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


By: , – With Research by ~INDYGIRL
  :  75 comments   :  102,830 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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  • 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
    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
    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
    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
  • 21
    For me, I need feel good in what I have on and if I feel fat and ugly in what I am wearing to workout my attitude sucks and I won't go. I didn't realize I was this way until recently. I lost weight the first time at home and didn't really care 'cause no one saw me. Then I had back and other problems and put some weight back on and went to the gym once I was cleared and my workout clothes were snug and I felt bad and didn't want to be there. It took a while for me to realize I had to get new clothes so I would feel positive about myself and going.

    The right clothes do make a difference! - 3/6/2012   1:53:36 PM
  • 20
    The only thing I spend money on for exercise is good shoes. Have you looked at the prices on those websites listed? Catherine's is the only site that has reasonably priced "active wear"...that one could possibly be active in. My t-shirts and sweats work out just fine for my workouts. - 3/6/2012   1:51:37 PM
  • SUMMER1909
    thx really helpful - 3/6/2012   1:39:50 PM
  • KYNDAL01
    I have found that Walmart has some really nice and usually cheap exercise/yoga gear....I really cannot see buying expensive workout gear because I want to spend my money on new clothes when i loose all the weight i want loose, plus i would rather look good when I loose the weight than to look good exercising - 3/6/2012   1:23:23 PM
    I like to wear the yoga pants that I purchased while working at Victoria's Secret. They look small, but you'd be amazed at the stretch - the size large in the Pink collection, according to size charts, should fit a size 10-12. However, they comfortably fit my size 18-20 self, with the added bonus that the stretch material helps compress and smooth, so they help you look better just by putting them on. The stretch also means that they can be worn through a drastic size change, so I won't need to buy new ones until I'm considerably smaller. - 3/6/2012   1:17:52 PM
  • 16
    for plus size dancewaear, I just found a full-bodied unitard from dahlal.com but only available in black and goes up to 3x and ranges from $54 to $57. - 3/6/2012   1:17:02 PM
  • 15
    Academy Sports has a great selection also and the prices are very reasonable. Don't forget Ross and TJ Maxx! - 3/6/2012   1:11:09 PM
  • 14
    I actually like Old Navy too (but they are hit and miss). I have short legs and a long torso, so Old Navy's active wear pants actually fit me, rather than having the inseam waaaay too long for working out! - 3/6/2012   12:49:56 PM
  • 13
    Just My Size (Hanes) also carries lots of exercise bras at good prices (I like Glamorise bras) and Champion exercise clothes in plus sizes too.

    Target also has very reasonably prices exercise clothes, although you might have to hunt for the XXL sizes in colors other than black. - 3/6/2012   12:27:13 PM
  • 12
    I am short so I have a really hard time buying bottoms.. I would a cute pair of flared capris but on me they come down to almost my ankles.. - 3/6/2012   12:16:00 PM
  • 11
    I have found great deals at Walmart! - 3/6/2012   12:10:26 PM
  • 10
    great article... i never knew workout wardrobe could be so important
    - 3/6/2012   11:53:56 AM
  • 9
    I found yoga pants and a lot of workout tops in the clearance section of Shopko. Best place to get inexpensive pieces in 2x and 3x, at least, in our town. End of season sales are a good bet. - 3/6/2012   11:44:51 AM
  • 8
    Great list! It's about time they started coming out with affordable workout clothes in plus sizes. - 3/6/2012   11:35:32 AM
  • 7
    Thanks so much for this list! I've had great luck at Wal Mart, and often find great prices when their active-wear goes on sale. Also, good, supportive cross-trainer shoes are very important and the one item I never skimp on anymore. - 3/6/2012   11:16:07 AM
  • 6
    I totally agree that having good workout clothes that fit are essential to the weight loss journey. However, I don't think it's worth paying a lot for my workout clothes while I'm still losing weight! I'm truly determined to lose weight, and I have been, so I know that anything I buy today will likely not fit 3 months from now if I keep up a decent pace of weight loss. I am not going to pay The Avenue's prices for workout clothes, JCP is more in my price range for 3 months of wear! - 3/6/2012   11:12:51 AM
  • 5
    When I started working out at 300 lbs, I wore 4X leggings and a large 5X tee from Walmart. As I lost I bought Danskin also from Walmart. Great choices in size and colors. The prices were very reasonable . I kept some of the 1X to sleep in, since I am now a size 8 in workout clothes. - 3/6/2012   11:07:01 AM
    Thanks for the list of resources! I just spent a very frustrating hour+ at Sports Authority trying to find a decent/relatively inexpensive top for a 10K. The largest size tops available were XL (and not very many of those), and almost all had lycra in them, which makes them smaller. I was almost in tears when I left there. - 3/6/2012   10:57:54 AM
  • 3
    Have not thought much about buying clothes specifically for working out - I just wear my jeans and sweatshirt. Plan to check out Penney's and WalMart this week (we don't have very many stores here in Pendleton, but we do have a Penney's and a WalMart. - 3/6/2012   10:54:52 AM
  • 2
    The best workout bra I have found is from www.movingcomfort.com
    the Maia bra is my favorite, it goes up to size 44DD! - 3/6/2012   10:53:38 AM
    Addition Elle!! - 3/6/2012   10:33:23 AM

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