The word 'bra' is an abbreviation for the French word 'brassiere', which means 'upper arm'. Bras have been worn since the 1300s and were at that time usually fur-lined, and both men and women wore them for nightwear. It was not until the early 1900s that a gender specific form of the bra became widely used. There is some question about who can be credited with the creation of the modern brassiere. Some say Paul Poiret, and others credit Mary Phelps Jacob. Regardless of who actually created the modern bra, the person responsible for the categorisation of cup size was Ida Rosenthal, the founder of Maidenform.
Stretch bra tops, or sport bras, are used to provide support during exercise. Through a variety of different methods the breast is supported and stabilised, allowing women to exercise comfortably without injuring themselves. This guide explains the various types and styles of sport bras available, the benefits of using a stretch bra top, and how to ensure proper fit. It also includes advice on where to shop for stretch bra tops.
Why Wear a Stretch Bra Top?
The breasts are held up and supported by the Cooper's ligament and when a woman jogs or runs, this ligament can be strained or damaged. If the Cooper's ligament is stretched out, this damage cannot be reversed, and the breast will sag. There are five main reasons that a stretch bra top should be worn for exercise.
No matter what form of exercise is being performed, whether it be walking, biking, or running, a sports bra can provide the support needed to relieve the discomfort caused by shoulder strain.
Running or jogging without the proper support leads to dramatic bouncing of the breasts. This can attract unwanted attention. Stretch bra tops reduce bounce by holding the breast firmly in place. The wearer is able to move about without making a spectacle of herself.
Minimises Breast Pain
As much as 50 percent of women polled have admitted to experiencing pain when exercising. A good sports bra will prevent this type of pain by reducing strain on the Cooper's ligament.
Because of the outstanding support sports bras provide, firmness of the breasts is maintained and the eventual sagging of the breasts is delayed for quite some time.
Aids in Healing
A stretch bra top provides the necessary post-op support following any form of breast surgery. Stretch bra tops allow healing to proceed in the correct manner.
How to Fit a Bra
A sports bra can minimise damage by holding breasts firmly during exercise and providing needed support, an advantage that accrues over time. Because not all stretch bra tops are created equal, a proper fitting should be performed. Women's bodies continually change over the course of their lives. Therefore, a woman should be measured for the correct bra size every time she shops for a new bra or bra top.
Measuring for the Correct Size
The techniques used for fitting a stretch bra top is the same as for a traditional bra. To measure the chest for sizing a bra, there are really two measurements that should be taken: the measurement for the band and measurement for the cup size.
Measuring the Band Size
To measure the band of the bra, pass the measuring tape around the body, keeping the tape under the arms. Bring the tape together above the middle of the chest. If the tape reveals an odd number, round up to the nearest even number. After this step, measure the bottom of the band, just under the bust across the rib cage. As with the first step, if the result is an odd number, round up to the next even number.
Determining Cup Size
After the band size has been determined, the cup size needs to be calculated. To do this, pass the measuring tape behind the body and back to the front meeting across the fullest part of the bust, keep the measuring tape loose. Subtract the band measurement from this number. The difference between the two numbers will determine the cup size. For example, if you measure a band size of 36 and a cup size of 38, the difference is 2, which represents a B cup size.
Signs of an Incorrect Fit
Contrary to popular belief, the strap of the bra is not where the support comes from. Rather, it is the band which provides this. If the band is too small, the straps will fall off the shoulder, and if the band is too big the straps will need to be tightened continually to compensate. If a muffin top or bulging at the back is apparent, the cup size is too small. If the bra is gapping away from the body, the cup size is too large. If there is bagginess or wrinkling of the bra material, the bra cup is too large and will not provide the necessary support. If there are any areas of the breast that lie outside the boundaries of the bra, the cup is too small and should be increased by one cup size.If the back is bulging around the band, it is too small, and if the band of the bra is riding up the bra is too large.
Types of Stretch Bra Tops
There are a number of stretch bra tops, not all of which are sports bras. Some of these tops are intended for use in mild weather because they keep wearers cool.
Stretch Bra Cami
These tops can be sexy and stylish. They come with spaghetti straps that are adjustable, a built in shelf bra and a choice of colours. They are often made with cotton/spandex blends for a smooth fit, with just enough stretch to ensure that they lay nicely against the body. They are machine washable for easy care.
Seamless Tube Bra Top
This stretch bra top is intended for use under another shirt. They are usually made from spandex/nylon blends, are strapless and gathered in the front and are perfect for wearing with halter tops, as the bandeau has removable cups, making it very lightweight.
Sports bras are performance stretch bra tops that can either be worn alone or under other tops. They are generally made from cotton/bamboo blends with elastane, a material similar to spandex. This fabric wicks moisture from the body, has anti-odour properties, and the sport bra has a shelf-bra for superior support.
How to Buy Your Stretch Bra Top on eBay
To search for a specific stretch bra top, start at eBays homepage and type the keyword which best describes the item you are looking for into the search bar at the top of the page. You can perform a keyword search from any page on the eBay site. For instance, you can type in "stretch bra top" and a huge selection of listings for sports bras, stretch bra camis and other stretch bra tops will be displayed. Search for other items to wear with your stretch bra top too, such as workout pants and exercise shoes.
Choosing a Seller
Before paying the list price for the stretch bra top or bidding for it in an auction, you should assess the seller. Some eBay sellers hold the distinction of eBay top-seller. Such sellers have completed a fair number of transactions on eBay and the feedback they have received from former buyers is fairly positive. You will know a top-seller by the icon next to their username in the product listing. You can sort the listings on the results page to only show those listings posted by top-sellers. You can learn more about the seller by going into their profile and noting their feedback score, and reading some of the feedback left by previous buyers. If you have any questions for the seller about the stretch bra top they have listed for sale, simply click on the contact link in their profile.
Stretch bra tops are not only a good idea, they are absolutely essential for maintaining tone and firmness in breasts. They provide the necessary support to prevent damage to ligaments and tissues that could result in premature breast sagging. When looking for a good quality stretch bra top, eBay provides the widest variety of choices. Sports bras are important for exercise, but they have become a means of continuing to support the body, allowing the wearer to take the workout to another level, safe in the knowledge that her breast are well supported.
Sport bras are available in various styles and a wide range of colours. Choosing a stretch bra top that can be used regularly is easy to accomplish. Choose a sport bra that has material that wicks moisture away from the body while providing support that holds the breasts firmly against the body. This keeps the bust from bouncing and stretching ligaments or straining muscles. Before beginning your search for a new stretch bra type make sure that you take the proper measurements to determine your correct bra size. As more and more women are beginning to realise the benefits of daily exercise, the importance of a good stretch bra top cannot be overstated.