Let's be real. Fitness magazines are less about fitness and more about fantasy. Nary a drop of butt sweat is to be seen, everyone's form is perfect, and nobody wears over a size 4. Yet whenever we go to the gym, there's definitely a whole spectrum of women working out that are every shape and size. It makes all of us non-fitness models feel as if there is no hope when it comes to finding cute activewear. Guess we're destined for men's t-shirts and Hanes sweats, right? Wrong.
Though there is a lot of frustration when it comes to finding clothing in larger sizes that is functional, cute and affordable, there are some companies that are taking note that every woman deserves to feel both fashionable and comfy while she exercises. Compared to just a few short years ago, there's a ton of plus-size activewear on the market that is fun to sport. Check these brands out.
Size range: XXS-2X (00-20). This athletic giant has a wide variety of mid-priced tops, bottoms, outwear and swimsuits. Not only do they get rave reviews for quality and comfort, but also the review section allows women to rate individual features of each fit so you know exactly where something runs larger or smaller.
Size range: XS-3X (0-26). Lands' End has always been a great place for affordable, yet durable, basic fitness apparel, and they've now added fitness clothing to the list. You can find high-quality tees, pants and jackets in a variety of colors. Our ladies raved about the fit.
Size range: XS-5X* (0-34). No boring black capris here! The Xersion and Made For Life house brands offer a wide range of affordable fitness clothing with the same fun patterns and styles in their plus sizes as they have in their regular sizes. While their site boasts up to a 5X in size, when I looked at their fitness gear, the largest I could find was a 3X (26W).
Size range: XS-3X. Uniquely patterned leggings are the hottest thing in yoga studios right now. Lineage Wear specializes in fun leggings that are durable enough for a Bikram session, but cute enough to wear anywhere. Each adorable pattern comes in three lengths: calf, ankle and mid-foot.
Size range: 14-32. The famous plus-size retailer's new activewear line is not only comfortable and durable, but one of the few workout lines cute enough to wear on the street as well as in the gym. Fit and fabric were variable from piece to piece — so trying things on is a must. The site says sizes go up to 32, but every item we checked only went up to a 28.
Size range: XS-XXL (0-18). Beloved by professional athletes for its high-performance, all-season gear, Under Armour offers basic tops, bottoms and jackets with plenty of high-end details for the serious exerciser.
Size range: 6-24. When it comes to swimming laps or beach workouts, nothing compares to Miraclesuit for a flattering, comfortable fit. The company offers a large variety of one-piece suits, tops, bottoms and cover-ups.
Originally published January 2015. Updated August 2017.
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