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Dress for Success: Your Guide to Plus-Size Workout Clothes

By: , – With Research by ~INDYGIRL
3/6/2012 10:00 AM   :  71 comments   :  57,310 Views

If you've ever embarked on a weight loss journey, you'll probably agree that the process can be overwhelming. Not only do you have to change the way you think, eat, and move, but you also have to set yourself up to succeed at those changes. One of the most underrated ways to keep up a steady stream of motivation and positive results is by buying proper workout clothes.
 
Think about it: trying to adopt a healthy lifestyle without quality, functional workout gear is like stocking your pantry full of junk food and then wondering why you can't find anything healthy to eat in the house. Just as you have to set yourself up to succeed with your diet, there are certain things you have to do to help you meet your fitness goals. Chances are, if you're working out in clothes that aren't made for exercise, you're not going to be comfortable or confident, and will ultimately end up hindering your results. It's amazing what workout clothes can do to elevate your motivation, performance, and outlook on fitness.
 
~INDYGIRL, a SparkPeople member who has lost over 160 pounds, agrees:
 
''Before I started my journey to weight loss and better health, I thought that ''active wear'' was only reserved for people who want to show off how gorgeous they already look.  Well, my mindset has finally changed. Losing 166 pounds with SparkPeople has taught me that workout clothes are a must for getting fitter.  Without them, it is harder to be motivated to work out.  Workout clothes help get you in the mindset that you are a person getting better, getting fitter, and fulfilling your own dreams."
 
Like ~INDYGIRL, you might feel intimidated at first when you think about purchasing workout clothes. But it doesn't have to be that way! Sure, buying active wear can be new and scary, but it can also be empowering at the same time. Not only are you investing in a pair of breathable workout shorts, but you're also investing in your future health. When you put on those new exercise clothes, you'll stand a little taller because you're changing your body for the better, inside and out— and you'll look great while doing it!
 
If you're anxious that you won't be able to find any workout clothes in your size, don't worry-- all it takes is a little research to discover that there really are attractive, functional, and high-quality plus-size exercise clothes available out there. You just have to dig a little deeper to find them! We had ~INDYGIRL provide us with a guide to some of her favorite typical mall stores and chains that carry plus-size active wear. 
 
 
Name Average Price Sizes Offered What They Sell
Aeropostale $10 (top) - $30 (hoodie) W: XS –3X
M: S – 3X
Tops and hoodies.
Avenue $5 (camisole) - $50 (jacket) W: 14/16 – 30/32
M: N/A
Pants, tops, jackets, and shoes.
Dick's Sporting Goods $25 (shorts) - $250 (jacket) W: S – 2X
M: S – 3X
Tops, bottoms, jackets, hoodies, bras, outerwear, running shoes. Brands: Adidas, ASICS, Columbia, Dolfin, Moving Comfort, Nike, Speedo, TYR.
The Gap $10 (top) - $70 (zip-up jacket) W: XS – XL
M: XS – 3X
GapFit: tops, bottoms, jackets, hoodies, maternity, bras, outerwear.
JC Penney $5 (t-shirt) - $55 (sports bra) W: S – 3X
M: S – 5XL
Tops, bottoms, jackets, hoodies, maternity, bras, outerwear. Brands: Adidas, Glamorise, Made For Life, Nike, Puma, Xersion.
Kohl's $13 (t-shirt) - $135 (track jacket) W: S – 3X
M: S – 4XB
T-shirts, tops, sports bras, pants, shorts, jackets. Brands: Apt. 9, Arrow, Chaps, Columbia, Croft & Barrow, Dockers.
Lane Bryant $30 (t-shirt) - $60 (capris) W: 14 (0x) – 32 (4x)
M: N/A
Skorts, pants, shirts, and jackets. Brands: Glamorise, Marika Miracles, Reebok.
Target $10 (top) - $30 (jacket) W: S – XXL
M: S – XXL
Jackets, tops, pants, shorts. Brands: Champion, Converse, Icon, Merona, Mossimo.
Wal-Mart $6 (top) - $70 (jacket) W: S – 5X
M: S – 5X
Pants, tops, jackets. Brands: Danskin Now, Dickies, Faded Glory, Fruit of the Loom, Hanes, Just My Size, Reebok, White Stag.

