Behold, the sports bra.
I don’t play sports anymore, but I keep one in my regular rotation, for various reasons. Since breasts are made entirely of glands, fat and connective tissue, there is no muscle to hold them down. Skin and some additional ligaments are all the natural support a girl has. For this reason, women have all through history been searching for he best way to get them out of the way. The mainstay for a few hundred years were corsets and stays, which worked very well at supporting, but not so well for doing anything that required vigorous motion for extended periods of time. For girls that liked sports, for a long time there was no choice but to wear a corset and bear the pain while playing tennis or riding or stretching or whatever they did. Even when bras started to replace the corset, athletic bras didn’t catch on until the late ‘1970s. I am honestly grateful that we have such a wide variety to choose from now! Whether the sporting be track, soccer, softball, volleyball, football, horseback riding, hiking, drag racing or a Spartan race, a sports bra (or multiple sports bras!) is a necessary addition to the active girl’s wardrobe.
And the church girl’s, in my opinion.
See, I belong to a shouting church. Pentecostal, to be specific, but there are a lot of other churches that still shout and know what I’m talking about (Give a shout out for your church if you do!). When praise starts, people generally get in motion, and when us ladies do… well you might as well be playing rugby. A well fitting bra does a good job at reducing “praise bounce”, but when you’re young and you go all out, even the best fit and quality can’t keep up with it. If your bra can’t keep up with your shout, it doesn’t matter how much you paid for it, how thick or opaque it is, or how much is actually covered up. You might as well not be wearing one.
Please, don’t misunderstand me: no one ought to be scrutinizing you in the intimate act of worship, least of all your breasts. It is NONE of their business.
That being said, any extreme motion causes some serious discomfort after the fact, and unrestricted, can contribute to your natural support failing you (read: without proper support, everyone sags.) For your own comfort, especially if you are as self-conscious as I am, it is better to keep your breasts close to your body. They won’t move around too much, and they’ll be out of accidental punching range!
One could argue that a well fitting regular bra would do the same thing, but there is a huge catch. Motion wears out bras faster than most anything besides a tumble-dry cycle. When you wear a regular bra to do sports/exercise or to shout at church or to do anything that requires a whole lot of movement or sweat (helping your friends move, watching a little league game in the heat), there is an ever increasing chance that your bra will fail you. Disastrously. We are talking popped straps, stab wounds and sudden mortifying loss of support all at the worst possible time. Sports bras are made to withstand that kind of action. So, when the going gets tough, wear a sports bra.
The Best Sports Bra For You
Today, there are hundreds, if not thousands of sports bras on the market, especially now that the “athleisure” style is in! The catch is that probably more than half of the are cutesy brand names that put fashion over function, because the athleisure style is in. Then there are light-duty, medium duty, and heavy duty types that aren’t always easy to tell apart. And for top heavy girls with small ribcages, like me, the pickings are even slimmer.
Worry not! I did a lot of the research for you. 😉 Aaaaand made use of runnersworld.com’s sports bra section. (Like this super duper helpful video: http://www.runnersworld.com/shoes-gear-video/how-to-find-the-proper-sports-bra)
There are basically two kinds of sports bras: compression and encapsulation.
This is the one most people are used to seeing at the sports/outdoors stores, the one you pull over your head and have to wiggle to get your arms into. Ok, not all of them, but it’s the one people generally think of when they think sports bra.
This one works by compressing all of the tissue close to the body, optimally the chest. The less “give” in the fabric, the sturdier the hold, and the more rigorous sporting can be done. So a low-impact stretchier sports bra would be good for lounging and light housework, or yoga if you’re into that kind of thing, and a high impact bra that may or may not feel like a vice would be good for a marathon or zumba or a youth rally.
The downside is, the larger your breasts, and the more difference between the under and over bust measurements, the less reliable the compression. I have worn compression bras where the band floated away from my chest at all times (it was not fun). There are some brands that do make a successful compression bra for bigger chests, but the sacrifice is in shape and fashion. All around, it is highly likely that a compression bra will give you uniboob, no matter what your size. The deciding factor for a compression bra is its functionality.
If compression bras work for you, awesome! After some research, and again thanks to Runner’s World, Here are some top picks for you!
Some other good manufacturers of compression bras are Nike, Adidas and lululemon.
These bras work kind of like a regular bra, and are usually sized like a regular bra too. Each breast is supported individually by the cup, band and straps. These will often have wires, especially in the DD+ range. The biggest pro to an encapsulation bra, in my opinion, is that it works for your size, and they do actually make your size (Hallelujah!)! They fit a little tighter than your regular bra, mostly because they have to do the work, and they also come in low to high impact styles. The con is that they do tend to run more on the expensive side, as do most good bras.
The sports bra I wear for church is an encapsulation bra that works really well, and it is usually invisible under clothes, surprisingly enough. No uniboob, either.
If you’re gonna wear a sports bra to church (like I’m trying to convince you to), wear an encapsulation bra, that way you can wear your clothes like normal and still have all the necessary support for deep worship, praise dance, or tambourines.
Sources and Hello Again Regular Content!
I already mentioned Runner’s World, and they have lots of sports bra reviews, including some that I didn’t cover since I limited myself to six per category. They do testing on the bras themselves, and don’t sell them, so they are trustworthy in that regard.
While I didn’t link them, the captions should tell you where you can find each of the bras I mentioned. A lot of these are even carried in stores like Six:02, Nordstrom, Dicks Sporting Goods, and other online retailers as well.
I do intend to post more undies/clothes/modesty type content from now on, as promised, but I will also continue to try and make uplifting posts (pun totally intended). I may not be making weekly updates, but I’m getting more into the rhythm of working and blogging. Now all I need is an actual computer that works, lol. Y’all pray for me.