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When Katie Parrott and Plus Outdoor met, magic happened!
There's nothing quite like the thrill of seeing our customers and fans wearing our gear and talking about how it fits and feels. We're constantly working towards a more inclusive outdoors and part of this is a learning process which means we want to hear all about the good, the bad and the 'not great' when it comes to getting more plus-size bodies outdoors.
So when we got an opportunity to collaborate with Katie, we were thrilled. We loved seeing Katie who is an avid outdoor enthusiast, hiker, explorer and "fat fashion" advocate wearing our 'outdoor fashion', talking about some items from our curvy rain range and telling us what she thinks of our brand, philosophy and outdoor gear. Honestly.
True to form, Katie Parrott tells it like it is, in her no holds barred style, so you get a true impression of what works for her, and what doesn’t, but also what might work for you. We love her experiences with plus size gear across the board and we love that she found some sweet relief and clothing solutions for her outdoor adventures with Plus Outdoor.
“Plus Outdoor - genius concept. The market has been crying out for it. Like seriously, what a niche, that the market has been crying out for so long. Bravo Mon, I am so excited and wish you every success!”
For those who don’t know her yet, Katie lives in beautiful Tasmania, way down in the southern most part of Australia, full of old-growth forest, mountainous landscape with a fairly windswept and chilly climate. No tropical Australian weather to be found here!
We heard she was looking but unable to find appropriate hiking clothing in her size to wear on her weekend adventures trekking through the Tasmanian wilderness. Her goal was to find a quality, technical apparel that would keep her appropriately warm and dry and comfortable while she explores the outdoors, in all weather conditions.
Finding solutions to Katie’s outdoor plus size clothing requirements with Plus Outdoor
First, we asked Katie to fill out our complimentary online fitting system Shop your Shape. She let us know what she was looking for, and what her measurements were.
“I'm looking for hiking gear from Tasmanian winter/spring (August/September/October). We can get rain and wind and sun all in the same day, so I need to be waterproof and the gear ideally would be breathable for when we go from warm to cold and back again. Bright colours would be great but black is fine too! Mainly just want things that fit really comfortably and feel like "proper" outdoors gear that straight-size people could find.”
We made some personalised recommendations for her on a bunch of items from our range and sent them to her to try. She tried them all and kept a whole bunch while giving us her opinion along the way!
We think we left an impression on her and she now shares the joy for our creation and the existence of Plus Outdoor! Our goal is to open up the opportunity for all to stride confidently beyond the limitations of the past when outdoor and technical clothing wasn’t made for the plus-size body.
Plus Size Clothing Katie Reviewed
Perhaps her favourite piece, Katie was particularly impressed with our XTM Wildcat fleece zipper jacket in the stunning Shiraz with its internal pockets to use as a mid-layer to her waterproof outer or just as a jumper to keep warm!
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“They’re probably my favourite of any thermals that I’ve ever tried, pretty much ever. So yeah, I really like these, as far as wanting a plus size merino option, I think these are a ffffff…. a bloody fantastic option and you wouldn’t be disappointed if you bought these at all.”
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“I mean, the print. Let's talk about the print, I know it’s the least important thing when it comes to thermals BUT I do really love it and it’s really fun, it’s got this nice black panel here which for some reason I really like, it feels super warm.”
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“Will be great for hiking and bushwalking in winter and in summer….It’s honestly just a beautiful black t-shirt, like, for no other reason like this is a lovely, black t-shirt, so I am really happy with this.”
Australian Made Wilderness Wear Merino T-shirt
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She thinks our long line Raiski Fuchu rain jacket “is pretty special, like, it’s just a black jacket, but it’s LOVELY.”
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“I think that’s really sensible because it just means that you are gonna get more wear throughout the year of a piece like this.”
XTM Jindy 3 in 1 jacket that separates into a fleece jacket and waterproof shell
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“This is the one I like the most. It is the one I am definitely going to be keeping and I’m hoping to wear it hiking this weekend. I love the colour, bright red, it’s super visible and fun. It’s nice not to be wearing black.”
What a fabulous experience it has been working so close with Katie!
She made us laugh and cringe and reflect, and we feel inspired to do more. So we are creating more options and for choices and fits. We now hold more brands and companies accountable to inspire and represent more plus size adventurers in the outdoors.
