Support Systems

I recently read an article in the Evening Standard Fashion: Life & Style section of the paper. The article explored how comfort is now king and how sports bras have become a legitimate underwear alternative. ‘Lycra has replaced lace, with locker room lingerie now leading in the style stakes.’

I am always wearing a sports bra, especially if I’m not leaving the house that day or if I’m just doing errands. I just find it so much more comfortable than the usual wired bra. The soft, flexible fabric of a sports bra or cropped top-style bra, adds to the appeal for me. I think it is now more common that we crave a more comfortable life.

This is the main reason athleisure has gone from Primrose Hill brunch spot fixture to a word in the dictionary. The article goes on to explain how this dedication to curating a more relaxed existence extends to what lies beneath too, with more women choosing to go about their day-to-day business with the support of a sports bra.

The athleisure trend has also trickled down to highstreet stores that tend to be late adopters when it comes to trends; for example, the M&S’s under wear section. They sell more than 20 million bras and 60 million pairs of pants every year. They recently revealed that their current best-selling style is a full-cup, non-wired sporty little number which wouldn’t look out of place on a yoga mat.

Modern sports bras were once the sole domain of the gym, but are now many women’s go-to bra of choice as their favourite every day or weekend style. Soozie Jenkinson, M&S’s head of lingerie design adds that sales of non-wired bras have grown 40 per cent over the past year. “They combine innovative technical design, which provides amazing support, with ergonomic sporty styling.”

The popularity of the bralette has also encouraged a redesign of the lace-material bra. The lightweight bra is now more popular in a softer, t-shirt, stretch fabric, adding to the comfort factor. Topshop’s, ‘Sporty Wellness bra’ stands out from the racks of flimsy lace triangles and push-ups bras with its relaxed jersey fabric and reassuringly secure underband.

Another brand offering no-frills intimates on the high street is Uniqlo. They are master of the supremely soft and streamlined moulded cup. The Japanese chain’s latest launch, the Wireless Relax bra, is a crop-top style that’s comfortable enough to sleep in yet structured enough to support whilst running for the bus or a walk in the park. Cut from its breathable AIRism fabric, any wires, hooks or adjusters have been replaced with ultrasonic-bonded construction for seamless invisibility, while the wide stretchy straps take the load off your shoulders. The brand also offers a range of Active Seamless bras in a multitude of vibrant colours and prints for times when a little exercise might actually be on the agenda.

Gap’s style-conscious Fit range is very affordable and offers a host of life-friendly sports bra styles spanning low- to high-impact and featuring four-way stretch, moisture-wicking fabric.

Activewear brand Silou also specialises in stylish barre-to-bar sports bras in practical neutral shades, including its bestselling Audrey Crop, which features a striking asymmetric back. This is my perfect style sports bra, higher neck with a tight crop-top appearance. “We design bras not just for the studio, but for ‘lifewear’ – everyday pieces that can be worn outside the gym walls,” says founder Tatiana Kovylina. This style would be an all-day, everyday essential for me.

The Sydney-based sports brand The Upside specialises in low-cut sports bras which are ideal for concealing under a work shirt. I didn’t realise before that they can also double as bikini tops thanks to their quick-drying, SPF30 fabric.

Comfort is definitely key when it comes to modern lifestyles!


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