 
Don't feel like braving the mall crowds? You can buy online, too! Check out these sites for flattering, plus-size workout clothes:

Name Average Price Sizes Offered What They Sell
A Big Attitude $15 (cami bra)- $70 (combo outfit set) W: 1X-5X
M: N/A
Pants, capris, tops, hoodies, combo sets, camis, sports bras, jackets.
AdoraOm $12 (headband) - $119 (jacket) W: 14-20
M: N/A
Pants, capris, tops, hoodies.
Always for Me $28 (t-shirt) - $81 (shorts) W: 16-26
M: N/A
Tops, pants, capris, sports bras, hoodies. Brands: A Big Attitude, Enell, Mt Borah.
Catherine's $22.50 (capris)- $58 (jacket) W: 16-34
M: N/A
Tops, pants, capris, jackets, hoodies.
Junonia $10 (tank top) - $90 (hoodie) W: 1X-6X
M: N/A
Pants, capris, tops, hoodies, jackets, sports bras.
OneStopPlus $10 (sweatshirt) - $66 (sports bra) W: 12-44
M: N/A
Pants, tops, capris, jackets, hoodies, sports bras, jogging suits, tunics. Brands: All-American Comfort, Avenue, Torrid, Woman Within.
Taffy $25 (tank top) - $60 (jacket) W: 1X – 3X
M: N/A
Tops, bottoms, jackets, hoodies.

 
Where do you shop for your active wear? Have you found any plus-size workout gear you can't live without?


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Comments

  • 71
    I have always found mine at Walmart. I don't mind if it makes me look fat. My trainer used to tell me that looking at your bulges gives you motivation to work out harder. - 2/3/2014   5:17:14 AM
  • 70
    J C Penny-XERSION --I love the fit and they hold-up well! Our store has them up to 3x. - 1/29/2014   5:36:48 PM
  • 69
    What about for those of us who have a LOT to lose? I can't find sports bras or tops anywhere that will fit. Not even the places listed here. I might be able to squeeze into one or two pieces, but the sites that carry clothes that fit me (5x usually) never seem to have the really good gear. - 1/11/2014   4:59:58 AM
  • 68
    I've found mine at Walmart and no where near $70. - 12/10/2012   11:46:50 AM
  • 67
    I'm going to go out and look for some workout clothes. - 3/18/2012   4:09:37 PM
  • 66
    Great artical I have always had a hard time finding good workout wear for my size but will certainly check out the online outlets and Pennys, my local Target does not seem to have much in the plus size that I find fits well. - 3/14/2012   12:08:36 PM
  • 65
    I really love this article!!!! I was just discussing how I need some workout clothes. The chart was really helpful. I think I'm definetely going to Walmart to get some cute and fitting clothes instead of just big t-shirts and sweat pants. - 3/14/2012   7:22:41 AM
  • 64
    My local Target doesn't have any good plus size clothes and a limited variety of colors/styles including workout clothes!! - 3/14/2012   5:14:18 AM
  • TOAD1976
    63
    Target is always my go to store for t-shirts (short or long sleeves), thin stretch pants and bras; all of which I could live in not just work out in. The t-shirts are fitted (so you don't feel like you are wearing a tent), bright colors and breath well.
    I have the hardest time finding shorts because I am very picky (lightweight fabric, loose, not short but not too long, elastic waist with a drawstring). I have some from REI that I love but they are extremely expensive (~$40) and the largest size is XL. - 3/13/2012   7:09:47 PM
  • NURSEKRISTA
    62
    I aboslutely love my lululemon! Don't let the sizing fool you, you have to try them on to know for sure. I usually take a 22-24, but wear the relaxed fit or 'still' pants/crops in a size 12 at lulu. They also seem to be super flattering, so a confidence booster. They are pricey, but last. It's a great treat for reaching a milestone! - 3/13/2012   5:52:20 PM
  • MAURENE01
    61
    Here in Ontario,I love Addition Elle! I don't spend a lot of money on outerwear.I can find what I need at WalMart and Zellers. However,Addition Elle has the supportive bras I need. My shoes are another story, I will spend money on them. I don't bargain shop for shoes! - 3/13/2012   3:54:34 PM
  • 60
    Thanks fo the article - look good feel good! - 3/13/2012   1:19:34 PM
  • 59
    Lately, I have been buying online--Woman Within, Blair, Fashion Bug, are all good choices for a lot of things. At the mall, here in Michigan,m it's JC Penney or Kohl's. - 3/13/2012   12:47:28 PM
  • ZAKISMOM
    58
    www.nuu-muu.com has the best exercise dresses. I run and hike in them, wear them as beach/pool coverups, you name it, you can wear them there. The material is great and their customer service is awesome. Another great company for skirts is SparkleSkirts.com. They have plus sizes and is another company with great customer service. When you look great, you feel great! - 3/13/2012   10:53:06 AM
  • RLEGGIERI
    57
    I agree with JPONCIN! Old Navy has great workout clothes in a wide variety of sizes. Price are very reasonable as well, even found some great stuff on clearance! - 3/13/2012   9:44:50 AM
  • 56
    Don't forget Old Navy! I have workout pants and shirts from there, and I have a sports bra from there that I love. You don't have to spend a lot to get fitness wear, and I'm a stay-home mom so I can't. - 3/13/2012   6:53:10 AM
  • CHERBABY66
    55
    Swimsuitsforall.com has great board shorts and great active wear for doing water aerobics in. They have chlorine resistant suits that are amazing and all for the plus sized woman size 8-26W. Some styles run to a size 32W. They run really great sales all the time and their prices are extremely reasonable. They also serve international customers which is great when my friends from Canada want to place orders. I used to have to order things for them and then ship to my friends in other countries, but now they can order their swimsuits directly from Swimsuitsforall.com. They have a very easy return and exchange policy too in case things don't fit you. They are extremely sensitive to the needs of the plus sized woman. They have underwire style bra suits for the more endowed woman too. Lots of choices. I have been a customer of theirs since 2006 and very satisfied! - 3/12/2012   8:12:21 PM
  • 54
    The Danskin line from Wal-Mart is a good choice, comfy with all of the fancy wicking fabric that usually costs a lot. If you're in the 1X-2X range you can save a bit of money by shopping the Women's section, not Women's Plus (usually $2-$3 more).

