As a lot of you will know, I like to keep a moderate level of fitness. Boxing, weights, battle ropes, kettle bells, cycling, yoga, and if I have to, a little drop of running. What I find really interesting, is that as bigger women we are often shamed and told to ‘go for a run’ or ‘just do some exercise’, but when it comes to sportswear that is exclusively designed for bigger bodies, things fall short. I am not talking unbearable unbreathable slogan t shirts and low rise black leggings, I am talking actual workout clothes that look like everyone else’s, that stay up against the wobbling of our bigger bodies, that fit over our larger tummies, and generally mean we can focus on getting our sweat on. I personally have a nice collection of activewear from ‘straight size’ brands as I am at the smaller end of plus, and I mostly favour Karrimor, Zakti, Nike and New Balance, but what about my size 26 and 32 sisters? Where do they go to find leggings that stay up and tops that cover their tummies?
For me, the only exclusively plus brand that makes semi decent clothes that I have tried thus far is Simply Be. It ticks most of the boxes in terms of having a bit of colour and pattern, fitting, staying up etc – but I am hungry for something better. Something that has been tried and tested on a larger body doing high intensity workouts. Something that has been tested on a variety of sizes and shapes, and not just something that has been scaled up. It’s my dream to actually use a few ideas that I have about plus size ranges and collaborate with a brand, but until that becomes a reality I will stick with seeing what’s out there and remaining optimistic!
I was recently sent some pieces from the ASOS 4505 Curve range. I won’t even bother linking you because it was truly awful. Of the 153 pieces that are currently available for women, there are only 7 plus size pieces available, and 6 of those are boring black, and one is a dreaded slogan t shirt. I am not sure where my aversion to these comes from – I think I mostly take issue with plus size fitness lines that try to make things look ‘quirky’ with quotes about mermaids etc. No. Give me actual practical pieces that don’t make me stand out. However, I was willing to give the range a chance. I see things from both perspectives – the consumer and the retailer. And I understand that brands need to be smart with their stock. They can’t just release 300 crazy printed plus size items. They need to test the waters and reel the customers in. And so I was excited when my tank top and leggings arrived – could this be the brand for me?! I unpacked the items and I immediately knew they wouldn’t work too well. The slippery fabrics slid to the floor in defiance. I have no idea why so many brands insist on using really shiny fabrics in their ranges. It caused the top to slip up over the leggings, it meant I was one giant slip and slide and the fabric doesn’t seem to sit as well on my body. The only pro is that the slippery fabric meant that there was no friction between my legs when running. I went for size 20 leggings and a size 18 top. The sizes would have been bang on if it were not for one annoying detail – the top had a thick band at the bottom of it, and due to the slippery leggings, the top slid up on me. Maybe my hips were to big, but I didn’t want to have to go for a size that would mean the top would be baggy elsewhere, just to make that bizarre detail work. In the video on the website you actually see the model pull at the top! However, I still decided to go ahead and test the sportswear – because how else can I report on an activewear range. Here are my photos and thoughts:
I love battleropes. They work so many muscles, and they are cardio whilst standing still. This outfit didn’t work too well. The top rode up, and as the leggings weren’t as high waisted as I would like, they slipped down.
Running. Suffice to say – a huge fail. Things rode up, things fell down, I spent a lot of time adjusting my clothes and feeling self conscious. One thing about being fat that the manufacturers need to grasp – my belly moves, things fall down, they use my belly as a slide and then sit under it. Also I want things high and not cutting into my fat mid area. Am I alone in this?
Yoga/it looks really cool to climb up a tree. This outfit could maybe work whilst doing some super duper low impact low movement yoga, but there was still a lot of adjusting.
I squatted. My top rode up, the leggings slowly slid down. Nope.
Kettlebell swings and deadlifts – the swings were ok on the leggings as there was minimal leg movement and so minimal chances for slipping down. But deadlifts came along and fucked it all up.
Floor work – not bad at all bar the top just slipping about. I might burn that top.
Burpees and walkout – can you even imagine?! Awful!
So there you have it. My absolute despair at these items. I should maybe try other things from the range – but I would also love it if ASOS were to creatte products that worked on fat women who want to work out. Fat bodies have different needs – please design with our fat in mind.