Please don't interpret all I write as a complaint. It is merely a realization of the clothing in the fitness industry I feel need to be brought to light.
Before heading to NY for the P&G announcement, I had a photo shoot. We were supposed to wear white button up shirts. The woman's shirts that were provided were too small in the back and the shoulders. My only option was wearing a man's shirt. It was very ill fitting and I was feeling pretty self conscious about it. I hate not being able to wear a majority of woman's clothing. When I got to NY they had a different man's shirt for me to wear that was much better looking. I rolled the sleeves up and tried to look as feminine as possible. My mother was the only mother there who hadn't a jacket like the other moms because there wasn't one provided in her size.
The following week I went to Dallas for a media summit. There were tons of interviews, photos, videos, and anything else media related you could think of. We were given a goodie bag with clothes we were supposed to wear. My team mate Holley and I both received woman's clothes in the largest sizes possible through Nike up to 3Xs as well as well as Ralph Lauren but their woman's clothes come only to an XL. We tried one shirt on after another with no success only to end up once again, in men's clothes.
In a previous shoot I did in Hollywood, I had the same issues but, I took a picture to show the difference between a men's XL and a woman's. Here lies a problem I see so frequently it's upsetting. How are both of these shirts an XL? What message are clothing companies saying to our women? Sometimes it feels like they are saying, "It's ok for men to be a certain size but, not you." Women are often forced to be in a certain size bracket or it's too bad so sad.
In Dallas, I remember meeting USAW's Nike rep and she said, "I specifically told them to put 3Xs in there for you guys." Well, they did but a woman's 3X is bogus. It's like a men's 1.5X almost a 2X.. I tried on a men's 2X jacket and it fit fine. Holley and I just wore men's clothes for our shoots.
There were two rooms at the media summit. A Nike room and a Ralph Lauren room. These rooms were basically there to give us a little preview of the clothes that were to be provided to us for the Games. Let me first say that, I am very thankful to be getting nice, new, clothes to represent the USA in. I mostly have concerns for what I am actually going to be able to wear.
In the Nike room, I saw a lot of clothes I would like to wear but, I know they will not have women's clothes in my size or if they are "my size" they will still be ill-fitting. Even though this is the case, I can still get away with wearing men's clothes and not feel too out of place.
In the Polo Ralph Lauren room, it was way more obvious to me the difficulties I will have. I was talking to a representative there and she ensured me that "Everything will fit. I promise. If it doesn't you can yell at me." If they do have women's clothes in sizes that will fit the plus sized women, I will be surprised and greatly pleased for them to have taken us into consideration.
If they don't however, have extended sizes, our options are extremely limited. The main reason is because the men's and women's clothes are very gender dominant. There are no unisex clothes or clothes that could work either way. A casual look they had for the women was a polo dress and the counter was a pair of men's shorts, and a sweater vest/shirt thing. If I can't fit into the dress, is my only option is the men's outfit? No thank you.
Even though, I have been promised to have clothes that fit, please notice the size differences between the men and women on their website for their Olympic Collection:
Polo Women's Sizes
Polo Men's Sizes
The women's sizes go up to an XL while the men's go to a 6X.
I am not alone in this. There are other larger women on the Olympic Team this year. There have been for many years now. I wish with that in mind, there would have been more consideration for us. All people who qualify for the Olympics and get outfitting should feel included, comfortable, and ready to shine. I am a woman. I want to look and feel like one. I want to fit in with my team mates.
Am I going to sit here and cry about it? No. What am I doing to make change? Every time I get to talk about body image or my blog, I jump on it even in interviews. I spoke with Nike and Polo representatives and mentioned the issues. If no one speaks up or just accepts what's been handed to them, positive change will not happen. I want future athletes to be happy, comfortable and included. I want the fashion industry to rethink their ideas of what a female athlete can look like.
I have entered Under Armour's, "What's Beautiful?" Contest. My goal is to redefine the female athlete by being the example. I want to show the fitness clothing industry that athletes come in all shapes and sizes. Women come in all shapes and sizes. Athletic clothes should be available to all of us.
Please support me in my cause and follow me as I prove that "Beauty is Strength." Hopefully, If I am one of the finalists, or the winner, I can have an influence on Under Armour and other brands to rethink what they design and make is accessible to a broader range of women.
What's Beautiful Contest-My profile