    I swear by my Junonia swimsuits. They hold up well to chlorine, repeated washings and don't fade in the sun. I also like the built-in shelf bra and wide straps. Another bonus is they don't ride up and have a higher neck so the girls don't flash the pool when I'm doing water aerobics. It wasn't cheap (although I found mine on clearance) but the quality is so great that it was worth the money. - 3/11/2012   5:11:19 PM
  • 53
    Check out Land's End. They have lots of choices and regular sales from their online site or catalog. - 3/10/2012   10:02:55 PM
  • HAKIRBY
    52
    I never cared about workout gear. As long as i've got a decent bra and trainers, I'm good. i've worked out in my jammies or just my underwear. even when i went a gym, I just bought cheap shorts and t-shirt from a cheap clothes shop - 3/9/2012   8:02:02 PM
  • 51
    I love my Old Navy yoga capris and pants and sports bras. The C9 by Champion line at Target is great, and I like the Danskin Now line at Wal-Mart, too. - 3/8/2012   11:29:44 PM
  • 50
    in florida there is also Cato and for Mature ladies styles there is Bon worth. everybody has websites now days - 3/8/2012   1:32:46 PM
  • CYNNANE
    49
    Easy Champion fitted workout pants work very well for me. They are fitted in the butt and thighs (prevents jiggle while running) and have a slight flare that balance out the figure (avoids that dreaded pear shape). I buy mine at Target (typically $19.00, but I've gotten them on sale for $15.00). - 3/8/2012   12:05:38 PM
  • 48
    I lost 70lbs and now I am in between reg and plus and cannot find anything that fits right. I wear 1x it hangs on me I wear a XL it doesn't fit right. I put on a large and it is to fitting and I look horrible . I get embarassed to wear them at the gym. I used to not care at Jazzersise i think it's because the gym has mirrors - 3/8/2012   11:49:59 AM
  • 47
    Here in Toronto, I get most of my workout clothes from Giant Tiger, Old Navy, and Fairweather. Giant Tiger is great because its cheap (the sizes can be a little conflicting depending on the brands, so I make sure to try everything on first). Old Navy is a little more pricey, but their yoga clothing is sooo comfortable and flattering for a bigger butt like mine. Fairweather is great because they have a lot of outlet locations where you can find their very comfortable track pants and yoga pants for as cheap as 2 for $15!! :) - 3/8/2012   11:10:31 AM
  • SUSANE53
    46
    I am 5'11", with an inseam of 35", so its really hard to find yoga pants that fit AND are long enough. I buy Champion brand at Target ($19.99) - they come in all sizes and lengths, so I was able to start at XXL/Long and work my way down. They also last forever (I don't put them in the dryer - don't want them to shrink in length) - I just had to pitch a pair that was about 10 years old and was finally beyond repair. - 3/8/2012   7:49:44 AM
  • 45
    I like to wear work out clothes because it keeps me motivated and makes me feel pretty. A this point I am not buying new work-out clothes because I want to lose weight so I can look better on them and I cannot afford it. - 3/7/2012   11:10:24 PM
  • 44
    I don't wear any "special" workout clothes. Give me a pair of shorts, a short sleeve shirt, and I am off! - 3/7/2012   10:28:52 PM
  • 43
    Catherine's, Wal - Mart and JC Penny. - 3/7/2012   10:26:04 PM
  • 42
    Here in Australia, KMart have become a cheap option with lots of good plus size clothing to work out in. - 3/7/2012   10:09:59 PM
  • 41
    One of my new favorites for great yoga pants and capris is Old Navy.
    Annually there is a sale and I bought a coupleof jackets and pants that are fantastic. I was underwhelmed with the tanks but the rest of the gear is great! - 3/7/2012   5:14:30 PM
  • 40
    I used to LOVE buying stuff from Junonia - not just the workout gear, but the clothes were cute, too! Generally I'd stick to the stuff on sale; the "normal" prices there were ridiculously high. I liked them so much I was actually kind of sad when I got too small to wear their things...

