My Life in the Fat Lane – Thoughts on Plus Size Active Wear
The Dane and I like hiking, kayaking and camping. Some time ago, The Dane was looking for a good pair of hiking boots and was talking to the salesman at REI, so I wandered off to the clothing section, as I needed some clothes with wicking. I was amazed at how cute the clothes were. So I looked for the plus section, which in any other store is typically reserved for the corner that’s as far from the front door as it can get or the second level in the way back (no back behind that back. It’s faaaaar back). At REI, I couldn’t find this section. I asked a sales girl and she told me that as far as she knew there wasn’t one and I’d have to go to another store to find active-wear clothes for woman my size. Let’s just say that The Dane did not get his camping boots from REI that day.
I started looking around online. I could find a piece here and something else there, but overall, there really just wasn’t much. I started getting a little ticked off. How many times have I heard someone say something about someones weight in association with exercise. So, I want to exercise, but I don’t need anything but a big ‘ole square t-shirt and some floppy sweatpants to do it in? Really? On a five-mile hike, I assure you that this girl needs some damn wicking.
Since then, things have slowly (snails-pace anyone) started to change in this area. Most of the places that do sell active wear gear towards yoga type clothing. At least that part of the market is growing and you can find that in lots of places like Lane Bryant and Torrid. Other active wear, not so much, unless you don’t mind men’s clothing. And, if you want paddle-gear, you pretty much have to like guy stuff.
Duluth Trading Company and LL Bean do offer a limited amount of woman’s active wear clothing which I use for hiking, camping and working in the yard. A lot of it is pretty basic, but at least the quality is good.
The jacket is actually a fleece-lined shirt from LL Bean. It doesn’t usually get consistently cold enough to wear this as a shirt down here in the South, so I wear this as a jacket and it works out well. Since it’s really a shirt, it doesn’t have pockets where I wish there were some. The biggest issue I have with this shirt/jacket and with LL Bean in general is with fit. I like the clothes that I have from LL Bean and I think the quality is good, but there are not a lot of options and sometimes things fit a bit snug. On their size chart, they list a 1X as an 18W with bust 45 1/2, 2X as 20W – 22W with bust 47 1/2 – 49 1/2 inches and a 3X as 24W – 26W with bust 51 1/2 – 53 1/2.
The top is a long-tail, short-sleeved Henley from Duluth Trading Company. I really like these shirts for a lot of reasons, the long-tail being much of it. The shirts are soft. The material is a ribbed knit that’s pre-washed, so the shirts don’t shrink and there isn’t any fading. I’ve had this purple one for a couple of years now and they stand up to the test of time. On their size chart, they list an XL as 18-20 with a 44-46 inch bust and a 2X as 22-24 with a 48 – 50 inch bust.
The jeans I’ve also had for several years. I got these Westport 1962 jeans at Dressbarn. They are a baggy fit which works well when The Dane and I are out walking or working in the yard. My only complaint with this pair of jeans is that there are no back pockets. I’m guessing my pocket issue comes from being a nurse. I am used to having and needing them. At my last visit, I checked out the Westport 1962 jeans and they all had back pockets. These jeans hold up well wash after wash. (You can find the latest Westport 1962 jeans at Dressbarn here). 1X is a 14W-16W with waist of 37-39 inches. 2X is an 18W-20W with waist of 41-44 inches. 3X is a 22W-24W with waist of 45-47 inches.
Song that inspired the title: Physical by Olivia Newton-John
PS: Any suggestions on Active-wear?