accessibility · clothing · fashion · fitness

Online shopping, sizes, and winter. Brrrr! Grrrr!

I’m getting angry about shopping this spring.

And I realize that I’m privileged in terms of my size, my job, and my income.

First, there was my need for a warmer coat for walking to work and walking Cheddar the dog in this winter than never ended. It needs to be above the knee and past the butt. I don’t want black. I have major ethical qualms about Canada Goose brand clothing. Prefer plant sourced down. Oh, needs a good hood and non strangling cuffs. Also, I’m frugal about clothing and I’ve never paid more than $300 for a coat. I also try to be an ethical consumer when it comes to clothes. I’m unsure if I have an ethical commitment to buy from companies that carry the full range of sizes. Those are the challenges.

Then I found one online, size XL, made of milkweed “down.” You can browse the milkweed collection here. Pretty, pricey, ethical. Fine. Two out of three aren’t bad. I ordered.

Photo by Robert Zunikoff, Unsplash. Image description: Milkweed. Black and white close up photo.

It arrived. The XL fit Sarah who is normally a medium and I couldn’t even get my arms in it. Fit tip: Articulated sleeves equals skinny arms. No more bicep curls. Ugh. Part of it was just mislabeling. That was an XL in no one’s books. But the arms were extra bad and I think represented the challenges faced by women who strength train (and who build muscle) when it comes to clothing. See here.

So no more online ordering of coats! I returned it. That part was easy. And now I’m so sick of winter I can’t even stand to try on cold weather coats. See you here next year but in the meantime recommendations welcome.

Second, there’s my ongoing leggings challenge which I’ve written about lots. See my love of leggings post here. But since I need them all of the time for the knee brace I also need different varieties of leggings. I’ve got gym leggings covered and casual weekend leggings under control. But sometimes I need leggings with dressy outfits. If I didn’t need the knee brace then tall boots might be the answer. But a) knee brace and b) cyclist’s calves. I want high waisted size 14. Black. Full length. (The 7/8 ones are in this year and I keep shuddering watching university students with bare ankles and Canada Goose coats. I want to yell in my loudest mom voice, “Put some socks on.” But I don’t.)

Lots of friends recommend Lululemon. I’ve resisted in the past but if they work and last, I’ll pay the big bucks for leggings. So online I go. The ones everyone seems to love–hi Anne!–are “align.” And I know I’m lucky that I’m a size 14 not a size 16 or higher which doesn’t exist in the world of Lululemon.

But it doesn’t matter if I’m a 14 because they don’t have them. It’s a large company. This is one of their most popular items. You’d think they’d keep a size 14 in black in stock. But no.

Argh.

Spring had better come soon. I’m done.

cycling · fashion · fitness

Sam gets her quilted mini-skirts on

Hey, I have two! (I’m not providing links but you can find the black one by searching for “Sugoi black mini skirt.” My other one is grey, not pictured, and made of smart wool.)

And just the other day a friend posted that she had seen ads for them in her newsfeed and thought “what the hell even is this?” If you’re cold, she wrote, why a mini-skirt? Winter mini-skirts? What’s with that? Friends chimed in, some equally puzzled, others admitting that they owned one and liked them.

I’ve written about them before in a post about my mixed feelings about sports dresses. ” Like these skirts, which I also like and even tried on several times over the winter, I can’t decide if they are about warmth and function or butt modesty. And if the former, I’m all in, and if the latter, I’m a bit uncomfortable. “

But thing is, who knows what your motive is?

I wear them over leggings. And yes they keep your butt warm.

But they also side with the “leggings aren’t pants” crew.

Once you make a move into a certain kind of modest dressing, it’s hard to go back. I decided against a swim dress for that reason. Getting comfortable wearing a bikini was a hard won body positive victory. I worry about going back.

Back to the mini-skirts–one in grey wool and one in black, like above–life is short. They’re cute. They expand the range of places and times I can wear leggings. There’s clothes I wear to the gym that I wouldn’t wear in other environments. Throw on the skirt and I’m good to go. Ditto over cycling tights.

Given that I bought them in winter, to wear in winter, I’m sticking with my butt warmth story. And they’re cute.

fitness

Tights, leggings, and unladylike postures



Being “ladylike” has never been a strength of mine. Let me begin with a story from my youth.  My early years of school were spent with nuns as teachers in Newfoundland. Mostly I have fond memories of those nuns but not so much when it comes to judgements about clothing, decorum, etc.

We were in grade one and girls had to line up to get into the cloakroom to change into snow pants. “Change into” meant pulling them up over our tights and skirts. I saw no need for the cloak room. Just pull them up quickly. Zoom. But the nuns strongly disapproved. I was sent to the corner.

No modesty.

Another time I got into trouble for sitting astraddle my chair. You know, backwards with the back of the chair between my legs. Again, let me stress, I was wearing tights. Again, to the corner. This time for unladylike behavior.

I wish I could report that I’d reformed, that their lessons worked and that I was now only ever sitting in a ladylike fashion. Not so. The truth is, I’ve gotten worse.

