Friday, February 17, 2012

Enell, You Make Me Feel Supported

This is the story of the second sports bra that I've ever owned in my life.

But, you say, you've always been a fairly athletic girl, right? What is this "only ever owned two sports bras" nonsense?

Ah, my friends, the tale of the first sports bra is indeed one of woe, the centerpiece of the tale being a stretchy "36D" sports bra that I acquired at around age 15. Alas, it offered but little support and did nothing but grant me the gift of uniboob, and I gave up hope of ever finding a sports bra that would offer me any support.

However, (thankfully) the story does not end there. In somewhat more recent history (after discovering correct bra sizing), I decided to venture once more into the somewhat enigmatic world of sports bras, and I acquired a very slightly used Enell sports bra. My verdict and some notes, based off a few years worth of testing, are as follows:

Looks
-The bra is wire free, and it's front-closure by means of 11 hooks. I found this to be rather a pain at first, until I noticed that the instructions on the website recommend hooking it from the bottom up, adjusting as you go. Much easier this way, trust me. However, it isn't a bra that you'll be able to just throw on in a matter of mere seconds. I do think it's nice not having to hook it around the back (like most sports bras) or wrestle on a bra with no hooks, however.

-This is not a "small" or "cute" bra - it's almost like a small vest - and if you wear any sort of tank top, the bra will probably peek out of your shirt. This isn't too big of a deal for me, however. Also, there are seams in the front of the bra that will show up under most, if not all, fabrics. Again, this doesn't bother me too much, but it's something to be aware of. The shape it gives is a rather compact/flattened shape, but I didn't find it too extremely "one-boob", and I appreciated that it didn't give a weird pointy look (Freya Active, I'm looking at you).



Sizing
-Enell uses its own sizing system for the bra (from sizes 00-8) rather than using regular bra sizes, a big plus for me as I'm sized out of many sports bras anyway. There is a handy size chart on Enell's website that lets you estimate what size to get (go off your measurements, not the listed bra sizes). Not everyone will fit exactly into one size - for example, according to the chart, I would be a 00 based on my underbust and a 0 or 1 based on my bust. The bra I own is actually a size 1, and I find that it's still supportive enough, although it looks slightly loose in some areas on me (on the sides and a little on the straps). Overall, it seems that getting a size that's "close enough" will still work for the most part.
A note - the website does say that they do custom orders, which I would probably have to do if I wanted one that fit perfectly.

-Like most good sports bras, the Enell feels quite tight in the band, especially at first. If you're not sure what size to get because you're between band sizes, I would go with the larger one, but the tightness may just take some getting used to.

Comfort/Support
-After getting used to the bra, I found that I was able to wear the bra around for the rest of the day without feeling like I had to immediately change into something more comfortable. (Bonus: it makes my bust smaller by about 2 inches, so I fit into shirts better! :P) This may be because it's slightly big for me, so I don't know if this would be as much the case if I was wearing a size smaller. I'm not saying it's an everyday bra, but it's not a "wear it only as long as you absolutely have to" bra either.

-The bra makes me feel very supported. The main thing I've ended up wearing it for has been Zumba classes (dance aerobics), and the difference between wearing the Enell vs. any other regular bra or old sports bra has been incredible. All that dancing and jumping is seriously so much more comfortable when you're wearing a great supportive bra.

End verdict? I appreciate Enell's sizing system (based on measurements) and the availability of custom-sized bras. Even in a slightly incorrect size, I found it supportive enough and pretty comfortable. If you haven't yet found a sports bra that works for you, then Enell is definitely worth a try.

Since this is the only sports bra I've had that really works, I'm always curious about others' experiences with them. What are your feelings on sports bras? Has anyone tried out the offerings of Panache or Freya, or the much-praised Shock Absorber?

22 comments:

  1. I love Enell, too! What disappointed me when I visited their website a few weeks ago was how their size chart doesn't break the D barrier, despite how well they fit me (H cup) and others. I emailed them asking to reconsider their size chart, but never heard back. :(

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    1. Yes, their "size chart" is really pretty atrocious! They seem to be afraid of going over DDD, even though, based on measurements, their bras will fit women well over an F cup. I do hope they reconsider the cup sizes listed, because it can be very confusing for someone who's trying to figure out or who knows their correct size!

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    2. Hi,

      Hannah I am so sorry you did not receive a response email. We always strive to return each email in a timely manner as we love to hear from our ENELL customers and their feedback.

      Your feedback has been passed on to our marketing department. They are currently revamping some ENELL materials so the feedback came at a good time. As you mentioned we do not include all Bra sizes on the chart as it is best to take actual measurements while fitting for the ENELL Bra.

      Thank you again for the feedback.

      All the best,

      Mara Bronson
      Marketing Director
      Eenell, Inc.
      mara.bronson@enell.com

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    3. Hannah, out of curiosity, what size works for you in the Enell? I assume you don't fit exactly into one size either..

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    4. Thank you for your response, Enell! I have referred your bras to many ladies, even overseas who saw how effective you were and wanted a sports bra that works. I really think including larger bra cup sizes would not only help your customers find their size more easily, but help enlighten those ladies who are wearing the wrong size because they've never heard of something above the letter D. Listing those sizes would really support your market and women in general!

