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