Sex appeal is 50% what you’ve got and 50% what people think you’ve got. –Sophia Loren
Having breasts can be a problem when one is active. Not all breasts, I suppose. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a woman with smaller breasts complain that they move around too much. But for anyone with breasts larger than a full B cup, support is not only a matter of comfort, it can seriously affect one’s health and performance. As a result, sports bras were developed with the specific goal of holding everything in place while one is exercising or engaged in sport.
As with most garments in the world of lingerie, those that actually work the best are often the most boring. Women are not huge fans of boring, though, and it didn’t take long at all before there were sports bras that look more like lycra crop tops than anything that might offer genuine support. Walk into many gyms today and one is likely to observe an array of sportswear that desperately tries to strike a balance between providing reasonable amounts of support and reasonable amounts of sexiness. Some are more successful than others. Some totally fail.
Several times in recent years I’ve heard conversations and seen articles decrying how this sport or that sport has been over-sexualized. I’ve even had pictures used for those articles (too bad the editors of the magazine didn’t know how to spell). Not everyone is happy to see women being sexy while they are running, boating, hiking, climbing, biking, rappelling, lifting weights or playing beach volleyball. Some professional sports franchises, such as the WNBA, actually go out of their way to make sure uniforms are the furthest thing from sexy possible. With voluminous shorts that go below the knees and tops big enough to house a family of four, women’s basketball uniforms more closely resemble the swimwear of the late 19th century.
As much as anything, what one wears when working out or participating in sports follows the same rational as any other piece of clothing: does it work for the activity without getting in the way, and does it feel good wearing it? For some, that may mean an old t-shirt and baggy sweat pants. No big deal. Others lean toward what’s practical: is everything staying where is supposed to be. And some will go for the skin-tight lycra in bright colors that flaunt their presumed assets. What one wears probably says more about their general personality than any kind of a sexual statement. Are some pushing the envelope of appropriateness? Sure, and I have no problem with the argument that such boundaries need to be pushed; if men can remove their shirts, shouldn’t that rule apply to women as well? But being sexy is so much more.
The days of a woman confining her sexuality to the bedroom are, thankfully, long gone. Women want to feel sexy and be sexy all day and that includes when they’re working out or participating in sports. So we shouldn’t be surprised when the same lingerie-driven style trends one sees in the street show up in the gym as well. Personal expression doesn’t hang on a hook in the locker room. Healthy, active women are beautiful. Let’s applaud and support that in every way.