    As far as plus-size swimsuits that handled the chlorine day-in day-out and were actually flattering, nothing could beat the polyester suits I used to get from www.eswimmers.com . I especially liked the skirted T.H.E. ones. They lasted so well that I actually handed them "up" to a friend when I got to small for them.

    They even had a group order option, so if you got some friends in your water aerobics class to order with you, everyone would get a discount.

    Another place you can sometimes find workout gear is your local thrift store. Check the sleevless top section for workout tanks, etc. Just run your hand along the rack and when you feel a nice stretchy synthetic, take a look.

    I'd like to add that I STILL use buying fun workout gear as a motivational reward and incentive for fitness. These days it's about muscle definition more than dropping sizes, but it's still fun to find things in nice colors and cuts. It makes me feel like going. - 3/7/2012   3:00:14 PM
  • 39
    MSDRPEPPER, I have no doubts since it's the same where I live. This is true about several stores. In the ritzy town north of mine, a saleswoman greeted me with, "We don't carry your size in our store." Yet this chain has a whole plus size area in their Cape Cod story. I thanked her for saving me the trouble of buying the gift I had actually entered the story to buy.

    MSPOOH404, I just bought from OneStopPlus for my Sedona trip and got 3 workout outfits (tops, bottoms - one top is hooded) at their sale price - 50% off. - 3/7/2012   1:30:42 PM
  • 38
    My new favorites are the Danskin yoga pants I got from Walmart. $10! I went to Target to look, and all I could think was, "I could get $10 pants from Walmart." - 3/7/2012   1:21:56 PM
  • 37
    My beautiful mother-in-law has made some amazing weight-loss progress over the past year, eating cleaner and becoming more active. I've been sitting this link for a while -- www.miowear.com -- thinking I wanted to send her a gift certificate for some cute, motivating activewear. Does anyone have experience with these clothes and/or the company and can recommend either for or against MiO? Part of the trouble I'm having is that I don't know what sizes she wears and I don't want to insult her by getting her a present she can't use because they don't carry what she needs. Apart from straight-up asking her, any suggestions on how to deal with this? Please private message me!

    www.miowear.com - 3/7/2012   12:29:39 PM
  • 36
    I swear by Old Navy's new plus sized compression tanks and pants....

    I'm just ashamed that my yoga pants have never been to yoga!
    - 3/7/2012   12:12:03 PM
  • 35
    I read in the comments where 1 reader said she was almost in tears after trying to find something to wear for a race! I can relate! I can wear a large or even a medium in some pants, but need a larger top, larger than the standard XL which to me fits like a "normal" medium top! I've found some good stuff at Land's End online. I like their sports knit shorts (not booty shorts), pants and capris. They used to be made much better than they are now, but they still will work. They usually do have plus sizes and a XL is usually too big on me. As for price, watch for sales! I buy almost everything on sale! I've shoppped at some of the stores on the blog list and got things really, really cheap! Sign up for the E-mail notifications for sales! This was a great article. I'll check out some of the places that sell sports bras.... I'm a plus size lady who wants some sassy sports bras, not just white, nude or black! - 3/7/2012   12:02:42 PM
  • 34
    Don't forget swimwear! My favorite is h20wear.com for extremely durable, well made, long lasting suits, jackets, shorts, tops & tights that have good support and coverage in sizes up to 4x, regular and long torso. New fabrics and styles several times a year. - 3/7/2012   10:45:30 AM
  • 33
    I have heard that Old Navy has some great gear for a reasonable price. - 3/7/2012   10:37:29 AM
  • BROCCOLIROSE
    32
    GREAT BLOG! I got mine from OldNavy.com. They have a pretty good selection in sizes up to 4X, I have found they run just a bit small so I purchased one size up for comfort. Their return policy is very good too, just tag it with the provided tag and hand over to UPS...shipping is paid, refund is promptly given and there is no "restocking" fees. They don't sell their Plus Size line "in-store" but I shop mainly online anyway so this doesn't matter to me.

