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Fit satisfaction and experiences of plus-size females with active-wear in Cape Town, South Africa

Journal of Textile Engineering & Fashion Technology
Anelisa Harmony Sontshi,1 Doice Moyo,1 Alettia Chisin2


The increased level of health awareness globally has resulted in growing numbers of consumers participating in sports activities to achieve a healthier lifestyle. However, a significant number of active plus-size females face challenges in finding attire or active-wear that fits properly and is engineered to ensure predefined performance requirements. The aim of this research was to investigate plus-size women’s experiences regarding fit satisfaction levels, and their perceptions about active-wear to improve fit, functionality, and clothing aesthetics. The study sought to establish plus-size female experiences regarding fit satisfaction levels, clothing choices and alternatives, including perceptions around aesthetics and purchasing behavior pertaining to active-wear offered by local clothing retailers in Cape Town. A mixed qualitative method was employed with 38 participants aged between 18-46 years, who self-identified as plus-size. The findings from the data revealed that the needs of plus-size women are not understood nor recognised regarding active-wear. The research indicated that plus-size females feel excluded by the clothing industry; they often resort to purchasing unsuitable exercise gear because of limited choices that suit their body shape needs. The finding results were used to develop practical improvements of active-wear for plus-size females, where innovative ideas were developed to address the technical issues of problems identified in the survey.


active-wear, plus-size women, fit, sizing systems, body positivity, functional garment, comfort, universal design principles