‘Plus-Size Activewear’ is Not an Oxymoron

Illustration for article titled ‘Plus-Size Activewear’ is Not an Oxymoron

Folks, I can’t seem to get back to the gym, and I’ve lost almost all motivation. I say almost, because I can think of one thing that will get me back ASAP, and that’s new workout clothes.

I really don’t have a thing to wear. My old, trusty black sweats are so worn out, even the holes have holes. (OK, that was tired, I know, but bear with me.) Seriously, they’re downright indecent. And my ancient, Champion capris have lost their elasticity at the waist, so I’m constantly doing the tugging thing. Trust me when I tell you I truly need the Spandex support.

Now, let me know if this makes any sense to you: Workout clothes for overweight women are hard to find in stores. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why. I dare anyone who wears a size 18w or 1x to go into Lady Foot Locker and emerge with a single, complete outfit. Need an XXL? Fuggedaboutit.


Lane Bryant? Their prices are too high for the quality of clothing the offer. ($24.50 for a tank top? Ahhhhhahahahaaa!) And the women’s sections of my favorite department stores have zero workout gear. Like, none. I remember the last time I asked for workout clothes at one of my fave haunts, and the saleswoman looked at me and asked with a touch of incredulity, “For YOU?” I blinked. Slowly. She then directed me to the “activewear” section. Great stuff. Nothing for me.

So I’m forced to go online for gear, and guess what? The items I seek are OUT OF STOCK. Reminder: I’m not that fancy, but I do like quality stuff. And I could get some great Champion mesh capris online — $27, but worth every penny – but black is sold out. So is dark blue. What’s left? Electric turquoise.

I'll pass.

Folks, I require Nike. Danskin. Adidas. Champion. They each make plus-sized workout gear for women, but doggone it, department stores choose not to carry these items. I want something now, not delivered via UPS next week, and I would like the option to purchase it on sale. Is that really too much to ask?


I know I’ve written a little bit about this before, but it still makes me crazy. Of all demographic groups, why does it make good business sense to not sell attractive, comfortable workout clothing to the population that needs most to exercise?

So now I’m shopping online, starting with Bizrate.com, which is where I start for just about everything. There, I see everything I need. A few sites have discounts or free shipping after a certain dollar amount, and that’s what I have to settle for.


It just seems that it’s always about settling – for limited choices, for few options, for colors no person of size should ever wear. Like electric turquoise.

The tones of gray, pale turquoise and pink will prevail.  ~  Christian Dior

Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.

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