So many of you have asked me in messages, emails, Tweets, and on Instagram:
WHERE DO I FIND CLOTHES THAT FIT WELL, ARE COMFORTABLE, AND ARE WELL-MADE?
I am currently a size 18/20 and my flat feet are a size 11. I have boobs that nursed my child for 18 months. They are not and never have been perky.
I have thighs. Big, strong, BARREL-SHAPED thighs. I own that.
I have big, super strong calves. My pride and joy--I mean, after my son...
I have a midsection that is floppy and sometimes like to peek above the top of my pants to check out what's going on.
I have arms that are nicely toned in some areas and are floppy in other areas.
I need clothes that make me feel good, support me in the right places, and don't look like they are from another century, or are and feel like an afterthought.
This is why I am putting this out here. I'll write some more posts as I experiment with new gear in my eternal quest to find the perfect clothes (Basically, I think TNF capris and tights are close to perfect, but PROVE ME WRONG!)
My run kit has gone through many different iterations. I went buying my earliest "running" clothes at Target, to buying most of my gear online. Unfortunately, this is the way many of us big gals have to shop, since most stores will not carry anything over XL. Most XL's are designed for sizes 14/16-18. Sometimes there are pieces that are actually TRUE TO SIZE, but not many. Other companies have weird, "unique" sizing that means nothing unless you can actually try them on at a brick and mortar store...and it's unlikely to occur unless you live near said store. I typically buy a piece online and if I like it, I will buy several of the same to last a few months/years.
Okay so here are a couple of my run kits. Keep in mind that:
1. I always prefer to run on trails. Most of my running clothes I choose because they work well on the trail. This does not mean that they won't work on a road run or a treadmill run, however.
2. I run long. I like shorter runs (3-5 miles, say) but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE long runs. They are my GF bread and butter! I also make sure that my clothes can handle being out for hours at a time.
3. I don't go for fashion, although there are some really cut things out there. All of my friends and family are currently rolling their eyes. Don't worry, I HEAR about it all the time. But wanna know something? My running clothes are WAY MORE fashionable than my work clothes.
4. I don't have separate clothes for yoga and gym workouts. If I could, I would wear my running clothes, well, EVERYWHERE.
5. I don't like baggy running clothes. In fact, I'd rather them be fitted and showing the curves than anything else. Getting used to your body in fitted clothes is a great lesson in self-appreciation and self-love. This is how your body looks. LOVE IT.
6. Good, long-lasting, well-fitting clothes cost money. You may have to buy one piece at a time, even every few months. I will skimp on work clothes but I will not skimp on running clothes!
This outfit is (mostly) brought to you by Torrid. I'm wearing a pair of their Colorblock Legging and the Spacedye Zip Hoodie. Underneath, I have on my UnderArmour UA Tech Tank in pink. My pack is the Nathan VaporCloud 2L Pack, and my sneaks are Adidas Energy Boost (first version, I believe). Socks are Swiftwick. Head band is by Hats Off Headbands. Perhaps most important is the bra. In this pic I'm wearing the Panache Sports Bra. No lie, I've been wearing it as my daily bra, it's so flattering and well-fitting..I found the tights to run a bit on the big side, they did slip down a little bit--I've been losing weight because of all the training I've been up to (ha, just not this week because I have a cold-thanks son!) The best thing about the tights is that they are high-waisted and they hold all that stuff in while you're bouncing around, running, jumping up and down... I love that. Never did I worry about the butt peeking out on this 15 mile run. Even though the legs were sliding down a bit, the waist held tight for dear life. The jacket is GREAT! I love it. The headband works well to absorb the head-sweat and to keep errant strands of hair from tickling your face. I love the Adidas sneakers, but only for road and treadmill runs, as they have very little tread. They are super comfortable for my flat fleet, and aren't extremely bulky. They're just right for long or short runs on the road.
This outfit also brought to you (mostly ) by Torrid: Abstract Print Crop Leggings and Mesh Tank. Again, I wore a Panache Sports Bra with this ensemble. The socks are Swiftwick. The shoes are my old Pearl Izumi Trail M2s, which I will wear until they absolutely fall apart, they're so comfortable. Note: They're not very useful on the trail anymore--they've got many, many miles on them, but are still usable for short runs (1-3 or 4 miles) on the track and road. Headband is another by Hats Off Headbands.
