When Brooke Sciullo first approached me about hosting an organized run and walk at the flagship for her Seattle Parks and Recreation program, I was over the moon! Having been in my role as store manager for the past few months, I was eager to welcome a new community to the store. As we continued (and as we still continue) to progress towards our pre-pandemic comfort surrounding events and gatherings, I knew it was important to bring events back. Gathering folks together around exercise is one of my favorite things about my job, and hosting Brooke’s group would be one of my first opportunities to do so in this role with Oiselle.
Catch Up with the Flagship: Fostering Community as We Step into 2023
Brooke and I met a few times throughout the late fall to plan our gathering, and I came to learn a lot about the Sound Steps Walking Program, which she took over in 2022. Housed under Seattle Parks and Recreation, Sound Steps is for adults age 50+ who value movement and exercise. Volunteer-supported, the group has regular meetups throughout the week at a variety of Seattle locations, as well as monthly hikes and get-togethers. The program is free, offered year round, and is inclusive of walkers and runners alike. As Brooke explained, many folks in the program have turned towards exercise later in life and don’t know that they need clothing designed with exercise in mind, especially when the weather is inclement. Additionally, many women join the group without having been fit for a sports bra, or simply not knowing the benefits that a sports bra provides during a walk or run.
As we set to work planning our January meetup, we both felt it would provide a great opportunity to do an educational session on the importance of technical clothing and sports bras after our morning walk and run for the women in the program.
On Friday, January 27th, we welcomed Sound Steps to the flagship store for our much-anticipated event. After gathering at the store for a few brief announcements, Brooke led the group out into the clear crisp morning air for their walk and run along the Burke-Gilman Trail. When the runners and walkers returned, we enjoyed coffee, doughnuts, and fruit, and I got started on my presentation on sports bras and exercise clothing.
In preparation for the event, I read about pioneers in the field, people like Lisa Lindahl and Polly Smith, who were tired of the discomfort they felt when they ran in their traditional bras in the 1970s during the first running boom. In the summer of 1977, Lisa and Polly created the Jogbra, which had elastic fabric, an elastic band underneath the breast to offer a foundation of support, and criss-crossed straps in the back. The bra was a huge hit in the running community and soon found its way to sporting goods stores throughout the country. While the Jogbra was a hit with A and B cup sized women, women with larger breasts didn’t feel supported enough and would often have to double up their sports bras. Fast forward to the 1980s, when Renelle Braaten was one such volleyball player who was tired of using two sports bras when she played. Together with her mom, Renelle set to work on expanding upon the original design by adding a full-coverage back panel to support weight up front, as well as a more-rigid fabric. Her design, later called the Enell bra, was a game changer for larger-chested women. Since the '70s and '80s, countless more women and major athletic companies have stepped into this $7 billion industry to create sports bras for every shape and size, so women can compete and exercise in comfort.
But why do sports bras matter? As complex systems of glands, ducts, fibrous tissue, fat, and muscles that changes as we grow and age, our breasts need proper support throughout the day, especially as we move! Breasts can weigh several pounds depending on size and density, and the movement created during exercise can lead to discomfort, pain, or injury. For proper support, we need a specialized bra that includes :
- Fitted chest bands to provide stability
- Hook and eye closures with padding to reduce chafing and customize sizing for larger cup sizes
- Padded, non-stretch shoulder straps
- Molded cups
These components come together to create a fit that’s designed to improve your experience while you move and grove! A great-fitting sports bra will support you in every direction (read more about How to Determine Your Sports Bra Size). Additionally, be sure check out our Sports Bra University page for more helpful info and knowledge about sports bras. Lastly, shop all our latest bras here!
After a brief history on the importance of sports bras, we also dug deep into the value of dressing for one's climate. Here in Seattle, where the weather can vary hour to hour, we need clothing that is suited to both keeping us cool in the heat and humidity, as well as keeping us warm in the cold and rain. Fabric like cotton tends to absorb moisture, which leads to overheating in the summer and freezing in the winter. Instead, synthetic fabric blends with nylon/polyester or natural fabric, like Merino wool, will allow moisture to wick away from the body. This wicking ability prevents excessive dehydration in the summer and preserves dryness (and therefore warmth) in the winter. Layering up with water resistant/waterproof shells and covering your head and hands will also help keep you warm in cold and clammy weather, and dressing in layers will allow you to adjust if the conditions change so you can continue to exercise in comfort.
As I wrap up my post, I want to extend a special thank you to Brooke Sciullo and Sound Steps for making this such a great day. My sales associates and I had a blast hanging out with you all, and learning more about your group. I can’t wait for the next time we can get together!
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