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Ask FGG: "Where can I find plus-size fencing gear?"
Posted by Tee in Ask FGG
Two Women Fencing, by George Eastman House
Iím trying to take up fencing. Iím fit for it, and excited for it, and I have a great place that doesnít even make you buy any gear for the first six lessonsóbut none of their fencing jackets fit me. Iíve shopped a little, but they donít seem to make pret-a-porter (ready-to-wear) 3x fencing jackets. Help?"

What a challenge! Neither Toni nor I know much about fencing, and so this question turned into a crash-course for us, which was a lot of fun. First we needed to familiarize ourselves with the sizing standards in fencing, since the sport's gear shops aren't set up to walk in and pick out sizes in 1x, 2x, 3x (etc) off the rack. Most go strictly by measurements - in a jacket's case, chest measurements - and many are displayed in European sizes.

*head spin*

But we tracked down a few industry retailers who offer fencing gear, including jackets and lames, in plus sizes, as well as a few who make custom lets and alterations a simple and standard practice. Each of these offer helpful sizing guides to navigate US vs. European sizing and other measuring tips. Take a look:

Triplette Competition Arms
Triplette carries a wide range of base and extended sizes, the off-the-rack or custom-sized availability of which depend on the line. This stretch nylon front-close jacket goes up to a base, off-the-rack size of 42, with custom sizing available up to size 56. Triplette also promises that they can alter any jacket to fit any size.

Absolute Fencing Gear
Absolute offers both a la carte and packaged "starter sets," a couple of which included jackets up to size 60 (custom). This B-zip Sabre Lame comes in standard sizing up to 48, with custom sizing available up to size 56.

Physical Chess
Physical Chess carries a nice selection of beginner and practice gear alongside its expert lines. Sizes vary by line, with some stopping at a 48-50 (XL), and others offering extended sizes. This budget practice jacket comes in sizes up for 5XL.

All-Star International
All-Star's web site was a little tough to navigate, and their selection was thin, but they don't appear to charge extra for larger sizes like many of the other retailers do. This Lyon jacket is available in sizes 36-50.

Any FGG readers familiar with fencing? Share your own tips, ideas and favorite gear in comments! And if you've never done it but like me now find yourself curious, check out this comprehensive beginner's guide to fencing.

Got a question for us? Send it to [email protected] and we'll feature it in an upcoming Ask FGG column.