This is a pre-run run-kit, that I assembled before my second Georgia Jewel 35 Miler
. From the far left: The newest version of the Pearl Izumi Trail M2 shoes. These are great trail shoes, for both technical and smooth trails. They are particularly comfy and supportive of my low-arched feet. Above those is my favorite Trail and Ultra Running cap, covered by another Hats Off Headband. Next is a lovely cotton/poly blend tech shirt, available from my friends at Trail and Ultra Running. My top layer on what would be a very rainy day was an old Nike long-sleeved tech shirt. My rain-jacket (the little green stuff sack) is exactly that. It's the Patagonia Houdini (men's version, because the women's versions run very small and very narrow. This jacket is also narrow and it has taken me a year to actually be able to pull it over my tummy. Otherwise, a great jacket to help keep your core dry. My socks were Swiftwick wool running socks, my pack was the Nathan VaporCloud, and my capris, which you cannot see here, were The North Face GTD Capris.
Non-running exercise kit ( I was in a live PiYo
Class) - These capris are UnderArmour, which you may be able to snag on sale now since the summer is officially over. The top is by Stonewear Designs. My bra is here is a Victoria Secret Incredible Sports Bra.
For my trikonasana: I have 8-inch UnderArmour shorts on and an old Nike tank. And the bra peeking through is a Victoria Secret Incredible Sports Bra.
And here, it's The North Face Capris, Adidas Racerback Tank, Victoria's Secret Incredible Sports Bra. This was at mile 9 of 10 miles. As you can see the capris held up perfectly. They have a hidden drawstring that ensures that the top of your pants don't roll down your tummy roll. Makes running way more comfortable! Shoes are my trusty road shoes, Adidas Energy Boost. I believe the headlamp is my cheap one, Energizer...from Walmart.
Here, I'm wearing my Stonewear Designs tops again, with Road Runner Sports Compression shorts. The Bra is most definitely the Victorial Secrets Incredible Bra. Socks are Tubeless Socks by Swiftwick. Shoes are Pearl Izumi Trail M2s. Pack is the CamelBak Ultra 10 pack--has way more capacity than the Nathan VaporCloud (which is my favorite) but is somewhat bulky for that reason. My trekking poles are Black Diamon Distance Z Poles. If you are doing trails with lots of elevation, these poles will change your life. More about them in a later post.
These are the UnderArmour capris I was wearing during the photo shoot for the
Runner's World piece. Socks are Swiftwick. Cap is from Headsweats.
These capris were not my favorite. They are Adidas capris (XL) whose material feels excellent against the skin but whose design is not for someone who has a shelf butt. My butt may look pretty flat and it is, but there's a shelf up top. Those capris did not like my shelf, and therefore kept running away. The shoes are Adidas Terrex Boost. They run a bit narrow, but are excellent shoes for muddy and technical trails. And look at my calves...just sayin'
I love this The North Face Impulse 3/4 Zip outer layer. This was a fairly cold day, if I remember correctly, and paired with my old Nike thermal, and my trusty old Moving comfort Bra, I was pretty warm after a mile or so. Also featured are The North Face GTD Winter Tights, No need for layers here. The TNF tights are WARM!
This is the race kit I laid out the night before attempting the Lenape Trail 34 Mile Run (of which I only did 20--ten out and 10 back) The only new items here are: a cheap pair of "disposable" running gloves from NY Running Company, a pair of Altra Compression Socks (which also functioned as another layer for the lower half of my legs). Other items featured are: TNF GTD Winter Tights, TNF Impulse Winter 3/4 Zip, Trail and Ultra Running Cap, Trail and Ultra Running Buff that managed to keep my head warm, even though it's super light and breathable. My trusty old Nike thermal (that I've had since 2009!) still works magic and keeps me warm, even in 6-degree, windy and bitterly cold weather.
Links to gear mentioned above: