COMFORT IS BEAUTY

Sports Bras in History: How Title IX and Women’s Athletics Shaped the Sports Bra

Sports Bras in History: How Title IX and Women’s Athletics Shaped the Sports BraMarch is National Women’s History month and to celebrate we’re bringing you a short history of the sports bra, one of the greatest brassiere-related inventions that benefits active women around the world.

Who would have thought that two jock straps sewn together would serve as the first sports bra? When Lisa Lindahl and Polly Smith set out to create a supportive workout bra for women, they concentrated on designing a bra that reduced chafing and breast soreness as well as slipping shoulder straps.

It wasn’t until Lindahl’s husband joked that they needed “a jockstrap for women’s breasts” that the two women experimented by sewing two jockstraps together to form what they called the “jockbra.” This bra, designed in 1977, eventually was renamed the “jogbra.” Four of the original Jogbra prototypes are currently on display: one is bronzed and on display near University of Vermont’s costume shop (where it was originally created), 2 in the Smithsonian, and the last one is on display in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It’s no coincidence that the first sports bra emerged just years after congress passed Title IX, an important act that’s part of 1972’s Education Amendment. Title IX was not drafted for women’s high school and collegiate sports in particular, but its impact across women’s athletics meant that more women could participate in sports funded by universities. No longer the “weaker sex,” women competed in all available athletic competitions and fields. Once women had the government’s support to pursue athletics, the need for better breast support followed quickly behind. No wonder the sports bra became such a hot-ticket item in the late 1970s!

Once the Jogbra was purchased by a brassiere company in 1990, the original design underwent testing and was produced into the compression-style sports bra we’ve come to know today. Today, sports bras fall into two general categories: compression or encapsulation bra styles. Both sports bras are usually made from stretchy, Lycra materials that have moisture repellant and wicking properties to keep you cool through a workout.

In just a short time, sports bras have become wardrobe essentials for active women everywhere. Whether you prefer racer back sports bras or encased underwire bra styles, we’re sure that your sports bra lifts you and keeps bouncing at a minimum.

Looking for a cute and comfy cotton sports bra that’s perfect for walking, yoga, and running errands? Hop over to our wirefree sports bra page to see if we have you size in stock!

Happy National Women’s History month, Leading Ladies!

Leading Ladies We Love: Lena Dunham

lena-dunham-vogue-coverYou may not know her yet, but there’s a good chance that in the next five years Lena Dunham will become a household name. She’s a multi-talented actress who not only stars in HBO’s popular series Girls, but also directs and writes for the show which she created. At 27, Dunham is poised to become a major voice in contemporary women’s entertainment, and we’re glad to hear her point of view. With 2 Golden Globes and 7 Emmy nominations under her belt, Lena is quickly becoming a driving force in the entertainment industry.

Before launching a show with HBO, Lena released two films, Creative Nonfiction and Tiny Furniture, which were met with largely positive reviews. A native New Yorker, Dunham’s works are notable for their dry humor and stark coming-of-age scenarios. Dunham herself is the leading lady in her films and show and often writes her curvy body and unconventional look into her scripts. She is not afraid of baring it all (literally) for the sake of the show and in doing so normalizes an average female body, complete with curves and flaws. Critics of Girls have applauded Dunham for her willingness to explore the skipped-over parts of any young woman’s maturation, and we applaud her for staying true to form through three successful seasons of Girls!

Most recently, Lena appeared on the cover of Vogue and hosted Saturday Night Live. She is quickly becoming a staple in the fashion world (she’s worn some of the top designers to awards shows and has appeared front row at fashion week) and we are happy to see another curvy star in the spotlight. She is a welcome breath of fresh air and a truly successful actress and filmmaker whose career we are excited to follow.

Lena is also an advocate for stronger women’s roles in television and film. Dunham notices the dearth of intelligent women’s roles and notes that “something has to change, and I’m trying” and so we celebrate her efforts in creating roles that accurately portray women in the entertainment industry.

Exercise with a New Mix of Workout Songs

Exercise-with-a-New-Mix-of-Workout-SongsMaybe it’s been a while since you last updated your workout playlist. What kind of music do you listen to while getting your cardio on? Whether you turn to Beyonce’s newest album or Motown Pandora station, everyone has a favorite musician that gets their heart racing and blood pumping.

But what about those songs that pull at your heartstrings? They might have a strong bass line or irresistible beat, but the association you have with them is definitely on the emotional side. From Refinery 29, blogger Kelsey Miller shares why an emotionally-charged playlist might make you work out harder than your tried-and-true playlist.

