By Kerri Burr
A few months ago I discovered Lola Getts, an activewear company for plus-size gals which I loved. But finding them only made me wonder if there were more companies making high-quality workout gear in a full range of sizes. I looked some more and came across Sheila Moon Cycling. The company offers high-quality cycling gear in regular, plus, and maternity sizes. Score! The plus size line spans from 1X to 4X and the designs utilize playful patterns and flattering cuts, while also focusing on excellent support, coverage, and performance.
Sheila Moon sent me a sleeveless jersey ($75), a pair of knickers (at left, $99), and a bolero jacket ($39). The knickers were exceptionally well made, and had a decent amount of padding in the tush. (So important for long rides!) They do run large, so I ordered a size down from what I would typically wear.
The jersey was beautiful—the fabric lightweight, the cut was extremely flattering, and the pattern was gorgeous. The bolero jacket (which is basically a shrug) was the biggest surprise to me: it’s made of the same lightweight waffle material as the jersey when when worn together, they fuse into one glorious, long sleeved top. Plus, the bolero is so small you can easily remove it mid-workout and pack it away without adding bulk.
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There have been a number of sea changes in modeling, advertisements, and the way women and models are depicted in the media lately. Fashion shows have started to ban models with Body Mass Indexes that are under 18. Retailers like J. Crew are using regular people in photo shoots instead of models and even some stores that employ models have committed to no longer dramatically retouch photos. Even magazines are taking the pledge to stop airbrushing models. But, surprisingly enough, it’s lingerie companies that are being the most bold in the shift in how they depict women’s bodies, going from unattainable to ordinary-and-awesome.
First up: Forever Yours Lingerie, a company based in Vancouver, CA. The company offers intimates for women of all sizes: bras start at a B cup size and go up through K. And, while the company has always featured a models representative of their broad demographic, they recently stepped up to show support for one plus size model they adore, Elly Mayday, who is undergoing treatment for a rare form of ovarian cancer.
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One can hardly walk outside without seeing women (and men) outfitted in workout clothing these days. At the airport, at the grocery store, at restaurants…even working professionals are leaving the house in leggings and workout hoodies. Because of the increasing acceptability of wearing activewear—even when you are not necessarily working out—more and more fashion companies, celebrities, and regular ol’ people are launching their own fashionable versions of workout clothing. Here are 4 brands to watch for:
As we recently discussed, Kate Hudson has co-founded a new line of athletic wear, Fabletics, which focuses on health, fitness, and, of course, fashion. Hudson has a feature on the site that displays her favorite outfits each month. She describes the site as a “community, a movement to help you live fit and achieve your passions in life.” The clothes are in a great price range for a working woman, including a deal on your first outfit, from $25 and up.
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It’s been a sour year for Lululemon Athletica. First, the company was forced to recall nearly 20 percent of their yoga pants because they were basically see through. As if the massive product shortage wasn’t enough, they proceeded to mock a domestic abuse charity in Dallas. And when Lululemon co-founder Chip Wilson was asked to reflect on the yoga pants fiasco, he offered this gem: “Frankly, some women’s bodies just don’t actually work for it.”
He just said that. That’s what he told Bloomberg TV earlier this week, when his wife and co-founder Shannon Wilson were on the air to talk about their 60 second meditation technique that they probably charge $100 for. Shannon quickly went into damage control, spinning Chip’s message into a “we’re more concerned with people using our pants in the wrong way” kind of thing. She literally blamed the “see through” pants fiasco on the fact that people might be sitting on cement.
“Not every woman can wear a lululemon yoga pant?” said Trish Reagan, host of Bloomberg TV. “No I think they can,” said Chip. “I just think it’s how you use it.” Right.
It would be nice if that’s what the lululemon founders really meant. But this is the same elitist and discriminatory message they’ve been peddling for some time. This summer, the company posted a message to its Facebook page and acknowledged that their clothing is not meant for plus sized women.
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It might not be something that you spend too much time thinking about, but the clothing and shoes that you wear while exercising can have a pretty significant effect on how successful your workout is. Everything from what you wear on your head to your feet (and everywhere in between) plays a part in how comfortable you are at the gym, on the trails, or wherever your workout happens to be that day.
Here’s four tips to help you dress the part and have your clothing work for you when you exercise:
1. Choose clothing that is suited for the activity that you’re doing.
Wearing clothing that’s fun yet practical (and that you feel good in!) can make a huge difference in your attitude! If you’re feeling uncomfortable in what you’re wearing or constantly tugging and pulling on your clothing, you’ll be far less likely to enjoy your workout.
Consider which type of top and bottom you’ll be most comfortable in. If you are blessed to have thighs that don’t rub together, running shorts might be what you prefer. If you’re not so lucky (and experience that ever-so-fun chafing effect), consider tight fitting long shorts or capri pants that provide a bit of compression and support.
Stationary Bike / Indoor Cycling
Make sure that your pants are not loose-fitting as they can get caught in the pedals.
Wear clothing that’s comfortable and is not too tight or constrictive on the body in any way.
Consider the muscle groups that you’ll be training. I like to wear shorts when I work out my legs and tops that show off my shoulders or back when working those muscle groups. Being able to see the part of your body that you’re training might give you a bit more motivation (and help show off the results!).
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