With all the strides we’ve collectively made toward body positivity and neutrality in fitness spaces, there remains a lot of internalized fatphobia in fashion spaces (especially fitness fashion spaces) that continue to make people in fat bodies feel unwelcome and unseen. There’s plenty to be said (and that has been said) about how inclusive sizing and inclusive community-building is a smart business choice for building loyal customers and the many benefits of making the world less hostile for people in fat bodies, but it’s great to see it put into action.
Which is why it’s exciting that Athleta announced on Thursday plans to put their employees (all 5500 associates) through mandatory inclusive size training, certifying them in body positive language and the best ways to understand fit and comfort for diverse bodies.
While this feels like one of those bare-minimum “why is the bar the floor?” deals, hear me out: It’s a great baby step to see more brands seriously considering that being informed about all kinds of bodies is a necessary part of doing their work well — and we have to see more of it from more brands to reap all the potential body-positive benefits.
“Empowering women and girls is core to our Athleta DNA. This brand promise comes to life across our expansive product offering and inclusive shopping experience,” Mary Beth Laughton, President and CEO of Athleta said in a press release. “We see this extended sizing offering as a key pillar of our growth goals, allowing us to invite even more customers into our community.”
The announcement followed additional announcements to roll out inclusive-sized mannequins in their locations and more products with extended sizes for their plus-size customers, including making more than 350 of their current styles available in sizes 1X to 3X, with plans to expand the extended sizing to 500 products by March. With a promise that “a portfolio that offers sizes XXS-3X is now a foundational element of Athleta,” it’s nice to see they don’t hate money.
Director of Technical Design at Athleta Jolene Danielson also weighed in to make clear that shoppers can expect the same quality of product (a common and valid complaint in the plus-size fashion space where clothes are often made to be less functional, less cute and more expensive) in all sizes: “We don’t make assumptions for personal preference when it comes to fit, color, pattern or trend. Each piece is tailored and designed to look and perform the same, regardless of a woman’s size, to provide her with choice based on style, first.”
So hey brands still holding on to limited non-inclusive sizing standards? Do better. And more of this, please.
And, while you’re here, check out a few of the cute things we’re shopping so far:
Exhale Printed Bra D-DD+
A comfy and cute sports bra for people with any bust size, this one is soft and great for low impact workouts (barre and yoga especially).
Elation Printed 7/8 Tight
For a cute matchy-matchy situation with your sports bra, these are a patterned legging that aren’t too loud but are still distinct and stylish. The material stays soft, supportive and breathable and is perfect for a yoga sesh, working from home or running errands.
A comfy, breathable dress you can throw on post-workout, pre-errands and look cute and effortlessly put-together. And, it goes without saying: Pockets.
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Before you go, check out some of our favorite leggings for laying around and working out (because you contain multitudes):