Miller’s contributions for Refinery 29 have recently revolved around sharing her own weight-loss journey, and in her latest post, she reveals an exercise experience that changed the way she works out, for the better.

What does Miller suggest changing about your current workout routine? “Feelings make you move” Miller shares in her piece. So simply put, it seems like common sense but truly speaks to a response to music that we universally share but might not articulate. Miller follows up her first statement with “Perhaps it’s the aforementioned cathartic effect of exercise, or just the fact that moving music is, well, moving. All I know is when I listen to these songs, I work harder — but, somehow, it’s easier.”

Who are some of the artists that contribute to Miller’s playlist? Alanis Morissette, Adele, and Beyonce are some of Miller’s emotional picks, while brighter tunes from Kanye West, Kelly Clarkson, and Cee Lo Green keep the pace high. By mixing up your workout pace, you’re more likely to naturally work out in intervals and make your heart work harder by speeding up and slowing down.

What songs will you add to your playlists? Share with us in the comments.

 

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Bra Fitting for your Wedding Dress: Tips from Lisa Cole on your Special Day

Spring marks the beginning of celebration season.  Many of you might be planning the perfect wedding happening this spring or summer. The dress, the bridal party dresses, the flowers and the location are common priorities from brides-to-be. But one of the forgotten items when wearing your dream gown is the “right bra.”  As an expert fitter (who has worked with women for red carpet and special occasion apparel solutions), I am amazed at how many times someone buys the wrong bra prior to a major event like a wedding.  Typical 911 style emergency phone calls have been, “help, my bra straps are showing!” or “help my bra just doesn’t fit!” Let’s face it, all eyes are on The Dress when you’re walking down the aisle, and you don’t want a strap misplaced.  You can have your dream gown and the perfect bra underneath, I promise.

I am so impressed with Leading Lady’s new Front Closure Racer Back Underwire Bra (5415)The style provides comfortable straps (yes!) and the front closure provides accommodates low plunges for dresses that have an open neckline in front.  The straps will not fall off your shoulder, helping you to look and feel confident all day.  Who wants to struggle with bra straps on a special day? As I tell my clients, your bra should go on once, and you should never think about it again. The right style and size will help you achieve this and more.

5042-wirefree-leading-lady-bra

If you’re looking for wirefree bra options and the color white to work with your gown, one of my other favorites is the Leading Lady Molded Padded Seamless Wirefree Bra (5042).   Ideal for full figure/full fit clients who need added support underneath it all without underwires. This bra is available in “D” to “H” cup sizes and ideal for someone who is looking for full coverage support in her gown, no jiggling or bouncing. The seamless back gives you a flawless fit, taking the fear of having “back bacon” aka back flab away. From first dance to last, feel completely at ease in your gown with the help of this Leading Lady bra.

Looking for all-over shaping solutions? I recommend shapewear for a total slimming solution.  A high waist brief with legs or without is my recommendation underneath your gown. The brief goes right to the base of the bra.  It’s also comfortable and does not require a struggle to get in and out of under your dress.

Bridal Fit Advice:  Always go bra shopping at least a month prior to your wedding.  In addition, having the right bra size helps your seamstress with alterations—get a bra fitting before your last dress fitting. You don’t want to have any surprises when preparing for your special day. Taking pictures while feeling uneasy is NOT a confidence booster for any bride. Your bra style and fit can enhance your dream dress.  Encourage your bridesmaids to do the same. Enjoy your special day in style and with the right bra fit solutions.

Lisa Cole is the Founder/Fit Expert of StyleFitSolutions.Com.  She provides advice on all aspects of style as it pertains to bra fit and body confidence solutions for women.  She is a speaker and hosts private events around the country. 

Spring Plus Size Fashion Trends

Sure, it seems as though winter might never end. But with an eye towards warmer days, we’re rounding up this spring’s fashion trends straight from the runway. Time to shed off those extra layers and welcome a little sun! Here’s what designers are offering for upcoming spring plus size fashion:

 

ashley-stewart-pastel-skinniesPastels

Get ready for a wide selection of tops, dresses, and accessories in a rich range of pastel colors. From pink to green, designers across the board are toning down jeweled tones and releasing clothing items in pastel hues. While some pastel shades might toe the Easter egg line too closely, others are beautifully reminiscent of spring flowers we’re desperately missing right now. Our advice is to wear pastels hues sparingly so you don’t overwhelm your outfit with too much color.

