How many of us actually think about how the piece of clothing we wear on our bodies comes from? Their origins, or the process of how this body-fitting cotton came about that evolved into an indispensable part in our lives? The history part of the sports bra has a beautiful message behind it: feminism. We find that it was outright inspiring
The Life Of Women Before Sports Bra
The journey difference between the women back in the days, and the modern sportswomen today, is that they fought a much bigger “war” than us. To push their way into the sporting scenes, they had to first fight a social stigma. The negative association to a women’s bra had to be broken because this has strongly restraint women from going outdoors to sweat it out. Jogging was a popular activity since the 1970s, and the innovation of a supporting device for women’s breasts had not kept up with the pace. “Before you stepped outside, you first had to figure out tops that would hide the straps…”, said LaJean Lawson, a Ph.D.holder in Sports Bra Science, and also Champion Athleticwear’s Marketing Consultant.
The Pacific Southwest Open in the 1970s was also an example where the difference in the social status because of the gender had been cultured into the people for a long time. The tennis competition awards their male tennis winner for $12,500 (approx. RM52,350) while they award their female tennis winner with $1,500 (approx. RM 6281), which is 8 times less comparatively. Women were just not welcomed with open arms in the sports field, and things started to take a turn for the better until Title IX was introduced.
Title IX Paved The Way
Title IX was one of the federal law of the Education Amendments Act on 1972 that states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from partcipation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” And this paragraph of words had opened doors for women who had been sitting on the bleachers watching their male family members take part in sports, to join them in the fields.
Free Swing Tennis Bra
As another challenge was taken down, another challenge arose. The problem with bras in the 70s was that it wasn’t designed and produced to hold the boobs in place. It was just simply designed to solve the problem of heavy and body movement-restricting corsets that would put on more weight on women’s bodies to the point it poses health risks to women. Bra companies were trying to come up with a new bra that would solve the problem. Glamorise technically created a tennis bra that was for sports, but it did not put much of the problem away as it wasn’t much different from the cotton bras that were not suitable for running athletes.
The Three Musketeers And The Jockstrap
Like a typical American in the 1970s, Lisa Lindahl was a graduate of University of Vermont, and she was also one of those people who are into running that she jogs 30 miles every week. But her experience from it wasn’t that decent. The bras design back then was wired and had metal hooks that would chafe (prolonged rubbing against something) her skin, and the bra straps failed to hold her breasts securely, and so they were moving all over the place while she was doing her favourite activity. It was frustrating, and this happened to her sister too.
Lisa Lindahl, her assistant, Hinda Schreiber, and her costume designer friend Polly Smith were the three “musketeers” that came up with the first ever sports bra — “Jogbra”. As Smith was renting Lindahl’s spare bedroom at that time, she would make different prototypes and do the sewing, while Lindahl would run with the “experiments ”. Sadly, nothing worked as they weren’t able to figure out how to modify the structure behind the bra.
It all happened on that one day, when Lindahl’s then husband started to bounce around the living room with a jockstrap on his head while Lindahl and her friends were figuring out how to create a better support device for the breasts. “Here’s your jockbra ladies!”, he jokingly said. “And we thought it was funny so I jumped up and had to get in on it. I pulled it down over my head, and when I took the cup and pulled it over my breast I looked at Polly and said, ‘You know, this kind of feels right.’ ”, as she recalled her memories. And so, the Jogbra that became the prototype of all the sports bras in the market today was born.
Since then, the sports bra has continued to evolve, with the improvement of materials, designs, cuttings catering to athletes that have different needs according to the sports and activities that they involve. Nowadays, women even find it more comfortable to run errands in a sports bra because they feel more supported.
We are more than happy to answer any of your doubts and questions about how to choose the most suitable sports bra, whether you should go for light, medium, or firm support? You can always drop your questions through our DMs on the All Things Bras Facebook community or Instagram page!