Bad bras happen — to every woman. Who hasn’t had the experience of bra straps that just won’t stay on your shoulder, so you spend your day dipping underneath what you’re wearing, to re-position them over and over and over again? And almost every woman has had the experience of bra that fits so badly, she’s contemplated just ripping it off her body wherever she is, even if it means going bra-less in public. Yes, bad bras do cause plenty of pain — some to the elvel where you can’t focus on anything else until you finally get home and throw the offending bra in the trash!
Are you comfortable in the bra you’re wearing or are you re-adjusting it, right now? Well, I used to say: I am with you, sisters, but no anymore. I’ve finally learned the secrets to a well fitting bra!
As a beauty and fashion reviewer, and the victim of decades of bad bras, I finally decided if I was not happy with the way my bras fit and I really didn’t know what I was doing wrong, you, my readers, might also want some “how-to,” too. So when an opportunity came by to meet in person with Adrienne Gio who has worked as a sales consultant for Wacoal America for 15 years, I jumped at the chance. I had no idea that the time I spent with her would completely change the way I view the way a bra should fit.
One sticky Summer Day, I went to Bloomingdale’s Flagship store on 59th street in Manhattan, to meet with Adrienne, who, along with her colleagues, offers bra fitting services in the Wacoal lingerie section. I was there as a “VIP” , but the bra fitting service is available to everyone — and it is free (yes, free). I let Adrienne take out her trusted measuring tape and get my real measurements so I could get a proper base size. Like many women, I assumed that since I knew my band and cup size, I was ready to find the perfect bra. Wrong, Wrong and more Wrong! Breast shape is also important. There are charts all over the internet that show a myriad of breast shapes and types. Yours will fit (more or less) into one of them the best.
According to Adrienne, bra shapes fit mostly into two basic types: petals, and teardrops. Whether you opt for the teardrop or the petal depends upon how much breast tissue you hold in certain areas. In my case, the teardrop cut at just the wrong angle, making every single bra in every single category, sag, bag, or cut in awkward angles. The thing that killed me is that I’ve been wearing the wrong shape for almost an entire lifetime, simply because I mistakenly thought that a teardrop shape would be more versatile under various necklines. But after trying to the “petal” bras I began to see that the teardrop shape I was wearing made me look saggy, and the bras were not comfortable. I was a petal, like it or not. But when I tried the petal-shaped bras, suddenly I looked like I’d had a boob lift. I stood up straighter, my clothes fit better, and the straps didn’t fall off my shoulder, nor did any part of the bra dig into my back or sides.
Now that I knew my cup, band and breast shape, Adrienne was ready to help me shop for the right bra. Luckily, I had worn a dress that has the type of neckline I normally wear. I asked Adrienne for a bra that would work for most occasions. Within a few minutes, Adrienne came back to the dressing room with literally, dozens of bras of all types (and in a dizzying variety of Wacoal collections), I quickly realized that finding the perfect bra is a lot like dating, You’ve got to extend yourself, have some patience, and kiss some “toads” (in this case, bras that aren’t right for your breast type), along with way, A skilled fitter and can look at the shape of your breasts (don’t be shy–they have seen more boobs than you ever will in a lifetime–it is part of their job) and help determine what shapes and types will suit you. As I tried on bra after bra (some really pretty but not as comfy as others, some more comfy, but not attractive enough for me to want to buy), Adrienne told me more about where women go wrong when buying bras.
