March 22, 2013

Product Launch: New Balance Psyche Sports Bras

Last night, I was invited to a special event: the launch of the new “Psyche” series of sports bras at New Balance Dallas. This new collection of sports bras is based on the premise that no two women are built the same, and it’s designed to have different contours for each style and offer lots of adjustments to customize the fit.

What I expected to be your run-of-the-mill product reveal turned out to be a really unique event that taught me a lot. Upon arrival, I was introduced to Audrey Kirkland, who’s actually the head designer for the Psyche sports bras. With measuring tape in hand, she ushered me into a dressing room and let me know that we were going to be doing a bra sizing session and custom fitting. Perfect! When I first embarked on my March fashion challenge, several of my friends suggested that I go for a proper bra fitting at some point in the month. I’ve often heard the statistic that 70% of women don’t know their proper bra size, and just given the odds, I assumed I was one of them, but I also assumed I wasn’t that far off. After all, my regular bras feel fairly comfortable, and my sports bras seem to give me enough support.

Um, wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Turns out that my correct band size (the number in a bra measurement) is a size smaller than what I usually wear, and my correct cup size (the letter in a bra measurement) is two sizes bigger than what I usually wear! Audrey taught me a ton about what exactly to look for when trying on a sports bra (read some of that in this article that I found with Audrey’s advice codified), and I was amazed at how great the Psyche bras looked when they were on. Although the first look event didn’t provide free bras or anything like that, I decided pretty quickly that I was going to buy one on my own – the Psyche bras made me look and feel fantastic!

One of the most important tips I learned: if the band size is correct, it should fit tight against your ribcage without any breast tissue in between. You know that reach-in-and-pull-your-boobs-up move that I’ve always thought of as just a slutty way to enhance cleavage? Turns out you should always do that maneuver when you’re putting on a sports bra – it helps make sure that the breasts are perfectly encased in the bra and getting the support they need. Audrey told me to think of a bra as a house – you need the band to be completely snug against the ribcage in order to provide a solid foundation on which to stack everything else. Also, the band should be completely level all the way around – so if you tighten the straps, don’t make them so short that the bra goes up in the back. I’m often guilty of this mistake!

With the band-size-as-a-foundation in mind, my favorite bra in the Psyche line was definitely the Fabulous Framer II, which I decided to buy in Dazzling Blue. It seemed to have a slightly longer body than most of the sports bras I currently wear, and that provided support plus a slimming effect that made me look awesome when I was wearing it solo. (I even liked it enough that I considered taking a picture to share… then backed down from going quite that far.) But this bra truly provided a ton of support – Audrey told me that it’s called the Fabulous Framer because of the support system that uses patterns of different fabrics to help force the breasts into a structured frame that would then minimize both vertical and lateral movement.

I also tried the Shockingly Unshocking bra, another high impact bra but with a clasp closure instead of anything getting pulled over your head. (The Fabulous Framer has a clasp closure but only to adjust the fit once it’s on; you still have to pull it over your heard to get it on and off.) I really liked that the straps on the Shockingly Unshocking were fully adjustable, with velcro straps that fold under, and very wide so as not to dig in. Prior to this event, my go-to bras have all been Moving Comfort brand, and this one reminded me a lot of the Jubralee style, except with again a bit more material going down the torso (in a good, supportive way). I really liked it, but since I already have the Jubralee and the Fiona (another similar style), I decided to hold off on purchasing this one… at least for now.

There are a few other sports bras as well in the Psyche collection, but after discovering my larger-than-expected bra size, I was “not allowed” (tongue-in-cheek) to try them, as they wouldn’t provide enough support for the high impact activities that I typically do. And hhonestly, even if I’m going to do yoga or something else low-impact, I usually just throw on a high impact bra anyway – I’d rather not have to keep a ton of different styles of bras, and I find the high impact ones perfectly comfortable. But having the choice of just two sports bras was fine – the Fabulous Framer already totally suited me, and I didn’t want to buy a ton of stuff when I hadn’t initially planned to buy anything.

The plus side of this shopping expedition? I was pleasantly surprised to find that even though this is a brand new collection, the price points were totally reasonable. As I mentioned before, I usually wear Moving Comfort bras, and I tend to wait for them to go on sale (in the $25-35 range) before stocking up. I loved the Fabulous Framer, but was a little scared of what the brand-new, you-are-the-first-person-ever-to-wear-this-style-and-it-comes-in-all-the-super-trendy-spring-colors cost would be. But it was only $42! While not as cheap as the three-for-$10 cotton Hanes sports bras that I actually used to wear when I first started running marathons (yeah, not kidding – I don’t know what I was thinking), it definitely seemed like a reasonable price for a cute, top-of-the-line sports bra. I’m looking forward to giving it a test run tomorrow, when I do the Grasslands Trail Marathon.

After I was finally done focusing all my attention on bras/breasts (is that what it’s like to be a guy?), I also had a chance to talk to the New Balance staff about some other cool products they have coming out – like their Heidi Klum collection in the fall that features a pair of super cute ruched running tights. They also are debuting new glow-in-the-dark technology for shoes and jackets where you charge the items for 10 minutes in some sort of light (sunlight or artificial), and then it radiates a space-age glow so you can be easily seen at night even without other lights reflecting off you. I thought when I started my March fashion challenge that I mainly needed to work on my work and going out looks, but perhaps I ought to step up the style on my workout gear as well? We shall see.

Disclosure: New Balance Dallas invited me to this first look event, but did not compensate me with either money or products for my time/this review – I bought the Fabulous Framer myself with no pressure from the staff. All opinions are my own, and I would honestly recommend these bras to any of my friends/family.


5 thoughts on “Product Launch: New Balance Psyche Sports Bras”

    1. I know they’re at least at New Balance Dallas, and you can find them on the New Balance website. I would assume the other New Balance stores have them too, but maybe call ahead in case?

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