I HATE Athletic Wear

athletic wear- the haven for the skinny

Hello fashion world- I would just like to vent to you for 5 seconds.  In your eyes all women are exactly the same and need to look exactly the same.  (or if they’re different.  It is the same way of looking different).  Want some fashion advice? Check out this post.

I’ve seen the look of horror on your face at the  fashion shows when you meet a plus size women.  How can you possibly be expected to design for such an atrocious creature? On Project Runway the designers panic and run for the exits when given a ‘real woman’ challenge.  It makes me wonder what type of woman are they designing for- the fake woman?  They might as well be for how many women fit into their clothes.

In a great article in the Los Angeles Times Emili Vesilind calls plus size women “Fashion’s invisible woman”.   Despite 14 being the AVERAGE size for women in America most designers would rather cater to their ideal woman, deluding themselves that they are somehow encouraging those fatties to get in line. Here is a quote:

“ When Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, who spent most of his adult life battling a serious weight problem, created a capsule collection for H&M in 2004, the newly svelte designer was incensed that the retailer manufactured the collection in larger sizes. “What I designed was fashion for slender and slim people,” he said. And in an interview in the March issue of Harper’s Bazaar, he sniffed, “The body has to be impeccable . . . if it’s not, buy small sizes and less food.”

Another ‘fashion editor’ from Australia criticized the use of plus size models because they encouraged such laziness and disgusting body-types.

“While these women might make us feel better about our bulging butts and guts, the truth is, few women over a size 14 are in a healthy weight range.
And many need encouragement to lose weight instead of being told to feel good about being overweight.
Seeing big girls might give us healthier self-esteem, but it might not encourage us to lead healthier lives.”

Did it ever cross your mind that maybe these women need both- they need to feel good about their body and be encouraged?  Why are the two mutually exclusive?  It truly makes me crazy.
Some may counter that the market speaks and plus size doesn’t sell.  I find that hard to believe when again it is the AVERAGE size of women in America.  Surely there is a market to tap into there but the fashion industry doesn’t want to pander to fatties?  How do you explain the huge success of plus size chains such as Lane Bryant and Torrid?  I think the fashion industry wants to promote a particular type of woman and those that don’t fit can be left with their mumu’s and fast food at home.
Even if you buy their idiotic views- here’s the rub- try to find athletic gear in plus sizes and you will have a tough road on your hand.  Think you can roll into Big 5, Sports Authority, Cabellas and find plus size active wear- not so much.  What about target or Lane Bryant- nope.  It is practically impossible to find active wear for plus size women.
The only way is to turn to the internet and even that, on occasion, fails me.  In order to find something as simple as a sports bra I had to dig through websites until finally I found one on Old Navy.com.  Sometimes I am forced to buy men’s active wear (not with teh sports bra, of course!) but that is usually very unsatisfying and like a cloud around my body.
After much digging I finally found a plus size active wear bathing suit on Lands End and even though it was expensive I bought it because there was no other choice.  Socks, running shirts, yoga pants, workout tanks, anything ‘gym chic’, are all nearly impossible to find in plus size.
Which leads me to my next question- how do you, fashion designer, expect us to ‘lead healthier lives’ if nobody sells clothing to help us do just that?  Are we supposed to stay in hiding until we magically come out of the cocoon of fatness?  Then you will adorn us with your precious athletic wear.  It really makes me crazy!
triathlon wetsuits are my enemy. I hate them!
What has gotten me particularly fumed about this topic is I have been working for weeks trying to swim in the 1 mile open water race at Deer Creek Reservoir.  My swim times are good, my training has been intense but you know what could stop me from swimming- clothing!  That’s right stupid clothing.  Normally beginning swimmers use a triathlon wetsuit which is slick on the outside and breaths more than a traditional wetsuit.  The water is pretty cold and having a wetsuit helps your legs from freezing up and your arms from feeling heavy.
Unfortunately the stupid wetsuit manufacturers only make a woman’s size up to 160 lbs.  160 lbs!!  I still can’t believe that is their biggest.  It will probably take me 2-3 more years before I am close to 160 lbs.  I have to admit the whole incident was very discouraging.  Its one thing to not be able to do something because you are out of shape, but I’m in shape.  I can do the stupid race!  To be stopped by something as dumb as clothing makes me nuts.  I cried and cried when I first found out.
Even the man’s size was too small (particularly for my bust, there’s a shocker!).  So, my friends I am going to attempt to swim the race without a wetsuit.  We will see how my trial run goes tomorrow.  Its going to be hard but all I can do is my best.  I can’t control the stupid wetsuit situation but I can give it my all in that cold water.
Hear is my plea- PLEASE put out some athletic wear that we can actually use to help us lose the weight you find so unsettling.  PLEASE  put out socks that fit, running shirts, sports bras that support, high performance products and even a few cute gym outfits.  I know I would buy it- what about all of you? For goodness sakes I was willing to spend over $300 for my wetsuit but no.  Nobody makes one even close to what I need.  Nobody wants my money!
Maybe if enough of us could show interest we could do some type of petition to the major athletic wear labels?  It would certainly be nice to be able to compete when we’ve actually done the training and not be thwarted due to improper clothes!  So please make a comment, send this post to friends, twitter it and let’s see if we can get something done.
I will let you know how my trial run goes tomorrow. Let’s hope I can brave the cold!
Here are 2 sites that are pretty good:




