Home > General rambling, Shopping, women's cycling > Cycling clothing for curvy girls 2 – sizes XL & XXL

Cycling clothing for curvy girls 2 – sizes XL & XXL

Yesterday I was looking at companies that do women’s cycling clothing for the “Plus” sizes – those that go above UK size 18, USA size XXL, 46 in Euro sizes.  Of course, all of those companies do smaller sizes too, so if you’re a medium or small size, hopefully there’ll be things you like too, but today I’m focusing on what, for a lot of cycling clothes makers, are the largest sizes – 16-18 UK, what wikipedia tells me is 10-12 USA (except when it’s not…).  I’ve got a great range of things here, from lycra to merino, “proper” bike jackets to pretty raincoats for cycling in, clothing for road to MTB to pottering around town in, jeans to skorts, and more.  Don’t know what a “skort”?  I’m still not sure I do, but I like the look of ‘em!

Before I start, I said in my original post about trying to buy cycling clothes as a curvy girl that I’ve never even tried to try bib shorts, and if you’re in the same boat, but would like to change, I’ve got two things for you.  Firstly, a sensible “Why Bib shorts?” article by Kirsty Ho Fat, editor of Total Women’s Cycling, and then a guide to shopping for bib shorts by rpmx2 that had me laughing out loud.  I’m still not convinced any bib shorts will fit with my chest size, but at least those two took me one step closer to trying!

So, on with the clothes.  All of these have been recommended to me by lovely people online – as always, I get nothing for sharing these, just a warm fuzzy glow if it’s helpful, and a great Xmas list.  You might want to google for reviews of them, I can’t vouch for any of them personally.  I’ve been getting confused by sizing charts, and using wikipedia’s conversion tables, so if that’s wrong, I’m very, very sorry.  If in doubt, go by measurements, not sizes!

TENN Outdoor

A couple of people have been recommending TENN, but what intrigued me was something Dimspace says he wife recommends – leggings for cycling in with a chammy pad and a little built-in skirt, so as soon as you get off the bike there’s something to cover up the bum and tummy – which is one of the things I found really hard about cycling when I first started wearing proper jerseys.  It’s so simple, but I can think of about five women I know, of all sizes, who would love that. They do a “skort” short version of that too.

They’re a nice cheap product range, very basic (any colour you like as long as it’s black! ;-) No, that’s a little bit unfair, but it is mostly black) – have a look around their women’s lines, they keep getting recommended.

Their size chart doesn’t look right to me for USA sizes – I think UK size 18 is a USA 10 (33″ waist according to wikipedia) so I’d go off the measurements rather than sizes – but Dim says they’re really friendly, so if you have any questions, get in touch.  They’re UK based but deliver worldwide.

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Ibex

Yesterday I had a great recommendation from Megster, and here’s another one.  Ibex are a brand from the USA that specialises in merino wool, and while they have a whole load of different activewear, they have a special cycling range that goes up to what they say is size 16, but looks to be somewhere around a UK 16-18?   Click on each item, and you’ll see a size chart with bust/waist/hip/sleeve/inseam measurements in inches.  They have some delicious colours, and while they’re NOT cheap, they have sales and a web specials page for discontinued lines that’s cheaper (eg their Indie Freeride short-sleeved cycling shirt at nearly half price in lots more colours than at the regular price, though sizes might be limited).  Shipping outside the USA is expensive, but these are special treat clothing, and it is in US dollars, so cheaper than it looks at first (British) glance).

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Water off a duck’s back

I think out of all the recommendations I’ve had for cycling clothing, the most serious pang of clothes-lust I’ve felt has been for these.  I can’t afford them, and I’m not entirely sure I understand all of them, but my first impression of the women’s page of the website was OH. MY. GOD I want them!  John Stevenson, the editor of Road.cc, suggested them as a place that did larger sizes, and they stock a “large” UK 14-16 and an “extra large” 16+ in the long Macintosh, the trenchcoat-esque Cassandra and the lined-for-winter long Livia and short Kezzia – in fact the only ones that don’t go that big are the up-to-16 Pamela long coat, and up-to-14 in the blazer-esque jacket).  All the reviews I’ve seen, including those on Evans, say they’re cut in generous sizes, so that gives me hope that 16+ is 16-18.  They look like really lovely objects – long coats, short coats and the cycling cape, exactly what I want in cycling clothing, things that look fun to wear but are still functional.

I’m not sure I entirely understand how the mackintoshes and long coats work – can they be worn with racers, or are they just for women riding the traditional “step through” women’s bike?  I had a very quick look round for reviews to find out, and the one on Road.cc of the Livia, and the Macintosh (a wet décolletage doesn’t sound fun) and the Guardian review of the Macintosh suggest they’re much better for the low-crossbarred style of women’s bike, but that’s what lots of women ride, so it’s not a problem for them, I guess.

But I still like the details on them – the reflective strips that can be hidden away, the fact you can clip the front panels of the macintosh together, to protect your legs.  They look like they would keep me dry and make me feel pretty (as a curvy girl, those pulled in waists and flared coats are shapes I enjoy wearing).

