Sunday, February 23, 2014

Where's my workout gear...?

When I set my feet on this path a year ago, one of the things that got me really ridiculously excited was the fact that I could actually buy workout gear that fitted.

Amazingly excellent workout gear - available at BigW

Michelle Bridges had an entire range - One Active, sold through BigW, that catered not only for the little people, but also for the fat chicks that God forbid  wanted to look good while changing their lives.  So no matter what your size, whether a petite little size 8 or a whopping great size 26  which was me, and in all honesty I was probably bigger than that, but when you're that big, you tend to make things fit, what other choice is there... there was something for everyone.

It was wonderful. I felt included. I felt that someone understood.  Being fat doesn't mean that you have no taste, and it certainly doesn't mean that you don't like to take pride in your appearance.

Being fat, for a lot of us, means that shopping in affordable places is to deny your inner fashionista.  We are inundated with clothes in a variety of colours, like black, grey, beige, black, black, and black.

Garments are often shapeless, usually ill-fitting, underwear is just plain nasty, and nightwear is so old fashioned our grandmothers wouldn't look twice at it!  If you want to look good in current fashions you have to go to a speciality store and pay twice the price, for much the same stuff.  It just comes in a nicer shade of black.

I bought 2 pairs of One Active long pants and a couple of the gorgeous One Active bright t-shirts, and a few months later another couple of shirts.

I felt AMAZING!  These little bits of Lycra and cotton had transformed me from a lumpy fat thing, self consciously roaming the streets in ill fitting tracky daks and oversized t-shirts, into a woman who took her health seriously and who was suddenly proud to be seen out and about in her One Active gear. 

I still wear those same pieces every day. The pants are so comfortable they're like a second skin, they haven't worn through at the top where my thighs rub together with enough friction to be my own little electrostatic generator powering the nation  unlike every other pair of pants I've ever owned in the history of ever. There's no pilling, no stitching has come undone - in short, these pants are perfect!

The shirts have been washed, hung on the line on 45° days, thrown in the dryer on rainy days and basically flogged to death. They have not faded at all, haven't shrunk, haven't torn - nothing. They look just like they did the day I bought them.

Now, being a woman, I get tired of wearing the same stuff every day.

Day in.  Day out.  Same stuff.  Over and over. 

Being a woman, I love to shop. 

Being a 12WBT woman, I love to shop for workout gear. 

There are heaps of places to get it from too. There's Lorna Jane, Running Bare, Rebel Sport, Lululemon... some of them even have plus sizes - Running Bare goes up to a size 22, and some of the others do an XL which is great - until you realise that their idea of XL is actually the equivalent of a size 16.

The big problem with these stores though is the price.  I don't know about you, but I am disinclined to fork over $45 for a singlet, or $90 for a pair of tights.

But there really aren't that many places to get reasonably priced, good quality, plus sized workout gear from.  I have a pair of 3/4 pants from Target - have never seen anything else since... a pair of pants and 2 shirts from Best & Less - not bad, but not my favourite... and that's it.  I don't know about K-Mart, but if they do have it, I wouldn't touch it with a 60ft barge pole, it would be like everything else they have - cheap and nasty.

I used to buy all the MB One Active stuff I could get my hands on for a couple of reasons.  As I mentioned above, the quality is brilliant, and it's well worth the money, and BigW is the only department store within cooee of my house, any other store is at least a 45 minute drive - and that's for a crappy old Best & Less!

It was always hard to snag any of the plus sized One Active when stocks came in to our local store, it all went very very quickly, the same can't be said however for the smaller sizes, that stuff seems to just sit on the racks.  I always check both sections when I look as when the range first came in, the entire stock, regardless of size, was in one place, then after a while, some of it began filtering over to the plus sized section, but I still check it, just in case.

The last couple of collections that have been released have only had the smaller sizes in them.  I was telling myself that it was only because MB was working on new designs for the plus range.  I ignored all the chatter on the forums, all the gossip in FB groups, all the rumours that the range had been deleted.  I even got encouraged when a survey was done supposedly with the blessing of MB as they wanted to know our feeling on the plus sized range.

They were keen for feedback!
This was looking good.

Cue happy dance!

Today I received a BigW catalogue in the mail  it's a week early which is a nice change from getting it 3 days before it ends  that is fitness focused.  On the cover is Guy Leech - meh, and MB looking hot in the new One Active collection.

I got all excited.  No, it doesn't take much, sad isn't it?...  Off I went and made myself a cappuccino to enjoy while I made out my shopping list of new One Active gear!

I spilled said cappuccino all over my pants, shoes, coffee table, spare shoes, catalogues and carpet...  I cleaned up the mess and tried again!  Huzzah! Success!

I seated myself comfortably on my couch, legs tucked beneath me, hands wrapped around a steaming mug of coffee.  I opened the front cover and saw before me 2 whole pages of new MB One Active gear - seventeen new pieces to choose from - SEVENTEEN!!!

Joy!  Rapture!

Aaaand it's all in small sizes.  Every item bar one, a t-shirt which goes up to an 18,  is in sizes 8-16.

Not a single solitary item in a plus size.

We don't have a lot of options open to us as plus sized women, and One Active was pretty amazing stuff.  It could change the way we felt about ourselves - what do we do now?  Putting on actual workout gear as opposed to tracky daks & t-shirt   made me feel like I belonged to something that until then, had been an exclusive club.  It's not like we can walk into any store and grab something off the rack like people who are size 8-16 can.

I'm not thin bashing, or sizist, or any other modern politically correct term that some may wish to label me with, but if that's what you think, knock yourself out.  What I am doing is pointing out that fashion is a metaphorical buffet for some people and for others it's an empty table.

I know it's purely a business decision, but come on, there is a market for plus size workout gear.  You only have to look in the forums and the FB groups to see that.

If the sales aren't big enough to satisfy BigW, change the label and sell it in the 12WBT store.

Call it '12 Week Transformation Gear'... 'MB's TG'...  Something!

One day in the future, when I'm small enough, I'll be able to buy it again, but that day is a long way off.

In the mean time, what do I wear?


  1. That's really disappointing Annie, I didn't realise, mainly because we don't have a Big W here and I have to wait until I drive 2 hours to Geelong to go visit. I'm the same, I like that the gear fits, and I still wear my Size 16 leggings, albeit hoisted up, but they are sooooo comfy. Have you written to 12wbt about it (I know it's not them as such, but it's at least a line to MB)? And I think that's an exceptional idea to sell the larger sizes in the 12wbt store, where else will you get an audience like that.

    But I hear you, the workout gear is like wedding dresses, their idea of a size and my idea of a size do not even meet in the middle.

    The only other place I've seen larger plus sized workout gear is Target, but I don't think the quality is exactly there. I will keep a look out for you, because to be honest I don't like wearing my gear tight, showing all my lumps and bumps.


  2. Before I go, I just wanted to show you this. I recently bought this top and it's waaaaay gorgeous, and goes up to AUS 22 (it has the measurements on the site). It's nice and loose and it dips lower in the back so it's flattering and has a couple of splits up the side. It's yes $59.95, but it's really REALLY nice. I got the black/white one. If you are looking for a pretty top that will make you feel good and don't mind paying the money, great service and they are apparently very good about exchanging if the size is wrong.
    t's made a semi-appearance on my blog but no full length shot. I'm wearing it for a fun-run I'm doing on Friday night so will get Mike to take a pic so you can see.

  3. Love your blog! I have a weight loss blog myself if you want to check it out! Best of luck on your weight loss journey :)