Bra Fitting 101
Do you remember trying on your first bra? The way it made you feel? You likely knew then that it was a memorable moment in your life; a rite of passage. Somehow over time, something changes. In particular, as mothers, we prioritize…everyone around us! Our bodies are sacrificed, our sleep is deprived, and our time becomes limited! Right? A good fitting bra can soon fall very far down on the list of priorities. Ironically, we also know that as women, feeling good about your body can make all the difference in the world! Interestingly, a good bra can shift perceptions, battle stigmas, and change the picture we, as women, are presented with.
Finding the right bra can be frustrating. Often, we shop with our eyes and see things we love, not realizing that they may not be the perfect fit, size or style. Being fit by an expert fitter who knows the products by heart, offers you new insight, and a different perspective is key. You see options that you may not have even known were possible. You should feel special in your “foundations” as they are the first thing you put on in the morning and the last thing you take off in the evening.
While being fitted at a store that has access to excellent product, selection, and expertise can take care of all the details for you, there are bra fitting 101 tips that answer many questions that we have in our heads.
What size should I wear? The first thing to realize is that you cannot define yourself by a size. Depending on the designer, the style, and even the colour (black is often tighter than nude) you can be a different size. What is important in all sizes is that the bra fits comfortably snug and parallel, front-to-back, on the loosest hook. Over time, the bra will stretch, and you can tighten the back by using the tighter hooks. When the back rides up, the front sits lower, and the straps often dig in, or fall off the shoulders. Your straps basically bridge the front of the bra with the back, and do not contribute to the support in a bra. Tightening the straps to lift the front will only lift the back of the bra, further lowering the bust, and the vicious cycle begins!
All I want is an everyday bra! Do you wear the same pair of shoes with every outfit? Similarly, buying one bra for every occasion will prevent you from looking your absolute best in every outfit! While a t-shirt bra is very important and may be the first bra to invest in, building a bra wardrobe takes time, and is worth exploring. Another example of a bra style that provides the most “slimming” silhouette is a seamed bra. French seams have come a long way, and don’t often show under clothing, in particular in form fitting or dark clothes, and blazers. Other styles worth trying are demis, spacer cups, ¾ cups, push-ups, strapless, plunge, convertible, and sports bras! Going in for a fitting is the best time to create a “wish list” for future purchases or gifts. J
How do I approach bras when pregnant? Second only to what you put in your body, is what you put on your body during pregnancy! During that period it is so important to be comfortable in your bras! The best maternity bras are regular bras fit a little differently: buy the bra snug on the tightest hook (opposite regular fittings), allow for a bit of room in the cup, and a chantilly lace allows the bra to “grow” with you. Be so careful not to invest in a nursing bra until two weeks before you are due, because there is such a fluctuation from pregnancy to beautiful baby!
How much should I invest and how many bras should I have? Investing in a good quality bra actually saves you money in the long run. You look better (with clothes on and off J), you feel better (being lifted where you should be, accentuating the waistline, and improving posture), and the bra can last for years. Still need convincing? We will invest $100 on a sweater that we wear for a few months of the year, but have a hard time justifying $100 on a bra that we can technically wear every day of the year, and makes the sweater look better! Alternatively, you can invest in 3 bras each at $50, or one good quality bra for $150, and when taken proper care of, the quality bra will most likely take you further.
If you take care of your bras, they will most certainly take care of you. While it is not necessary to wash your bras every wear, washing them every few wears will preserve them longer. Hand washing (or gentle cycle in a laundry bag!) and no dryer is the way to go! A good lingerie cleaner, like Forever new, softens but also has a sizing agent in it. After a few wears, natural body oils stretch the bra in the back. Washing them with proper cleaner will allow the fibers to bounce back, and the bra will feel snug again. J
As for number of bras to have in your wardrobe, the more you rotate your bras, the longer they last. It is important to have a light and a dark every day t-shirt bra (instead of nude, try red!), a sexier more supportive/push up style for dressing up and looking and feeling your best (of course the matching panty is always a nice touch), a strapless, and a sports bra. From there, lifestyle and wardrobe needs will dictate what you add to your lingerie drawer!
The goal of a fitting is to tap into your needs and wants as it relates to your body. Ideally, the goal of the fitter should be to find bras that not only enhance your unique silhouette, but change the way you carry yourself; it is as if an invisible string is pulling you up as you walk away with a renewed sense of confidence. How refreshing!