I am pretty fat. I would also like to work out. Why is finding clothing so hard?
Zoë Burnett / BuzzFeed
As a size-24 woman, there’s little more frustrating than the gap in the market of great plus-size workout gear, and the cacophony of very concerned people who think that I should work out to lose weight so I can cease being fat in their eyes.
(A note: The appropriate response to this problem is not to tell me to magically get skinny.)
That means that if you’re an average American gal, and you need workout gear that’s well-fitting and — dare I dream? — actually cute, you’ve got a tough task ahead of you. Many of the most popular and well-known purveyors of stretchy pants for athletic adventures, like Lululemon (famously), GapBody, J.Crew, and other straight-size athleisure lines don’t deign to dress bigger butts — or, if they do, only go up to an XXL (roughly a size 18–20). Even plus-size brands often stop at a 3X/24, leaving anyone larger potentially pantless and definitely frustrated. I've been wearing my faithful black Old Navy compression leggings for years, but variety is the spice of life — and my thin friends always have so many more options. Still, now more than ever, there’s a growing selection of plus-size workout gear. But I was skeptical — would they be as cool as the pants my smaller friends can rock?
I tried out six pairs of leggings at a variety of price points to come up with an answer to the eternal question: What’s a fat girl who wants to get her barre on to do?
I looked at fit — does it accommodate my butt, my belly, my thick calves, and my long legs? Do they offer cute patterns or colors beyond the standard black and navy? How do they hold up to multiple wears and washes? Can they make me feel cute AF? Are they going to wiggle down during warrior pose? I’m not a professional athlete, and I don’t run ultramarathons, so highly technical and performance-related features didn’t matter as much to me — I just needed them to wick enough perspiration so that I don’t slowly chafe to death. After trying them, I rated each pair on a highly scientific scale of 1 to 5 peach emojis. 🍑