I admit it…I have a bit (cue boyfriend Steve snorting) of a yoga clothing addiction. Actually a clothing addiction in general, but that’s not as relevant. We just bought a huge new dresser for the bedroom and I insisted that all of my clothes would fit in it. Steve laughed and said, “yeah ok.” He was right, the jerk, ;-). Anyway…
My plus-size yoga students do sometimes tell me that they have a hard time finding yoga clothing that fits. My usual response is, “darn it, I wish I had that problem!” But, that’s not really fair. The truth is that us larger yogis do have far more limited choices than our smaller counterparts. Also, one of the most interesting and challenging things about teaching plus-size yogis is that “plus-size” varies greatly based on diverse body shapes – people carry their weight in different places – and in perception – I often get students in my class that I wouldn’t consider plus-size, but they do (and that’s what matters).
So if you are looking for places to find large-body friendly gear, all I can give you is a run-down of where I find my piles of yoga stuff. I recognize that these companies might not cater to your particular brand of plus-size, to which I say, shame of them. None of these companies have paid me, or sent me free stuff (but I’m totally cool with that if they want too! Call me!! Did I mention I have an addiction?) to mention them here.
Old Navy has a great line of reasonably priced activewear. I have several of their sports bras (size xxl) and some other odds and ends. I have a TON of beautiful stuff from Athleta, much of which is in my teaching rotation. I love their comfy tops and am especially excited that they have sizes up to 2x and up to 42d available for a lot of their line. Athleta can get expensive, but the sales are full of great deals.
Lucy was the first yoga specialty clothing store I discovered thanks to the availability of size xl. I love Lucy pants and have several different kinds including a couple of pairs of “Walkabout” pants that are great for everyday wear because they look sort of like normal non-yoga pants. I also like many of the the shirts I have from Lucy but their sports-bra tops tend to be a bit small on me. One thing that is great about all of the Lucy tops I own is that they are long enough to cover my butt and don’t usually ride up. Lucy also has excellent sales.
Target is a great place to shop for basics. I have a few Champion for Target sportsbras in my rotation and they also sell great simple pants. One thing though is that my particular Target store has a very limited selection of plus-size activewear so you might have better luck online.
WalMart (I know – child labor, horrible business practices – sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do…)
Here’s the thing. I don’t love shopping at WalMart. But they really do have a fantastic selection of very inexpensive yoga and workout clothing and they have sizes up to 5x in some brands. I have a bunch of yoga pants from the Danskin line and they have served me quite well for a long time. If you are looking to invest in some workout/yoga wear but don’t have a lot of money to spend or are having trouble finding options that fit, WalMart is a great place to start.
I have several tops from New York & Company that I wear to teach. In general, their tops tend to be soft, comfy and loose and the xl generally fits me. I don’t really wear their pants.
Honorable Mention to Lululemon (as of 2014, not really)
*Edited to add (Jan 2014): I recently went back to Lululemon and I think they either sized their stuff down or the quality has plummeted because now all their pants are see-through on me. I’m the same size as when I wrote this originally so…
Ah Lululemon. The pinnacle of yoga clothing marketing. Lululemon clothing is very expensive and almost never goes on sale, but they really do make the best yoga pants around. The problem, of course, is that they only make pants up to a size 12 and I do fit into many of their stretchier options, but barely. The lulu pants that I do have are, however, my favorite yoga pants. Many of their tops only go up to a size 10, which definitely does not fit me, and the tops that go up to size 12 are touch and go.
One note re: expensive yoga clothing – ebay is your friend!
Another idea: custom yoga clothes on Etsy. Etsy is a site run by Ebay for artisans to sell homemade and vintage goods. There are a lot of folks who sell yoga clothing and I’ve had a few pairs of pants made for me that I love. The great thing is that most sellers will offer custom sizing, i.e. you send them your measurements and they will make your garment to fit your body. This is especially helpful for folks who have trouble fitting into generic sizes because they have different proportions from the standard fit model. Custom made pants on Etsy tend to run from about $50-$100 so about the same price as some of the fancier yoga brands. My favorite Etsy yoga clothing purchases have come from HerbanDevi. The owner is really nice and makes great quality clothing. Note – if your measurements don’t fit into the seller’s size range, you can always email to ask if they can make you something to your measurements. The worst thing they can say is no. Note, if they need to use more fabric they may charge you a little more.
Postscript re: sportsbras. I double up. I’m not ashamed. Someday, someone will make a reasonably priced, cute sportsbra with enough support for my, ahem, assets. That day is not today (that I’ve found – please enlighten me in the comments if you have!). I just got a request from my friend to do a post specifically on sports bras. Consider it in the works!