You wouldn’t wear high heels to run a marathon, the principle with your bust support is the same! Imagine how painful that would be. Use the right tools for the job and you’ll reap the rewards and not be always having to pull your straps on to your shoulders while running or doing your downward dog/jogging/mid-Zumba.
Still confused? If all this still sounds completely overwhelming, don’t worry. We are expert bra fitters with well over 20 years experience, fitting all different body shapes and sizes, and can take the guesswork out of the whole process for you.
If you scroll through any social media, you’ll see inspirational gym selfies and workout videos galore. What you’ll also see is a huge amount of busts in unsupportive bra tops. How in this day and age can women still work out without wearing a supportive sports bra? We have amazing advances in technological fabrics that can support in multidimensional ways and wick away sweat, as well as stopping your girls from moving around on your chest and yet… women are still not wearing them!
Images like this are abundant on social media as to what a sports bra looks like – it makes a bra fitter’s blood boil.
We get it. There’s a sexy-glam aesthetic that many want to follow, especially in the age of the gym selfie so sports bras become no more than a plunging crop top, but if you are jumping about and doing any kind of up down or side to side movement you need a proper sports bra (and here’s the kicker) NO MATTER WHAT SIZE YOU ARE!!
In our opinion, if you are doing anything more strenuous than sitting on a sofa watching TV and are bigger than an A cup, then you should be wearing some form of support. When we say A cup, we mean a true A cup, with very little depth or fullness to the bust. None of this 34A-when-you-should-really-be-wearing-a-30D-nonsense. To repeat, if you are moving – either using your arms or legs in a jumping/bouncing/up-down/side-to-side way, then you need something more supportive than a glorified crop top. Really though? REALLY.
If you’re happy to pay for the latest sneakers or have twenty leggings in every color to match your outfits but think that your regular bra will do just fine for exercise, ask yourself this: Why are your feet and legs more important than your breasts? The answer is they’re not – but the back ache, neck ache and sagging breasts will be an unwelcome gym buddy.
Here comes the science bit – breasts are made up of skin and fat and don’t have any muscles, so they can’t be “trained” or get firmer with exercise. It’s a sad and ironic fact of life/kick in the teeth that when you’re exercising the rest of your body, your bust suffers from losing its fullness - the fat that makes it full, firm and round. By not being properly supported, you risk putting your bust through excessive movements because the connective tissues (Cooper’s ligaments) are delicate and not designed to spring back to shape. Once they stretch – that’s it, only surgery will fix ( not return to original shape). That’s what causes the sag.
Research from Shock Absorber and the University of Portsmouth, UK shows that even an A cup can bounce up to 1 inch while a G cup can bounce as much as 4+ inches. Hopefully, you’ll see why support during exercise is so important!
Therefore, buying a sports bra from a sports bra maker is vital – and getting it properly fitted by expert bra fitters is truly essential. A sports bra maker will ensure that the science behind the new tech fabrics is applicable in real life testing. They’ll have a large base of consumers that report back on fit analysis, engage research with noted universities and always be striving for a better product for you.
Key points to look for in a sports bra:
- Firm fitting – all the support is in that band around the body, not the shoulder straps. Make sure you have a style that fastens at the back with hook and eyes – don’t get us started on zip front bras or slip over the head styles. Put on to the loosest setting first so you can adjust as the bra ages unless you can afford to replace your bra fortnightly! It should feel tight but not uncomfortable. Bear in mind that some sports bras come up so tight, you’d think they were mis-sized, so consider going up in the band.
- Coverage – this is not the time to show cleavage. A sports bra needs to cover as much of the breast as possible to stop you from jiggling and bouncing about. A high shape at the front is superior to anything low cut. Same goes for side boob - if it is on show it’s not being supported.
- Try it on – if an alternative brand or style catches your eye, always make sure to try it on because invariably, what looks like a decent fit and shape on the model can look quite different once on. Sometimes they’re too deep under the arm and you can feel the seams cutting in and rubbing the moment you drop your arms down. Always give it a bounce test in the fitting room.
- Material – leave cotton for t-shirts and briefs. Cotton bras don’t make good sports bras because cotton doesn’t keep its shape well and over a short time stretches out. We haven’t heard of any fully “natural” material that can beat the hold, support and longevity of a man-made material. Look for quick dry materials to wick away sweat.
- Straps – the amount of sports bras without adjustable straps out there on the market is unbelievable. Not everyone has the same bust level, and what would you do when the straps start to slacken after several washes? Remember the support comes from the band not the straps so they should only be two-fingers width tight.
- To encapsulate or compress? – Sports bras started as compression garments for the chest – strap them down and you’re good to go - but technology evolved and found different ways to support. Compression style sports bras work by smushing your breasts against you. If you’re a smaller cup size or doing very light activity you can get away with this style, however most end up with a mono-boob look. Encapsulating bras have separated cups and tend to give support to each individual breast. These are most often underwired styles and give more coverage and a more regular shape under workout clothes.
- Underwires in a sports bra? – There has been a great deal of innovation in underwire sports bras, They are crafted from sports performance fabric and they usually have a lighter wire that is more flexible to allow for a range of movement and perfectly safe to use. Always make sure that you are correctly fitted if you go for this option as a poorly fitted underwired sports bra will be more tortuous than 100 push ups!
- Wire-free sports bras- A great deal of women still opt for a sports bra that is wire free, for the best support be sure to match your sports bra impact level to your sports. These wire free sports bras can only support and hold up to a certain cup size, again get yourself fitted and be sure this is an option that will serve you well.
Yoga style tops are lovely – but if you’re putting bras on over your head like a top, they are going to stretch something wicked. They don’t have any option to adjust the band around the body either. Keep these for sleep/going about the house.
One to wash, one to wear – if you can afford to have more than one sports bra, JUST DO IT. You’ll be less tempted to carry it over from your last workout and save yourself from the sniff test. Perspiration degrades the elastics within your sports bras and you want that garment to stay as taut as possible, for as long as possible. After every workout make sure you are hand washing your sports bra with Fashion Care, we swear by this product and have been selling it for 20 years! They can even be soaking in the bathroom basin while you’re in the shower and leave to drip-dry afterwards. NO washer or dryer- EVER! Remember your bra is heat averse!
Call us to book an appointment for your very own Bra~vo Experience, 248-582-7286.
Too far to come in? Did you know, we also offer a virtual bra fitting service where we can give you the Bra~vo experience via video chat.
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Bravo Blogs to come -
- Demystifying the DD
- Our Top Five Sports Bras for your size and soprt
- Brides - Stress free dress shopping - get fitted BEFORE you shop for the dress, and more bra education to come!