What is an XL

Hey there blog hoppers thanks for visiting. If you want to learn more about me before/after reading please visit my about me page. hope you enjoy. This is my 3rd hop so I don’t want to go over the about me again for those also returning. Hopefully, you will come back and read some more. If you are not from the hop then “HI to you also”!

Last year I did a post called Let’s Talk Sizing it was right after packet pick-up for an all women’s triathlon. This year that same race, instead of having a tri top, did what I think is a technical shirt. I’ll be honest I’m not 100% sure, its like a combo of a technical t-shirt and a cycling jersey. Maybe its a cycling t-shirt?? I dunno. Really not sure when/how to wear it. Totes weird considering it is a shirt.

2016 on left, 2015 on right
2016 on left, 2015 on right

Last year I ordered an XL cause that’s what I normally wear. This year, being wiser, I ordered a 2XL. I know vanity sizing and what not but it still makes me feel like I don’t fit in this sport. I think this might be one of those barriers for women. No one wants to look fat while exercising, or racing. Then you see all these brands with their tiny tops and these tiny women talking about “feeling fat” when they are the “target demographic” for most companies. Then here you are over here saying “I want to get heathy and feel good and look good” but you can’t find things that look flattering.

2015 tri top on the 2016 shirt

I mean I know it is a different style and everything but that’s a significant difference between XL and 2XL. Last year I layered the tri top on what I was wearing on race day which was a Coeur kit and still a decent difference in XL sizes.


I dunno about you ladies but I like some coverage. So before writing this post I tried on last years tri top. I mean I’ve lost 20lbs since then so I figured I stood a chance. That was a BIG N-O. I couldn’t even zip it up. I was going to post a photo but honestly, it wasn’t pretty. For your reference I am 5’5″ and 180lbs (and declining hopefully).

So I figured it was time to take a look at the difference in sizing. Since hopefully, next year I will need a new kit cause I’ve lost weight.

All the charts I pulled are based on triathlon tops, I’ve provided links in case you want a larger look. Here we go…

We will start with the brand above MuMu apparel. After the above top I don’t plan on shopping here, ever.

MuMu Apparel tri top size chart
MuMu Apparel tri top size chart

If you can’t manage to see the MuMu Size chart the XL says Bust 37″-39″ waist 31″-33″ 

We can also look at Wattie Ink. I’ve never worn them but I love Heather Jackson so let’s take see


So – Wattie only goes up to a XL for women but the sizing is Chest – 38″ – 41″ so it has some decent lady coverage. Sadly, I couldn’t find any info on waist coverage which is what I look at. That would be a deterrent for my purchasing, cause I don’t like the love handles showing.

One brand that I love but still have reservations about their tri gear mainly because their midsection seems too tight is Betty Designs.

2016 updated size chart

Betty now has a 2XL which is exciting. Their XL is listed as Chest 40″-42″ Waist 30″-32″ I do however appreciate they are one brand that says “These pieces run very tight and you may want to go up a size”

Then we move into some of the brands that claim to be more “average” women friendly!


Now Coeur goes up to 2XL (or size 14-16). They list their XL as bust 38″ – 40″ and Waist 34.5″-38″ so close to the Wattie Ink top but larger than the MuMu top.

A brand I hope to try this year is Smashfest Queen. They do a number of larger runs but they also go to a 2XL size. They also produce longer shorts which helps with the thigh burn factor.


They list their XL as chest – 40″ – 42″ waist 34″-36″ which leaves the most room in the chest than and of the others. However, a little less room in the waist than the Coeur top.

Finally there is the Soas Racing tri top. Now they also only go up to an XL but I’ve heard from wearers that they have a little more “give” They also seem to be more consistent on their sizing across the board.


They list XL as Bust 38″ – 41″ waist 31″-34″ so bust is pretty comparable to the the other 2 but the waist is kinda the same as Betty Designs. Not very love handle friendly.

