I’m a size 12/14, 38D right now.Now I can understand larger sized women wanting comfortable, quality workout clothing. By-in-large it just doesn't readily exist. You have to hunt for it -- especially sports bras. I can also understand that they are a large demographic largely underrepresented in the sportswear industry. Also, larger women (and men) have...shall we say... support issues that are often overlooked as well. (I've never seen an "athletic" version of a pregnancy band to help people with larger lower abdomens not feel to jiggly, especially when spandex/lyrca just isn't helping to stop the jiggle when doing things like running.)
I recently went into a lulu store and while I was frustrated that there weren’t more cute things available in my size, I definitely saw it as motivation to continue in my journey towards a healthier me.
The one thing that was disappointing, and what someone mentioned above, is the attitude of employees toward me. Luckily I was with a friend that has been through the journey (losing around 90lbs, I think) and she was very helpful when the tata tamer couldn’t tame my tatas. However one employee made me very uncomfortable with her disproving glance. I bet she didn’t even realize she did it. Le sigh.
There was one comment that kinda struck a nerve with me
Sorry but fat people are in denial if they think it’s attractive to show their rolls, stop rationalizing on why it’s okay to reveal some skin when you’re fat!I think this guy Mike just doesn't get it. It's not about fat people wanting to reveal skin. It's about us wanting to be counted among those who value their health and well being. It's like being the only one on a sports team not wearing the uniform. If we're in the gym, if we're in the yoga studio, we want to look and feel the part of being an athlete while doing the work.
Comment by Mike
That, and I don't care what size you are -- every person has some part of their body that is unflattering or that they might not be 100% comfortable with. I mean, even models do the whole standing in the mirror and listing off a litany of their flaws thing. Everyone has rolls, extra skin, scars, weird lumps and bumps on their body, especially when they have no control over what angle they're viewed from. You don't need to be a size 16 in order to have body topography. Should the use of yoga clothing (some of which isn't even that revealing) be denied to all but those with low body fat percentages and modelesque proportions? HELL NO.
Should lululemon be criticized for their contrasting message of body acceptance and yet not sell clothing in a variety of sizes? Perhaps. But it's their choice to only produce certain sizes. Productionwise, it's hard to make plus-size clothing without having to redesign clothing. Up to a size 12, there are predictable body changes (especially among women). After a 14/16, women's bodies vary in predictable, but varied ways (adding weight around the hips, around the abdomen, around the chest, through the appendages). I've never been a particularly bottom-heavy size plus-sized gal. What if they stopped at 18/20? Should they be criticized for not making a 20/22? It would never end. But their message of body acceptance is correct -- even if you have to show up for yoga in the clothing that fits you, or heck... go naked in protest.
So anyways, I bought (and fit into) a pair of size 12 lululemon pants. I'm not quite ready to fit into the tops I liked, and didn't fit into any of the bras. My lower half is bigger than my top half at this point.
What I really couldn't deal with was one employee. I put on the pair of pants with a really cute top. I knew it didn't fit, but I wanted to show my friend how close I was to being lulu-worthy. The employee gave me the up and down and made a smarmy look as if to say "I can't believe you think that looks good on you." She was a petite girl who didn't come by being thin the hard way. If only I could have told her I started at 240 lbs, maybe she would have understood that this wasn't any normal purchase. This was a milestone. This was the second pair of size 12 pants that I've ever owned (having gone from a girl's XL straight to a size 14).
My point is this -- some people have to come by their health and size the hard way. It would be nice for others (both large and small) to not be judgmental along the way. I'm a firm believer that you can't instantly know a person just by looking at them, and that it's important to recognize that everyone is on their own journey.
Speaking of journeys... this rant is keeping me from getting to the gym...
So often it's a case of "damned if you, damned if you don't" when it comes to exercise. Considered fat and lazy but, when you make the effort, have to deal with taunts and laughter. Having cute and flattering exercise gear definitely would help!Reply
I've never had any issues with the staff in Lululemon in Australia. They've been great :) But their sports bras aren't worth the cost, that's for sure. Maybe okay for yoga but I'd rather buy a running bra and wear it for yoga as well (I'd rather be over supported than under).
