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January 4, 2008 7:39 AM   Subscribe

Where's the best place to buy a sports bra in New York City?

I need a really good sports bra. I do mostly treadmill power walking/jogging, kettlebell workouts, weightlifting, the odd step class. I'm a 32E, so I need maximum support.

I've looked at the vast number of sports bras available online, but I want to try the bras on first to ensure the best fit. I live in the UK, but will have a few shopping days in NYC coming up soon, and the exchange rate favours me buying in the USA, so mail order isn't an option.

My experience of bra shopping with boobs my size is that I'll need to go to a specialist bra store rather than a general sports store, but I bow to the greater knowledge of the hive mind. Give me your recommendations, preferably in Manhattan.
posted by essexjan to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Paragon, 17th and Broadway, has a pretty good selection, plus it's a great sporting goods store. The other place I'd try (and love!) is the wonderful old-school bra store, The Town Shop on the upper west side, Broadway and 82nd-ish. Those women can fit anyone -- although you might have to resign yourself to a lot of frowning and disapproval if you insist on a "sports bra" -- they will probably think it does not have enough support for you. They are very concerned with making sure you are comfortable, high and secure!
posted by thinkpiece at 7:51 AM on January 4, 2008

Best answer: My friends needs, boob-wise, swear by the Town Shop on the Upper West Side. The are a bra specialty store, and if you click on the link, you can tell by the circa-1953 graphics and storefront that these people are serious about brassieres. Apparently you get measured by a little old lady, old-school style. While I've never been there, a quick call should determine if the carry sports bras (if the don't, they would also probably be a good source for a referral to a store that does).
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 7:52 AM on January 4, 2008

Whoops! Diito, then.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 7:52 AM on January 4, 2008

Seconding the Town Shop (2273 Broadway on the Upper West Side). You'll get friendly with a woman who really knows her bras. I went in wearing a 36C and left wearing a 34D. I didn't buy any sports bras, though, so I'd definitely check in advance to see if they have any.
posted by stonefruit at 9:53 AM on January 4, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks all. Town Shop it is, for a first stop (I will phone first to see if they do sports bras, but will probably check them out for a couple of normal bras). I'm also intending to buy snow boots whilst in NYC, so if Town Shop can't help me on the bra, Paragon Sports will probably have both bra and boots.
posted by essexjan at 10:30 AM on January 4, 2008

I haven't been there myself, but the word on the street is that if you want an only-in-New-York bra shopping experience, you should go to Orchard Corset on the Lower East Side. The sports bra section on their website isn't impressive, but according to the Enell website they stock Enell sports bras, which is a good sign. (I don't know if you can fit into an Enell: their sizing is weird. But they're probably the gold standard for sports bras in the U.S.)

Incidentally, it seems a little strange to me to come to the U.S. to buy bras. My experience has always been that it's much easier to find big-cup, small-back bras in the U.K. than in the U.S.
posted by craichead at 10:59 AM on January 4, 2008

Response by poster: craichead, I'm sure I can probably find the same bras in the UK as in the US, but would be paying about 50% more for them in the UK, due to our 17.5% VAT (sales tax), higher UK prices generally and the strong pound.
posted by essexjan at 11:24 AM on January 4, 2008

That makes sense.

If Town Shop doesn't work for you, you can try Bra Smyth, which is a few blocks down Broadway from Town Shop. They're a chain, albeit a small, family-owned chain, and it caused a big stir when they moved in a year or two ago right down the street from Town Shop. There were lots of newspaper articles about the Upper West Side bra wars. They don't carry anything under a 32 band, so I haven't looked very carefully there, but they seem ok.
posted by craichead at 12:00 PM on January 4, 2008

Best answer: Not to expertize, but as a breast cancer survivor, rower and tennis player who has had to become an expert, I can promise you that neither Bra Smyth nor Orchard come close to Town Shop. On the other hand, none of them have the sports bra selection of Paragon. Town Shop will talk you into a cotton, wide-strapped bra that works better than a sports bra and has a much longer life. But it's not a 'sports bra'. It's a great bra, and doesn't get too sweaty or move around too much.
posted by thinkpiece at 1:00 PM on January 4, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks, thinkpiece. Looking at sports bras online, I had a suspicion I would probably end up with an 'over the shoulder boulder holder' from a bra store rather than a specialist sports bra.
posted by essexjan at 3:21 PM on January 4, 2008

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