I’m raving.  I get this sometimes, that giddy feeling of something I’ve never seen before that’s also in a size I think I can wear.  Seriously, if someone offered to buy me one thing out of these recommendations, it would either be some Ibex merino or one of these (it’d have to be the Kezzia jacket unless the lovely long coats came with a free Pashley for my perfect cycle-to-afternoon-tea fantasy) , or the Rapha jacket that comes up next (if it fit me, o’course).  There isn’t a size chart on the site, but they’re on twitter and facebook – and they’re in a range of stockists in the UK , including department store John Lewis (not sure if that’s only online, but you could ring and ask?) And of course you can buy on their site, I assume they ship overseas?  Who knows.  Online store Evans  do at least….

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Rapha

Lots of you have recommended Rapha as a company that cuts for women with boobs, especially their women’s wind jacket – but there are two disadvantages here.  Firstly, they only go up to women’s XL (UK 16/US 12, but check measurements) and secondly, pretty much all of you who suggested them say wait for their sale, because they’re not cheap!  Their sizing guide has chest, waist, hips and arm length – not length of body, for tall women, but I’ve only heard good things about their customer services, so I bet you could ask them.

The jackets are, of course, only the beginning – they have all kinds of nice things in their women’s range.  I love the look of the Souplesse long-sleeved jersey in that electric blue and the merino short-sleeved jersey - and if you’re wondering about the Classic bib shorts, and whether they’re worth £150 (ouch!) then check out this review of them on Total Women’s Cycling, and a review of the women’s shorts without bibs on road.cc.

For those prices, unless money is no object, you might want to try them to see if they fit your figure.  They’ve got shops in a handful of big cities too, and a list of places that stock their clothes (although you might need to check they carry your size) so you can try them for size (and then stalk the website for the sales…)

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Gore Bike Wear

Gore have specific online shops for the UK, USA and a load of European countries, so what you see for your country might look different to what I can see!  They have a really wide range of clothing in their women’s bike wear but they don’t do everything in every size.  I got very excited by this sporty skirt for riding in, for example, but it only goes up to UK size 14 (USA 8, Euro 42) and I don’t get that!  A size 10 person can hide her backside, but a size 18 can’t? But once you pick what you’re looking for, eg jerseys and tops, you can then refine by size down the left-hand side (XXL looks like UK 18/US 12)  – and you can also search by type of riding, eg touring, racing, MTB trail or “ambitious” etc, and then refine by size from there.

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“Skorts”

If you, like me, were feeling a bit grumpy after seeing that skirt wasn’t in your size, then I have a solution.  Yesterday I mentioned Terry Bicycles for their Plus size range, and although it’s “plus sized”, the wraparound skirt (for whipping out of a pocket or pannier as soon as you finish your ride) comes in 1X (32″-36″ waist, UK 14-16, US 8-10) as the smallest size – and they have a whole load of other skirts, “skorts” and dresses for riding in that go up to XXL (33″ waist, UK size 16).  They ship from the USA all over the world from the Terry site, although shipping might work out cheaper from somewhere like Team Estrogen – who, ooh look, they do an even bigger range of Skorts, in even more sizes.  I never even knew skorts were a thing….

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Altura Night Vision jackets

I’ve had these recommended to me before, and they do look good – and apparently they’re especially good for tall women with wide shoulders, as they are long enough not the expose the midriff.  Altura don’t have many products, but they look like they’ve really thought about the ones they have.  There are two Night Vision jackets for women – the Evo, in raspberry or yellow, and the more expensive 2013, in black-with-reflective and yellow – which, as I’m sure you can guess from the name, would be great for commuting or riding at night.  There’s also the women’s Flite jacket – they all go up to UK 18/US 12, but I can’t find a size guide.  Then there are base layers – the merino base layer, really good value at £34.99, and the cheaper polyester short-sleeve base layer, both going up to UK 18, They have a list of retailers, or they seem like they’re on sale in all the UK online shops (if you’re not in the UK, and they don’t sell them in your equivalents most of the UK onliners, like Wiggle, for example, ship overseas – you have to change your destination in the top bar of the homepage)

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dhb

Speaking of Wiggle, every time I ask for recommendations for women’s cycling clothes, someone will mention the shorts and bibs dhb range.  This is an in-house brand, and while they do a full range of clothes, up to UK 18 (USA 12), it’s the shorts people especially recommend.  They have everything from cheap undershorts to full-on bibs, from basic black to more designed, and if you click on something there’s a tab with size guides – chest, waist, hips, height, in imperial and metric.  They also seem to have regular sales, and they look cheap enough so that if I ever want to try bibs, but wasn’t sure, I wouldn’t feel like I’d wasted money if I didn’t like them.

