Wearing a sports bra hasn’t always been the fashion statement it has become today. It was even around for practical use until quite recently. However, our curves were always kicking, since the 1920s, and the goal was a mix of fashion, comfort, and movement.
Of course, the main objective was always searching for the best. It’s not about the look; with any bra, and especially sports bras, it’s all about comfort and support. Unfortunately, this hasn’t always been the case.
Women have always exercised, but sometimes the lack of “support” was a problem when it came to performing at top performance.
What Sports Bras were like before…
Believe it or not, sports bras are a relatively new invention. Before we had this specialized athletic wear, the alternatives were uncomfortable. In the 1800s, we had the “health corset,” which is just as rigid and painful as it sounds.
Leather and exercise aren’t the best fit together, but there were no real alternatives available if women wanted to break a sweat. There was a market for active women, but there wasn’t much available.
While the health corset was a thing of the distant past, the replacements were neither comfortable nor effective either. Regular bras and corsets, of course, are not practical for exercise. Usually, the result was chafing and sore breasts.
The Problem with Typical Bras
The problem with using everyday bras for exercise is the lack of support and proper structure, especially for women with larger breasts.
Sure, you could be active, but there was a lack of comfort. It can be challenging to jog with an underwire jabbing you and lace rubbing against your ta-tas.
Into the 1960s, women and girls typically worked out in the bras they wore every day. Not having the right equipment is enough to discourage any girl from participating in vigorous activity, especially when the result was pinching, sagging, and soreness.
Luckily, there was an invention that was just around the corner, and it would revolutionize exercise for women
Welcome to the 1970s
Finally, the 1970s brought something women could wear when working out. The first commercial sports bra was the “free swing tennis bra” introduced by Glamorise in 1975.
Shortly after, Jogbra was invented in 1977 by Lisa Lindahl, Polly Smith, and Hinda Miller (or “jockbra.”) This bra was constructed by sewing two jockstraps together. The ladies put their heads together and pinpointed what made exercising in bras so uncomfortable, from the strap placement and how the wires dug in.
The ultimate goal of the Jogbra was to design something functional - not pretty. They literally deconstructed the jockstrap to make something that would work for women. Though it was a very early design, it was lightyears better than what was available. However, once the battle of the sexes exploded, women were featured more prominently in sports. So, the Jogbra was the thing and remained the featured style for two decades.
During that time, there was further research on making sports bras even more comfortable, but it would be some time before the sports bra saw the next phase of rebirth.
I Love the 90s
Aside from small enhancements and a little bit of research, not much happened with sports bras in the ‘90s. New styles emerged, but nothing as innovative as the first. Finally, the sports bra received some much-needed upgrades thanks to Brandi Chastain’s triumphant display in the 1999 Women’s World Cup. There’s nothing like tearing your shirt off to reveal your sports bra beneath to draw attention, and sports bras were once again at the forefront.
No longer would they be hidden, and as the feminine presence grew in the sporting world, it was time for some enhancement. Sports bras were back in the limelight. From there, the model has changed with innovative fabric, structure, and style. Plus, the market grew to include women of all shapes and sizes.
Sports Bras Today
Sports bras have come a long way from a leather corset, and now a new trend is improving older designs. These vital pieces of equipment don’t have to exist as a one size fits all model. They are becoming more tailored to fit the individual needs of all women.
We still have the compression style bra, which focuses on securing breasts firmly, but this design isn’t always ideal. Lumping your breasts together doesn’t feel good after a while, especially if your girls are on the bigger side.
With new innovations, uniboob may become a thing of the past, thanks to a new design with separated supported cups: the encapsulation sports bra. Rather than compress and hold, these bras have individual cups to support each breast on its own. Still, this doesn’t restrict in and out movement. Newer bras are combining these modern sports bras’ best features so any woman can work out without worry.
While the fit is still the focus, sports bras are better and more comfortable than ever. This tech will keep advancing as we find new and innovative ways to fit today’s active woman. The sky’s the limit!
The Perfect Fit
Fashion and style are constantly changing, so there is always hope for a better future when it comes to our bras’ fit and comfort. In a few short years, we went from wearing our everyday bra to work out to the moisture-wicking, tailor-made, supportive sports bras we have today. There’s no stopping us now; and there’s always time for a revolution.