Thank you fir sharing this. I've long been battling similar lulumon sentiments as it's hard not to fall into their advertising trap - however the double standard of being shamed for your size WHILE not finding workout clothes in you size is hard to stand. I love your bravery.Reply
I don't know that brand, but I know the feeling. We do have excellent bigger size bras though, without any judgmental looks or comments at all.Reply
And you know what? I lost like 25 pounds already, and I went from a pants size 22 to 20, that's all. I positively HATE it! So now I am so jealous, you don't have a clue :-p
This disappoints me about Lulu. I'm a 12/14, and I thought they'd carry those sizes since they're really considered "plus size" by other companies like The Limited and H&M. Sorry to hear about the disproving employee :(Reply
You know what I just found out? Lulu doesn't make size 2 or 0, either!Reply
I do work for Lulu, and I did lose 93lbs...and it's a struggle to keep it all off some days. So come to me! I'll give you some much needed "support" :D
kathrynoh -- I used to think that it was going to be all taunts and laughter. I've found that despite my paranoia, people at the gym are more likely to be supportive and kind to fat people because they're doing the work. Right now I'm sticking with my victoria's secret VSX sports bra (that has been discontinued?) as it provides the comfort and wicking i need.Reply
Marzipan -- it's not bravery. I am a firm believer that sweat is fear leaving your body. The more I sweat, the less afraid I am.
Gudrun -- seriously, you gorgeous woman!?! Your body is doing some pretty special things right now. Once all is said and done and you're running around after 3 little ones I'm sure the weight will come off and you'll be even sexier than ever.
runeatdatesleep -- I always think your s/n is runeatdatesheep and it cracks me up. I don't think they're considered "plus size" but they're in a pretty specific exercise genre.
Emily -- I too was suprised when I read they don't carry a 0 or 2, but i'm thankful for that. They want to promote a healthy body size. Even with vanity sizing, I don't think 00, 0, or 2 is healthy for 99% of women out there. And yes, you're exactly who I go to when I need some support and motivation. You'll be there when I'm 100% lulu-worthy on top and on bottom.
I think that comment was pretty ignorant. Most people I know, no matter what their weight are a little self conscious and prefer workout clothes that hide what they see as flaws. There's nothing wrong with wanting workout clothes to fit and look cute.Reply
Mike needs to stop living in the superficial world he has created in his head and to all those shop "assistants" (have to laugh that they are even called that) GRRRRRRR!!!!!!!Reply
Jess -- I'm getting more and more comfortable at the gym. I don't care anymore if I haven't shaved, or if there are bruises on my leg, or if I stink when I sweat. I'm there for me, not anyone else. I don't care what I wear. I care what I do.Reply
Ali -- That guy mike probably still lives with his parents.
I HATE shopping for workout clothes. Last winter I got a new sports bra and wanted a yoga tank top. Usually I'm between an L and an XL but the tank top was so spandexy I needed an XXL! It's frustrating when sizes vary so much. Thankfully the sales lady was very kind and looked through her catalog and ordered the tank top for me. I then got a movingmotion sports bra and love it. it has a wire but I can't feel that.Reply
I've always been somewhere between plus size and regular. Some times a 16 fits, some times a 18 fits. MOST of the time the 14/16 are too small and the 16W are too big!
One more thing on this long comment: The reason I love my gym is that EVERYONE goes there. I see fit runners to people just starting on the weight loss journey, college students to grandparents. I totally feel comfortable there.
MM -- you gave an example of exactly what i'm talking about: no two plus sized girls are built alike. It makes it really hard for companies to make patterns and figure out sizing. It's a crapshoot indeedy.Reply
I go to my gym at work. Like I said in an earlier comment -- Sweat is fear leaving the body. I don't care what they think about me while I'm in the gym. My reputation in the gym and at my desk are two different entities.