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Endura

Endura are a Scottish-based company that seem to be sold by all kinds of retailers (including online shops).  Their women’s range includes jackets and tops, but I’ve had them recommended for the shorts.  They go up to (UK) 16/18 (although not all their ranges go that large, which is confusing, and maybe some of their XXL jackets are size 18/20 too?  It’s a bit hard to tell…). and only have the waist measurements for shorts, which they do in baggy MTB style and 3/4 length as well as more traditional tight lycra.

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Ground Effect

Moving to the other side of the world, Ground Effect are New Zealand-based, and have separate sites for NZ, Australia, the UK and USA, so you can see things in your own currency (and, I think, size).  Their size charts are here and from what I can tell, the XXL is 16-18 in UK sizing.  If you use their sidebar, the women’s specific range is shorts only – MTB and road style – but if you click from there onto other categories, eg tops, they’ll filter by women’s fit.  Not everything goes up to XXL though – but you can filter for that too! And I have to love shorts called “Witches Britches“….  It’s especially good for Australians out there, as the postage will be much, much less than the other companies!

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Outlier.cc

Kitty writes the absolute best cycling gear reviews I’ve ever read (check out her “Worst Gear Review Ever“, Part 1, the bike and Part 2, clothes and other stuff, for what got her cycling across Africa and Japan last year) so of course I couldn’t wait to click her recommendation:

outlier.cc do painfully expensive Women’s Daily Riding Pants, they go up to US size 14, for the urban cycling / commuter ladies.  I have a pair and they are really awesome to ride in, nice and stretchy, and they look kinda “normal” in terms of bike stuff

Have a look at their women’s clothes – the things I looked at go up to UK 16/US 10, but under each thing is a size chart, and the photography’s very pretty.  Kitty says that although the models look super-thin, they say what size models they use, so at least you know what’s going on!

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Summit Different

If you want a novelty cycling jersey – like Rosie the Riveter, Simon’s Cat or Star Trek  – or something with a more urban, tattoo-y or clubby vibe, have a look at the Summit Different women’s jerseys.  They go up to XXL, which looks like UK size 18/US 12/Euro 46, in some of their own jerseys, up to UK 16 in the ones lower down the list (annoyingly you have to just see what you like and see if it’s in your size) but they have a size chart under each one with chest and front & back length, so you can check.

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Harlot Wear

Harlot Wear, as the name might suggest, is a company with an urban vibe, with a range of women’s activewear that doesn’t look like standard exercise clothing.  Their size chart (bust and waist) goes up to XL, which they say is USA 16-18 (UK 22-24) but the measurements look more like USA 10-12 (UK 14-16) and not everything goes up that big – lots of things stop at L but picking things at random, their Sophia jacket, Molly long-sleeved wool top, Georgia jersey, Carmen shorts, Harlot shorts, Olivia chammy shorts go up to XL.  Shipping outside the USA is a flat fee – $25 to Canada and $35 everywhere else, and they also do bike-y t-shirts in women’s sizes, though they say these tend to be a small sizing, so check the style.

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Twin Six

As I look at the website, it has a sale on of all 2013 gear, but by the time I post this, it’ll probably be over, so it could be that everything is different.  It’s another USA company, and their size chart is in chest/height/weight (which confuses me, as they don’t always correlate to what other size charts look like, but I think XXL is US 12, UK 18?  Maybe go by chest measurements only – XXL is 46″ in the jersey sizes. They have some funky (some might say just this side of hipster) style, with argyle and retro looks – but as I say, they’re on the cusp of turning over from the 2013 to 2014 collection, so you may want to check them in a week or so – and they do lots of bike-y t-shirts, too.

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If you want to read the post that started me off on all this, it’s here – with Anna’s blog about body image and cycling clothes on her site.  Here’s the post with places that sell over size XXL,  and come back next week for the final post, with other companies people have been recommending – and of course, if you have any suggestions for brands you love, add them to the comments, or tell me on twitter!

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A quick word about the retailers’ lists on websites.  I’m sure you already know this, but remember, if you want to go somewhere to try something on in person, it’s always worth ringing or emailing ahead to check that your local retailer does sell what you’re after, and in your size – it saves a wasted trip AND shows there’s a market!

And if you’re ordering for the delivery to the UK from outside Europe, remember that UK customs can be evil (oh those £8 “handling fees”), so see if your company can mark what you’re buying as a gift, and not too expensive?  Here are the rules.

  1. TheBloomingCyclist
    October 11, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    As a chesty women i LOVE twin six. they’re the only jerseys i wear. a 46 fits my chest (as long as i have a compression bra on, haha) and it’s actually cut like a women’s shirt- a defined waist, how novel!!

    And it’s funny you talk about skorts so much. Those were big when i was 12 or so. but that version looked like a skirt from the front and shorts from the back. huh? how stupid is that!! my mother LOVED them. i HATED them and was also so embarrassed when she wore them.

  2. October 12, 2013 at 12:03 am

    I’ve been buying clothes from Ground Effect for some time; the quality is great and the service is too. Not being a woman I can’t speak to sizing of their range, unfortunately

  1. October 11, 2013 at 4:17 pm
  2. October 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm

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