Heed this advice from Audrey Kirkland, the brand manager of sports bras for New Balance.
Ditch the body hang-ups
“Ladies are so concerned when they come in to get a bra — like, ‘I don’t have the perfect body,’ or ‘This breast is larger than that breast.’ All these different things are totally normal. Everybody’s like that. The way I look at it, whatever their body that they present to me, that’s a perfect body, because that is what it is. That’s their body. It’s my job to find that perfect bra for it to do what they need it to do.”
Get regularly measured
“Seventy to 80 percent don’t know their current bra size because you gain some weight, you lose some weight, you have children. … You really have to get in there and try the bras on, and it’s best to get measured every six to 12 months. If you’re somebody that’s pretty steady with your weight, then maybe just get checked every 12 months.”
Determine the activity
“If you’re doing yoga or something you don’t need as much [support] as if you’re running. That’s why there’s a wardrobe of sports bras out there, so you’re addressing all those different needs.”
Don’t rely on straps
“If you think of it like building a house, you build your foundation first and then you build up. It’s the same with the bra: You build that strong foundation with your bottom band, so it’s supporting you from the bottom band up, and then the least amount of work should be done by your straps. If you think about it, if all that weight is hanging on your shoulders, that’s where a lot of ladies come up with back problems.”
Small? You still need the right fit
“I get a lot of ladies who are an A cup or a B cup. You need to protect your breasts, take care of them and keep them supported because then they’re going to stay a little firmer over time. Obviously gravity’s still gonna come into play, and as we age the skin changes, but we want to do the most we can now to protect your breast tissue. And that’s basically the purpose of the sports bra, to reduce the movement of the breast so that you’re not damaging your breast tissue.”
Keep girls front and center
Getting the right fit is more than just pulling a bra over your head. Once the bra is on, you have to adjust to make sure the fit is correct. “Let’s say you’re going to adjust your left breast,” she says. “I’d just take my left hand and hold the bottom band of the bra. I’d take my right hand, reach in, place my hand under my left breast and lift all the breast tissue from the bottom, I would then place the bottom band of the bra directly under my breast on my chest wall or diaphragm. You don’t want the bottom band sitting on any breast tissue. Just put it right underneath your breast and let your breast fall gently back into the cup. And then I always say, get your high points level and looking straight ahead — then you know you’ve got the fit just right.”
Follow Meredith Engel on Twitter @MeredithAtMetro.