Question of the Week: “Sometimes I wear 2 or 3 sports bras to get the support and fit I want—is this weird?”
February 25, 2011
You certainly aren’t alone! I hear from lots of full-figured women who use a “multi-bra strategy” to customize the fit and function of their sports bras. And it’s not just about the support—at the gym I see plenty of my smaller sisters layering up simply for the fashion effect.
In the world of sports, layering is actually a time-honored method of customizing your outfit to create the best possible workout conditions. Common examples that come quickly to mind include:
-Piling on two pairs of sports socks to prevent blisters
-Wearing a “wicking” T-shirt under a basketball jersey
-Adding compression shorts as a first layer under soccer shorts to improve performance
-Layering chamois-lined spandex cycling shorts inside a sturdier mountain biking model
So Why Layer Up Your Sports Bras?
When it comes to sports bras, here’s why you might want to give layering a try:
•To further tame breast motion — layering a snug seamless compression style over an underwire “encapsulation” bra can give you a definite boost in support.
•To help reduce friction — I know this sounds unconventional, but if you have chronic problems with chafing from straps or bottom bands, you might want to try putting a very smooth layer such as Champion’s 2961 Seamless Reversible sports bra underneath your more structured high-support bra, especially if you’re a long-distance runner.
•To bump up modesty/coverage — Topping off with an additional fuller-coverage (think wider straps and higher neckline) compression sports bra layer can give you a double-defense against “high beams” and “cleavage revealage”!
•To show a little personal style — Here’s your chance to play with contrasting lines and colors to create a fashion look that is uniquely your own!
Help for Layer-Haters
But layering up can also be a less-than-joyful experience, especially when you feel your only choice is to stack on multiple sports bras in order to exercise without pain or embarrassment. I absolutely do take it seriously when my fuller-figured sisters protest, “It’s just not fair that I have to wear several bulky layers while my smaller friends skip by with a single sports bra! How hard can it be to solve this problem?”
If I know one thing for sure after my nearly 30 years of research, it’s that sports bras are the most technical, hardworking piece of clothing you will ever put on your body! And as cup sizes get bigger, the engineering job we ask our bras to do increases even more dramatically. From a “physics” point of view, it’s not easy to figure out how to get small pieces of floppy fabric to carry fast-moving, heavy loads (suspended from tender shoulders) in a stylish, non-chafing, non-constricting, body-friendly way during a high-impact workout! Whew—makes me tired just saying it!
At Champion, some of our top-performing sports bras are actually inspired by the concept of layering an outer “compression” top over a full-featured inner “encapsulation” inner bra within a single garment. The #6242 Seamless Underwire, #6843 Shape Scoop, #1691 Powersleek, and #072 ActionShape sports bras all depend on carefully designed multi-layers to boost support, and have allowed many active women to finally get everything they need in a single sports bra.
We continually go to the lab to learn more about exactly how “the girls” move during a tough workout and investigate how to effectively beat the bounce with improved bra design. And listen to great suggestions from real women of all sizes in order to make our sports bras even better (we’d love to hear from you, too). It's a journey…we've come a long ways, but there’s still a long ways to go!
In the meantime, I hope you won’t be shy about doing whatever it takes to make your workout comfortable and possible—even if that involves creative layering.
Enjoy your week and your workouts!