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How a jockstrap inspired the invention of the sports bra


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Photo: Larkin Clark for Well+Good

Today, sports bras aren’t just sports bras. In addition to providing super-supportive control, you can find styles designed to do everything from making you a better runner to giving you an Instagram-ready look.

But in the ’70s? They hadn’t even been invented yet. So the next time you pick out a chic bralette, thank Lisa Lindahl, the woman who started it all.

After taking up running in the Me Decade, Lindahl had one option, bra-wise: her regular, underwire bra. And she hated it, she told WBUR’s Karen Given.

Not only did her breasts hurt from lack of actual support, but she envied her male running partner, who could peel off his shirt during humid summer days and tuck it into the back of his shorts.

Taking inspiration from her husband, who jokingly wrapped a jockstrap around his chest saying, “Hey ladies, here’s your jockbra,” Lindahl says she realized it could work.

Taking inspiration from her husband, who jokingly wrapped a jockstrap around his chest saying, “Hey ladies, here’s your jockbra,” Lindahl says she realized it could work. She and her costume designer friend Polly Smith took two jockstraps and cut them apart. The cups became, well, cups. The leg straps crossed over the back to create shoulder straps and the waistband turned into the bottom band.

“And when I went running in that, it worked. So we deconstructed the jockstrap and re-created it,” she says. And thus, the world’s first sports bra was invented: the Jogbra. Lindahl has since sold her company—which became Champion, maybe you’ve heard of it?—but her legacy supports every woman who has ever gone on to break a sweat.

If you’ve got your sports bra style on lock already, why not pair it with a killer pair of leggings: these are the all-time best-sellers from your favorite brands. And show off your trendy look with an equally chic hairstyle, like this braided ponytail.