Every woman wants to look good in her clothes. This is not an observation which should merit any shock or suprise. And yet, as a bigger woman who is active, it’s always been hard to find clothing that fits, flatters, and is functional.
I started this site primarily to fill that gap. I’ve been a plus sized athlete now for the better part of 10 years, and though my weight has moved up, and down, my desire to look as good as I can in my clothes – and heck, to look like an athlete, too – has not abated.
With that in mind, I went looking recently for the new fall offerings for the Plus size crowd. I searched my favorite vendors, my “go-to” folks who have been brave and future-sighted engough to recognize the boom in this market, and have found a few nuggets for this season’s fall temps.
I would love nothing more than to report that there is some extraordinarily good fashion out there for us for the fall. Unfortunately, I’d be overstating the facts. However, there are some winners, and because I’m all about the positive reinforcement, we’re going to call out some of those folks.
Sporthill is a company that’s been offering Plus Size running/walking/outdoor aerobic apparel for as long as I can remember. This year, they’ve come up big with a nice updated color for their Symmetry Jacket ( a gorgeous plum purple). Sporthill sells their products according to temperature “zones”, and this jacket is designed for Zone 3: zero degrees to forty degrees.
Why I love this item: First, it’s just plain good-looking. The Blackberry color is one of those universally flattering colors – and Purple is all the rage this fall. To se eit in a plus-size jacket is lovely.
Second, the fabric is technical – that means it wicks sweat away from your skin. It’s got a brushed poly liner, which is helpful for drawing moisture away, and it’s treated with “DWR”. DWR means “Durable Water Repellant” – which means it should hold up in a rain. It’s not going to get you through a storm unscathed – for that, I’d put you in REI’s rain jacket. It’s also wind repellant, which means it’ll keep you protected if you’re accustomed to the blustery conditions we get in Chicago.
Finally, it’s shaped to flatter. The measurements are made for someone who carries a chest – and a waist or hips (check the Size Chart for the best size for you before ordering). Yes, it is more expensive than the Moving Comfort Endurance Shell ($65.00)- however, that jacket is (in my experience) incredibly lightweight and will likely not be that helpful for you come fall. I tried it on at our local Fleet Feet, and, though the color is great, for a fall jacket, it’s overpriced and doesn’t offer enough functionality. Plus, it frankly didn’t fit (tight in the arms and shoulders for me, though the size chart indicates it should fit.) My recommendation: if you’re a runner, walker, hiker, or cyclist who needs a flattering jacket you can feel good in, the Symmetry Jacket is the one for you.
Second Prize for Functionality, Fit and Fashion:
The Circuit shirt from Athleta (shown in yellow at left) is like the house in Goldilocks – not too heavy, not too light, not too short, not too long. It’s just right. It’s designed with a wicking fabric, and the length is flattering for most sizes. I’ve ordered from Athleta before (the TeeLicious tees) and am still wearing all three (five years later) for hiking, running, walking, and everyday wear.
What I love about this item: First, it’s got a crew neck, which I think is helpful for fall and winter versatility. Second, the colors are great. Third, Athleta cuts their clothes for a woman’s body – that means that there’s usually enough room for a chest AND hips (who knew?). The downside is that this is only offered up to a 2X – but check the size charts – I would think you’d be safe up to a 51″ waist.
The other shirts on the market this fall (from Nike, Moving Comfort, REI, and Terry) are just not cute enough to make me want to spend $39.00 on a shirt. The Nike half-zip is too boxy (I own it, and wear it, but oof.) The REI shirt is too short in the sleeves, has terrible colors, and though it will fit anyone, it doesn’t have any pizzaz. And the Moving Comfort Long-Sleeved shirts for plus-size women are very long and gather unflatteringly across the hips. So…here we are at Athleta. Give it a shot – you might be surprised!
Third Prize for Functionality, Fit, and Fashion:
I used to hate running in capris. I thought they were ridiculous – a fake-out of a tight that made my legs look shorter. Man, was I wrong. As I’ve run in “wide leg” capris for a few years, I’ve come to miss the feeling of a TIGHT. A tight that holds in my tummy a bit – and provides support for my legs. With the rage in compression technology, you’d hope that compression tights were on the deck – and they are (more on those in another post) – but if you’re just looking for a cute tight to get you through fall, this is the one for you.
What I love about this item: First, it’s simple. Basic black, with no piping on the wrong place. It’s got reflective piping on the leg and on the graphic. Second, it seems to have a nice flat waistband. Third, it’s made of duo-dry, with no cotton, and flat seams, so you won’t chafe from sweat or seams. It has a liner so if you like to run commando, you can. And fourth, it’s got an inner, zippered pocket for your car keys or emergency cash, which NONE of the wide-leg, capri pants (which are mostly made for hacking around town and yoga, and NOT a run from your house) ever have. In short, it’s functional and it’s flattering.