The hunt for the perfect sports bra has been long, arduous and expensive. Being ‘blessed’ (some say cursed) with a big chest has always been problematic when it comes to most things (ahem, although not all), but particularly exercising. You don’t know pain until you’ve run on a treadmill without the girls being strapped down sufficiently.
I’ve tried a few different brands. High Street brands, supermarkets, and found a bra that worked OK. But I would go through them at a rate of knots. The strain that poor clasp was under was incredible and it’s no wonder they would start to bend quite quickly, and ultimately start digging into my back. The bra would then be precariously keeping my boobs from bursting out with two tiny bra hooks … talk about living on the edge.
Panache Sport clearly felt my pain (thankfully for them, not my literal pain) because they got in touch and very kindly sent me a selection of sports bras to try. So I’ve put them through the proverbial sweaty ringer, tried them out for a couple of weeks, and am now ready to report back to you because if there’s one thing important in life, then it’s looking after your boobs.
(Quick note to any men reading this: please no pervy DMs, this is an informative post that does contain pictures of (shock horror) me wearing a bra, so y’know … it’s not necessary. Just move along.)
I think finding the right bra size is so difficult, whether it’s an everyday bra or a sports bra. Every brand is different, our breasts change size at different times of the month and it really is a case of trial and error. I tend to usually keep the back size smaller, and potentially go up a cup size, when shopping for a sports bra, and that seems to work, but because I’ve put weight on recently I thought I’d go up a size. Therefore, I’m normally a 36F/G, but chose a 38G for this Panache Sports bra, and it fit very well.
The bra looked really robust and rather big. Because it is, there’s no getting around that really. My boobs are full and very round, so I need a lot of material to encase them, especially at the sides. The straps are padded and looked comfortable, and the hooks and eyes at the clasp were thankfully plentiful. It is, of course, underwired, and overall, it looked like it was up the job. Sexy, it isn’t, but that isn’t the point of this bra. I’ve also noticed that there’s a ‘clip’ at the back of the bra that allows you to turn it into a racerback bra, but I haven’t tried this out yet.
Support is so important, and I wasn’t disappointed. As I said, I’ve worn this bra during a couple of PT sessions, and just generally working out at the gym, and although I don’t ‘do’ running, I can tell you now, the bra was fantastic. It didn’t move AT ALL. The bottom part stayed stuck to my ribs at all times and didn’t ride up my back, my boobs didn’t spill out anywhere and not only that, they felt really lifted and gave me a nice shape in my clothes.
Two minor issues: Firstly, I think it’s just because I’m so big chested, but because my boobs aren’t separated in this sports bra, like in a traditional bra, I did feel that my cleavage wasn’t particularly supported, so there was a slight … wobble at the top. Hard to explain, and it didn’t detract from what is a fantastically supportive bra, but you can perhaps see in this photo what I mean.
And secondly, I would have liked to have been able to, for want of a better word, hoik my boobs up a bit more, but I couldn’t adjust the bra strap any further. Had I been able to, it might have sorted that first issue out. But having said that, these two minor issues (for me, as a big-chested woman), still didn’t detract from what is a really supportive bra.
Sports bras are notoriously uncomfortable, but this bra didn’t irritate me at all. Yes, at the end of the day when I took it off, there was a LOT of relief, but I’m like that every day! There was a slight redness around my ribcage where the bra was close-fitting, but there’s a lot of weight to support, so it’s not surprising, and it wasn’t sore in the slightest. No red marks on my shoulders either, which is a miracle.
I would definitely buy this bra again, although I may experiment with the sizing, just to see if I can sort out the minor cleavage wobble issue by either going up a cup size, or down a back size (or vice versa.) And I don’t think smaller chested women would have that issue to contend with, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that. But overall, I loved the shape that this bra gave me, the uplift and support, and it’s the best sports bra I’ve ever worn.