I sometimes struggle with activewear, I won’t lie to y’all. Most of my active wear is secondhand, from Target or from a few sustainable and/or ethical brands that I like, but finding good shit to wear to workout is tough for me and a lot of other people.
I think there’s always been a sweaty elephant in the room when it comes to plus size activewear. For literal years, folks over a size XL or 14 could not find activewear, except in places like Wal-Mart, Kohl’s and Old Navy and in plus size exclusive stores like Lane Bryant. It goes without saying that we appreciate those places for always dressing us.
Plus size folks often get told to lose weight and workout, but then find themselves hard pressed to find activewear to buy. And don’t you even dare ask for cute or trendy activewear for a bigger body.
But, within the last few years, that has changed. Brands like Nike, Adidas, Lululemon and Fabletics have extended their sizing, offering up cute and good quality activewear for a larger group of people.
I want to point out that you don’t have to be working out to wear activewear and you don’t have to have the desire to workout to buy and wear activewear. Do what you want, when you want.
One such brand that has extended their sizing within recent years is Athleta, the activewear brand owned by Gap and is the sister to Old Navy and Banana Republic. I’ve seen a lot of my favorite influencers repping Athleta clothes and I have been impressed with the few pieces that I have picked up while thrifting or at TJ Maxx, so when I saw that my local mall had an Athleta store, I went straight in to see if they had plus sizes in-store.
I can’t ignore the fact that the plus size mannequin that I saw upon entering the store made me emotional. I hadn’t seen a plus size mannequin in a store like that before albeit stood up beside a straight size mannequin.
I was greeted by a lovely man at the Athleta location at the Westfarms Shopping Mall in West Hartford, Connecticut and he made me feel welcome and dealt with me talking on the phone while I was shopping.
The plus size items are grouped in with the straight sized items at Athleta, meaning that the thicker and thinner folks all shop in the same sections. And I am happy to report that Athleta offers sizes XXS to 3X and 0 to a 26, as well as tall and petite options, in stores and online. Bless an Athleta. We love that.
Needless to say, I found a lot of things to try on in my size and I will definitely be visiting that location again.
My measurements for your reference:
Bust – 55″
Waist – 51″
Hips – 60″
Salutation Jogger in a size 3X in Black
If you know me, you know I like a jogger. It’s the sleeker version of a sweatpant or a legging. They are essential to my life at this point, so this was one of the first items I picked up when I walked into the store.
These were BUTTERY soft. Like bury me in these so I can be comfy for all eternity. The 3X fit me well and they are black, so they would go with anything you decide to throw on with it.
I found them to be a bit clingy on my stomach and I would be interested in seeing how they washed, if they kept their shape and didn’t pill too easily.
Farallon Printed Jogger in a size 24 in Spliced Magic Veil Grey
These felt and looked a bit more like a sweatpant, which was fine by me, but are definitely more casual than the previous pair.
I think the 3X was a bit too big for me around the waist, but no one wants a tight sweatpant, so this was probably the right size for me. The length was good and I liked the pattern, although I know they would get dirty and stained quickly.
Once again, they seemed to cling to my stomach. I think I would buy the previous pair over these ones because of the first jogger’s versatility.
Salutation Stash Pocket II Capri in a size 3X in Navy
I grabbed these basic leggings to try on and I loved them! They were quite literally the most comfortable legging that I have ever tried on. I would say they were more for taking walks or doing yoga, versus other pairs they had in the store that were more structured and meant for high impact workouts.
These were so damn soft. I’m going to keep saying that throughout this post because it is true. Athleta has the texture thing downpat. I do wonder though if that softness would last.
I enjoyed the length of these a lot because I hate capri leggings that feel more like a bermuda short. They were beautifully high-waisted and had pockets. 10/10 would buy these.
Mindset Sweatshirt in a size 2X in Marl Grey Heather
This sweatshirt was thin, but warm and very comfortable. It had nice overlapping details on the sides and I can see it being a great layer for any outdoor activities during the colder months.
They only had the 2X in store, so that’s what I tried on, but I would have liked the 3X more, I think, as it would have been looser on me.
Aurora Crop Rib Tank in a size 2X in Shasta Purple
Trying this fitted tank on was the closest I got to trying on a sports bra at Athleta. I wasn’t in the mood for sports bras that day, sorry ’bout it.
I really liked this cropped tank. It fit me well and I could see myself wearing it while I was working out as a top, but I was slightly puzzled by the bra situation. Do I wear a sports bra underneath? Do I go bra-less? I have a bra on here and it looks good, but the bra I am wearing is more of a t-shirt bra. Maybe smaller boobed ladies would have a better time with this one.
It is decently supportive and provides a lot of good coverage in the front and the back.
Uptempo Tank in a size 3X in Bright White/Medieval Violet
Am the only person who hates wearing a fitted tank top to workout in? It’s either a sports bra type situation or something hella baggy, like this tank.
It was a nice material and fit me just right. I liked the color, which would go with most anything and the length was really great. It also provided a decent amount of coverage under the arm, which seems to be a place where a larger chested lady could experience some spillage in some tank tops.
Run With It Jacket in a size 3X in Verve Horizon
Don’t mind me, I’m just daydreaming about this expensive ass jacket.
I don’t think I have ever tried on an activewear jacket before that has fit me this good. They always seem to be too tight in the waist, the chest or the arms for me, but this one was perfect.
The print was subtle and the fabric was lovely. I could only ask for a discount and a hood as improvements.
Well Rested Rib Sleep Tank in a size XL in Palermo Pink
I didn’t realize this until after I tried this item on, but this is a sleep tank that is suggested to be worn with a matching bralette underneath.
I only picked it up because it was…you guessed it…soft! It was really low under the arm, which now makes sense with the addition of a bralette underneath.
It was very comfortable, but may be a tad bit too revealing for some people’s liking.
Purana Wrap Sweatshirt in a size 3X in Light Grey Heather
I’ll be honest, I grabbed this to try on because it looked really effortless and comfortable and because it reminded me of my momma. My mom loves a poncho/shawl situation and I think this would catch her eye as well.
I think sizing down would be a good move with this one because it is already very oversized. It takes some jostling to get it in the right spot and could possibly insue some kind of panic if you fell asleep in it. But, I do think, in another color, this piece could be elevated to something more formal.
My experience in Athleta was really great and I have my eye on a few of the pieces that I have shared with you above. I am interested in trying on more of their pieces and scoping out some of the deals that I am seeing go down online.
Hot tip: I noticed that certain common colors are more expensive or not on sale online. The other, more statement colors were cheaper.
Let me know if you love Athleta or would rather shop at another activewear company. And most importantly, let me know if this post leads you to try Athleta for the first time.
Let’s face it, we all deserve to be comfortable and cute in our activewear and Athleta provides good options for doing just that.