Despite the fact that 67% of women in the US are plus-size (size 14 or larger), only 1-2% of them are represented in the mainstream media, including online stores. One of the reasons for that is developing clothing for larger sizes beyond XL requires different technology and resources. In other words, it costs brands more to create functional and fashionable clothes for plus-size consumers.
Some brands chose to solve this issue quickly by taking a size Small and scaling it several sizes up without considering the unique features of a plus-size body shape. As a result, plus size athletes end up with cheap, uncomfortable activewear that rolls down or chafes at the slightest move.
High-quality plus size workout clothing must be developed with a plus size body shape and functionality in mind. You should be able to bend over without showing your underwear. The fabric shouldn’t cut into your stomach, ankles, or under the knee. This guide will highlight the key factors to pay attention to when choosing your activewear.
How to shop for plus size workout clothes
As the variety of plus size styles grows (thank goodness!), shopping for fashionable pieces with plus size functionality can be an exciting challenge. Let’s go through some foolproof tips on how to find high-quality plus-size leggings, bras, and tops.
Plus Size Leggings & Yoga Pants
Choose high-waisted models. This style serves several functions. First, it can help to keep the belly tucked in neatly, allowing for more comfort and control during movement. Second, thicker waistbands prevent the leggings from rolling down. Third, the high-waisted fit visually lengthens the bottom part of the body (ahem, legs). Playing with proportions is an easy trick to enhance the figure if needed.
Try different sculpting materials. With fashion technology reaching new levels, brands are developing various types of materials to help get a sculpting effect. For example, Fabletics carries the SculpKnit line, which is meant to fit like shapewear while maintaining its athletic functionality.
Consider the compression level. Plus-size leggings come in different compression levels: minimum, medium, and maximum. Low compression wear is more stretchy and a great choice for activities that need freedom of movement — like yoga. Higher compression helps you feel more control while smoothing out out uneven areas and imperfections.
Check for transparency and seam quality. Some tight-fit leggings are notorious for revealing undergarments and areas we don’t want to be seen. The snug fit can also backfire in seams that endure a lot of pressure — like the middle seam along with the bum or hips. Although this is more common for low-quality materials, make sure to check your leggings for transparency and seam strength by doing a couple of lunges or squats.
Prioritize your comfort. Whatever activity you plan on doing in your workout clothes, your comfort should come first. Luckily, modern athleisure brands such as Fabletics understand that no one should sacrifice looks over comfort (and the other way around), so we offer functional plus size activewear for your body type and size.
Plus Size Sports Bras
Measure your size correctly. When it comes to measuring for plus size sports bras, the key measurements to look at are your band size and your cup size. While not wearing a bra, measure the circumference directly under the bust and around the ribcage to find out the band size. Then, measure around the widest part of your bust (over the nipples) to calculate the cup size. Compare your measurements against our bra sizing chart.
Minimize the bounce. If you plan on working out or simply want more control in the bust area, consider plus size sports bras that minimize bouncing. These bras generally have a sculpting-type fabric, strong straps, and a high-compression area around and under the cups.
Opt for encapsulation. Those who are well-endowed in the top are all too familiar with sweating under the breasts. To avoid this problem, opt for a bra with individual cups or a structure that separates the breasts. This fit will ensure extra ventilation and minimize the uncomfortable rubbing against clothes or skin.
Pay attention to the straps. Straps can make it or break it for ladies with larger breasts. Thicker straps offer more support and stability, especially during workouts. Thinner or more decorative straps, on the other hand, can help you feel like you’re wearing a second skin. As you try on a sports bra, check the straps for elasticity. Those that are more challenging to stretch will ensure more stability during activity.
Go for sweat-proof materials. Ventilation is one of the key features of high-quality plus size activewear. This is especially true in sports bras which hug body areas with many folds and loose bits. Look for moisture-wicking and anti-chafing fabrics that will keep your bust area cool and dry for maximum comfort.
Plus Size Tops
There’s a lot more freedom for exploration and variation in plus-size tops. One of the key things to consider is choosing a size based on your bust circumference (yes, the one you measured when choosing a sports bra) and comparing it to the brand’s sizing guide. Ensuring a comfortable fit around the widest part of the top and under the arms will likely guarantee that the rest of the piece will be comfortable as well.
If you wish to add a sculpting effect to your top, choose pieces with high compression or the Sculpknit fabric. However, keep in mind that these materials are not suitable for all types of activities as they may restrict movement.
Lastly, choose styles that highlight your best bits. If you are going for a more feminine look, choose a top that accentuates your waist or slightly tuck in a loose-fitting top to visibly lengthen your legs. A little fashion imagination goes a long way!
Final tips for finding the best plus size activewear
Although the variety of plus size workout clothes is increasing, it’s challenging to find pieces that fit just right. As you shop for your next athleisure-inspired outfit, remember these tips to ensure proper functionality and the best fit:
- Check for seam durability and transparency by lightly stretching the piece.
- Choose high compression materials for a sculpting effect.
- Pay attention to sizing charts to avoid bands cutting into the skin.
- Choose sweatproof materials to minimize chafing.
Finally, be mindful of your own comfort and confidence. If you like how your breasts feel in a low impact bra, go for it! If you prefer low rise leggings to higher ones – that’s fine. As long as it works for you. After all, if you feel comfortable and in control of your active look, your natural confidence will do the job as well as any good-looking outfit.