Cornerstone of outfits (the ONE item that supports and builds your look)
I know. In this same screen, I have written about the two indispensable items for every woman (with the pluses and minuses of geography and culture). And I have realized that I missed the most important one, because it is so (allegedly) invisible that it even slipped through my radar. Do you know what I am talking about? The very first layer we put on. Yes. BRAS.
And I am saying allegedly invisible not because of a see-through top, or a bra darker/more textured than a lighter/snug t-shirt, or a stubborn bra strap coming out of our neckline. I am saying allegedly invisible because the bra is the very foundation of our look, and therefore nothing can be more visible. It can ruin the best of outfits or alternatively support it and build it in a glowing way. A touchstone, architecturally and metaphorically speaking.
I already hear some objections.
The "flat"-case objection: "I do not need it, my boobs are small" (or so you say) Well, you still need a bra. A bra prevents see-through, fabric adhering to the skin, and sweat to reach the top layer.
The masculine look objection. "I don't care about bras, I want an androgynous look" (heterosexual, lesbian, or otherwise). Well, unless you want them to disappear, you still need a bra. Sagging breasts (excuse the image) do not look good, androgynous or otherwise. It brings down (pun intended) any outfit, it conveys unkempt-ness, careless-ness, and ultimately, un-serious-ness (if we are going to acknowledge social images).
There is a good fitting bra for any style. (That is my motto, right?) You do not have to wear an embroidered black bra, you just have to wear a comfortable and good fitting bra for your body and your style. I had this discussion with a client, who preferred a Title IX bra for all occasions, to go along with her masculine and exquisitely polished look. But you may want a funkier looking one, and that is ok as long as it fits you well.
Whatever your style, never forget that a bra is uplifting in every sense.
- It frames your outfit. If you have big breasts you can be assured they are going to be supported, and you can build a figure flattering outfit upon it. A V-neck top, a tunic snug under your breast-line, a colorful detail in a necklace that brings attention up if you want attention away from your belly, etc. (And even with a round neck "unforgiving" top: I have seen the difference between a great fitting bra and a lousy one!).
- It makes you feel and look great. No one can tell the secret but you, because when you wear a great fitting bra (in style that matches your taste and personality), your look is polished, you are comfortable, and you have the confidence it takes to arrive at your destination (see first story below).
- If you are pregnant or nursing, with your hormones running rampant, and breasts getting bigger and more tender at will, a bra is your b(r)e(a)st friend. It brings much needed support, and it also lifts up your outfit and spirit, because you do not want to be relegated to un-sexiness and un-personhoodness by being a mom. (Quick tip: Choose a banded wire-free bra if pregnant and an easy one hand snap one if nursing).
And now, this, as John Oliver says, if you still have time for two telling bra stories. That is, about the importance of bras.
First story. My doctoral dissertation defense was coming up after months of a grueling routine of writing 14 hours a day, and looking like ... I do not even know because I wasn't even looking at myself in the mirror (you see, many of us have been there). My dear friend Claudia had been my intellectual interlocutor and editor for its final form, and I couldn't (have) be(en) more grateful to her. "Now that you are done, she said the day before my defense, this is my gift for you. You should wear it tomorrow and you are going to feel great." You can already imagine what it was... lingerie, a turquoise lacey La Perla bra and panties. I had never had a La Perla before. And I put it on, and it was magical. An epiphanic moment when you experience what a fit made in heaven is, and you imagine the incredible intuition, quality, work, design, understanding, that goes into conceiving such a piece. And there I went to my defense, where no one could imagine that wearing my La Perla under-layer was giving me the confidence to respond to any conceptual, theoretical and normative issues that my dissertation about "The grammar of entitledness" would certainly elicit in the 4 professor panel. The rest is history.
The right bra may give you the extra confidence when you most need it.
Second story. I go to a one-woman wedding anxiety play. The scenography includes a piano, and a wedding dress hanging from the ceiling, floating, strapless and white, one meter above the stage. The protagonist comes in, she is wearing a pajama-camisole in animal print, and a short silk robe over it. She talks and sings (beautifully) about her existential doubts, the yeses and the nos about getting married. The pianist with her is just perfect. Something feels uncomfortable with her outfit, she pulls it under her armpit. It is her bra, her strapless bra I can tell. And I know the ending already. Strapless bra + strapless wedding dress hanging. She is going to wear the dress, she will decide to get married. What a spoiler. Granted, strapless bras are the most difficult ones, particularly for medium size and up breasts, but still.
The wrong bra may give away or ruin a surprise.
So I rest my case: a comfortable and good fitting bra makes all the difference.
And now what? Get rid of bras that are too small, that poke, that are stretched.
And get ready for my next post on how to measure yourself for a good fitting bra...
Please leave me any comments or questions you may have regarding bras and I will address them on my next post.