fashion

ROAD TEST: I'm a size 24, and found four activewear options that actually work for plus-size women.

I’m fat. I’m a size 24 so there’s no getting around that revelation – but just because I’m fat doesn’t mean I don’t like to exercise. Society might be shocked to learn this but plus-size people do exercise. Personally, I love to dance and box but weight lifting is where I really shine.

The thing that deters me from exercising, however, is not the gym itself, but the lack of comfortable activewear in my size (extra points if it’s colourful). Trying to find activewear above a size 16 is really bloody difficult. All the options (if you can find any) are black, oversized and roll up or down with every exercise.

Some of the options out there not only make you anxious when you’re shopping, but they really don’t make you feel great when you’re exercising either. Won’t someone please just give me a pair of tights that are colourful, cute and stay where they’re meant to?

Watch: Don’t Hate the Shake is a body positive movement that emerged on Instagram. Post continues after video.

So I set out to find comfy, size-inclusive activewear that actually work for plus-size women. That way, you don’t have to put in the leg work (save that for the gym).

Before we get into it, I just want to point out that I do not go to the gym to lose weight, and this is not why I’m advocating for joyful movement and exercise. I simply enjoy exercise, but I’m happy with my body, exactly as it is.

Keep in mind that sizes vary from store to store, so always read the size chart before you buy, and remember that the number on the tag is just that, a number. Don’t hold onto it.

Active Truth

‘Confidence boosting activewear’ Active Truth stock up to a 3XL (Size 24-26) and (OH MY GOD), they come in patterns! I’m wearing the Ocelot 7/8 leggings and Spirit Crop in a size 3XL. I felt so cute! The pattern is colourful and cute but a bit more subtle if you aren’t into bright colours.

The leggings are high waisted and after a rigorous test, I can confirm that the waist doesn’t roll down! It’s a miracle! And the leggings have pockets! We do love pockets!

Crop tops are my thing and Active Truth’s Spirit Crop is one of my favourites. It’s padded and supportive so I wore it without a bra (which I loved) but I definitely wouldn’t go bra-free for high impact exercise. The band is also wide enough that it didn’t fold down!

ADVERTISEMENT

All in all the Active Truth Ocelot set was a win. The fabric is great quality, breathes well and was amazing to work out in!

lacey-jane-1
Image: Supplied.

Cost: $$

Size: 3XL

Fit: Great fit! True to size. The leggings fit my hips and the tapered high waist is perfect.

BeKeane Healthy and Fit

Owned and operated in Victoria, BeKeane Healthy and Fit are the most size-inclusive activewear brand I could find. Stocking up to a size 38 in the most amazing colours and patterns, Be Keane Healthy and Fit is truly providing activewear for everybody.

I’m wearing the Capri Aqua, White and Black leggings in Bootylicious (size 24). The fit is great and although I would’ve preferred a higher waistband the leggings, in general, are great. They fit my calves like a dream.

Be Keane Healthy and Fit also stock t-shirts and singlets as well and the bamboo cotton T (size 22) is a dream. Bamboo cotton is so hot right now and for good reason - it’s soft, stretchy and delicious.

It’s also worth noting that Be Keane Healthy and Fit stock body-positive kids leggings that are covered in amazing slogans and body positive messages so check them out if you have little people in your life.

lacy-jane-4-1
Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

Cost: $

Size: 24

Fit: Generous. Roomy and super comfy.

D Plus K

Stocking up to a size 24, D Plus K is based in Brisbane and is by far the most comfortable of the activewear I tried. It’s made from a ‘Custom Elixir Fabric’ (whatever that means) but it has amazing stretch, is quick-drying and pulls on perfectly.

I tried the Embrace range. I got the Embrace 3.4 leggings and crop top in a size 24 and the Go-To Tee in a size 24.

The leggings require no peeling and pulling, they fit me like a glove. When I put them through their paces they moved with my body, provided no resistance and didn’t go see-through - a win!

The crop top was equally as comfortable but I definitely could’ve sized down. This crop is perfect for well-endowed people. My chest didn’t fill it out completely, but the potential is there. I wore this set to a meeting with white sneakers and a leather jacket, because why not make it fashion? In all honestly, I just didn’t want to take it off.

lacey-jane-3-1
Image: Supplied.

Cost: $$

Size: 22

Fit: Amazing. Roomy, not tight around the bust or arms.

ADVERTISEMENT

Run Faster

Run Faster definitely win the prize for quality + colours. Maxing out a 3XL (24-26) The Birds of Paradise high waisted tights and the Work Out Tee in rose were my picks and they were actually amazing.

The Birds of Paradise Tights ran a little small in comparison to the other brands that I tried. I had to do a bit of a pants dance to get into them but once they were on, they fit like a glove. I am a huge fan of the patterns available and the material that they are made of is super supportive.

The Work Out Tee (size 22) is made of this really soft breathable material that feels great on. The rose colour isn’t really my colour, and I would definitely recommend sizing up if you’re looking for a bit more room.

lacey-jane-2-1
Image: Supplied.

Cost: $$

Size: 24

Fit: Definitely size up but when you get the right fit, the rest is magic!

I hope this shines a light on the fact that there are some amazing options out there for people in bigger bodies who want to exercise, enjoy joyful movement or just really like to wear activewear. These are just a few of my favourite brands. If you have any recommendations, leave them in the comments below!

I also would like to acknowledge that all of the brands that I reviewed are primarily based online which may be daunting for some. Don’t let online shopping scare you. Be brave, step out of your comfort zone and look online because there are so many other options than what you’ll find in-store.

And remember, just because a shop doesn’t stock your size, doesn’t mean you aren’t perfect just the way you are.

Which one is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.

Feature image: Supplied/Lacey-Jane Christie.

Lacey-Jade Christie is a fiery Melbourne-based plus-size influencer and host of The Fat Collective podcast. She combines her life as a nurse with her own experience of mental illness and is a strong advocate for safe spaces for the BoPo and Queer community to come together through both the podcast and at various events she hosts throughout the year.  Not one to shy away from the controversial, she is an LGBTIQ+ activist, feminist and published writer, having featured in publications such as The Guardian, The Age and Archer Magazine and many more. Lacey’s passion for inclusivity and celebrating diversity shine through her much like the glitter she is constantly covered in. For more from Lacey-Jade, you can follow her on Instagram. 
00:00 / ???