It probably goes without saying that a review is honest, but I think deep down we know that they aren’t always the most truthful. I have invested a lot of money in activewear (clothes that can be worn for exercise but interchangeably for regular life) and gym clothes in the last few months — and I am going to share the brutal truth about what I’ve found and give my honest reviews.
This post contains affiliate links.
Let me preface this by saying that you do not need to spend any money on clothes to workout in. I wear t-shirts and sweats a lot too. As you are moving your body more – whether in the gym, while walking outdoors, dancing in your kitchen, whatever – you will discover the most comfortable clothing for yourself. I just really love workout clothes! It’s an exciting time to shop for exercise clothing as more and more brands are becoming size-inclusive, and I love to see it! Having proper clothing to workout in will help your mobility and regulate your body temperature, which are both super important reasons for the investment.
Some Sizing Stats About Me
Every body is different but as a starting point for considering what you might feel fabulous in, I will share all of my “stats” in this review. I am 5’4″. At my [re]dedication to fitness, in the beginning of December 2020, I weighed 236.6 lb. (left photo) I should’ve been wearing size 18 jeans but was stuffing myself into size 16 and XL/1XL tops. It is at this size that I made all of these purchases. Today, I weigh 215.8 lb. I’ve lost 5″ in my stomach and 3.5″ in my true waist. I fit a lot better in my size 16 jeans. (right photo) So now let’s get to the fun stuff.
We all know that Amazon is hit or miss with clothing, but I’m going to start there with just 3 things.
I am ob-freakin-sessed with these bike shorts. I bought them for my upcoming hiking in Hawaii, and they fit so comfortably that I immediately hopped online and ordered two more pair. I’m wearing an XL here:
Darn Tough Socks
Darn Tough no-show socks – Seems weird to put in a gym wear post but you’ve got to wear socks, and these are worth the splurge. I wanted to try various thicknesses so I ended up buying several pair and I love them all! They breathe well and I’ve never had a blister when I’ve worn them (and I’ve covered a LOT of miles!).
This crop top is super fun and cute. I love the back! I’m wearing a 1X. I will say that there is almost no stretch at all and between that and the straps, it’s a real challenge to get on and off.
That’s it for an Amazon haul with the exception of hiking gear. I have a category in my Amazon shop which includes everything I am currently using including my fav shoes!
Target has really stepped up their activewear game! I have to avert my eyes sometimes or I’d spend all my money there. 😉 The downside is that their sizing isn’t all that inclusive. They have XL in some items. When you click “Womens Plus” for activewear online, there are literally 4 items that show up. That’s lame!
I have this ribbed racerback tank top (below) in purple and black in size XL. I love that it’s flowy and is shorter in the back than the front. The other item I like from this line is the ribbed leggings (see the teal pair in the photo above; also XL). I have them in teal and blue. I don’t see them online right now but from time to time they have them in different colors. Highly recommend! There isn’t a front seam, which is my preference. They’re high waisted and full length. They’re stretchy but have a bit of a compression as well. The “Seamless Collection” gets a thumbs up.
Misses – A lot of their workout wear lacks STRETCH! This makes it pretty hard to *ahem* workout in. This outfit is kinda painful to share because it was kinda painful to wear! I was 221 lb. this day and these are XL. Not really my size yet but I squeezed in it to give it a try. It was a real struggle honestly and I don’t even want to wear it again TBH. I also hate the front seam. So there ya go.
All in Motion
All in Motion is another Target brand, with options for the entire family. Love them for activewear for my 8 year old son. Not so much for myself. The sizing is off in my opinion. The only thing I like so far is this sports bra. I bought a pair of bike shorts that have mesh at the bottom. Where the mesh starts they are smaller on my leg and dig into it. Just not a fan.
Spoiler alert: my favorite brand for gym clothes. Years ago, I started following Buffbunny on Instagram and bookmarked it in my brain for “someday”. When I started working out again this year, I was very pleased to see how size-inclusive they are now, carrying sizes XXS-XXXL. *heart eyes* If you could be in actual love with a brand, Buffbunny is my soulmate. Haha I really love this brand. I love their message, marketing, photos, and obviously the clothing!! In January I splurged on these three outfits (all XXL):
There is just no comparison to the look (so flattering!) and feel of these clothes. Worth every penny and I have to restrain from ordering more. Seriously! I told myself no more in this size (but I’m about to be in the next size down, so…..).
I feel like all the cool girls are wearing Fabletics now. 🙂 Love that they’ve started including plus sizes. I decided to get a membership and ordered 8 items when they were having a big New Years sale. If you have cold weather where you live, their outwear gets an A+ from me.
I placed my order the end of January and this fleece pull-over and puff jacket saw me through the coldest time of year here. When my order arrived I weighed 228 lb. and everything was a size 1X. I returned only one item — a pair of what they call “PowerHold®” leggings, because they were so tight I couldn’t even pull them on. In hindsight, I wish I had returned these purple leggings (cute but fit weird and bunchy), and a pair of joggers (not pictured). I just don’t think joggers are that flattering on me. The black leggings (top middle photo below) are the “Trinity High-Waisted Pocket 7/8” style, which they have in several colors. Very comfortable and my favorite length. I do wish there was just a bit more compression in the tummy area. Also a fan of the “Zone High-Waisted 7/8” style which they carry in several color-ways as well.
Overall, I think Fabletics offers a good variety for a reasonable price, especially if you get the VIP membership and place orders during sales. All this said, I’ve had issues with exchanging items which left a bad taste in my mouth. I also had issues with shipping, where part of my order took weeks to get to me. These things are important to me and do affect my feelings in wanting to spend more money with them.
What I want to try next
I hope my reviews help you make some informed decisions! There are so many great brands out there to shop from. I’ve got an entire list of activewear shops to try when I’m ready to buy again. Love Fitness Apparel (based in Hawaii) is next on my list to try. They have sizes up to 2XL. Athleta by Gap offers a 1X-3X fitness line, if you’re in need of basics.
In another post, I’ll share some other cool stuff I have, use, and love – before, during, and after my workouts. You can follow my day-to-day fitness journey on Instagram @lovejoleenfit and on TikTok @lovejoleenfit! If you’re shopping for other plus-sized clothing, don’t miss my 2021 Plus Sized- Swimsuit Haul!