One Size Does NOT Fit All

I think it’s pretty commonly recognized that there’s no such thing as “one size fits all.”  And yet, the phenomenon persists.  There are one size fits all leggings, shirts, hats, socks, and various other articles of clothing.  And whether you are very thin, or tend toward the other side of the spectrum, you’ve likely been frustrated by the one size (doesn’t) fit all problem at one point or another in your life.  Companies have finally gotten wise and changed the party-line to “one size fits most,” but we all know it means the same thing–these probably won’t fit you.

Recently, I began a search for performance underwear.  We all know that cotton is the devil, and so I’ve never worn cotton underwear for running.  Unfortunately, however, running “commando” causes me a significant amount of personal chafing (yup, TMI again.  Seems to be a trend around here lately).  So, I looked around.  Oiselle has their “Randies,” at $16 a pop.  Googling “athletic underwear” led to lots and lots of results for men, but not as many for women.

And then, I found that Under Armour has a “pure stretch” line of performance, sweat-wicking underwear in 3 different styles and lots of cute colors.  And they’re 3 pairs for $30, which is actually a pretty good price.  And I have an Under Armour outlet near me, so they were easy for me to get right away rather than buying online and waiting for them to ship.  So on Friday, I bought three pairs.


The problem?  One size fits most.  Or, as their marketing so glibly suggests, “One size fits all ATHLETES.”  Now, I consider myself an athlete.  I run three times a week, and usually hit the gym at least one other day a week.  I am definitely not overweight.  And yet, these underwear DO NOT FIT.  Sure, I can pull them up, and they fit over my thighs and butt.  But they cut into the fat around my hips and give me the world’s meanest muffin top.


Legit almost this bad

These things are so tight that they actually roll down off of my hips, making the muffin top worse.  These underwear are completely useless to me, and therefore a waste of money.  Granted, I can return the two pair I didn’t actually wear, but still.

I can lay most of the blame at my own door–I should have known immediately that one size fits most would not apply to me.  I’ve fallen into that trap before.  But Under Armour has to take some of the rap.  What kind of company makes “one size fits most” underwear?  I think we all know that most people do not wear the same size anything, let alone underwear.  And since underwear occupies such an intimate space, shouldn’t it be the best-fitting, most comfortable article of clothing we put on each day?  Shouldn’t it actually come in a variety of sizes to allow optimum fit?

And this is not even touching on the impact that the marketing can have on individuals.  If I consider myself an athlete, but don’t fit into these underwear, am I then not truly an athlete?  Am I not thin enough?  Do I not have enough muscle?  It’s unfair to say that these are underwear for athletes if they don’t fit all shapes and sizes.  Peoples’ identities of themselves and their own qualifications of the “athlete” title can vary incredibly from person to person.  To try and pin that title to a single size of underwear is just plain wrong.

And then, of course, there’s the body image thing.  I think we all know what I’m getting at here, so I won’t beat a dead horse.  Suffice to say, if an article of clothing is branded “one size fits most,” and you don’t fit into that article of clothing, you are automatically alienated–you are outside of the realm that “most” people occupy.  You are different.  Too fat or too thin or whatever.  And that sucks.

Thankfully, my sense of self-worth does not hinge on fitting into Under Armour’s Pure Stretch underwear.  But some people are that sensitive.  So listen up, clothing manufacturers–One size fits “most” does not work.  And one size fits all is a lie.  Please make clothing that people of all shapes, sizes, and athletic abilities can wear and enjoy.  This especially goes for sports bras.

How do you feel about “one size fits all” or “one size fits most” clothing?

Any suggestions for comfortable, reasonably priced athletic underwear?

26 thoughts on “One Size Does NOT Fit All

  1. txa1265 says:

    Awesome and SO true … but I would never have guessed they would have one size underwear?!? That is a big WTF for me! I mean, I have a hard enough time with hats! (Oversized noggin) ha ha

  2. prairieprincessrunners says:

    The randies are pretty great–I bought the pkg of three. They are indeed expensive, but they seem to be holding up really well, so I consider it an investment in my nether regions and future running enjoyment.