Thank you so much for being so generous with your time and feedback Katie! We appreciate every word you shared with us. Finding good quality technical outdoor clothing shouldn’t be such a chore, and now it doesn’t have to be.
At the time of filming, Katie Parrott’s Measurements:
Chest 120 cm
Hips 140 cm
Waist 110 cm
Height 165 cm
Full Transcript of Video and links to products
By Katie Parrot
“I am super excited about recording this today, this is a collaboration video with Plus Outdoor. So this is a sister company of Plus Snow and they stock a bunch of technical outdoors gear for plus size bodies, both men and women I should point out, and a lot of the items are actually unisex.
As you guys will probably know I have been talking quite a bit recently about my frustrations about not being about to find good quality technical gear, really any technical gear in my size and Mon who owns the brands actually reached out to me and asked if I wanted to do any sort of partnership together and of course I said YES!”
Katie's wearing: Size 22-24
“I mean, the print. Let's talk about the print, I know it’s the least important thing when it comes to thermals BUT I do really love it and it’s really fun, it’s got this nice black panel here which for some reason I really like, it feels super warm. I obviously don’t know yet how warm it is going to be out and about but it feels really warm and I’m pretty sure it’s merino, yes, it’s a merino base layer. They’re a good length, so I’m 165cms. You could have a little bit more length in your leg and still wear these okay. I think I’m probably the maximum thighs size like if you had thighs that were anywhere bigger than mine I think you might struggle to get into them because this is about the maximum amount of stretch. But I like that they are not endlessly stretchy like they feel a bit firm so I feel quite, I feel very comfortable. One issue I have with thermals a lot especially unisex thermals is that they don’t have enough rise so they don’t like to cover your bum and these I would say are pretty good, you can see my underwear peeking out there, sexy heh. So I think the rise could be higher but I have quite a lot of tummy and quite a lot of bum so if you didn’t have quite as much of one or the other you’ll probably be okay.
For the top, it’s nice and long but not like crazy long, you know, it’s not coming down to my knees, or something like some unisex ones do. It’s got thumb holes which I like because especially when it’s really cold sometimes it’s nice to hook your thumb in and pull your glove on top and then you don’t have any gaps. So I really like that. I don’t have a whole bunch else to say about these thermals except that I really, really like them.
Katie's wearing: Size 4-5XL
“So this is the next set of thermals. These ones, as you can tell are the same brand, but these are a unisex cut, and I do think I like the looseness of especially the top a little bit more than I like the other ones (comparing to the XTM Adele). It’s cut is a little bit longer as it’s designed for men and women. The arms are a bit longer than the previous set as well.
You’ve got the thumb loops as before and these are merino as well. So you're looking at quite a lot of similarities except for the fit which is obviously different.
They are quite a lot looser as I mentioned, which could be a good thing or a bad thing, it’s hard to tell how well things are going to stay up until you wear them and put them to the test.
As far as the rise on these, they’re probably my favourite of any thermals that I’ve ever tried pretty much ever as you can see the rise is really good and there’s more room so those other ones I’ve tried I was probably maxing out the thigh space whereas these ones I would say there's still more room to be in them.
So yeah, I really like these, as far as wanting a plus size merino option, I think these are a ffffff…. a bloody fantastic option and you wouldn’t be disappointed if you bought these at all.”
Katie's wearing: Size 8XL (short)
“Never in my life did I think I would be saying this, but these pants are TOO BIG.
We’ve got a case of the TOO BIGS! Ha!
They’re sort of not though, right? They are too big in the waist and they are very, very long. But, they fit through my hips and my thighs. Like… nice! If you had a different body shape to mine, like if you have more of an apple body shape and you don’t have such a defined waist, then these are going to be awesome for you.
For me, it's just not like... it’s just too big!
They do have these elastic tabs on the side right, which you can tighten but the velcro only goes to about there, but if I was using them I would need it to go about there, so they are just too big, what a delightful problem to have as a plus-size woman to have for whom things are never too big and always too small.
