Yoga pants, love them or hate them, they’re not going away any time soon. And neither is yoga. In fact it keeps getting more and more popular. So why is an entire group of people completely disregarded when it comes to yoga clothing?
For a while now, many big brands selling yoga pants have more or less ignored anyone over size 12 (for example: Lululemon runs to XL/size 12 – 40″ bust, 32.5″ waist, 43″ hips, meanwhile they have an XXS). When you look at yoga’s predominant image, though, that’s not all that surprising. Quick research to find the “typical yoga practitioner” in America will likely yield a stereotypical majority of slim-bodied white women (try a Google search for yoga, or pick up a yoga magazine). But we know that’s just not true. And yoga wear retailers are getting hip to the fact that they need to be more accommodating, which is a much better response than that loser Abercrombie CEO’s “no fat chicks” policy.
“There’s a huge target market” for plus-size activewear, said Jaime Katz, an analyst at Morningstar. “It’s significant and it shouldn’t really be ignored because it’s getting bigger as a percentage of the total population.”
Because it’s not only skinny people who want to exercise? Er, no.
Analysts say it’s short-sighted for clothing companies to accept the stereotype that overweight people aren’t interested in fitness or exercise. A 2010 Gallup poll found that 53 percent of overweight people and 41 percent of obese people say these exercise three or more days per week.
The question is: Would more plus-sized and curvier people practice yoga if there were more yoga clothes for them? Deborah Christel an assistant professor of design and merchandising at West Virginia University thinks so. Christel studies “plus-size apparel and specifically exercise motivation and the role of clothing in creating an athletic identity for plus size women” and wrote her doctoral dissertation on the subject.
“There’s no clothing available for their figure they feel comfortable in,” she said. “I think plus size women aren’t engaging in exercise or going to the yoga studio because they don’t have the right clothes.”
We don’t know if that’s entirely true, but for a curvy woman’s comfort level entering a yoga class with a sea of other stretchy-clad practitioners it could make a difference.
Typical yoga practitioner? Pfft. We’re glad that keeps getting harder to define. Not that we need yoga pants to validate it (or $100 ones for that matter! good grief), but at least it’s another step toward inclusivity, even if the motivation comes from the already insanely profitable marketing of yoga goods.
Here’s a comparative rundown of some of the largest sizes available in yoga pants from the top retailers:
Athleta (Gap, Inc. owned) – largest size: 2x/size 20
Lululemon – largest size: XL/size 12 – 40″ bust, 32.5″ waist, 43″ hips
Old Navy Women’s Plus (Gap, Inc. owned) - largest size: 4X/size 28-30
Gap – largest size: XL/size 16 (sizes 18-20 are listed on the pants size chart but most of their clothing is hard to find in this size)
American Eagle – largest size: XXL/size 18 (only available online)
Yoga pants are a start, but we know a lot of ladies out there needing more help with the top. There may be hope yet and you may be happy to know it has nothing to do with Gwyneth Paltrow.
If you know of other brands offering a better range of yoga clothing sizes, feel free to share in the comments.
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- On Doing Yoga While Fat and Falling In Love With Yourself
- Gwyneth Paltrow’s New ‘Dream’ Yoga Top Looks Like a Nightmare for the Breast of Us
- Lululemon Sued Over Exec Bonus Pay Increase, Right Before See-Through Pants Recall
- Oakley Goes on Yoga Pants Offensive With New Ad Campaign