Many brands now offer larger sizes in active wear, however not all plus size active wear garments are equal. Some brands simply increase all dimensions for their plus size garments but curvy girls are not necessarily larger all over, so close fitting garments like active wear should be designed specifically for us. Zest Lifewear is one of the brands specialising in plus size active wear.
With 55% of plus size women reportedly unable to find garments that fit them properly, here's some tips to help you select a better fitting and longer wearing garment, regardless of where you buy your active wear.
Check out the waistband. A wide, double layer waistband ( rather than a narrow waistband with threaded elastic) ensures the garment doesn't slip down or cut in. There's nothing worse than bending over or squatting and your leggings slide down at the back, and you have to pull them back up every time you stand up. Super wide waistbands sound good, but will usually result in uncomfortable roll down on curvy girls . This is because they cross the natural waist, so leggings should sit comfortably at your natural waistline and be high enough to cover your belly button. Everyone needs a pocket for their locker key, card or phone, so look for this in the waistband too.
Read the product description. The fit should always be described so take note if its a compression garment, as these can be a little difficult to get on and off. Some tops are tight fitting too ( especially if there is a shelf bra built in) while others can skim your curves for a looser fit, so always check the product description for fabric and fit details, use the size guides or try on if in store.
Fabric is important. Different fabrics are used for different types of garments eg compression garments use specific fabrics as these are tight fitting and aim to reduce muscle soreness and recovery time from exercise. Once on these garments are very comfortable but can be challenging to actually get on and off - like the super skinny jeans struggle! Stretchy fabric is perfect for curvy girls and is super comfortable - the higher amount of Spandex or Lycra in the fabric the more stretch and usually comfort. Too much stretch though can increase the see through in some fabrics, and also affect durability. Spandex or Lycra is usually blended with polyester, cotton or nylon as they are durable, lightweight, fast drying and resist fading. Some brands (such as us at Zest Lifewear) use recycled fabrics such as polyester where possible, so this is a great option where available.
Check the seams. Plus size girls can be prone to chafing in some spots, so flat seams and breathable fabric will reduce potential for friction and be much more comfortable.
Stretch to see if the fabric is see through. A see through garment should be a showstopper for anyone - no one ever wants their knickers showing through their leggings, so check the description to be sure, or give the backside a really good stretch if you are in a shop.
Crop top/sports bras. As these rarely have a cup size, select your size from the size guide. A locking zip front makes getting it on and off much easier, and ensures no budging of the zip and potential 'wardrobe malfunction'.
Check your measurements. If buying online always check your measurements against the size guide and product description, as sizing and fit does vary between brands!
Review the Returns Policy. Curvy girls have boobs, bums and tummies, and sometimes the garment just doesn't fit as well as you expected it to. Best to buy from a store with a good returns policy, just in case you need to exchange sizes or return your purchase.