If I was in desperate need you could take them in at the sides, you could put some extra velcro in just here and then you would be able to tighten them. That would be a totally do-able solution and would definitely give me a better fit, so there are definitely options to make these fit for you. You could take them to alterations, spend $30-$40, get the length taken up, add some velcro, Bob’s your uncle, you’ve got a fantastic pair of waterproof pants. For me and my body shape, they’re just not quite right, nothing wrong with that. You’ve got huge, HUGE pockets. I’m talking, I could put my lunch in these pockets...that’s where they come down to. Anyway! Great pants!”
Katie's wearing: Size 28 / EU 54
This is pretty special, like, it’s just a black jacket, but it’s LOVELY.
It’s quite thin, so it’s got a lining, but you're not looking at a heavy-duty snow jacket here, this is something that will be great for just (wet weather!)...you can wear it any time, you can take it hiking, you can wear it around town, it’s waterproof, so that’s really what you are getting.
So you can see it’s really long line, which is important. I think it would be quite hard to find long line rain gear. A lot of the time it’s short and I want it to cover all of my body.
On the sides here you’ve got elastic toggles so if you want to make it tighter and more waterproof you can do that.
You’ve got your pockets up here which are just button ones. They don’t have a zip which is fine so you just have to be conscious that you don’t have a zip.
And it has a hood! So this is a lovely option. I really like it.
The hood is removable, so you can un-pop it and remove the hood if that’s not your vibe. Just a little FYI. I think that’s really nice.
Katie's wearing: Size 24
“This one I am really excited about. It’s lightweight merino designed for activewear, so the thing I am excited about with this is that it’s something I feel like I could wear year ‘round. It will be great for hiking and bushwalking in winter and in summer. And it’s so comfortable like it’s fitted but it’s not tight like I feel like I can move and breath and I could definitely layer this on top of one of these thermal long sleeve options for some extra warmth which I really like having that option. It’s honestly just a beautiful black t-shirt, like, for no other reason like this is a lovely, black t-shirt, so I am really happy with this.”
Katie's wearing: Size 24-26
“The next thing I’ve got is this polar fleece, now, I feel like some people wouldn’t consider a polar fleece to be something difficult to find but finding a really nice, comfortable, warm polar fleece I just feel like is actually harder than people think once you’re above a size like 18 or 20. I’m a size 22, sometimes a 20 up top, sometimes a 24 down the bottom and I actually find it incredibly difficult to find.
Like this, this was what I was looking for when I was up at Cradle (Mountain) and I had my meltdown because I couldn’t find anything warm, like, I just wanted a bloody polar fleece to keep me warm and I couldn’t even find that.
The zip is on the opposite side than usual and that sounds like such a small thing but it’s like really difficult.
So, as you can see I am just wearing it on top of that merino shirt (Wilderness Wear Women's Light Merino 170 Plus Size T-Shirt Black), and this one is like, fitted but not tight.
Would I put this on top of like a bulky jumper, probably not, but that’s not really the scenario that I think I would wear it because it’s the sort of thing, as I said, would take bushwalking, dog walking, hiking umm and I would be using this as my jumper if that makes sense.
So, you’ve got your two pockets at the front which are really big, they go right to the zip which I love. You’ve got this little sleeve pocket which could be good for putting in some little bits and pieces, I’m not really sure but I like it! I don’t think it has internal pockets… oh no I’m wrong! And then it’s got these big internal pockets so I really like this polar fleece.
Katie's wearing: Size 20
“This is a much warmer jacket.
I’m just going to tell you right off the bat, I don’t like fur on jackets. This is my feedback to anyone who manufactures plus size jackets - “stop doing this, stop it, I hate it.”
Like, you can remove it, but then you are left with these studs around the hood right, so like AAAGGGGHHH, it’s not my jam. I guess someone out there must really like having faux fur, I don’t.
The thing that I think is super cool about this jacket is that it’s a 2 in 1, so what you are looking at there is a polar fleece lining which can actually be separated from the jacket.
I think that’s really sensible because it just means that you are gonna get more wear throughout the year of a piece like this.
So to me, this is the kind of jacket I’m buying if I’m going, like, snowboarding. You know if/when we can ever travel overseas again, um ya know, going to Canada, doing some snow sports, please one day… AGAIN!? This is the kind of jacket that you would want to have with you, right? It’s super warm, it’s super heavy duty and it’s gonna keep you dry when you’re falling on your bum when you’re snowboarding.