    I have also worn lululemon undies and they lasted me for years if you can believe that (before I started my boycott and before their quality really started to go downhill) and have the Victoria’s Secret athletic undies (pretty good, but stretch rather quickly so stock up when they are on sale and be prepared to replace them often).

    As for one size style clothing, I never buy it. After so many years of being overweight as a youngin and even being on the bigger side of fashion’s definition of average currently, I just stay away.

  3. Jennifer says:

    This is one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard of! If the average $8 3-pack of Hanes can come in a wide variety of sizes and styles, shouldn’t the options be even better for a so-called “performance” product? That is just strange.

  4. Amy says:

    Once I switched from cotton, I’ll never go back. I have a few pairs from moving comfort that I like (and they have size options…how novel!), but they aren’t exactly economical. I found some on sale at my local running store. Good luck with your search!

    • DarlinRae says:

      Thanks! I definitely need to keep an eye out for sales and coupons. I know Dick’s puts out coupons fairly frequently, and they have a couple of different brands available.

  5. Katherine says:

    If it makes you feel better (and not to take away from your very valid point), I have a pair of those one-size UA underwear and I wore them during a long training run two weeks ago and got THE WORST CHAFING EVER. ON MY BUTT. So.

  6. greenmountainlife says:

    I’m gonna be real honest here and say I’ve never even thought about the underwear I’m rocking during runs haha (now I most definitely am) but still I can’t imagine a major company putting out one size fits all actually thinking that would benefit the “all” This does make me think of the fact that even bathing suit bottoms sizing doesn’t make any sense to me, I feel like I have to go up 17 sizes to have a bottom that isn’t unbearably tight. What gives?

  7. SuzLyfe says:

    The Victoria Secret Pink line makes some seamless underwear (they might call it “yoga” underwear or something like that) that I wear on my long runs. Would HIGHLY recommend.

  8. Rachel says:

    Do you chafe even in shorts with underwear liners? They lie pretty much like underwear for me, so I have no problems, but everyone is different! Have you ever tried running in regular cotton undies? On the rare occasions that I run in underwear, I just wear my normal ones and they don’t cause me any problems. I think the “cotton is evil” issue is with how it retains sweat–I’m not too concerned with wicking sweat off my bum.

    Regardless, this is an excellent and very true post.

    • DarlinRae says:

      My shorts with briefs are totally fine–the problem is anything form-fitting like compression shorts, capris, or tights. The seams around the gusset chafe my privates and bum.

      I have run in cotton undies before, and while they help with chafing, I sweat a LOT in that area, so the wet cotton is very uncomfortable.

  9. dgobs says:

    I bought a pair of that underwear at a UA outlet and while it fits for the most part, it was pretty much a perma-wedgie for the entire race I wore them too. They weren’t even a thong style either… it was pretty uncomfortable! So I’m in the market for athletic undies as well. And, um, one size fits all/most is dumb most of the time, but doubly so for underwear! Hear, hear to everything you said in this post!

  10. Falyn @ Slacker Runner says:

    Underwear should be one size fits all or most. Heck most underwear sizes vary by brand like crazy. It was mentioned before but Victoria’s Secret’s Pink line has some good non cotton underwear, they used to be called yoga but I think they changed the name. They usually run something like 5 for 26 bucks. Not too bad.

  11. veryrach says:

    W-O-W, one size fits most UNDERWEAR?! That’s awful. Way to make you feel completely horrible, which you SHOULD NOT. I hate one-size fits all clothes. Everyone is different!! That’s why we have things called SIZES.
    “Peoples’ identities of themselves and their own qualifications of the “athlete” title can vary incredibly from person to person. To try and pin that title to a single size of underwear is just plain wrong.” <—agree. agree. agree.

    Good luck on your underwear search. Let us know what kind you end up loving!

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