For years Jen struggled with the problem of not having an effective, aesthetically pleasing sports bra to wear when working out. To get the support that she needed for her 32G breasts, she would have to wear 2-3 sports bras at a time. If she just wore one there would be too much bouncing leading to extreme discomfort, not to mention possible tearing of the breast tissue, thus prohibiting high-impact exercise. And wearing 2-3 sports bras at a time was not a great solution either, as multiple bras were time-consuming to put on, not comfortable, damaging to the self-confidence of a teenage girl, prohibited wearing cute shirts to work out (as the multiple straps and fabrics would show), and more expensive to purchase than just one bra.
In the fall of 2015, Jen had had enough. She decided that there had to be a better way for her and for all women with larger chests. Women needed to be able to participate in high-impact activities comfortably and without damaging their breasts. Women should NOT be limited in their activity by their biology, Jen declared. Effective sports bras should be a right and not a pie-in-the-sky dream. And if it took the creation of a whole new way to do sports bras, then so be it!
The first step was laying out what the exact problems are that we were trying to fix. It came down to problems of function and problems of form.
Function-wise, existing sports bras for large chested women did not work. Our research showed that breasts needed to be supported on 3 axes to prevent pain, possible damage to the breast tissue, and premature breast sagging: up and down, left and right, and in and out. This meant that an effective sports bra would need to provide support in all of those directions, not just in one or two. Additionally we were trying to eliminate the hassle and other challenges of wearing multiple bras at the same time. Finally we wanted something that wouldn’t require putting on over your head as women with large breasts find it challenging to pull a tight support garment on over their breasts.
Form-wise, sports bras for large chests were not aesthetically appealing. They were ugly and more than once led to Jen being told that she looked like she was wearing a bulletproof vest, not a comment that makes a woman feel good about herself when trying to exercise. The materials were also run of the mill and not high-tech or visually appealing. We wanted to make sure that large chested women had color options that compete with the bras of our smaller chested friends. Finally, we wanted to be able to help the earth in some way through our manufacturing since the garment industry has been said to be the second dirtiest industry in the world. Could we use earth-friendly or upcycled materials?
Armed with the goal of trying to solve as many of these problems as we could through our sports bra, it was time to step out and get to work.
Research was the first thing to tackle and so Jen enlisted the help of her engineering friend who designs spacesuits.They read books, articles, studied other bras on the market, used logic, and did geometry to gather as much information as possible to inform the design of the new bra.
One interesting finding was that when women run, their breasts move not just up and down, but rather in a figure eight pattern. This was a key learning dictating that support must be given in all directions—up and down, left to right, and in and out. Most bras on the market were handling only one movement, the in and out while breasts continued to bounce every other which way.
Another finding tangential to the above was that compressing the breasts alone didn’t work. You can’t just wrap a bandage tightly around a chest and go for a run (for a variety of reasons!). Rather, there needs to be both encapsulation (enclosing each breast in its own little pocket) and compression (pushing the weight of the chest toward the body’s center) to maximally prohibit movement.
Once we had determined scientifically what we needed to do to overcome the challenges of properly supporting large breasts, we were ready to put our knowledge to good use.
The 2 year process of testing different technologies and finding what worked was slow, tedious, and, in a word, painstaking. There were many late nights studying textbooks, long drives to manufacturing professionals, pricked fingers from pattern-making and sewing, and flights to visit experts for their feedback. Destroyed sports bras littered the floor of Jen’s apartment.
Over the course of these two years the team put in thousands of dollars of R&D and consulted some of best resources in the industry. All of the science was put to use and every idea was tested. By the end of the process we had tested dozens of ideas and manufactured countless prototypes.
Everything Comes Together
But the result was amazing. Jen had amassed a team of experts in each area of manufacturing and business. She had found the best people and the best technology—technology that worked and a bra that fully supported size 32G breasts. For the first time, Jen could run, skip, and jump, and her chest didn’t bounce with her!
It is our pleasure to introduce to you the Siggie Lodoen™ Sports Bra. It is our true hope that you love this sports bra as much as we do and that this bra supports your chest the way that you deserve. We want you to look forward to working out and have the bra that you need to do so. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back—and your front!