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Are You Wearing the Right Sports Bra?

A Guide for Women of All Shapes and Sizes


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  • I worked in a lingire store years ago, and I'm a certified bra fitting professional (seriously, I even received a golden bra pin to commemorate the achievement). We generally added 5 to the rib measurement to get the band size. For larger measurements, I think we added 3 instead. If you're an odd measurement, try on a size up and a size down; you shouldn't always go up. Also, sometimes the formula just doesn't work. If you get measured at a store and the measurement is completely crazy, the fitter can still help you figure out what size you should be wearing.

    One of these days I'll break down and buy some good sports bras, but they're so expensive! For now I just buy Hanes compression bras and wear 2 at a time.
  • Great article...finding a sports bra is hard when you are petite but full busted (34 DD)....I wear 2 when I run to keep the girls compressed and contained....will have to try one of the sports bras for larger bust sizes
  • I guess I'm one of the "lucky" ones. After a double mastectomy I do not require a bra EVER and usually don't even wear a shirt when exercising (in my basement, not outside) which is great because I easily overheat and perspire like a fountain.
    If the bra manufacturer uses the older, outdated system presented in this article, then it's the correct size, but many have their own measuring systems and often go by the actual measured band size without the 'add 3 inches' bull. As well, a woman's breast may be composed of both adipose tissue and glandular tissue, but that percentage is different for every woman - having more glandular tissue gives a woman breasts more "Oomph!" which is often not taken into account. For example, the article says I should wear a 42B - that gave me a good laugh. At 25 pounds heavier than I am, I was wearing a 40D comfortably, but thanks to a "growth spurt", fat loss, and strength training, I now wear a 38DD.

    While this is a decent article, it should not be taken at face value. Always try on your bras, ladies, and make sure to see that you're comfortable standing *and* sitting.
  • This is very helpful, thanks!
  • my first bra was a B and then I went up one size every year in high school. according to the regular bra i wear now i am a 34F. i don't believe that i am really an F but the bra (i have five of the same exact bra) fits well. i played sports all through high school and because it hurt too much with just an unsupportive champion(R) bra, i have been wearing an everyday bra and a sports bra together for a long time. i have scars from where the wires created blisters.

    and then this summer i decided that my chest was the main reason that i was not getting fit and running like i wanted to. randomly, i got a catalog from title nine(R) and it was one of the best things that has ever happened. they have rating of how supportive each bra is, they have bras made specially for bigger chested women and for smaller chested women, they have a calculator on their website so that if you don't believe this article's calculator, you know that theirs will at least work for their bras. usually i am strict in thinking that i need to try it on but let me tell you:

    -when i run now i never think about my chest at all, they are that secure.
    -i used to have to stop because bounce was too painful, not anymore!
    -i don't feel restricted
    -i feel FREE!

    there are a lot of styles to choose from and they explain the benefits of each. they also have a great return/exchange policy (you don't even have to pay shipping). i am a big supporter.

    please check them out and never stop in your conquest for the right sports bra! it will transform your work out.

    thanks for listening!
  • Haha, according to the measuring guide i'm a 38D! The 38 bit is ok but a D cup? I wish! I'm no more than a B unfortunately. As in 'B' stings. Oh well, on the plus side, at least i don't get black eyes when i run! :D

    Interesting article though - i need a new sports bra soon, so i'll keep it in mind when i go shopping for one.
  • Hm. yeah, I failed the pencil test at age 14, so bras have been a must for me for a looong time.
    According to this, and other tests as well, I'm supposed to be a 32C or D but whenever I try that size I feel like there is a steel ring wrapped around my lungs.

    For sports bras I've always hated the "una boob" bands, especially the ones that pull over the head, once you break a sweat, taking that thing off is down right painful.

    This summer I finally found my perfect running bra, the Victoria's Secret VSX bra. It keeps everything in place AND has a really awesome breathing material.

    And normally I don't like VS bras.
  • I have to suspect that either something is wrong with this article, or something is wrong with my measuring tape. I did this as directed & came out 42C, even at my heaviest, that size was too big for me, & I'm 75 lbs. lighter than that now, so is my measuring tape messed up?
  • I have been measured at Victoria Secrets and my BRA size was the same when I used this technique.....Thanks now I know how they got it!!
    oh and I do not agree with the measuring instructions HAVE to try it says Im WAY bigger then I am according to this
    I have trouble finding a sports bra with enough "center" coverage. If I leave the house in it, it "looks" like I'm not wearing a bra at all....
    I only started failing the pencil test a few years ago.....before that I never wore a sports bra.
    I have never found measuring insturctions before. Thanks. This is very helful.
    Not every bra manufacturer uses these measuring instructions to size their bras. I've seen companies that recommend not adding any inches to your band size, other that say add 5 inches, and still others that say to measure your chest under your armpits and over your breasts to get your band size (!).

    Why is there not a universal measuring and sizing system is beyond me and beyond frustrating.
  • Thank you for the measuring instructions.

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