what not to wear…to work out

Posted on May 19, 2014 by

I wish someone would pay attention.


Nike, Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia, EMS, REI, MEC, Danskin, Title 9, Junonia, I don’t care.

We’ll leave Lululemon out of this for obvious reasons.

There’s a big problem in the athleticwear world, and I’ve just about had it.

If you are apple-shaped (waist bigger than hips) and over, say, size 12, they don’t make athletic gear that STAYS UP.  This is especially true for women, I suspect.  If I am going to bounce around, I want my clothes to STAY ON MY BODY.

Not fall down.

Not need to be hitched up.

Not, by all that is holy, trip me when they end up around my ankles.

Occasionally I find a pair of shorts that works.  Sometimes.  The rest of the time, all the well-meaning leggings and carefully-designed yoga pants roll down under my waist and slowly scootch down until they hit the point of no return, or until I yank them back into place while trying to continue to move.

It makes me nuts.  In fact, it makes me NOT go running.  How do men deal with this?  I have no idea.  Even Junonia, which is generally really good about making athleticwear (in feminine styles only)  in larger sizes, designs most of their gear assuming hourglass and pear shapes, which means there are hips to hang things on.

In the end, I have resorted to running dresses, which are the only logical solution.  They still cover the important bits, but they do so by hanging from my shoulders, which are apparently close enough to regulation proportions to keep things where they belong.

Mind, I have not historically been a dress-type-person.  But I AM practical, and if a dress solves a problem, I am generally willing to go with “solution” over “random cultural hangup I developed in third grade”.  I had my reasons, but I have my reasons about dresses, too.  In fact, my transition back to wearing skirts came when I acquired a Utilikilt. Think Robin Hood.  He wore tights…But I digress…

So on the topic of running dresses: yay!  A practical solution.  Now, could we please get them in sizes and cuts that accommodate apple shapes?  Because, dear sportspeople, there are LOTS of us who like to move who are not sturdy hourglass-12’s or willowy and spare 2’s.  (And what about the men? We’re not that advanced as a culture yet.) I am somewhere between a 14 and a 16 unless you’re a different kind of size in which case I might be something else.  Yay manufacturer sizing.  And my waist and hips are usually the same, unless it’s the week of my period in which case my waist might well be bigger.

This is especially irksome when I see people who make athleticwear grumbling that more people should get in shape.  If you want us in shape, MAKE US SOME CLOTHES.  *ahem* Have you ever tried to work out in jeans?  I have, because my jeans stay on my body.

Nuu-Muu (linked above) has absolutely come the most consistently close to this.  Their size chart indicates that I could reasonably order an XL and have a chance of it fitting.  Thank you, Nuu-Muu.  I notice your Ocean dress is sold out in XL and apparently not offered in XXL.  Sadface.  Further, you have SO MANY cool prints that aren’t even available in the larger sizes, like, ever.  Why?

Still, here’s what I love: the length, designed for actual movement.  The prints, designed for actual humans.  The style, high necked enough to actually use for actual exercise.  Win, win, win.

Mountain Hardwear made the dress I’m wearing right now.  Too long, and too deep in front, but it looks halfway decent which is more than I can say for the other brands I’ve tried on.

Apple shape, people.  If I’m paying $70-$90 for a dress, I want something that’s comfy and flattering both.

And here’s another idea: for those of us who sometimes need pants under our dresses (either because we do a lot of inversions, like in dance, or because we don’t live in California), how about a secret hidden way to hook the pants or shorts to the dress, so they can’t fall down, while still making it easy to use the toilet?

And what about the men?  Exercise kilts?  I’m listening.

Also: How about women’s board shorts that come in XL and higher?  Those are nice technical fabrics with drawstrings built in.  If you can find ones that fit, those suckers .don’t. come. down.  Score!  I’d wear men’s, but they’re usually so long they look like capris.

Gramicci has some great climbing pants with built in belts and gusseted crotches.  That’s what I’m talking about.  How about that design with a little spandex built in, for when I’m not rock climbing?

I’d love to exercise without shocking anyone’s mother.  That’s all.  If I could do it without breaking the bank, too, that’d be great but I know I want my clothes made by people making a living wage.

Might I suggest a focus group of round athletes to help with brainstorming and design?

Who’s with me?

Tweet it!  What’s your athleticwear beef?  How do you handle apple-shaped-action? #apple #Iamanathlete