Let me just show you how it looks all zipped up - so you’ve got this cute little polar fleece, very nice, very nice, which would be beautiful on its own, so that’s a nice part of it. And then you’ve got your heavy-duty snow gear and here I am probably too warm, right now inside my house! Ha!
One of the challenges plus-size people will have when you are trying to find good quality outdoor gear is like well, it will zip up over my shirt, but I don’t know if it will zip up when I wear my jumper on top or something like that, because this has the inbuilt polar fleece you know that it’s going to fit. That is your warm layer. So I’ve got my merino t-shirt, the polar fleece and then, of course, this zips up over the polar fleece because it’s designed to. And I don’t know if I’m rambling now but this just makes like *chef’s kiss* so much sense.
You’ve got a little chest pocket here, that’s quite big, so perfect for if you are doing snow activities, you can put your wallet or your phone in here! You’ve got zip pockets in the outer and the polar fleece has pockets as well! You’ve got an arm pocket, SO MANY POCKETS! The wrists you’ve got the velcro, so that's for when I am snowboarding I need there to be that velcro ‘cos I want to be able to make sure that this is really tight and nothing is going to get in or out. It’s got toggles to tighten, it has the hood with the detachable fur and I think the hood is also detachable - yeah! so you can detach the whole hood or you can just detach the faux fur portion.”
Katie's wearing: Size 4XL/5XL
So, I’ve still got my Merino Tshirt on, but I’ve got some waterproof pants and this waterproof jacket.
I’m going to talk about the pants first, cos there’s some pros and cons.
These are, I believe an over-pant, yeah. So these are like rain pants, umm, they are very thin, so they are not the sort of thing that you will be worn by themselves, you would wear them layered.
So I’ve got the thermals on underneath which are pretty thin, and there are a few things to address. Obviously the first is that they are really long, but if you were wearing hiking boots these would be a little bit long for me, look, you can go to a local alteration place and get them taken up for like, not much money at all, and that’s what I would recommend.
They don’t have any pockets along the sides because they are designed to be waterproof. They’ve got some elastic and an elasticated tie which I think is really great because it can be difficult to get things that fit and stay up so you can, you know, tighten until it is at a point that is good for you and your waist.
For me, having bigger hips and a smaller waist, that is really important.
So you can put them on over your hiking boots which I really like, the idea that you could pack these up in your backpack and then if it starts raining you can just pull them out and put them on.
The downside for me in this is that it fits but I do feel a little restricted so through my thigh area here you can probably see that it is a little bit firm so when I’m bending, I mean I can, I can squat all the way to the ground but it’s not like loose. But you wouldn’t be able to wear more than like thermals underneath them, so yeah, it’s just a trade-off but that’s kinda gotta be a decision that you make, you know, like… also people have different levels of fit comfort like it’s not so tight that I couldn’t wear them obviously, but I do have another pair of rain over pants so I’m kind of like, do I need two pairs or do I just keep the ones that I have and send these ones back.
Katie's wearing: Size 28 / EU 54
This is the one I like the most. It is the one I am definitely going to be keeping and I’m hoping to wear it hiking this weekend. I love the colour, bright red, it’s super visible and fun. It’s nice not to be wearing black. You’ve got the removable hood as with the other ones. You can see that the inside is kind of like a mesh so it’s not a warm jacket, we’re talking waterproof, not warm. Much like with the black one (Fuchu) you’ve got these little tabs (in the wrist cuffs) and you’ve got two options which I like so you can tighten it to there… or you can fold it over and get it tighter so I think that's a really nice touch! You’ve got no internal pockets with this one but nice, zipped external pockets and you can actually tighten the bottom, there’s also toggles inside the pockets to tighten the bottom which I’m just really delighted by and I don’t really know why, but I am. It’s like the perfect fit, and by that I mean, it’s not loose but it’s not tight it’s just… it fits me, umm...if you wanted something with a bit more give, then maybe the black (Fuchu) jacket would be a better go, or you go up a size in this. I want to show you what it’s like with the polar fleece layered, just because I think that’s the question, I think it’s like, can I wear other stuff underneath it. Easy! So I wouldn’t want anything bulkier than this (XTM Wildcat) polar fleece on underneath. Because that’s definitely like I’m a little tomato!! Hehehe!