I used to think of the gym as punishment; the place I got sent for a treadmill time-out because of my egregious crime of being not thin. So, it made sense that my gym clothes reflected my lousy attitude — they were ill-fitting, full of holes, and generally perfect for a sulky teen. But, when working out became something I actually looked forward to, something began to change.
It started with shoes. I used to wear the same sneakers until holes wore through the soles. All of a sudden, it occurred to me that quality workout shoes might actually be more comfortable — important, even. Ankle support? Heel cushioning? What a world! Slowly, as I began investing in decent sneakers — and sports bras that were less than 10 years old — I realized it felt good to dress like a grown-up. And, screw it — it looked better, too.
Of course, there are many plus-sized women who never let size get in the way of great activewear. But, it's a novelty to some of us, and with good reason. Until recently, there's been a dearth of brands that produce good-quality, supportive, and stylish items in inclusive sizes. But, thankfully, designers are beginning to catch on to the fact that the XS women of the world aren't the only ones who enjoy a kick-ass tank and soft-yet-durable joggers.
With the help of our intrepid styling team, I found a cache of size-inclusive activewear pieces that feel great throughout a workout — and look pretty cute too. Just for showing-off purposes, we shot them in action at Equinox, the gym where I spend most mornings sweating it out before work (usually while wearing a little less makeup than in these pics).
Look, there is no shame wearing your worn-out, '90s Les Mis T-shirt to work out. Frankly, when I'm staggering out the door for an 8 a.m. session, I'm proud of myself for remembering to put a shirt on, period. No way do you have to look cute at the gym. But, if you want to, it's nice to know you can.
Photographed by Lauren Perlstein; Hair and Makeup by Andi Yancey; Styled by Bethie Girmai.