I almost forgot about Tri-Fe or the Swim, Bike, Mom Tri gear. Let’s be honest Meredith totally gets it cause she has been there. Which I really appreciate. I love some of her more simplistic designs. So, she uses Zoca gear for her kits. Their gear is great. I used it when I worked with Team Challenge tri and those kits are soft and giving. Now, Zoca is a custom retailer so they don’t make their own stuff. Tri-Fe goes from XS – 4XL (woot woot).


They list their XL as chest 41″-43″ and waist as 35″-37″ These sizes are on-par with Coeur and Smashfest with the exception of you can order up to a 4XL. Not a special order of a 4XL like a I go onto the page an purchase like any other size. Which is A-mazing!! Thanks Meredith!

Now I know there are a lot of triathlon brands that I could look at and compare. Maybe in the future I’ll pull a whole bunch of them. However, I figured I would just look at some of the more popular brands and those that are geared specifically for women. Based on this I’d say you’d want to go with Coeur Sports if you want more room in the tummy area, Smashfest Queen if you need more room for the ladies, or Tri-Fe if you are looking for a kit about 2XL! However, all are good choices if you are needing larger sizes! And when you get right down to it really it is about how you are built. These are just the 2 areas I tend to look when I’m shopping around.

Hope this helps as most people move into the off season and people start considering their kits for next year!


Published by Kim Teter

I am a 35 year old living in Maryland. I'm trying to find a balance between a healthy lifestyle and actually having a life.

35 thoughts on “What is an XL

  1. Thanks for doing so much research and sharing! The sizing is really messed up (in my opinion). I seldom ever wear the event shirts from races because they are so unflattering. I’m not over-weight, but am tall (ahem…long arms) and I have a slender build….I prefer a more “fitted” fit and most of the event shirts are boxy & baggy. So, even though I’d like to wear these shirts (at other events), they remain in my closet (or get donated) and I go with store-bought apparel. There, rant over 😉

  2. I very much dislike the sizing differences on race swag… especially if a race advertises women’s specific tops, and then gives you a unisex. Because for Mens v/s Womens, of course there’s a difference between Men’s M & Women’s M.

    Thanks for illuminating and putting many of the triathlon apparel vendors out there in terms of sizing visibility — this would be incredibly helpful for trying to figure out which vendor to pick from without having to visit each vendor’s site! I love Coeur personally, but I had not really realized the specific reasons on why — their waist is so much wider than other vendors’ waist measurements, so it doesn’t ride up on thick-waisted me!
    I’m stopping by from the blog hop (Happy Spotlight Day!) and hope to learn more about you as we go on!

  3. Tech gear sizing is really horrible! I hate that there is universal sizing for this stuff. I’ve done races where I’ve ordered the same size for both races and one fits really well and the other looks like I’m trying to stuff 10 lbs of shit in a 5 lb bag! Come on manufacturers, you guys can do this. I think we should sick Tim Gunn on the Athletic Gear world and let him whip them all into standard sizing!

    I’m enjoying the Hop and discovering new bloggers like you!

  4. I get so frustrated with sizing as well. Seems the weight I’ve lost comes off in the wrong places, I mean seriously I need boobs (ok maybe not need but I use to have them) and I don’t need weight to come off in my face, makes me look even older. While I appreciate some of the definition on my arms, it didn’t get the flabby part underneath. My stomach is smaller but the hip and thigh area is holding on like it’s the last supper to every single bite I take!
    I need smaller in the chest part but then it doesn’t go over my hips. If I get bitter too many gape at the arms…
    It is something a lot of us struggle with. You put out some great info on the brands and all and I appreciate that.

  5. It’s so frustrating that sizing is never consistent between brands. A lot of times I really do feel like I’m guessing when it comes to sizing and I’d really just like to be able to order MY size.

  6. I hate hate hate women’s sizing on clothes, especially tech gear! I’ve had plenty of race shirts that I’ve had to give to my kids because I couldn’t wear them. And for me, even if the shirt would fit someone who is my weight/size, my chest usually doesn’t fit in the shirt without looking ridiculous. Ahh the fun of being a girl.

