Can we talk about strappy bras? / The Sports Bra Report

2014 was all about the pants. (Patterns! Colors! Laces! Mesh!)

2015 and and 2016 so far: it’s all about the bras.

What are my thoughts on sports bra fashion? This is a very important question in the world today. Obviously. Let’s dive in.

I like a deep arm hole, so I appreciate a cute sports bra.

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But I’ve learned from experience that the bolder the bra design, the less you can wear it with.

I don’t really understand why every bra isn’t made for high impact, and have lining or padding. Who wants saggy nipply sacks showing through their shirt during sweat yoga? I don’t want to see that shit. This is not NatGeo. Get a real bra.

I instantly don’t like anyone who doesn’t wear a top over her sports bra, either. I mean, come on. You know exactly what you’re doing and it’s not powerful or cool. Save it for Instagram.

Long bras or bralettes or short tanks or whatever Taylor Swift wears are somehow OK, though. There’s probably a formula.

APPROPRIATE AB EXPOSURE =

YOUR PALM WIDTH minus IF YOU EAT CARBS divided by IF YOU HAVE ANY SHAME

or something like that.

But the big trend in sports bras right now is the super strappy bra. I’m sure it was inspired by the cage/harness bra trend, which I find edgy, but generally kind of unflattering.

Oh, and skanky. That shit is skanky as HEY-ull. But I think that’s why it’s appealing. Everybody wants to skank it up sometimes and that is your goddess given right (in the bedroom or near water, and only if you’re young enough, for fuck’s sake, please) so whatever. Go get it.

Right now, every athletic wear site has a strappy bra for its main image when you click on “sports bras.” Don’t believe me? Try it. I’ll wait.

There are wide straps and skinny straps and rib cage straps and holy shit is that a spider web? straps. And that’s all good and fine, but I’m not buying any of them.

  1.  Because it’s hard to style that shit. You always end up with too much going on.
  2.  Because it just looks hard to get into. ANGTFT
  3.  Thin-strapped bras dig into my neck and give me a headache, so mo’ straps mo’ problems?
  4.  In my old age, I’m realizing how quickly things become dated. And I’d rather drop $65 on a super supportive black thing that I can wear until it falls apart than a cute strappy thing that’s only going to be on trend for a few months. But, hey, that’s just me and my mood. If you like it, rock it. I salute any effort put towards feeling good about yourself while you do the work.

BUT, big picture, it’s a little “lingerie,” and I prefer more warrior / less princess for my power outfits. Same goes for anything that looks like lace. Just doesn’t feel right.

But Aimee, do you like anything? At all? Why are you such a hater?

OK fine. There’s one thing in sports bra land that I really like right now. OK two.

First one is the leather look. Or lustrous look. Holy shit. This is edgy and cool and bad ass and a little sexy, but more in a “I will slap you” way and less of a “please think I’m pretty” way. You know what I’m saying? There’s a huge difference. And it’s all in who has the power. To me, this leather look is something you wear for you, it’s very superhero, very strong. And strappy is something you wear for others. Who have peens.

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Second thing I’m digging in the sports bra world is this new (to me) brand, Panache Sport. I saw them everywhere when I was on my tour of every athletic wear store last month. Panache is a lingerie brand from the UK, and Panache Sport is their athletic side. They only make one bra, with or without underwire. They’re pricey, but they’ve got pretty good design, major support, they’re flattering, they’re high enough so your bits don’t fall out, AND they’re cute/powerful looking. They’re kind of everything. I’m not in spend mode, but I did find one for cheaper on Zappos or Amazon or something. It was cheaper because it’s a weird color. There’s always a trade off. You get what you pay for. It’s hard to wear with a lot, because IT’S BLUE AND ORANGE!, but it is a really solid bra. I recommend.

And that’s what I have to say about that.

Oh, and and also, camo is huge right now.

Later.

 

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EXP Core Review (Fitness fashion from Express)

Hey, guess who else has a new fitness wear line.  Express. Yep, that Express. It’s called EXP Core Performance, and they sent me an outfit to review, so I happily shall. Someone wants to send me clothes? YAASSS!

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Hello, EXP Core Performance.

