Time for a Sports Bra Overhaul

I lost track of when I bought the sports bras that I’ve been wearing for a long time, but a peek through the blog archives shows me it was April 2011 — more than four years ago! Yikes.

They are inexpensive Champion bras from Target, and they’ve worked perfectly well for most of those years. But over the past year or so, I noticed they had stretched out and weren’t as supportive as they used to be. They’re also thin and don’t have any padding, so when it’s cold, watch out. (So embarrassing!)

I had bra-related chafing issues while training for the Eugene Marathon last summer, so I impulse-bought a new bra online — the Lululemon Bitty Bracer — and wore it for the first time during the marathon. It was a risky gamble, but one that paid off! I didn’t experience any chafing, even though it was hot and miserable. 


Remember this photo?? I ditched my shirt somewhere along the way due to the heat, so the Bitty Bracer was featured in most of my race photos. Interestingly, the photos from this race are actually pretty good, despite it being my worst race by far. (I still need to write the recap! Soon.)

Anyway, the Bitty Bracer is a great sports bra. Nothing moves when I wear it. But it appears Lululemon discontinued it shortly after I bought it! (The equivalent bra for big-chested ladies, the Ta Ta Tamer, is still available.)

One downside to the Bitty Bracer is that its removable padding is super thin and kind of a nightmare to reinsert after washing. Ladies, isn’t it frustrating when removable padding just folds and wrinkles and looks all wonky? I wound up just throwing the pads away. Again, when it’s cold, watch out!

Recently I decided it was really time to find new sports bras. Target doesn’t carry the exact same Champion bras anymore, and the selection I found at my local store seemed to be an odd mix of hyper-supportive bras for big-chested ladies and light-support bras for low-impact activities.

I got a Lululemon gift card for my birthday, so I checked out their in-store selection and found tons of light-support bras for yoga, as well as the Ta Ta Tamer. Noooope.

Next, I checked out Lorna Jane, a fairly new store to the mall in my area. They had a ton of sports bra styles in all kinds of fun colors, and a sales associate set me up with a bunch to try on. I like really basic sports bras that don’t have anything that might chafe, like adjustable straps with those little slider things, so she avoided those. She also told me that every sports bra Lorna Jane makes offers either medium or maximum support, so anything in the store would work for running! Now we’re talking.

After a marathon try-on sesh, I chose the Molly bra, which is pretty similar to my Champion bras, but with fun mesh details and bright colors. The website says the outside of the bra is red, but in person it looks like hot pink.


I also really liked the Acrobat bra because of its v-neckline and unique, airy back. They didn’t have my size in-store — the sales associate told me they were selling like crazy — so I planned to order it online (in black, which looks like it’s not available anymore).


I also liked the Criss Cross bra, but figured I’d limit myself to two new bras so that I’d have three total to rotate through. Lorna Jane bras ($66-$70 each) are even more expensive than Lululemon bras ($42-$58 each), so I was not about to go wild buying a ton of them. Yet. A-hem.


It turns out Lorna Jane does that thing where they offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount, and of course I had to buy more than just one bra to get free shipping. I wear a sports bra nearly every day, and I had some birthday cash to spend, soooo why not? I wound up buying the Criss Cross bra as well as the Acrobat. Try not to do the math on how much I just spent on sports bras, people.

The good news is that I’m loving these bras after a few weeks of wearing them. I feel supported and stylish, and the removable pads are thick enough to easily pop back in after washing — a first!!!  As a smaller-chested individual, I also appreciate the extra shape the pads add, whereas my Champion bras pretty much flattened me. Plus, no embarrassment with cold temps. Hallelujah.

Anyway, this unnecessarily deep dive into my sports bra situation is in no way sponsored by Lorna Jane or any other company. There are no affiliate links either. I just wanted to share my new finds, especially since Australia-based Lorna Jane is new-ish to the U.S. and you may not know about it yet!

Three things to note, though: (1) Lorna Jane only makes exchanges or gives you store credit, so make sure you really want anything you buy! (2) The care instructions on my bras say hand wash only, so if you’re not down with that, look elsewhere. Using a lingerie bag on the delicate setting of the washing machine may work fine, but I’m not sure. (3) A fellow Tumblr just let me know that her Lorna Jane bras have stretched, so perhaps size down if you are in between sizes. Both small and medium sizes felt comfortable to me, but I went with smalls for more support, so hopefully stretching won’t be an issue.

I’m pretty sure anyone can find a sports bra that will work for them at Lorna Jane, since they currently have 69 different styles online! (Lululemon currently has 22 styles, half of which are more suited for yoga than running.)

This is not to say Lorna Jane or Lululemon are the only places one can find good sports bras; they’re just where I found ‘em. I totally would have bought more bras from Target if they had what I was looking for! I’ve also read good things about sports bras by Moving Comfort, which is owned by Brooks, and Oiselle.

Here are some round-ups of good sports bras that other ladies have written:

I won’t be buying new sports bras for a verrrrry long time, but tell me: What’s your favorite sports bra?

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