Sports bras might seem like a grab-n-go kind of garment: As long as it’s tight, it fits, right? Not quite. According to Lori Kaplan, owner of NYC-based Bra*Tenders, “9 out of 10 women are still wearing the wrong bra size.” We spoke with Kaplan for some expert advice on what to look for in a sports bra—and why.
Sports bras and sweat go hand in hand, which is why a moisture-wicking fabric is key.
“This will ensure the skin stays dry and doesn’t chafe or develop a rash, especially under the bust,” Kaplan says. Moisture-wicking fabrics will also greatly prolong the life of your bra.
Contrary to popular belief, “a sports bra’s support comes primarily from the band around the rib cage, not from the straps,” Kaplan says. Make sure your band fits properly with a simple test: There should be enough room for two fingers to easily slip beneath the band, but no more. Kaplan also suggests looking for bras with adjustable straps, as the elastic stretches and relaxes with wear.
Cups are key if you want your top half to feel secure during long rehearsals or classes. “Cup-sized bras reduce movement, stress and strain on breast tissue,” Kaplan says. Regardless of how small or large your chest, Kaplan recommends that everyone purchase a cupped sports bra. “This will eliminate bounce and maximize motion control,” she says. However, if your costume calls for a basic design without cups (also known as a “compression” bra), “it should have adjustable straps, and should be snug enough while still passing the two-finger rule.”
A Bra's Life
Lori Kaplan, owner of Bra*Tenders in NYC, shares her pro tips on prolonging the life of your sports bra.
If you sweat a lot while wearing your bra, wash it after each wear so the sweat doesn’t break down the bra fibers. For moderate activity, only wash the bra every two or so wears.
Like pointe shoes, keep a few bras in rotation so you aren’t relying on only one to get you through a busy weekly dance schedule.
Keep in mind that the average lifespan of a sports bra is six months to a year with normal wear and tear. If you’re past that time frame, it might be time to buy a new one!
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