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What they have: Workout Clothes for Women. A whole line of workout leggings,  workout tops, sports bras, and jackets.They say they’re “sexy, stylish, and built for maximum performance.” Oh. You wanna go after VSX Victoria’s Secret Sport? Ok. I hear you. Go for it.

They let me pick out from a selection of a few different pants and tops, and I chose these leggings because 1. I have too many crops right now and 2. HOLY SHIT CRAZY BUTTERFLY PATTERN I LOVE IT. And I chose the black top, obviously, because that’s what I wear. Black tops. And the lovely folks at EXP Core Performance sent me a sports bra to wear under it, too. Sweet!Outfit math expFullSizeRender

The workout leggings kind of rule. Ombre Animal Print EXP Core Compression Legging $69.90. And I’m not just saying that because I didn’t have to pay for them. The pattern is really fun, and it’s the first big, all-over pattern like this that has been flattering on my shape. ( Pear / T-Rex / Thunder-thighs.) The white at the bottom definitely helps because white looks bigger, so the effect is almost the same as if I were wearing bootcut/flared yoga pants. They balance out the thunder thighs. And the pattern at the top (read: the pattern across my ass) is dark and keeps the eye moving, so we’re good there, too. The only drawback is that this fabric is white with a print on it, so the inside of the pants are white, which means when the fabric stretches, it gets lighter because you’re seeing a little bit of that white come through. The black becomes dark grey when it is stretched across my thighs. So. Shopping tip: pay attention to the color of the inside of your workout pants. It’s not a deal breaker in this case, though. I think they still look good.FullSizeRender_2

But more importantly, they make me feel good. I feel like an olympic skier in them. They are edgy and obnoxious and you can’t really wear them and sit on the couch, because look at them! They are ACTION PANTS MADE FOR ACTION! Right?

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The tech and specs:

Fabric: They’re a slippery, almost bathing suit-type material, like Onzie leggings. Which means they wick well, and you could probably use them for bikram yoga or even swimming if you wanted to. Surfing? Maybe. But only if you get them really tight. There’s no drawstring. The fabric is not thick, and  that’s usually a deal breaker for me,  because: cellulite. But the pattern does the camouflaging that I usually count on a thicker fabric to do, so NBD.

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Fit: They have a high rise with a wide waistband, so that’s perfect. Everybody seems to be catching on to that now. As they should be. There’s no reason for anybody to have to have a muffin top. Hooray progress! Also, there’s a waistband key pocket, which is mandatory. I’m between sizes right now, so I ordered the higher size. So they’re not “performance” tight on me. (Except for on the thighs because everything is.)  But despite that, they didn’t slide down during a long walk, and they stayed in place pretty well during burpees and bouncing in a HIIT workout.

I’m impressed, Express. These are thoughtfully designed. Respect.

The workout top is a soft, drapey cotton.  Black EXP Core Strappy Tank $34.90. It’s loose enough and long enough, with some showy interest in the back. What more could you want? You might think “eh, it’s fine” when you look at it online, but it’s the kind of easy-to-wear piece you (I) will probably reach for first again and again. No brainer.

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The sports bra looks basic at first sight, too. (Mesh Back EXP Core Sports Bra $49) But the material actually has an almost shiny, leather-look, so it’s different and edgy, without being slutty.  The scoop of the neck and the width of the straps are flattering. It’s not too low cut,  and it covers the upper boob/ armpit fat. They know what they’re doing over there. And you know I don’t say that shit lightly. Of course, this is a “for looks” bra, not a “for running” bra. There’s no padding, and no special support structure. But it’s pretty slick looking. Oh yeah, and the back has mesh panels, too.FullSizeRender_3

EVERYTHING I got was thoughtfully designed. I’m pleasantly surprised, and actually pretty stoked. This EXP stuff is really flattering. For real.

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Seriously, you guys. When I saw Express in my email, I thought “I have not even looked in the window of that store since college.” And I’m 38. I shouldn’t be in there. But workout wear is for everybody, and EXP Core is a nice find. And you can order online so you don’t have to go in there and stand next to a size 00 seventeen year-old who hasn’t even put on her beer weight yet.

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Thumbs up for EXP Core.

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