The problem is that I’m wearing leggings a lot these days because of my knee brace. So even with skirts and dresses that would normally go with tights I’m often wearing leggings. The brace inevitably rips tights and then starts to cut my legs. So, if I’m wearing the brace, leggings it is.

When I’m wearing leggings I don’t worry about modesty. I stretch my legs a lot. I feel a bit like an injured super hero. But then these postures and positions begin to feel comfortable and I forget what I’m wearing. I’m in my fifties now, still worrying just a little bit what the nuns in my head might think.

Maybe I need to become friends with these nuns instead.

accessibility · clothing · fashion

Leggings are for life, says Sam (#leggingscanbepants, #leggingsforlife, #feministfashion)

Image result for leggings pants fighting humour

Readers know that I’m not a big fan of pants.

My main complaint is sizing. If they fit my thighs and calves, they’re enormous at the waist. See Finding clothes to fit athletic women’s bodies.

But also if I gain or lose even as little as 5 lbs, they don’t fit. So I end up with a range of sizes to cover a very small range of difference in weight.

And don’t get me going on the leg length thing. I usually have to hem pants which adds $10 or so to their price. Men’s pants seem to come in a variety of lengths but women, I guess, are all the same height.

Also don’t get my going on jeans, especially skinny jeans, which they all are on me. Aside from my yoga jeans, I might be done with jeans.

Last year I went on a leggings binge, trying lots of different kinds to find the perfect pair of plain black leggings for everyday use. I tried the full gamut from Lululemon (on sale!) to Hue to Joe Fresh. The price range was $90 (Lululemon, on sale) to $20 (Joe Fresh). The Lululemon are fine for yoga but too athletic for everyday. I’m not a big fan, especially given the price. The Joe Fresh were fine for PJs and hanging about the house but not really for work.

In the middle were the Hue leggings which I had great hopes for since I like their tights. But it wasn’t to be. They share the pants problem. The large isn’t stretchy enough for my legs. The XL falls down pretty much right away.

When friends who play roller derby recommended a Canadian brand I was intrigued. They’re also middle of the road price wise. And made in Canada.

ZENITH Leggings

Nice. I’m trying not buy stuff made in countries with sketchy labour laws. See this post for my call for ethical fashion. I struggle with sports clothes in particular.

Even without the “made in Canada” bonus point, they were my favourite. I’m setting out now to order more. They are high waisted, they stay up, and they work for either the gym or the office.

(For working out in my favorite leggings are by SuperfitHero, available in a very wide range of sizes.)

Why I am blogging about leggings now? My knee brace, above. That’s my snazzy custom fit, zero pain knee brace. But it’s causing a bit of a fashion crisis. It needs to be tight against my legs. I can either wear skirts and tights or leggings. No pants. Well, I could wear really wide leg pants and wear it under I guess. That’s what men do. But that’s not my thing.

Dresses and skirts need to fall either above the brace (very short) or below (very long). With short skirts I’m happiest in leggings so that’s what I am doing these days

So now I’m one of those people wearing leggings for all of the things.

Until summer (if it ever comes) and then I’m back to bike shorts under skirts.

accessibility · clothing · fashion

I’m a super fit hero and the gym is my phone booth

 

superfithero

Yay! My superfit hero leggings arrived and I took them for out for a short run on Friday.

I supported the size inclusive leggings on kickstarter and was very happy to see them arrive. They’re described as ‘fashion-forward, body-positive performance clothing for women size XS-3XL.’

Also, fun.

Love the “the gym is my phone booth” t-shirt which I got also.

So far so good. The tights fit nicely. I got the size L which fits very well. Large can be a tricky size because it can often be too big. How’s that? Well, for companies that only make S, M, and L, large is often meant to fit the whole range of big people and while I’m big, I’m not the biggest person out there.

It’s the other way in road cycling clothes made for people who race. There “large” means the “the largest competitive road cyclist” out there and she’s not large by my standards.

But I usually wear a size 12. That’s unless calves, quads, and shoulders count and then I’m a size 14. The super hero tights fit well with the right amount of compression. They stayed up without any problem (that’s my usual issue because if tights are big enough to go over my legs they drown my waist and fall down) and I didn’t feel totally squished into them.

A friend asked the other day why I cared about size inclusivity given that I do actually fit within the usual range of sizes of most clothing manufacturers. I guess I don’t think I’m actually ethically required to shop at places that fit me and my larger and smaller friends. But I sure feel better about doing it. A very limited size range is part of why I think Lululemon is awful. (See Just walk slowly away from that rack of $100 yoga pants and Is Lululemon trying to annoy me?)

I mean, I’m not perfect about it. I bought and love a couple of Oiselle bras (see review here) as part of my quest for a non-padded sports bra. Several readers gave me flak for it as I’m at their top end of sizes.

But I’ll do the best I can to send my money the way of companies that support plus sized athletes.

Superfit Performance™ Capris - Diamond Silver

 

FEM-IN-IST muscle tee