 

asos-curve-lace-pantsLace details

We’re not talking about your grandmother’s lace tablecloth, we’re seeing hints of sophisticated lace highlighting outfits and adding a subtle flair of feminine charm perfect for warmer weather. These cotton lace pants strike the perfect balance between mature style and sweet details. Worn with a colored button down or perfectly draped top, these pants are both office appropriate and weekend friendly. Test the quality of the lace before making your purchase—check to see if the lace is unraveling, fraying, or is in generally worn shape. Spice up your lingerie wardrobe with a Leading Lady lace bra that fits great and is on-trend this spring.

 

architexture-asymmetrical-hem-dressAsymmetrical hems

We’re not talking about the trapeze-style swing dress or even the high-low hemline that was popular in years past. This year, we’re seeing a lot of front-view asymmetrical hemlines on dresses and skirts that put a fun, fearless edge into your wardrobe. Paired with heels, these hemlines are perfect for a night out. Try to stick to neutral solids so the design doesn’t get lost in a sea of color or patterns.

 

asos-curve-midi-length-dressMidi length dresses and skirts

Flared dresses and skirts are making a splash this spring and summer. Skater-style skirts and dresses suit curves of all sizes beautifully because they move with your body without pushing the puffy limits of poodle skirts in the past. Midi length dresses (which fall typically somewhere below the knees to the mid-calf) are cropping up in different stores. Suited for both the office and a night out, this soft knit gray option is perfect for both day and nighttime wear. Pair with a sophisticated blazer (in a pastel shade) and ankle sandals and you’ve found your favorite casual spring look.

 

Happy shopping, curvy fashionistas!

How to Save Money for Budgeting Beginners

How-to-save-Money-for-Budgeting-BeginnersHave you ever tried to set a budget, but feel like you don’t know where to start? With a few financial adjustments, you could be budgeting and on the way to saving money for the things that really matter to you (like Leading Lady bras!).

Taken from this Oprah article about personal finance, the Rule of 5 savings method is straight-forward and easy to follow. If you have never budgeted seriously before, this is a great method to adopt.

 

Consider your monthly income. From that amount, subtract the necessities—bills, loan payments, and retirement or college funds to which you regularly contribute. Whatever payments you make from this account are your core essentials that help keep you and your family’s life running smoothly.

Now, consider your second amount of income after all the essentials have been paid off; divide the second amount by five. Before you spend any of this money, put one-fifth of the second amount away in a separate savings account. This portion of the paycheck pie goes towards annual vacations, holiday gifts, and other special occasions that merit extra spending. Let this amount grow over the year so you can splurge on a beach getaway during the colder months.

What do you do with the rest of your monthly income? Aside from gas for your car, groceries, and other incidentals, this portion is your “pocket money.” Take your family to a movie, splurge on a new Leading Lady bra, or go out to dinner with your spouse. You can feel guilt-free about these spontaneous purchases because you’ve already paid the important bills. By making necessary payments and saving income first, you have no need to stress over spending the extra and you won’t second-guess your personal finance decisions.

Have some extra cash to spend? Leading Lady’s bras are 25% off site wide with free shipping on orders over $75. Happy shopping and saving!

 

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Jump Start Weight Loss with Chili Peppers and Other Spicy Foods

 

 

chili-peppersHere’s a reason to kick your meals up a notch—studies show that people who consume spicy foods are more likely to consume fewer calories than those who eat non-spicy meals. Researchers tested those who ate chili peppers during a meal and found that they will typically consumer fewer calories than those whose meals are blander—up to 75 calories less! While 75 calories might not be a big difference to some, chili peppers and are spicy foods trigger other responses in your body to slow down your appetite.

Chili peppers contain unique chemicals called capsaicinoids which play an important part in kicking your metabolism into high gear. In the stomach, capsaicinoids signal certain fat cells to start burning calories and raise your internal temperature. That hot, slightly-prickled feeling you get just before a sweat breaks out? That’s your body responding to the chili pepper or other spicy foods.

Not only do chili peppers help with weight loss, but they are also good for your heart as well. There’s preliminary research that shows that a spicy diet can help prevent heart disease. But don’t start throwing chilis into every meal—those who devour jalapenos and other spicy treats have a higher risk for developing stomach cancer. Moderation in everything!

So next time you’re whipping up a meal, try adding some chili peppers or other spicy details to liven up your meal. Your heart and stomach will thank you!

