Alright---let's get to the science. From the Department of Biomedical Science, University of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia. (is that a great name or what!?)
Page KA, Steele JR, Breast motion and sports brassiere design: Implications for future research. Sports Med 1999;27:205-211
First, the anatomy. Believe it or not, the breast is actually, technically a skin structure....resting between the mid-axillary line and the sternum overlaying the pectoralis major muscle and serratus anterior. Remember that the breast is shaped like a raindrop, with a tail of tissue (the tail of Spence) extending up into the axilla (armpit). For unclear reasons, breast cancers are most often found in this upper outer quadrant. So, when you are helping your girl out by performing a breast examination, make sure you get the whole breast, K? K. The breast itself has minimal intrinsic support, comprised mainly of lobes, lobules, ducts, and (blah) fat. Most often the left breast is bigger than the right. I recommend you conduct your own field research to confirm. The fibrous support structures are very thin and known as Cooper's ligaments. Basically, they don't have much strength at all but are required to carry the load.....
Brassieres were originally designed for fashion (and modesty), not necessarily function. The breakthrus involved the development of elastic fabrics, and a sizing system comprised of cup size plus an around-the-bust measurement. But, as any woman can attest, the sizing system is bogus since it is based on dress-size which doesn't take into account the cup size so sometimes a 10C will actually hold the same amount of breast tissue as a 12B............it's really annoying. And no, the sizing isn't based on how much a mouthful is. sheeezzz. The sports bra came about in 1977 and the prototype was comprised of two (unoccupied) jock straps sewn together. There are two basic sports bra designs: the encapsulation bra and the compression braTo Compress or Encapsulate??????
Well, the compression bra was designed first and is exemplified by my friend Brandi Chastain in my thumbnail picture. It's meant to restrict movement by flattening and compressing the breasts against the body. Great if you have mosquitoe bites for boobies, but not so great for the big girls. Better to encapsulate those babies with each breast housed in it's own molded cup/truss. Other important considerations include elastic vs. underwire, fabric that will stretch/move/breathe, but you have to be careful that the support isn't too tight, as that can impede chest movement and breathing. Seriously. Then you have to factor in seams, hooks, straps, padding, and most importantly fit. There is a whole science to fitting one's bra---and it doesn't involve the 50 year old yenta who works at LuLu's lingerie feeling you up as a high schooler to make sure it fits. (testify!) Oh no, it's gotta be done right!
This technique is courtesy of BareNecessities.com (Girls, you should check out this website cuz it's really really useful) STEP 1: BAND SIZE Measure under your arms, high on your back, across the top of your chest. If this measurement is an even number, this is your band size. If an odd number, add 1" to determine your band size. STEP 2: CUP SIZE Measure loosely around the fullest part of your bust. Next, subtract your band measurement from your bust measurement; each inch represents a cup size. For example: if your band measurement is 34" and your bust measurement is 36", the difference between these measurements is two inches, and you'd wear a B-cup.
Once you know your fit, titlenine.com (NO relation) has the best sports bras on the market for every size, shape, fit, necessary support, and fashion. A really good bra should cost you between $40-$80. Or, if you can get your man to pony up I highly recommend this one shown on Karolina Kurvoka. The 2006 Fantasy Bra by Victoria's Secret is worth $6.5 million and is studded with more than 2,000 Hearts on Fire diamonds with a 10-carat diamond brooch centerpiece.
Proving once again that diamonds are a girl's bReast friend!!!!