Amidst the growing number of plus-size-friendly activewear retailers I’ve reviewed over the last year, one brand has personally caught my eye— Athleta. I know this may seem like a surprising choice, especially when considering the era of trendy, TikTok-famous fashion landscape we’ve been in. Don't get me wrong, Athleta has been popping up across social media — especially for their inclusive in-store shopping options (a rarity for plus-size shoppers) — but odds are the brand's imagery isn't inundating your feed with a tsunami of "vibe" pics.
The brand's focus seems to be elsewhere. Athleta makes very high-quality products from extensive fit-testing with the utmost focus on fabric feel, thickness, softness, and functionality. On top of that, the company is officially recognized as a B-Corp for its intentional efforts to integrate sustainability and community in every aspect of its operation.
Athleta is also a rare retailer that has extended sizing the right way. Plus-size folks know the disappointment of thinking a brand’s sizes are inclusive when, in reality, the garments run incredibly small and don’t serve as wide an audience as advertised. For many straight brands advertising extended sizing, a 4X will often fit much smaller than industry-standard measurements I’d be the first to admit that Athleta’s sizing is not the most expansive, and I’d love to see this change in the near future. But for the sizes that they do offer, the fit is impeccable, and the garments, most importantly, are actually true to size.
Here at R29, we’re all about dishing on well-vetted products with you, so I’m here to share some of my personal favorites as well as and some plus-size best sellers from Athleta's huge catalog. Well-made and long-lasting, they'll definitely inspire your movement or lounging looks for all of 2022 and beyond.
This is my most worn item from Athleta. It’s my favorite plus-size sports bra as well as the brand's best-selling top. The fabric is comfy and the cropped halter-neck cut is Everything with a capital “E.” I own it in white and light pink, but I’m honestly hoping to own it in every color eventually. It’s definitely a multi-use garment. It can be used for fitness and movement as well as going out and dancing. I even love wearing it over a nicer pair of dress pants with some sneakers or a chunky heel. As for working out, it’s best for low- to medium-intensity workouts if you have larger breasts. And you don't just have to take my word for it. An enthusiastic reviewer shared similar feelings about the conscious crop. "[It is the] best low impact/everyday bra top EVER! So comfy and flattering, even works over another bra if you want more support for high-impact workouts."
This longline bra is great for lower-impact workouts like yoga, studio moves, or floor work. It’s made with Athleta’s buttery-soft custom Powertiva fabric. The bonded longline chest band provides ample support to your twins without an uncomfortable amount of pressure. Many reviewers are fans, with one explaining, "[The warrior longline bra is] comfortable, flattering, sexy, supportive, even with a D cup.
The ultimate bra is perfect for taking on medium- to high-impact activities like HIIT workouts. One reviewer explains just how supportive the ultimate bra has been, writing, “I love running and am a group fitness instructor, so I needed a lot of support. This bra provides just that.”
The ultra high-rise elation tights are my favorite leggings I've worn from Athleta (I'm wearing the leggings in the intro photo). The high rise is the best I’ve seen from any activewear brand. I use these for anything from yoga to a long walk, hiking, and jogging. The material is very soft to the touch, yet it has a nice thickness and is very compressive as well. I just haven’t seen another brand do the compression and smooth/soft combination quite like Athleta. As one reviewer put it, "The fabric is buttery, washes well, and maintains its shape."
With over 1000 five-star reviews, the Salutation Stash Pocket II Tight is definitely a crowd favorite for yoga. The waistband holds you in the best way, and it’s soft and comfy as a gentle hug. One reviewer gushes, “These are the best tights! The material is so soft and comfortable. The pockets are an extra bonus!”
The Altitude Tight in the Polartec fabric is the ultimate cold-weather legging. If you love a high-impact workout in the winter (like running in the freezing temps), these tights will protect you against the elements. There’s a bonus back zipper that’s useful for carrying your keys and other essentials. One of the 22,000 reviewers even notes that “[they] just shoveled snow for an hour in them and they were perfect.”
The Rainer is another cold-weather workhorse. The beautiful reflective fabric makes these ideal to use for any medium- to high-impact workouts in the early morning or after dusk. One reviewer explains it perfectly: “After wearing outdoors several times, they seem great for training in winter cold and wind, warm without compromising ease of movement and comfort.”
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