Based in Frome, somerset, #fitMess is a blog by Joanna Beale. Her posts draw on her work as a personal trainer, as well as her own personal past experience of significant obesity.  Her general focus is overall wellness and body positivity.


After a hectic couple of days whinging about lack of sleep and looking after poorly small people, I'm back to call out one of biggest injustices (as I see it) in the world of branded fitness clothing. 

I know that most of you have probably already guessed how this rant is going to go. Fitness clothing is a notorious crapweasel.  The only thing baggy about it is that it's utterly douchebaggy.  Snug lycra is one thing and definitely appropriate; we all want to be comfortable when we exercise. It's the sizing that's all a bit fucked up.  At the end of this post, there's a pic of me in my Adidas thumbholey top.  I fucking love this top, the thumbholes are a bonus.  Goddamn, though, if it isn't the tightest thing in the known universe... which would be all well and good if it wasn't a size 22.  GET THE FUCK OUT, ADIDAS. I ain't no skinnyass fitness model, but I'm not a size 22 either.  Just because I've picked this top, doesn't mean that Adidas are the only offenders.  Most fitness brands, in my experience, size on the small side.  I'm not going to dictate what sizes brands should manufacture.  If one company only wants to stock sizes 6 - 10, whatever, crack on - it's your business.  But don't fucking LIE about it and label the sizes 6 - 18 if your 18 only fits a 12 year old gymnast.

The reason that this matters is because women are conditioned to attach a certain value to the label they're wearing.  I realised this when I had a number of branded tops made for Epicocity and the sizing was completely off. The label said size 12, whereas it was actually a small 10 - on a good day.  No harm done, I thought, just tell people to go a size up, right? HAHAHAHA, I wish.  'I'M NOT A SIZE 12/14/16', they cried... and as a result, I still have most of them in stock.  Most people simply don't want to be accused of being a lardarse, either by anyone else, or by something as innocuous as an inaccurate label.

I sympathise, to a degree.  I spent my life cutting out labels so that nobody would see the 'proof' of my fatness.  If anyone ever questioned that raggy stub of ex-label, I could usually explain it by saying it was itchy.  I even cut the labels out of my damn knickers so boyfriends would obviously just presume I was a size 0 or something.  The truth is, this is obviously all fucking bullshit.  The label in your pants doesn't give you away; the size of your arse does.  A label does not change your body mass one way or the other; neither does it make you a better or a worse person.  If you fit into one item that has a 10 on the label, you're not necessarily a size 10 - the same is true if you fit into one item that's a size 22. The crucial point here is that whatever size you are, this is not a value judgment on your character. A label should not decide how you feel about you or your body.  The label changes nothing.

The fitness clothing industry will not be changing the way they do things any time soon.  If they want to make their customers feel fatter, they will continue to do so.  It's up to you to wear what the fuck you want to wear.  Try not looking at the label; instead try looking in the mirror instead.  Does it fit?  Do you like it?  Then fucking wear it!  If it's too tight, try a bigger one, so fucking what.  When I let go of the importance I was attaching to numbers, I became free to wear anything that fit me.  I think it's hilarious that this top is a size 22, not depressing.  The only thing that it means is that the people who designed it are twats, who presumably lost their tape measures.


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