The Best Plus-Size Apparel for Active Women

Sweat in style, no matter your size

November 9, 2012

Women come in all shapes and sizes, but exercise apparel hasn't always. Mother of five and founder of the Sexy Moms Running Club Becky Reese recently launched a plus-size activewear collection for just that reason. "I love to run, but I found it frustrating that I couldn't find anything to wear," she says. "[Fitness] clothing size 12 and up was truly non-existent," she says.

When looking for or designing pieces to wear on a run, she says functionality is key. "I see women working out in cotton t-shirts and I cringe," she says. "I jokingly call it chub-rub, but if you work out in the wrong fabric, that's what you'll get--and it hurts! That's why we used moisture-wicking fabrics."  (Search: What is moisture-wicking fabric?) Additionally, features like long waistlines, dark colors, color-blocking, and pockets that don't add bulk make a sleek silhouette. Most of all, make sure the clothes you buy really fit, Reese advises. "The big thing for people to look for is that it fits properly," she says. If you see bulges in the store, it's not going to look good, no matter what," she says. "You need to buy for the size you are now, not for the size you want to be." The following 12 pieces offer functionality and a flattering fit--and they're fashionable, too.

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Enell Sports Bra
2/13 Enell
1. Best Sports Bra

Dreamed up by a former volleyball player, these bras are specially designed for well-endowed women up to 52DD. The bra boasts wide shoulder straps and compression design to prevent aching shoulders. The front hook eye closure makes the bra easy to take on and off, and moisture-wicking material will keep you cool and comfortable as you work up a sweat. 

Another Great Pick: Juno Active Glamorise Motion Control and Back Support Sport Bra, $42,

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Moving Comfort Foxie Full Zip Jacket
3/13 Moving Comfort
2. Best Jacket

Moving Comfort Foxie Full Zip Jacket
Available in XL and 2X sizes, this cozy zip-up features fashionable touches, like form-flattering side panels in space-dyed fabric and ruched details on the front pockets and back. It's also functional--the high neck can be pulled up or folded down, and thumbholes in the sleeves keep hands and wrists warm. Choose from black, purple, or blue.

Another Great Pick: Moving Comfort Sprint Jacket, $85,

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Becky Reese Carol Top
4/13 Becky Reese
3. Best Long-Sleeve Top

Becky Reese Carol Top
This sleek long-sleeve, color block tee features an extra long torso to make you look long and lean. "We used color blocking because it's flattering, and dark colors because they're sleek," Reese says. Additionally, a long waistline ensures you won't flash your tummy when you raise your arms. Thumbholes in the sleeves keep your arms in place, and a back pocket offers storage for keys.

Another Great Pick: C9 by Champion Women's Premium 1/4 Zip Jacket, $40,

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Juno Active QuikWik V-Neck
5/13 Juno Active
4. Best Tee

Juno Active QuikWik V-Neck Tee
Whether you're running, biking, walking, or practicing yoga, these loose-fitting tops will keep you cool with its moisture-wicking material. This top also offers 50 UPF UV sun protection and comes in five colors.

Another Great Pick: Moving Comfort Urban Gym Tee, $54,

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Athleta Energy Tank
6/13 Athleta
5. Best Tank Top

Athleta Energy Tank
Designed for high-impact sports, like running and cycling, this tank supports up to a D cup with its wide shoulder straps. "When you're plus size, you're bigger on top and strappy tanks don't always fit right. You hang out," Reese says.  Its rear zip pocket is perfect for stashing keys, cash, or a transit card, and is reflective, to keep you visible at night.

Another Great Pick: Old Navy Compression Tank, $25,

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Old Navy Compression Pants
7/13 Old Navy
6. Best Long Pants

Old Navy Compression Pants
These are the kind of pants you feel like you could live in for the rest of your life. Flat-lock seams maximize comfort by minimizing chafing, and moisture-wicking compression fabric supports you while you sweat. The pants also feature a zipper pocket in the back for keys and other small items. Sizes range from XL to 4X.

Another Great Pick: Becky Reese Lauren Pant, $99,

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Skirt Sports Happy Girl Skirt
8/13 Skirt Sports
7. Best Sport Skirt

Skirt Sports Happy Girl Skirt
Embrace your femininity with this athletic skirt. Nine fun colors and patterns keep you looking good, while built-in compression shorts ensure that you can work out without fear of a wardrobe malfunction. Two pockets give you enough room for a golf scorecard, chapstick and keys, and the wide waistband will flatter your midsection.

Another Great Pick: Juno Active QuickWik Power Play Skirt, $40-60,

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New Balance 5-inch Tempo Shorts
9/13 New Balance
8. Best Running Shorts

New Balance 5-Inch Tempo Short
You'll feel great zipping around town in these running shorts. Two side pockets offer convenience and an odor-resistant wicking fabric protect you from sweat.

Another Great Pick: Nike Extended Size Tempo Shorts, $55,

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C9 by Champion Reversible Knee Tights
10/13 C9
9. Best Capri Pants

C9 by Champion Reversible Knee Tights
This two-in-one pant gives you a solid capri on one side, or a colorful waistband on the other. The wide waistband and stitched seams add to your comfort. 

Another Great Pick: Athleta Relay Capri, $69,

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Terry Bike Shorts
11/13 Terry Bicycles
10. Best Bike Shorts

Terry T-Short Plus
Even ultralong bike rides won't seem daunting when you entrust your tush to these soft, snug shorts. Super-wicking fabric keeps you dry, and a mid-rise waist makes for a comfortable and flattering fit.

Another Great Pick: Juno Active QuikWik Bike Short, $50,

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New Balance 847
12/13 New Balance
11. Best Shoes

New Balance WW847
Pamper your pups with this lightweight walking shoe that comes in wide and extra wide sizes. The 847 has a breathable mesh upper and soft cushioning for the soles of your feet. It also uses New Balance's Rollbar post technology to control motion, offer stability, and prevent your ankle from rolling inward or outward.

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Becky Reese Sara Dress
13/13 Becky Reese
12. Best Sport Dress

Becky Reese Sara Dress
Calling all fashionistas! This sport dress looks stylish enough for a night out on the town, but also offers functionality, like a front slit to improve range of motion, a cut that prevents chafing, moisture-wicking fabric, and a back pocket for your cell phone. "We were careful to make the pocket small so you wouldn't get that bulge in back and would still have a sleek appearance," Reese says. Wear it on the golf course, tennis court, or to your next 5-K.

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Tags: WomenGear