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What's the difference between a bralette and a sports bra?

What is a bralette?

Model wearing almond nude Y.O.U bralette

A bralette is a less structured version of a bra – it’s a hybrid garment that lies somewhere between a bra and a tank top. It doesn’t have any under-wiring, and has less structure, moulding or padding than a conventional bra.

There are a diverse range of bralettes out there – everything from lace to halter necks, racer backs or plunging cups, strappy to strapless. As with most women’s underwear styles (there are over 20 varieties of knickers!), it can be a struggle to choose! Y.O.U bralettes, which are made with super-soft organic cotton, are designed to be both comfortable and stylish – so all you have to do is choose your favourite colour! We receive amazing feedback about the quality, design and support provided by our best-selling unwired bralettes.

What is a sports bra?

Woman on a run wearing a sports bra

A sports bra is essentially a bralette with more support! It’s designed to protect breasts during exercise. In order to do this, a sports bra typically minimises breast movement, which in turn helps to ease pain. This can be achieved by either encapsulating or compressing the breasts. The encapsulating technique tends to be more effective at reducing discomfort, whilst compression is sometimes more effective for short, intensive bursts of exercise.

Can I wear a bralette instead of a sports bra?

Bralettes aren’t specifically designed to minimise breast movement, so depending on how much support you need, and the type of exercise you’re doing, you may feel that they’re not enough!

To avoid the problems of varying pressure points during movement, sports bras are generally crossed at the back or worn with a halter neck style. This allows for much greater flexibility and it also prevents the bras form from cutting into sensitive muscles that surround the breasts. You may experience this problem with bralettes that haven’t been specifically designed with exercise in mind.

This does come down to personal preference – if you experience breast pain from exercising with a bralette, then you may need to try a more supportive style!

Can I wear a sports bra as a bralette?

It’s certainly possible! There are so many different styles of sports bra available today, and some are able to combine technical performance with the requirements of an everyday style.

However, it’s generally better to have natural, breathable materials close to your skin for most of the day, and because most sports bras are made of synthetic performance fibres, you may experience some discomfort with this if worn over long periods.

Also, wearing a sports bra for too long can cause pain. Some sports styles are designed to compress the breasts which is great when doing something like running, but if worn for too long (and when not necessary), this can become overly restrictive and painful.

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