  7. Hi again fro the blog hop 😉

    Wow!!! Great info

    I have surely found that the tri clothing are cut just a bit different.

    Ordered a few small ( which I usuly wear ( and couldn’t get my thigh in..lol

    Thanks for the info!!

  8. Sizing is SO HARD to figure out! Half the brands make things that fit too big and half are too small. This is a really helpful chart for me, I will have to bookmark it because I’m getting into tris for next year and I have no idea what to do about sizing! I went online to try and purchase a one piece workout swimsuit in and according to my chest and hip measurements I’m a medium but when I measured my waist it said I’d be an XL! There’s no way that would fit me- thoroughly confused.

    1. Yep! For swimsuits I LOVE my TYR but get the one with the thick straps. I prefer the number sizing to the S-XL

  9. I often have lots of issues with tri tops especially. I am a 34D so often have to buy a L or XL in the top and then they still sometimes don’t fit. It is super frustrating and I don’t really know why the sizing has to be so different from regular workout tops where I wear a medium. You just can’t let the sizing thing get you down or in your head. Just keep moving forward right?!

    1. Exactly! I’m a 36D and that’s when the Coeur kit has been stellar. It seems to be a good mix of the top and bottom.

  10. Ughhh. Size charts are the worst! I vary a lot depending on what brand it is, or even what country I’m shopping in. (I’m a L/XL in Asia, hahaha.) Love the convenience of online shopping but hate that I can’t try it on to check out the fit.

  11. Sizing is the worst! I have my measurements on Notes on my phone so I can pull them up whenever I order. I get really frustrated with races that do not list the sizing on their website especially du/tri’s because that sizing the ultimate worst! I am one who doesn’t care what size the piece of clothing says as long as it is flattering on me. Great post!

  12. This is fascinating. It took a lot of work for you to do this but what a great thing. Have you ever heard of a “fit model?” It’s a super bizarre term but it’s when clothing companies use (or good clothing companies) real people to wear clothes when they are figuring out if their clothes fit correctly on a person who is xyz size. I actually did fit model stuff for a fitness company several years ago and I fell into it because I complained that no pants fit somebody my height. I’m 5’4″ and frequently pants are about 8 inches too long. Seriously who do they think is wearing these? I should add I have also complained to other companies (lulu lemon for example and not gotten any cushy jobs out of it so it doesn’t always work) You could email these brands and offer to be a fit model. You might think I’m joking but if they are smart they would take you up on it. Because you are right this is a huge problem for so many people. And I think you’re right it’s definitely a barrier to entry. Good article. Good insight. Thanks for sharing. I found you through the blog hop. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thank so much. And no I haven’t heard that term before. It is a good theory. Thankfully, I believe that the brands that are friendlier to different sizes use these but I didn’t know what they were called! But I love the idea!!

  13. Girrrl I get ya!
    Half the time I order a guys shirt (if available) cause the ladies shirts are always like a crop top on me! It drives me batty that they sizes are so different! And please companies, make flattering and cute workout clothes for ALl sizes!
    Great post!

    1. Holla! I agree I do tend to go for the men’s sizes cause they fit better because the women’s may be fitted or relaxed you just never know!

  14. Race shirt sizing is one of my most hated things about when I get the shirt. I am glad I am not the only one who’s had frustration with this in the past!
    I’m like you, I like to feel good when I work out, and myself I’m not a size 2, so I can’t just automatically fit into anything I want.
    YOu really did look into a lot to create this post, I wish more companies would look into wanting to create a great fit, and true size than the bottom dollar.
    Great post idea!
    Thanks for joining the hop again!!!

  15. I just saw your reply to another comment up there about having Tim Gunn do some justice on the tech-gear industry. That would awesome as I love him! But yes, sizing is for the birds. I am always hesitant to try a new brand because the fit is always a little wonky. And when dropping this amount of cash on gear, you want it to fit right. Glad to “meet” you through the Hop!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. Agree with this kinda pricing its crazy. I always prefer the companies with free return shipping in case it sucks size wise.

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