We’ve heard it time and time again from readers: Why is there so little good and cute plus-sized fitness apparel out there? But, ladies, we may have had a breakthrough. According to our guest writer and reviewer McKenzie Wagner — whom we adore (she’s a totally smart, hilarious and beautiful woman who makes the world a better place) — the new LIVI Active collection is ah-mazing. Today McKenzie is sharing her review of the pieces she was sent to review — along with her thoughts on plus-sized activewear in general.
Thank You, Lane Bryant: Livi Active Review
Recently, my fantastic friend, FBG Jenn, texted me in a very diplomatic fashion to see if I’d like to review a new line of plus-sized fitness clothes. She probably didn’t expect my response:
I was even more excited when I was told that the company putting out this new workout gear was my dear old friend, Lane Bryant. I’ve been a life-long customer since I’ve always been bigger than the average lady. Also, they’ve had my (tall) back, almost always carrying things that flatter women of height.
I’m sure there will be a lot of plus-sized women who aren’t surprised about what they’re going to read next: buying fun fitness outfits is a very tough experience when you wear XL+. Whenever I’ve gone out to look for a new pair of yoga pants or a sports bra in the past, I’ve always been disappointed by a lack of options in larger sizes at almost every store. It’s such a bitter irony, to realize that we, the plus-sized women of the world, would have the most difficulty finding comfortable and flattering things to wear to the gym. Aren’t we the ones that need it the most? Shouldn’t there be mountains of 14/16 and up hoodies and track pants and heavy-duty boob harnesses to encourage us to get healthy? There is always a compromise: you find something comfortable or you find something flattering, but never both. And you probably went to three or four stores to feel you’ve found something you mostly don’t like but will settle for.
Well, boy oh boy, have I got some great news for all my sisters of significant size … Lane Bryant’s new line, Livi Active, has answered our prayers! Here’s what I tried:
- Trudry Antimicrobial Mesh Insert Active Tank in Safety Yellow ($44.95)
- Antimicrobial Active Legging in Layered Geo ($44.95)
- Trudry Wicking Active Jacket with Reflective Seams in Atomic Blue ($69.95)
I’ve done a couple of workout sessions (and a couple of lounge sessions, let’s be honest here) and I am over the moon. I put in a half-hour of treadmilling tonight and never once had to shift my clothes because they had bunched up uncomfortably. That, in itself, makes these clothes worth their weight in gold. I also really enjoy the moisture-wicking qualities of the fabric, because no one likes to look or feel like a sweaty gym sock after a good Jazzercise session.
They also really outdid themselves with functionality and safety. I love that the zipper on my jacket goes all the way to the top to make somewhat of a mock turtleneck. The zippered pockets are essential for carrying your driver’s license with you to the gym without being worried it will fall out in the parking lot on your way inside. Also, every tall woman out there loves those long sleeved shirts and jackets with that little hole for your thumb — they help keep our delicate wrists a little warmer in the winter!
The leggings come up to a comfortable not-too-low-on-my-waist level that keeps that tummy camouflaged. Scared to go for a jog at night? The jacket I tried had reflective detailing to make sure you can be seen. My tank is also a very brilliant shade of neon yellow that you couldn’t overlook if you wanted to.
Plus-sized girls are all used to the idea of having two, maybe three options for any specific article of clothing, but this is the part that genuinely surprised me: there are so! many! options! Do you want to wear bold colors and prints? Do you want to wear muted or darker colors? Do you want to wear some tights to show off your slim ankles and a sports bra to show off your abs you’re working so hard on? Do you want to wear borderline sweats and a loose yet comfortable hoodie when you’re just starting out and not feeling super confident? Although it seems impossible to even be typing this right now, the options are all over the spectrum! I even got a compliment from the girl at the front desk at my gym recently when wearing my Livi Active outfit of jacket, tights and tank. She loved the bright colors, and then was blown away when she walked around the desk to see the fun print on the tights.
So ladies, take your mom and grandma shopping for some workout clothes next time you’re near an LB and although this seems crazy, you’ll ALL walk out happily with new outfits so that you can get fit together! —McKenzie