      @Christine I don't have my Enell bra with me at this moment, but I can get back to you on its size in a few days. It's been years since I ordered it and it's still in great shape!

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    5. Hi Christine, I own a size 2. Mu full bust is 40.5" and my underbust is 33". I'm usually a 34H or 34HH, UK sizes.

      I ordered several years ago, and I think I got two sizes: one that fit my measurements and one a size down because my sister had said it worked better that way. I was only 15 or so at the time, so I think I thought my "band size" (a 36 then) was my underbust size, so I ordered a size 3... Anyway, that one works as a walking bra and my size 2 works for anything, even jogging.

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    6. Thanks! Hopefully that info can help others who are trying to figure out what size to get too!

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  2. I've only ever owned 3 sports bras- my first was a supermarket own brand one that cost £3 and wasn't very good (I was 13 and a C/D cup). I didn't really exercise again until I was 16 and I bought a Shock Absorber after some research. When I no longer fit in it I bought the Shock Absorber Run bra. Easily the best sports bra I've had but the first SA one was very close.

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    1. Good to hear more positive about the Shock Absorber - what's the difference between the two you mention?

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    2. The Run one is specially for running and the other was just a very supportive in comparison.
      Here's the Run one: http://www.shockabsorber.co.uk/focus/run-sportsbra.html

      This is the other which I loved until I outgrew it (which is why I needed a more supportive/bigger size only available in the specialised sports one): http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/clothing/sports-bras/product/review-shock-absorber-flexiform-underwire-sports-32310

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    3. Thanks for the clarification! I think the one I've always known about is the Shock Absorber Run.

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  3. I currently own the wireless Freya. I'm disappointed that they do not offer it in a wired bra in my size. Many people say that they band is tight, but I kept my normal 28 band and I like how tight it is. It is definitely very pointy!! The shape of the seams really contributes to that. It is not nearly as supportive as I'd like, definitely some bounce still going on.
    I also have the Royce high impact. When I bought it I did not realize that it is compression only, not encapsulation and compression. Also tight in the band and very high in the neck. Not a run bra at all, so it is now a sleep bra.
    I have the Panache underwire sports bra on order from Break Out Bras. I ordered 1 cupsize down and the normal bandsize because I want some extra compression and my Freya had a tiny gap. We'll see how that works when it comes it. I plan on using it for Turbo Fire workouts, so it needs to be hardcore. I'd love to order a SA,28 bands are everywhere because of how tight they are. With a 26" ribcage I'm pretty sure I'll be good in it. They are super cheap on ebay.uk so maybe next time.
    Sorry for the novel! But I thought I'd share what I've experienced so far in case it could help others.

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    1. Thanks for all the info - it's very helpful! That's interesting that you found the Freya not as supportive as you wanted. That fact, combined with the shape, makes me veer away from wanting to try it.
      I am interested in what you think of the Panache after you try it out, though! I've heard good things about it, and it actually looks somewhat cute compared to all the other sports bras...

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  4. Wow, their sizing chart truly is off if their bras can cater to H cups. I wonder if they'd work for my 40H bust, too..

    http://branightmares.blogspot.com/

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    1. I know, right? You could go by the inch measurements for the different sizes instead to see if there's something close to what you are, or look into the custom bra option even...
      (I love that your blog is in Finnish with the English at the end, by the way! Great for girls who speak either language)

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    2. Thank you so much! I want to write mainly in Finnish because there are no bra blogs here but want to keep in touch with other bloggers, so that's why I write in both languages. Although I don't write the basic bra fitting stuff in English as much because many bloggers have already done it so much better. :-) Love your blog, too!

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    3. Hey, as far as size, I would recommend taking your measurements and using that size for light compression such as doing ellipticals or power walking, and going down one size for true, worry-free exercising. No bounce even with extreme jogging! It will feel tight, but you get used to it after a few minutes and it's so much better than without a good sports bra! :)

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  5. So great to find another Enell fan so you can understand this funny side benefit of their bra--have you noticed as you're fastening the hooks, beginning at the bottom, what amazing cleavage you get from the part that hasn't been fastened yet? It's the most utilitarian possible sports bra, but at that moment, you'd be hard-pressed to find anything sexier!

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    1. Hilarious - it's totally true!

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  6. I have the new Panache bra and I adore it. I mean, rock solid boobs are locked in place. Very comfy. Band is very snug on the first hook, but this way it's going to last a bit longer. Highly recommend it and it's also super cute looking.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your experience! I'm thinking the Panache sports bra would be the next one I would try, since I keep hearing great things about it (even though in general Panache bra wires are a bit wide/shallow for me, I'm thinking that the sports bra will be different).

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  7. I tried the Enell, and found it amazingly supportive. My boobs didn't move an inch! The only problem for me is that with such a full coverage I find it restricts my movement a lot. Not a problem for doing some high impact activities, but I would not recommend it for weight training - I found it impossible to do bench press as it compressed my pectoral muscles.

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