Tuesday, April 17, 2018

GUEST POST: Sports Bra Support by Christina

Did you know your sports bra has an expiration date similar to your running shoes? (Okay, so it's not exactly like your milk's expiration date that can lead to a rancid jug in your fridge if you ignore it, but a lifespan nonetheless.) Maybe it's because I'm not super busty so my chest is never on the forefront of my mind or maybe it's because I've never really been too focused on undergarments, but whatever the reason I'd say sports bras never really got a ton of my attention.

But ignorance is NOT bliss. Choosing the appropriate sports bra is of the utmost importance so you can lead an active lifestyle without unnecessary discomfort (because ill-fitting sports bras can cause breast pain and even soft tissue damage). While most women rock a sports bra for support and comfort, many are potentially wearing the wrong size.

Lucky for you, I am friends with Christina, the Title Nine "gear junkie" and one of the Title Nine "bravangelists", and she's here to give you a little support (both figuratively and literally) when it comes to fitting yourself for the proper sports bra.


While it may seem difficult on the surface, measuring yourself (or helping your best running friend) for an everyday or sports bra is actually fairly simple! While many big box lingerie companies use a two-step measurement, this three-step measurement helps get folks closer to the right size the first time around and is more accurate for athletic builds. 

Go grab a measuring tape. For accuracy, make sure the tape lays flat and don’t pull too tight, or your bra will end up too tight as well. Not sure if you’re pulling too tight? Have a seat and re-read the measurement. Chests expand when seated.

There are three basic measurements:

  1. Just under the arms, all the way around.
  2. Around the fullest point of the bust (wherever is fullest, it doesn’t need to correspond with anatomy).
  3. Under the bust where the bra band lays.
BAND SIZE: the chest measurement taken (1) is actually your band size. Don’t worry if it’s not a ‘common’ band size.

CUP SIZE: to calculate cup size, subtract the under-bust measurement (3) from the fullest point of bust measurement (2). The difference in inches will give you an idea of what your cup size is.

  • The bra band lays flat and doesn’t hike up when arms are raised
  • The straps don’t dig in or slip off
  • The gore (center where the cups meet) sits cleanly against the body
  • There’s no “underboob,” “sideboob” or “armpit fat” creeping out
  • The cups are smooth, no wrinkling or “double boob”



Okay, so I know my everyday bra size, but what’s my sports bra size?
Your everyday bra and your sports bra are the same. If you are sizing down “for support” in a sports bra, you likely need a different style or may prefer your sister size.

What’s a sister size?
Some folks measure at one size but are more comfortable in a size with equivalent volume. Sister sizing means going up a band size and down a cup size from your measurement, or down a band size and up a cup size. Someone who measures at 34D may be more comfortable in a 36C, or possibly a 32DD, depending on their build.

It says my band size is 35… so what should I buy?
The hook closures on a bra correspond with size. On a 34B, the hook that makes it smallest is “33,” the middle is “34” and the largest is “35.” For bra longevity, it’s ideal to purchase a bra that can be worn on the largest setting so it may remain adjustable as the elasticity begins to change.

My straps fall down!
Straps should only do about 10% of the lifting. Straps slipping is a sure sign that the band, cup or both are the wrong size.

My cups pucker.
Room to pucker means they’re too roomy.

My band rides up!
Are you also cranking the straps trying to achieve a proper fit? Your band is likely too big, and there’s a possibility the cups are too shallow.

I keep buying a size bigger in the band but it’s not helping chafing!

Counterintuitive, but this is likely (a) that your band is too big and thus has room to move and chafe you or (b) it’s the wrong style bra for the end use and excess moisture or poorly placed seams are to blame.

But I’ve had this for all my PRs!
Is your bra preparing to celebrate a birthday? If she’s your PR fave, wash her one last time and frame her because after about a year, bras have done a lot of hard work and will need to be replaced. If you’re rotating through your favorite 3-5 quality bras and workout frequently, chances are a year is a good time to call it. If you’re getting new running shoes, you may have over 100+ miles per bra too!

So, if you haven't done it yet, go grab your tape measure and figure out what the correct size is for you. Once you’ve found your size, try on different sports bras and test the fit. It should fit slightly tighter than a regular bra, but you should be able to breathe deeply and comfortably. Your breasts should feel secure and supported. If need be, break up with any ill-fitting or old bras and grab some new ones! I mean, who doesn't need a reason to shop for more running gear, right?! 
PS Thanks to my Run Happy Ambassadorship with Brooks, I was recently sent the FastForward Crossback Sports Bra to try out. I've been wearing it for a couple weeks now and am loving it! There's a front mesh panel and has crossback power mesh straps that provide extra ventilation. The mesh makes the bra look super cute while still providing coverage.

The adjustable straps and J hook back closure provide a personalized fit for lasting support. I've never had a sports bra with a hook back (I felt so fancy) so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I am loving the fit and feel of this bra. It is super stylist and soft. I also appreciate the removable cups that offer some shape and coverage (no more 'headlights').

Have you ever been professionally fitted for a sports bra?


Gianna Blake said...

This was quite a useful post, because I myself know many women who end up buying wrong sized products many times and could learn something from this article. That’s why I mostly visit the department store when I need to purchase sports bra as they have a trial room where I can try the item before buying.

Rose William said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rose William said...

Yes.. we women do fail to buy the right size of undergarments sometimes and that badly affects our sensitive parts. But, now that we have many useful articles like this one on the Internet, I think many women read and analyze how undergarments mainly panties and bra affect their body as well as mood. Also, such posts help in selecting the right fit.

Thanks for sharing this useful article!

Allena Rissa said...

Such a lovely post, not just informative but very entertaining! Thanks for sharing these great tips with us about sports bra!

P.S. I never knew that sports bra has an expiration date similar to our running shoes!! Another food for thought! :)