Running, walking, biking, swimming.

Each of these activities should be simple to dress for, right?  You would think.  And yet, when Big Girls start working out, we find that we don’t really have the “right” clothes for the job.  Those ten year old sweatpants from The Gap?  Probably not working.  Your husband’s college tee shirt?  Great for sleeping in, probably not so great for the gym.

And then there’s the cute factor.  Deep down inside, I think (and maybe this is just part of my pseudo-Southern upbringing) that if you’re making the effort to move, you’re taking care of yourself.  You’re starting to be proud of the way you look.  And you want to look just a little bit more like the Little Girl who runs down your street every morning.

Well, after years of watching What Not to Wear, and LIVING What Not To Exercise In, I’ve got a pretty good short list of the places to go if you want to find functional, cute clothing that does the job.


If you’re a runner or walker, check out this page on the website:  .  It has everything you need to know about your first set of running clothes.  For fall running and walking apparel, check out my go-to guide for fall apparel – and let me know what you think!  Or, read on for a basic intro to some unique issues faced by Our Folks when we run, walk, bike and such.


New bikers have one big issue to deal with getting started: finding bike shorts that fit, and don’t cut off all circulation to your nether regions.  The women at Terry Bicycles (a women-owned, and women-only bike company) have been making plus-sized apparel for women for years.  They do a very nice job of creating technical materials that fit you, wick moisture away, and make you feel all girly inside. 

If you’re just a “short term” rider – i.e. nothing over 20 miles, and you don’t need to stow gear in your shirt – you can wear any of your “other” tops while you’re riding.  My running and hiking tops tend to do just fine.  But if you’re training for a long distance ride, like the MS Ride, Terry has some great shirts for you.

terry-plus-t-short1For shorts, I recommend (and own) this short – the Terry T Short Plus.   It’s great for long rides (anything over 20 miles, and it will save you!), and I’ve owned mine for 7 years.  Expect to pay $90 for the shorts, but recognize they are an investment (and definitely last).   The shorts also are available up to a Size 4X, proving that Big Girls DO bike!

DETAILS:  Terry T-Short Plus  Price: $90.00   Click here to order. 

Click on the link at left to see more details.



Big Girls who start to swim also face a unique challenge:  we either haven’t shown our body in a bathing suit in awhile; OR the suits we have are made more for lounging than being active.  Trust me, I have enough “Beach Living Separates” to outfit an entire Weight Watchers meeting.  But if you’re serious about getting in the pool, you’re going to need a suit that stays up, no matter what you’re doing (laps, water aerobics, handstands…)

speedo-backAny suit you purchase should have at least ONE key feature: cross-strap support in the back, to keep the straps from sliding off your shoulders as you swim.  Now, you may be able to find a suit at Kohls, or Target, that fits this bill…but if you do some homework on the web, you can probably find something more suited to “regular” time in the pool.

I currently own a plus-sized suit that I bought from REI last year.  Made by TYR, in a Size 20, it is lined and came with a soft cup in the front for added…um…modesty?  I removed them when they arrived, (as I’m a heavy C cup and didn’t need the padding) but love the suit for lap swims.  

You can currently find lap suits for Big Girls at a couple of other places as well, but I just purchased this suit (on a nice discount) at Land’s End (overstock).  (10/29/09).

Landsend Butterfly Tank

The suit has a cross back and will stay in place through your laps – and heck, you can even wear it to the pool with your friends and look pretty cute.   Available up to a Size 20 – sizes are going fast..

INFO:  Land’s End Womens’ Plus Size Solid X-Back Butterfly Tank Suit.  Available at or here .  Price: $29.99. 

Alternatively, if you want something a little different, more modest, etc., you can try Speedo, which has simple suits made for hard work, up to a size 24.



DETAILS: (Left)  Ultraback Plus Size Moderate  Price: $66.00    Click here to order. 

(Right) Piped Ultraback Plus Size   Price:  $40.80           Click here to order. 

And that’s all I have to offer for the “getting started” apparel guide.  If there’s something I haven’t covered, please let me know!  Now get out there, and get moving!!!

The Plus Runner

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