One reason many women are wearing the wrong size bra is because they’re confused by what the size really means. The number “34” in 34B, for example, refers to your “back size” or “band width”, which is determined by a measuring tape wrapped around your back. If it measures 34 inches, then you are a “34”. The cup size, or the “B” in 34B, refers to how far your “girls” are away from your chest. If they stick out an inch from your chest, then you are an A cup, two inches is a B cup, and so on. But your body changes with time. Many women are not wearing a cup size or a band size big enough, and all bras are different, even within the same brand. Women who just buy a pretty bra off the rack that looks like it should fit is looking for trouble. The way bras are engineered, you have to see (and try on) what’s going on under the proverbial hood. You can tell if a bra doesn’t fit not just by the comfort level, but because the wrong ones make you look flat, saggy and even accentuate your weight. Forget trying to truss up “the girls” by shortening the straps all the way up, because the support of your bra should be coming from the band. One way to tell is that even without the straps on your shoulders, the bra should be able to still hold your breasts properly. You shouldn’t be spilling out of the bra at the top or the sides (ugh, back fat) and if anything leaves a mark, it’s not fitting well. If the cup is the right size, the underwire will sit directly below your armpit.
Wear-Testing Wacoal: Wacoal had tons of really pretty bras, but even though I tried on more than two dozen, and even after Adrienne had determined my correct bra size, not all of the bras (or the collections) were equally comfortable or flattering. I found two that were particularly good (see below). And then went to other stores to try on different bras and test my new knowledge. But the bras at a lot of places just didn’t fit right. It wasn’t even cost, it was, like shoes, just not the right “fit.” A good bra is an investment that pays dividends on a daily basis. You need a couple of bras for daily wear, in nude (for most colors) and black (for anything deep). You may want a strapless and a sports bra for more support when you are very active. You might also want a bra without an underwire if you’re going to be wearing it on a long trip.
I wanted a really sexy bra, but it just wasn’t a good fit (darn!) When I pouted, Adrienne reminded me that most times, a woman wears a bra for the right fit, even if it’s not the sexiest one. You will stand taller and feel more comfortable and look better in your clothes, and that is what you want people to see. For those who want to use lingerie to enhance romance, Adrienne suggests wearing a tried and true bra to your date or evening out, but stow the sexy stuff in your handbag (or the bathroom) for a quick change before you start to cuddle (remember Bridget Jones getting stuck with her new lover for the first time, wearing her grandma panties?). No one needs to know that you weren’t wearing your seduction lingerie all day or evening.
That being said, great bras can also be sexy. These two bras are the ones from Wacoal I choose. The lacy beige Wacoal bra is called “Enchantment Style 855216 ($62.00) (32D 42DD) . It is a full coverage bra with a matching panty and is available in beige, black and pink. The cups are in three sections with side slings for support, lift, and natural shaping, constructed of stretch lace with lattice detail and a stretch tulle lining. A sheer window along neckline is also trimmed with dainty lace, but the back is all business: a power mesh and fully adjustable stretch straps that make it so comfortable, I fell asleep with it on, and didn’t even realize it!.
I also liked the smooth and silky, La Femme T-shirt bra ($40.00-$58.00) that is available in blue, black, nude and a brighter blue and in sizes 30D to 38G. The La Femme T-Shirt Bra is the perfect choice for plunging necklines. The seamless bra has pretty details, and a stretch leotard back, plus adjustable stretch pleated straps (and a matching bikini panty). This bra totally changed the way I looked in my clothes., Suddenly, I had a shape, without even trying. And the bra was so comfortable I never realized I had it on.
For more information visit: http://www.wacoal-america.com/
Wacoal produces brassieres, panties, shapewear, camisoles and accessories. Wacoal spends nearly six months designing every bra and panty. Wacoal makes bras in sizes from 30A to 44G, although there is currently a AA-cup available in a 32 band and an H-cup available in a 42 band. Wacoal uses American cup sizing (as opposed to what the industry refers to as “British” or “European”); D is followed by DD and DDD, then G and H. There are no products designated as E or F-cup.
Plusses to Being Plus Sized: The experts at One Plus Group (a great resource for plus sized women) reiterated a lot of what Adreienne said. Michele
Crawbuck, Vice President and Brand Manager for Fullbeauty® recommended that every woman has the following in her bra arsenal: 2 nude bras; 2 black bras; one strapless or convertible style; and 1 seamless, wireless bra for comfort.