    Thank you for showing everyone you don't have to spend a gazillion dollars on an article of clothing and be a size 4 to find GOOD and comfortable workout clothes! - 3/7/2012   9:22:35 AM
  • 31
    I love the pants at Target. Someone mentioned being short. I'm 5'4 and they have "short" and "tall" (not sure about in the middle...) and the "short" are actually a tiny bit too short. I like pants to come about an inch from the floor in the back, and these stop a couple inches higher. - 3/7/2012   7:23:08 AM
  • LRCRIBBS
    30
    My husband and I started biking in January to help me shed the weight. As we started doing longer distances, true sycling clothing became important, such as the padded pants. I found several sites online for plus size clothing. Team Estrogen is one of my favorites. Great selection of plus size clothing for cycling. - 3/7/2012   7:04:49 AM
  • SBNORMAL
    29
    JUST MY SIZE NOT JUST FOR ME!!!
    - 3/7/2012   5:50:41 AM
  • SBNORMAL
    28
    You all forgot, Just For ME, they have exercise and other clothing items. Their prices are pretty good also. I just brought leggings capri-two pair-one for 50% off-for 14.99 for the two. - 3/7/2012   5:49:29 AM
  • 27
    I like Academy, their items run small. Check out Wal-Mart - 3/7/2012   3:58:54 AM
  • 26
    I've found some 1x-4x or larger workout clothing like leggings and tops from OldNavy.com (though never in our stores, or if they are in the stores, our stores locally are so disorganized that it's impossible to find.), as well as from Kohls.com - got a cute summer-weight sleeveless racerback tank in a quick dry type fabric that was like a size 2x. I've never found any of the plus sizes of clothing at our local Dick's Sporting Goods but it is located in a "high rent district" neighborhood with majority of healthy slender people and so perhaps they don't stock the larger sizes in that store.

    Lest you think I'm just making a snarky remark, let me clarify - the Walmart that is located about a mile or so away from this same Dick's sporting goods also has a very small selection of plus sized clothing. Yet, if I drive across town to the poorer neighborhoods where people don't eat properly and have other situations contributing to their larger sizes (pick your reason - lack of proper education, low income, etc.), the Walmart in those neighborhoods are just loaded with clothing for larger sizes. So it really does depend on the demographics of any particular neighborhood - and that's why shopping online is a big draw for me. - 3/6/2012   9:17:00 PM
  • 25
    I've been very fortunate in perusing the 80% off rack at my favorite department store for some terrific buys and now have a few great workout outfits. I'm also happy to be fitting into the smaller t-shirts I outgrew. WooHoo! My goal is to only keep a few sizes in my closet that honor a healthy BMI and am regularly sending my bigger sizes to the local thrift shop. - 3/6/2012   5:20:37 PM
  • WILDRESCU
    24
    I used to only workout in black sweats and baggy t-shirts...but this only made me feel frumpy, fatter, and I hated looking at myself in those cardio room mirrors. I finally bought some black workout pants and some bright workout tops from Target (great prices). Now I feel more inspired and happier when I workout, and the workout pants are generally more slimming than sweats. Everyones different, but workout clothes inspire me to work harder, and I feel prettier in them, and less frumpy. - 3/6/2012   4:41:14 PM
  • BETTYCQ
    23
    This article shed a new light on working out. We all buy clothes for going to work, the weather, going swimming. I have never owned a set of "workout" clothes in my life but always had multiple swimsuits and good shoes. Shorts and tees left over from the summer were my usual workout clothes. So now I do believe that I OWE it to myself to get something nice and cool that's fit to wear in public.

    PS: Lands End and H20 Wear are good places for larger swim suits that hold up. - 3/6/2012   3:34:05 PM
  • BIGBLACKGAL
    22
    I agree that the best investment is footwear! I like sweat pants and a comfort shirt. Old Navy is great for cheap top. I am 312 and 6'1" I am huge but I can fix their XXL. I think footwear, footwear footwear is where to spend the bucks. - 3/6/2012   2:13:24 PM

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