Lingerie Diaries True Confessions

Plus-Size Sports Bras: An Oxymoron

My theory with plus-size sports bras is, smush ’em down and keep ’em down. I’m currently training for an Ironman triathlon and my current preferred sports bra is just a standard compression model with straps and a fabric-coated band that reduces chafing over very long runs and bicycle rides. Now, there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to sports bras: After all, what you need for yoga is not remotely the same as what you need for running. But when you’re plus size it can be a challenge finding any sports bra.

First there’s the issue of band size vs. cup size. It seems like sports-bra designers assume that if your band size is plus size, you must be packing some DDD breasts. That seriously does not work for many of us: I end up with my circulation being cut off by the band while my breasts swim around in the cups with more excess space than a McMansion. Not exactly the support I’m looking for while I‘m running. Meanwhile, my friends with who are larger than a DDD find that they could get out of a strait jacket faster than they can get into their sports bra.

Now I’m seeing bras that are some kind of hybrid between regular bras and sports bras. Sure they’re cute, but at what cost? I know I’m supposed to see adjustable straps, and hook-and-eye closures meant to provide support and customization, but all I can see are little chafe generators that are going to make me bleed by mile 12. Then there are the underwires, which…I mean…I can’t even remotely understand this trend. Finally, there are the promises to lift and separate when that’s absolutely the last thing I want a sports bra to do! I have to bounce up and down for hours. Look, bring on the uniboob.

And that brings up another point, the not-undesirable style point: When you’re plus-size, you can get it in any color you want as long as it’s black, though if I could find one that fits I would legit wear it in chartreuse paisley. Over at Nike, the sports bra I love in a size that’s only sold in straight sizes comes in roughly fortyelevenmillion options, colors and patterns all over.

I understand that my preferences and needs aren’t the same as everyone else’s, so I don’t mean to yuck someone else’s sports bra yum. I just want to live in a world where companies who make sports bras make all of the options for people of all sizes, so that whether we want to lift and separate or smash and immobilize, we can all get the sports bra of our dreams.

What do you look for most in a sports bra? Tell us in the comments!


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  • Reply
    August 26, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    I totally agree that it is a challenge to find something that works. I have an opposite problem where I have a small band and a large cup.

    I did not think I’d like the underwire in my sports bra, but for running I totally do. My 36J’s love Elomi, so I was super excited when they made a sports bra. The closures are padded and there is a back clasp to make it a racerback. Zero bounce and my boobs look great.

  • Reply
    August 26, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    I feel such outrage for my plus-in-any-dimension sisters and misters when it comes to fashion, and bras in particular. I’m slim and a lifetime runner who hasn’t been able to buy a single running bra since my pregnancy. My boobs, which can now independently vary in size from 34DDD to 34L in a single day depending on how my son has been nursing, fit NOTHING. I can’t imagine how much worse it must be to deal with larger band sizes on top of that, and the mind-bending costs associated with big bras. I used to wear the Jubralee bras, which were essentially perfect for straight-size long-distance runners. They’re lined throughout, have adjustable shoulders and backs, relatively wide straps, and bomb-proof support. There was practically no bounce at all in once-upon-a-time C/Ds. I would do a lot to have the same quality in something I could wear now.

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