When I made regular workouts a part of my lifestyle, I knew right away that I needed to invest in better exercise clothing. Not only was my old sports bra not cutting it in the support department, but I noticed how much more confident I felt when I was wearing an outfit that I thought I looked good in.
But once I started looking for fitness gear, I noticed a trend: leggings I had to constantly yank up during my workouts; sports bras that were made for small boobs only; and an overall lack of stylish workout gear for women my size.
As a size 12 woman, finding workout gear that fits, looks cute, and keeps everything supported and in place has been no easy feat. But after years of trial and error, I’ve narrowed down some of the key pieces in my fitness wardrobe that I consistently reach for whether I’m going to yoga, spin class, or a high-intensity class.
I like to think of my sports bra as the foundation of my workout outfit: without a good one, it doesn’t matter how great all of your other gear is, and you’re going to feel uncomfortable.
That being said, I’ve found the Enell High Impact Wire Free Sports Bra to be my best friend, especially when it comes to workouts that require lots of movement and jumping, like boxing, HIIT classes, and running. The hook and eye style closure really sucks and holds my breasts in place. I know it sounds semi-uncomfortable, but once you’re moving, this thing is simply incredible (especially for big busted ladies). Plus, with the closure in the front, it’s super simple to take off, even if you’re drenched in sweat.
For a more medium impact option, I like Serena Williams’ go-to bra, the Berlei High Performance Underwire Bra. While this sports bra doesn’t have as a high of a neckline as the Enell bra, the underwire support holds everything in place for activities like yoga and cycling. When finding the perfect fit, I’ve found that a snug band around your rib cage is a must. If you rely on the straps for support, your neck and shoulders will be screaming in pain by the end of your workout. If you can just barely slide two fingers under your bra band, that means it’s a supportive fit.
For all my yogis out there, I’m happy to say I’ve finally found a cute sports-bra-meets-tank that’s perfect to wear during your practice, even if you have a bigger bust. The Mini Stripe Long Line Crop Top from Target’s JoyLab Collection holds everything in place during Down Dog thanks to its high neck line. Plus, it’s super comfortable and I never feel like I need to tug it down or readjust during my workout. This crop top mimics the style of pricier pieces from Outdoor Voices too, so if you’re trying to save a pretty penny while still looking on-trend, this is a great option. I used to think I’d never be able to wear one of these crop top-style pieces, but I’m so happy I’ve found one that works for me.
Surprisingly, Forever21 is the mecca of leggings, especially for curvier girls. If you peruse Forever21’s activewear section online or in store, you’ll find a whole slew of legging options. My personal favorite are the Active High-Waisted Leggings because they don’t budge thanks to an ultra high waist band. Plus, the seamless design feels sleek and makes the leggings easy to throw on and take off.
If you struggle with constantly pulling up sagging leggings, look for a pair like these with a thick, high waist. You can even size down to help keep your bottoms in place. I’ve found that with a stretchy pair of leggings, I can still fit into them and they stay in place better than my “normal” size does.At only $14 a pop, you can easily stock your fitness wardrobe without blowing all of your cash.