I LOVED this post. And I know that plus sized girls are shaped differently; but workout clothes, more than any other clothing item, should be able to accommodate them. There is a lot more stretch and flexibility in workout clothes; it's not like trying to sew a pair of jeans for a 250 lb girl. I recently went shopping and bought decent workout gear for the first time. I feel GOOD about going to the gym now. I'm not self conscious about myself like I was when I was wearing old ratty sweats. Sure, I bought the biggest size at the store; but who cares?Reply
Amy Jo -- I'm glad you liked the post. And you're right. With all the space age fibers out there, work out clothing can stretch, bend, flex, and accommodate more than wool, cotton, denim, fleece, etc. Maybe it's just a matter of getting the right people's attention -- maybe they'll see how much we want to get to the gym and belong.Reply
You should try the enell sports bra for your sports bra woes. They are made for larger gals and they have you order by your "actual" measurements rather than your bra size. So it's like your getting a bra for "your" size. It's soooo supportive that you don't move or flop at all once you get it on. It keeps you focused on your workout instead of your audience. FYI..I bought mine here: http://www.onesweetone.com/ . Pricey, but worth it!! Love the post!Reply
Anon -- thanks for the recommendation.Reply
Right now I'm really happy with my VSX bras. They're really great for when i run. I'm just sad they were discontinued. Though, I have 4 of them to keep me going!
What a great post. I remember when I first started out - trying to find "work out" clothes for a size 24-26 was damn near out of the question. I had to rely on sweats and a baggy t-shirt. It was one of my happiest days when I could walk into a sporting goods store and buy some runnings shorts/ shirts in a size 16/18. The shirts are control topped (to add some extra support) so they fit pretty tightly. I was so self concious at first to wear them - but I just thought about the changes my body had made since I started. Now, I have to go buy new shorts - because the 16/18 are too big. That's what it's all about for me - seeing my changes. If someone else doesn't like seeing me in my work-out clothes then BLANK to them!!! Don't bitch about too many people being overweight - I'm making a difference...that's the part that should be noticable, not how my clothes look to them!! Sometimes I wish I could buy a t-shirt that says "you think this looks bad? You should of seen me when I was a size 26" then maybe people wouldn't be so quick to judge.Reply
Joanna: I'm glad you liked the post. Lane Bryant's "activewear" category (http://www.lanebryant.com/collections/activewear/4052c4037/index.cat)leaves much to be desired, eh?Reply
It's okay that maybe the world doesn't want to see larger people in athletic clothing. But it's not about what they want or think anymore. It's about what we think of ourselves and what we need for ourselves.
It wasn't until I realized that one thing that i stopped caring what i looked like the gym (hairy legs and all) and cared more about what I did at the gym.
Eeeeeeee! (That's my excited squeal) I totally get this. I was trying on a dress just at Old Navy with my friend and due to the cut it was an XL and too big - we were jumping up and down and just overly excited and this really teensy girl walks by looking disgusted and making a comment to her friend about being grossed out by a size medium shirt. The moment was too amazing for some random chick to ruin it but now reading your post I realize that she was completely naturally skinny and she will NEVER get to experience the joy I felt in that moment...and that's more sad for her than it is for my fat (but SHRINKING) ass ;)Reply
Kyoko, my delicious cupcake:Reply
I think a large part of me studying buddhism was retraining my mind so that compassion was my first reaction, not judgment. I think it's easy in those moments to be like "whatever, you skinny ass bitch" but it is much harder to think "wow, you must not know much personal adversity or triumph." Snarky compassion is at least a bridge to where I want to be, which is true compassion and empathy.
The bottom line is that as women, we should be more sensitive to how we treat each other. Women often think that men are the ones judging us, but really there are whole industries built around women judging each other.
Sigh...that strikes a chord. Sometimes it feels like no matter how hard I try, even if I eventually come to a really compassionate place I always take a pit stop first at that snarky compassion...or some other judgey angry thing. Hopefully sooner rather than later I'll find my gut reaction to be truly nice and it won't be such hard work to not judge.Reply
I think we're programmed to go to the snarky place--part social conditioning, part defense mechanism. But the thing is this -- how does thinking badly of another person truly help us (or them)?Reply
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