Print this Post

A Mother’s Plea to Women’s Activewear Clothing Companies

Please Make Activewear for Women Climbers Like Me

I love those sexy camisole type tank tops that brands like Patagonia, Prana, Stonewear Designs, Athleta, etc.., sell all the time. Beautiful colors and prints. Great way to show off the shoulder and back muscles when climbing. When I look through the catalog, they look fantastic on the lean and strong bodies who wear them. But what about those of us who aren’t so lean anymore? Where can we find athletic and sexy clothing that isn’t skin tight and revealing more than we prefer?

28 year old Cliffmama looking slim in a bathing suit, posing in front of the ocean at a Club Med in Mexico.

Cliffmama at 28 years old

I was blessed with a fast metabolism. I could eat what I wanted, when I wanted, as much as I wanted. I stayed the same slim but athletic build for most of my life. Even after giving birth to 2 children, both times I was back in my old bluejeans within a month. My tummy was never going to be flat again, but I could still wear those sexy athletic camisole-type tank tops.

But then I hit 40 years old. I put on 10 pounds and my metabolism slowed down. It wasn’t that noticeable to most people, but that’s because I started wearing baggy non-clingy clothing and I stopped ever tucking in my shirt so no one would see the folds of belly that appeared when I sat down or put on a climbing harness. As I approach 50 years old, while the rest of my body looks like that of a strong climber, my tummy tone just keeps deteriorating. It may be the dreaded “middle-age spread”.  It’s getting harder and harder to keep those pounds off my tummy. My mother was slim everywhere except around the middle, where she was really round. That’s where my family puts on all their weight.

Yeah, I know, it could be worse. I have friends who have fought to get slim or stay slim all their lives. But it’s all relative. I wouldn’t call myself fat, but compared to my body 10 years ago, yeah, I’ve definitely got more fat around the middle and my pants size keeps going up. It’s been years since I’ve been at my ideal weight and I wonder if I will ever get there again.

Cliffmama wearing a Patagonia Hotline shirt in 2008 when they had a slit in the back so the tummy wouldn't be so snug.

Cliffmama in 2008 in my favorite Patagonia Hotline Top, which had a slit in the back so it wasn’t snug around the tummy.

Ideas for Activewear for Women Who Don’t Look Like Models

It drives me crazy to keep leafing through these activewear catalogs, seeing clothes that I really like, mail ordering them, trying them on, only to have to ship them back, disappointed that they highlight my growing tummy flab. Page after page show strong and slim models, totally flat and ripped abs, and they look great in these clothes. Why oh why can’t these activewear clothing companies make clothes we can climb, hike, bike, do yoga in – that help us look slimmer, support us better, hide the parts that need work, and still look good on us? It doesn’t take much. Perhaps some light removable cups in the bra area when an elastic shelf bra can’t repair what a couple of years of breastfeeding has done. How about busier prints in the tummy area to make it harder to tell the difference between folds of clothing and folds of flab?  I loved the Patagonia Hotline tank tops from around 2008. What was unique was that they had a slit cut in the back of the shirt, so it wasn’t so tight around the tummy. They came in big bold prints and patterns on beefy cotton to make it harder to notice squishy abs. It was still sexy and pretty and easy to exercise in. My only complaint about it is the sizing didn’t fit my smaller chest that well, but that’s usually the case. Then after 2008 they revised the Hotline tank and the notch in the back was gone, replaced with a thinner material and more snug fit – just like the rest of them.

All Athletic Women Have Perfect Flauntable Bodies, Right?

Even super fit, active women don’t have perfect bodies. Some have breasts that need more support. Some have a big waist no matter how hard they try, especially if they’ve had children. Some will always have cellulite on their thighs. Some butts are bigger than others. The majority of us are NOT perfect. And all those slim active women buying those athletic clothes will get older and have less perfect bodies. Wouldn’t it be nice if the clothing companies would make activewear that didn’t assume we were forever young and slim? C’mon folks, give us a break. Be creative. Make a line of clothing for women who want freedom of movement for their legs without a skin-hugging pant that shows off how imperfect their asses are. How about a tank top that doesn’t put the boobs on display when you bend over? Or more than a shelf bra when the girls aren’t so perky anymore? Make the shirts less skin tight and help us hide the bulges when we sit down and it’s muffin-top time. I bet they would sell like crazy! There’s a huge market of women who don’t have model bodies who are waiting to buy clothes that make them look their best. Build brand loyalty while we’re young and slim, then keep us buying as our bodies age or when our fitness level goes down and the weight goes up.

Now, some of you might think I’m too vain, and I admit that I’m self-conscious as I see my body aging. Perfect is in the eye of the beholder, so any thought of defining “perfect” is a myth. Many women really don’t care how they look or what they wear, and I admire that. I wish I could just let go and accept my aging figure and not strive to work hard to go back to what I used to look like. But it bugs me. I am a climber. I want to be fit and strong, I want to feel fit and strong and yes, I want to look fit and strong. I wish it were easier to find clothes that help me feel and look fit and strong.

So what about it Patagonia? Bring back the slit-back Hotline tank! Can you help us out Stonewear Designs? Hey Prana, I may be too old for your demographic, but I love many of your fashions and would love clothes that aren’t 2 sizes smaller than they say they are. How about some clothes for the rest of us Athleta?  I’ll be happy to model your clothes when they don’t show off my not-so-firm tummy. In the meantime, I will be buying from other clothing manufacturers who make baggier clothes.

Stay with me over the next 20 years, and you can watch me transform from Cliffmama to Cliffgranny climbing in a muumuu over my polyester stretch pants.


Permanent link to this article: https://cliffmama.com/blog/womens-activewear-clothing-companies/

12 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. And So This Is Fifty » cliffmama.com

    […] this? Climbing will get me outside in the fresh air and will keep me motivated to exercise and stay in shape as I continue to age. Climbing will continue to be a powerful way to bond with my daughters as they grow older and more […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>