Why is Women’s Activewear So Tight?

Activewear is the workhorse clothing for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. The apparel enhances the performance of the user due to the technological advances on the material and cut. Women’s activewear is particularly popular.

In recent years, activewear has shifted from physical storefronts to online shops. Although clothes have the highest return rates of items sold online, you can rarely go wrong with buying women’s activewear online. For the most part, due to their stretchable characteristics, you can go true-to-size, and they will still fit. 

If you see advertisements on active and sportswear, do not be surprised. It is a multibillion industry, after all. For instance, in 2017, the women’s activewear industry was worth $119 billion. With a compound annual growth rate of 7.7% in 2018-2025, the market is projected to hit $216 billion by the end of the forecast period. 

Is Women’s Activewear Sexist?

A 2017 survey showed that nearly 8 in 10 women believe that activewear, tights, and yoga pants are sexist. For example, some of the designs are meant to show off rather than to enhance performance. One respondent claimed that the necklines are too low. Others say that the apparel featured sheer material and even some peek-a-boo panels that reveal more than they should. 

However, it should also be noted that the choice is ultimately up to the buyer. The reason some manufacturers sell these “revealing” clothing is that there is a market for them. Why would they waste money on something that they know nobody would buy?

Why Are They So Tight Then?

When you browse for women’s activewear online, you can see that they are tight, and there is a reason for that. 

The fitness apparel needs to be snug to prevent chafing. For triathletes, you can see that they wear as little (and as tight!) as possible to discourage drag. The clothing is not to show off their fantastic bodies. It’s meant to enhance their performance to get an edge over the competition. The main objective is to win. 

Another reason for tight-fitting tops for women is that they provide additional support for the breasts. For example, you can leave your sports bra at home and wear tank tops, and you should be good. It’s no different for marathoners who also wear tight cycling shorts for support, although some of them wear lycra shorts on top of the tights.

However, if you merely want fitness apparel for your time at the gym or yoga, you do not have to buy skimpy activewear. Of course, women are not prohibited from wearing a pair of performance shorts or skirts on top of their yoga pants if they want to retain their modesty. 

Regardless of the revealing design, you still have the choice of buying it or not. But the good news is that you do not have a scarcity of options. You can go online and look at how the activewear apparel looks on the models and decide if you can pull it off. 

It might seem like simple apparel, but millions have been poured into research and development to come up with the ideal snugness, cut, and material to enhance performance.


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