 

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Plus Size Models Rock the Runway at British Plus Size Fashion Week

hayley-hasselhoff-british-plus-size-fashion-weekAcross the pond, retailers, designers, and plus size models alike gathered this past week to showcase the best in upcoming fashion for plus size women. Viewers and style bloggers were treated to shows dedicated to serving curvy fashionistas. New modeling talent was joined by curvy model favorites like Whitney Thompson (the only plus size winner from America’s Next Top Model cycle 10), Ashley Graham, and Hayley Hasselhoff, daughter of David Hasselhoff.

British Plus Size Fashion Week is not a part of London’s official Fashion Week (which kicked off on February 14th, the same day as BPSFW) but hopes to have an impact on the larger fashion celebration by introducing curvier models into the mix. Events like BPSFW reinforce the notion that women of all sizes are interested in high-fashion clothing.

whitney-thompson-hayley-hasselhoff-british-plus-size-fashion-weekSeasoned plus size model Hayley Hasselhoff told reporters she was proud to strut her stuff on the runway. Hasselhoff, whose father played a well-known lifeguard on the American drama Baywatch, wears a size 12-14 and looked gorgeous in a chic black dress and gold statement necklace. “It’s about women with curves and women of all shapes and sizes,” Hayley said about BPSFW’s aim, and finished up by saying that “calling it ‘plus-sized’ doesn’t do it justice.” She’s not the only one who wants the fashion world to accept larger models without the “plus size” tag—Tyra Banks, Robyn Lawley, and others have spoken out against outdated model sizing standards.

Stress Management Tips for Everyday

stress-reliefLong days, car trouble, extended winter weather, traffic jams—there’s no shortage of stressors in our day-to-day lives! Have you ever wondered how to relieve stress you experience while at work or home? While a deep breath and counting to ten might work for a minute, we have a few other easy, no-cost stress management tips that will help combat daily anxiety.

Chew away your blues

Maybe your mother taught you that chewing gum will give you cavities, but did she know that researchers from around the world have found that people who chew gum when they’re stressed show more signs of relaxing than those who don’t? Studies show that agitated people who chew gum report feeling less stressed and more alert. Researchers wonder if the act of chewing increases blood flow to the brain (which would explain the alert, clear-headed feeling). So pick your favorite flavor and pop in a piece next time you’re feeling anxious.

Clear your head quickly

Have you ever heard of the “occipital rub”? It’s a quick, easy massage technique that will be sure to provide you with stress relief while at work or out. Simple take your first three fingers and place them towards the back of your neck where your neck and head connect (just below your ears). Rub back and forth for 30 seconds or until you feel yourself relax. Goodbye, anxiety!

Treat yourself to a snack that calms

Magnesium deficiencies are prevalent in those with anxiety disorders, so next time you feel the familiar symptoms creep in, grab a handful of mixed nuts (walnuts, cashews, and almonds are the best for this) and enjoy. Not only are these nuts a natural source of magnesium, they also contain healthy fats and will boost your energy. Who knew stress relief could be so tasty?

Have any stress management tips that have worked for you in the past? Share with us in the comments!

 

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Celebrity Designer Zac Posen Announces Wedding Dress Collection with David’s Bridal

truly-by-zac-posen-wedding-dress-collectionDo you hear wedding bells in your future? Great news—beloved celebrity fashion designer Zac Posen recently announced his newest collaboration. Soon, brides with modest budgets will be able to snag a Zac Posen wedding dress at David’s Bridal stores. Truly by Zac Posen will feature signature Posen designs (form-conscious, clean lines that flatter a woman’s natural shape) in sizes 0-26. In a fashion market without many plus size wedding dress options, Zac Posen’s newest line is happily anticipated by curvy brides everywhere.

Posen is not only designing wedding dresses for David’s Bridal; he is expanding his line to include bridesmaid dresses and evening wear options. All pieces are affordably priced and give brides of all sizes the chance to look and feel like a princess.

Viewers of Good Morning America were treated to a sneak-peek of Posen’s collection Monday, February 10. Clearly designed with a woman’s curves in mind, each wedding dress looked beautiful on the range of models presented. Are you in the market for a wedding dress? Be sure to keep an eye out for Posen’s collection later this year. Have you looked at Leading Lady’s full figure underwire bra selection? We have supportive and beautiful bra options that are perfect for your wedding day—from first dance to last!

Happy shopping, brides-to-be!

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