11 thoughts on “I HATE Athletic Wear

  1. I just started looking at this junonia.com and it looks pretty promising. Its expensive but at least it is something. I will definitely be putting in an order soon and will let you know how it goes.

  2. I agree. Great blog. How is the average woman supposed to work out and embrace fitness if there is NOTHING for her to wear and feel good in? And she SHOULD feel good when she works out. One of my favorite acro-yoginis is easily a size 14 and she is so strong, flexible and amazing. Here in Houston, a city plagued with breast implants, you see women struggle to find an over the shoulder boulder holder in these chic athletic stores. Mind you they did this to themselves-literally, but there are lots of women who are NOT a 34B. We need to expose ourselves to the beautiful truth-that real women have curves! They have curves because they know what it is to experience the good things in life-good food and company that last for hours, having children, and lazy Sundays in bed with the paper. Keep shouting the truth girl! We are listening!

    1. Thanks. Please share it with your friends and family. We need to get the word out! I totally agree with everything you said- especially the part about loving your body. The media would have every woman believe they are insufficient, even disgusting on their own. Perfection must be achieved for happiness to exist. If I ever have a daughter I hope she knows how beautiful she is. I will also tell her that losing weight and getting in shape are 2 entirely different games. I have had months where I know my health has improved and yet no weight loss. The truth is we should embrace people the way they are, finding the beauty in each person, and if they want to change their appearance it will be their choice, not out of guilt or shame.
      I also agree with your comments on the importance of feeling attractive when you work out. I just read an article that what you wear can have a significant impact on your motivation to exercise http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=55673. Of course the idiots think our rolls of fats should motivate us enough- that is what doesn’t motivate!
      I had such a hard time finding sports bras and really could use a smaller one but don’t want to go through that process again until I absolutely have to.
      Btw, isn’t it ironic that in trying to get the perfect image with implants the women find themselves unable to fit into the clothing prescribed by that very image?
      The other thing is doesn’t encouraging working out with athletic wear invite further purchasing? For instance, when your size goes down who are you more likely to buy from the jerk who only went up to 160 lbs or the company who helped you get to your goal. I know who I would pick.

  3. I am a size 14 and I work out 4-6 times a week but I also love fine food :). I hate that I cannot buy a cute outfit at lulu. Plus does equal poor. So I am hope to change that problem and frustration I am hoping to lunch my curvy and healthy activewear line Dec/Jan. If anyone is interested I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are looking for. I just got my photo types. Feel free to email me em@emwear.com

    1. I got what you were saying. Cool! I would love to give you some feedback. We want stuff that breaths but isn’t a tent. We also like to be covered but still a little curves. Show our curves. Here’s one that is cute.
      I’d love to have workout clothes that are more than just a t-shirt and sweats. Where’s the fun in that. Maybe something that says ‘big girl fitness’ or ‘got curves’. I love my swimsuits from landsend because they are modest but fit well. Anything I can do to help you with this let me know. Did you see this post? http://smilingldsgirl.com/2010/10/16/a-note-on-plus-size-fashion/
      I also have a plus size fashion board on pinterest with 574 followers. Its a lot of fun. http://pinterest.com/smilingldsgirl/fashion-plus-size/

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