As a 36DD cup, I had just about given up on finding a bra that was both comfy and cute.
Finding a comfy but supportive, sweat-wicking sports bra is a challenge. When you’re larger than a C cup, it seems nearly impossible. And if you want one that's also cute in a size 36DD? Forget about it.
I've spent the last five years working out in bras that were either ugly or nearly useless, and had come to accept the fact that this was my reality: frumpy bra with support, or cute bra and pain. So when Brayola, an online bra boutique, asked me to test their bra-suggesting service, I was skeptical ... but intrigued.
Here’s how it works: On the Brayola home page, you answer a series of questions about the bra you currently wear (including how it fits you). Then, Brayola generates a list of both regular and sports bras you may like based on crowdsourced data from other women. You choose your favorite(s), and hope for the best.
After filling out the survey about my current favorite bra from Enell (which falls into the "supportive but frumpy" category), I picked three of Brayola's recommendations that seemed to check all the necessary boxes. They arrived five days later in nondescript plastic packaging, which I promptly ripped open so I could take the first for a test run.
I wore the Wacoal Sport Underwire Sports Bra ($65) to a dance class. I was drawn to this bra because of its thick straps and thicker-than-average band. The bra’s underwire structure is exposed, which I found a bit strange. But the nylon/spandex material was super comfy and breathable. Usually I feel the need to pull off my bra the second I walk through my door after a workout, but I didn't have that urge with this one. The straps and band worked as well as I expected them to, and my boobs felt secure the entire class. Brayola shoppers gave this bra a 4.5 out of 5 stars, so I know I’m not the only one who appreciates the range of sizes and supportive fit.
Next up: the Triumph Triaction Maximum Control Sports Bra ($45). As far as looks go, the fuchsia piping was a fun pop of color when paired with my typically all-black workout gear. The fabric was more substantial and wetsuit-like than the Wacoal bra, making it ideal for cooler-weather workouts. But what I loved most were the extra-cushiony straps. Not only were they thick to better distribute weight across my shoulders, they also offered a bit more padding than my usual sports bras—so no annoying digging as I threw uppercuts and jabs in my kickboxing class.
The last bra I tried was the Glamorise Double Layer Custom Control Sports Bra ($57), a purple and teal number with mesh detailing (pictured above). For women with big busts, the treadmill is the ultimate test of a bra’s support; and as I stepped onto the machine, I worried my dream of finding the perfect bra was about to be crushed. But as I picked up the pace, I felt supported and comfortable (even during sprints!) thanks to the bra's higher-than-average neckline, underwire, and thick straps and band. Plus, the straps can be adjusted from the front rather than the back, which adds great convenience to the bra’s design. My old Enell bra offered comparable support and similar features. But what sets the Glamorise apart is the super cute style: It's actually fun to wear—and my new favorite sports bra.
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As an especially wary bra shopper, I was pleasantly surprised that all three of Brayola's picks were better than the average D-cup sports bra. But I suspect the reason the service worked so well for me is that I already had a bra I liked. If I hadn't answered the survey questions based on my old go-to, I wonder if Brayola's recs would have fit my needs as well as they did.
Regardless, searching for my ideal sports bra without setting foot in a store made the typically disheartening task more fun. If you’re in the market for the bra of your dreams, Brayola’s service is worth a shot.