We believe that everyone deserves to wear beautiful, comfortable sportswear when working out – whatever their shape or size. That’s why we’ve scouted out the best size-inclusive brands for leggings, sports bras and sports jackets. Enjoy!
As a plus-size person, I know all too well the struggles of finding activewear that fits, flatters and boosts confidence. Labels that tick all of the boxes are rare, which is why Strong Women has compiled the ultimate guide to sports kit for bigger bodies – including flattering colours, bright patterns, comfy styles and innovative pieces.
Being plus-size doesn’t mean you can’t be mentally and physically strong, and it is incredibly refreshing to see brands adapt to their customer base. With the likes of Meg Boggs, Jessamyn (@mynameisjessamyn) and @chloeincurve_ advocating for plus-size fitness, it’s clear that more plus-size people are partaking in sports and exercise. More brands are expanding their lines to cater to above a size large and above, with some brands catering up to a UK 30. The extended sizing that brands are using is brilliant for any plus-size women who want to build strength and get fit.
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Founded by a mum of two in 2018, Sharon Keegan started her activewear brand Peachy Lean to help women feel better in their own skin. In April of this year, Peachy Lean appeared on Dragon’s Den and Sharon secured a £100K investment.
Championing self-love with their very own “self-love club”, Peachy Lean caters up to a 4XL (UK 24–26), which makes this brand incredibly inclusive – something that we love. Their high-waisted leggings (£65) claim to be bum-sculpting, sweat-wicking and quick-drying and are available in seven colourways and one patterned print.
Peachy Lean leggings are made from a fabric containing a high spandex content, so these leggings provide support and compression while being completely squat-proof. We love these leggings as they are bright, bold and practical – perfect for wearing to the gym before popping out for coffee, they are both versatile and stylish!
ASOS’ activewear brand, 4505, has a plus-size range of over 60 items. With sizes going up to a UK 30, 4505 has a wide variety of different activewear garments for every workout occasion. From Booty Legging Shorts (£18), which are perfect for workouts on warmer summer days to Oversized Cotton T-Shirts (£14) and the Run Set with Reflective Contouring, 4505 is a top pick of ours because of the variety of items that they stock.
With sustainability at its core, TALA aims to disrupt your wardrobe with its “slow fashion approach to sustainable style that doesn’t cost the earth”. TALA stocks up to a UK size 18, so perfect for any smaller plus-size people out there who want to shop sustainably to look stylish while working out.
We are loving their Dusk Joggers (£40) in cream with the matching Doze Half Zip Sweatshirt (£45) to throw on after an intense gym workout. For a yoga session, we are big fans of their Aurora Flared Leggings (£38) teamed with their Sade Regular Length Top (£32) and finished off with the black Oversized Borg Jacket (£75). All of TALA’s products are made sustainably – their sweatshirts with recycled cotton and polyester, and their tops with bamboo and recycled polyamide.
The best plus-size swimwear out there, in our opinion, is from Elomi. Our favourite pick has to be their Plain Sailing Midnight Stripe Crop Bikini Top (£48) with matching Adjustable Bikini Brief (£36). The Crop Bikini Top is incredibly supportive – having tried and tested it, we can confirm that there’s no spillage when swimming! Perfect for the pool, lido or sea, this classic set is very forgiving and is available from a UK 14–26 and up to a 42H. It’s also supportive and true-to-size.
Not only do Elomi stock brilliant swimwear, but their Energise Sports Bra (£36) is available in four different colourways and is great for fuller busts. Available up to a 46K, it’s size-inclusive, supportive and comfortable, with side support for a more forward shape, a unique non-compression design for ultimate support, a moveable J-hook for style versatility and microfiber fabric that wicks moisture away from the skin.
Coming under fire in 2018 due to their reluctance to become more inclusive, Victoria’s Secret has recently expanded its size range to cater up to a UK 20 and XXL in most ranges. With their Incredible Essential Legging (£35) catering up to a UK 20, plus-size babes can now wear VS activewear and look incredible while doing so.
Match with the Incredible Essential Strappy Back Bra (£20). The nylon performance legging is super soft and features a four-way stretch fabric, thick waistband and wiking fabric. The waistband is comfortable and keeps you feeling secure all workout long. Perfect for strength training and running, we love how versatile and on-trend this set is.
Known for their seamless activewear, Women’s Best recently brought their site over to the UK and have since been incredibly popular on social media. Their seamless leggings are available in a wide variety of colours ranging from turquoise to red and mint green to pink – there’s a colour option for everybody, no matter what your comfort zone might be! Seamless leggings are perfect for working out – especially HIIT workouts, weight training and running – which is why we love these leggings so much.
These seamless leggings are breathable, lightweight, durable and are great for compression and support. Ranging from an XS to an XXL, Women’s Best don’t have a sizing chart. Instead, they have a virtual assistant to whom you tell your measurements and they tell you what size is best for you. Their Seamless Power Leggings (£44) come in 12 different colours, which makes them perfect for the fashion-conscious.
Sportswear brand Nike has an extensive collection of plus-size activewear, with some lines catering up to a UK 32–34! Their Sports Leggings (£35) feature an elasticated waist, which teams up perfectly with a Printed Cotton T-Shirt (£20) and the Black Zip-up Hoodie (£48).
With their inclusive sizing range, Nike has risen the bar for plus-size activewear that fits a range of bodies and keeps them looking stylish and for this, we commend them!
4 tips on plus-size dressing for a workout session:
Looking stylish when working out can be a massive confidence booster! Wearing clothing that makes you feel good about yourself while providing comfort is a must for all body types, and plus-size people are no different. Here are our top 4 tips on dressing a plus-size body for a work-out session:
- Wear colours that make you happy. If bright colours make you feel brighter within yourself, be bold and wear those hot pink leggings. A lot of activewear brands stick to dull colours when designing for a fuller figure, thinking we want to stay hidden – but if colours give you confidence, we recommend Peachy Lean, Women’s Best and Victoria’s Secret!
- Rip up the fashion rule book and wear styles that make you feel comfortable. Plus-size people CAN wear sports bras teamed with leggings – and they look amazing when doing so! Meg Boggs always looks brilliant when sporting bright coloured sports bras with yoga pants – and if she can look amazing, you can too!
- Choose leggings that are seamless or have strong overlocking. Being plus-size means you’re probably well-versed with wearing leggings that split down the seams – so always opt for seamless leggings or those that have strong overlocking to ensure you’re able to move freely without fear of the seams splitting.
- A supportive sports bra will be your best friend. If you have a full bust, it’s important you support it properly, especially when working out. Getting fitted (virtual and phonecall fittings are more popular than ever) is a great way to confirm your breast size, and then investing in a well-fitting sports bra is a must! A good sports bra will support your bust, minimise spillage, feel comfortable and look great!
For more activewear ideas, healthy recipes and workout tips, follow Strong Women on Instagram (@StrongWomenUK).
Images: retailers’ own