With the massive Barre craze happening—as well as yoga and Pilates addictions that will never die—the bra question needs to be addressed. When you’re running or SoulCycling (I would imagine, can’t speak from experience), you need a bra that locks and loads. With your feet pounding pavement or pumping in those bizarre metal clips, priority numero uno is keeping your girls from bouncing all over the place. For a low-impact exercise like barre, yoga, Pilates, tai chi, this isn’t necessarily the case.
I knew there was no better person to ask about this quandary than not-your-typical-lingerie-designer designer, Dana Donofree. Dana is the founder of AnaOno Intimates, home of one of the most comfortable sports bras on the market—because it has to be. I’ve written about Dana before, but to recap, she is a cancer survivor who had to undergo a bilateral mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, and a grueling regimen of chemotherapy.
At the end of it all, she found that bras simply did not fit her anymore. A graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, Dana set out to fix that problem herself. The result is a line of bras and sports bras that prioritize fit and comfort above all, whether you too are a cancer survivor or you’re just looking for a fantastic bra.
Here are Dana’s tips for shopping for a sports bra for low-impact exercise, for your barre class and beyond.
Go with a natural fabric.
“Generally speaking, when shopping for a sports bra to wear to Barre or Pilates or any low-impact exercise, it’s best to keep in mind breathability and comfort that offers light support,” Dana says. “Natural fabrics, like our sustainable bamboo material in our Jennifer collection, help keep your body heat regulated by wicking sweat away from the body, and they can prevent skin irritation from sweat and movement as well. The mesh back feature on our bra is also great for keeping you cool while you work out.” Leave the poly-spandex blends at home ladies.
Think “second skin.”
“Comfort is essential, too. No one wants to be distracted by the band of their bra cutting into to their body while trying to ease into a deep yoga pose, or feel restricted or pinched in a Pilates roll up,” she says. “You want your bra to move with you, while still keeping everything in place. It should be a gentle, second skin; just like your favorite pair of yoga pants.” We all know bras with underwire are torture across the board, but even keep an eye out for any extra clips, hooks, or too-tight bands as well.
Test it out (really test it out) before you buy.
Merely trying on is not enough. “Make it a point to move and bend and lift your arms while trying on a sports bra, just to make sure it doesn’t ride up or feel restrictive,” Dana says.
Fashion should make you feel good, even for working out.
“Let’s not forget, fashion can make athletic or work out gear fun. Our Jennifer bra is stylish enough to wear on its own or peeking through a tank, and its ultra-soft construction can take you from the studio to the smoothie bar after class with ease. We’ve heard from many women they even forget it’s on, it’s that comfortable.” I have one and I am telling you, in the summer I’m going to wear it as a shirt.
You need a little give.
For some reason women have this impression that sports bras need to be so tight we can barely breathe. Not so. “It’s important—especially for women who’ve had breast surgery, and even more so, reconstruction surgery—to make sure there isn’t too much compression when shopping for a bra to wear to the gym or exercise class,” Dana advises. “You want a little give because tightness can sneak up on you and cause lots of discomfort.”