You may not consider a Plus Sized bra if you are not a plus size, but there are some really nice options. And, since bodies come in all shapes and sizes, I wanted to see how much size and shape can vary from misses to plus. Fullbeauty has just launched “Comfort Choice,” a back-smoothing bra with lace. The bra features, a double-lined back for a smooth and supportive look, wide adjustable straps for comfort, and an inner sling for support and lift. In addition, this bra features a no-roll wide elastic band to hold the bra in place, and molded lightly padded cups to provide a smooth, seamless silhouette, perfect for wearing under any top. The back-smoothing bra starts at $36.99 and is offered in three colors: pink salmon, grey and ivory with sizes ranging from 36B-54G.
Size is where you need some experimentation. Even Fullbeauty’s experts had a challenge deciding what sizes to send. The company sent me the Comfort Choice back smoothing bra with lace in the smallest band size available, but even then, two of me could have fit in it. But the camisole bra they sent, also in a cup and band size different from what I would normally wear, turned out to be a perfect fit. The cami bra peeks out from under too sheer or too low cut dresses and tops, without ruining the effect or forcing you to layer. The bra is designed with lightly lined molded foam cups, and the jewel toned lace looks sexy with a cardigan for casual wear. It is meant to be seen. Adjustable rigid straps, back hook and a wide range of sizes from 36-54 B, C, D, DD, DDD, G makes this bra a top pick on my list. The point is, if you’re buying online or through a catalog, or you want something in a junior or plus size you wouldn’t normally choose, there may be some trial and error involved in finding a good fit. once you have it you can get duplicates. it
Fullbeauty® features plus size bras (back sizes 36-58 and cup sizes B-N) and lingerie representing a wide range of brands, styles, sizes and colors available. Proprietary brandsinclude: Comfort Choice®, Amoureuse® and Dreams and Co®. For more information visit http://www.fullbeauty.com/
Beautiful, even on a Budget: For those who are on a budget, or who just don’t want to spend a lot of money for a good fitting bra, there is good news! You don’t have to traverse the world to find good bras that fit well and that won’t cost a mint. For example, I tried some bras from the popular brand, Warners. Since its founding in 1874, Warner’s® has created innovative bras and underwear that are comfortable and yet, still stylish. A quick look at prices at place like JC Penny and Macy’s reveals that the average Warners Bra runs around $24.00-$35.00
I tried the Your Bra full coverage underwire (Style 1536) that has a stretch along the edge of the cups, sides and back to help provide a good fit without digging. It comes in 11 fun colors including the basics. The smooth look is great under clinging fabrics and tees. But it’s the shape of the cup that really make it fit well. From size 24-40 and cups B-D. This is machine washable (line dry please), of nylon/elastane.
I also tried another full coverage underwire bra called This is Not a Bra (style #01593 – (srp. $36.00)`with a satin comfort wire system . This bra is plain and smooth, and comes in sizes 34-28 and b-D. but when you look inside you see a padded band of white fabric under each cup, encasing the flexible wire. Warner’s This is Not a Bra features a gentle underwire, padded and then encased in silky satin so you get the support you want without the discomfort. This “Satin Comfort Wire System” keeps the wires from digging in, and the slim, molded cups of nylon/elastane and should be hand washed and line dried.
Warners has just started a new campaign that even pokes fun at the relationship you’ll have with your bra, after you find the right one. The WARNER’S® #GetComfortable Campaign has a funny video showcasing Warner’s® best-selling styles. The #GetComfortable campaign video shows women in situations where they are so unbelievably comfortable in their Warner’s® bras, that they forget they have them on – be it in the bath or while breastfeeding! Visit WeGetComfortable.com while it is still on through the end of August You have just a few days to get in on this). Watch the video and by posting content to Instagram, Vine or Twitter with the hashtag #GetComfortable, you might even win a $300 SpaFinder® gift card and a Warner’s® bra wardrobe. Warner’s® is sold in Kohl’s, JC Penney, Macy’s and most regional department stores.