Commandments (?) to choose good fitting bra
[Note to the reader: this blog post was supposed to be published as the second part of Passover Style, but alas! just like in the story, some fun happened...).
In my blog post Passover Style (two blog post ago), I highlighted that the character and quality of the law frames freedom to give it its best shape and its full potential. And yes, I suggested that this applies to bras as much as it applies to societies, and I promised to address it. And here I am, still honoring the Passover spirit (point made!) but willing to let go of the society analogy (DAYENU! Enough!).
A bra is the cornerstone of outfits. It frames your outfit, it makes you feel and look great. Are you wearing the best possible bra for you?
Sites that present the steps to find a good fitting bra feel the need to quote figures. One in five women wear the wrong bra. Seven in ten women wear the wrong bra. I can't help being put off by these numbers, since the where and who of these women who wear the wrong bra is never clear --One in five women in the world? One in five women in the world who go to a bra store? One in five women who went to the particular store that is posting the tips? At best, their methodology is very questionable, at worst case scenario, the numbers are just invented. (I know, it is the old research analytical self in me). No need to justify it by random numbers. Whatever the numbers, you should make sure that you are wearing the best fitting bra for you.
First consideration for a good fitting bra: the band is crucial because it provides almost all support.
Tip No. 1: Your bra should fit firmly on the last hook when new, as the band will stretch overtime.
You can attempt to measure your band size in the following way:
Wear your best fitting unpadded bra
Wrap a measuring tape snugly around your rib cage, directly under the bust.
Make sure the tape is straight and parallel to the floor.
Make sure you get the smallest measurement by exhaling deeply
Round to the nearest whole number.
Rule of thumb: if the measurement is even, add 4 inches. If the measurement is an odd number, add 5 inches to determine the band size.
This seems to be very "scientific." But it is not. You may find out that the band size you come with is not good for you. How is that possible?
Second consideration: Bra fitting is more an art than a science.
I had the pleasure to visit Alla Prima Lingerie, and met wonderful Maggie, who is a bra fitting expert. What a delightful experience. I saw how bra fitting is more an art than a science - there are subtleties in measuring according to the particularities of a body, there are differences in brands and materials, there are varying preferences and needs. And putting all that together is an art.
Maggie realized right away that my client (who had been told before that she had an impossible body for a bra... yes....) was a swimmer. When she was measuring her (I love observing experts at work, I learn so much!), I realized there was a difference between the measuring tape, the measurement rules I listed above, and the size she came up with. When I asked, she explained that she noticed subcutaneous tissue when measuring (and this is why she realized my client was a swimmer), so that informed her sizing: instead of 4'' to the baseline measure, she added 2''. Existing tissue and rib cage are crucial for measuring. Cool, right?
She then brought bras that had a tight band and tight straps to provide the fullest support, but they were different sizes. Why? Because brands run differently... Next she asked her to fit herself into the cups. "Everybody in?" she said with a smile.
Tip No. 2: Make sure your boobs fit well into the cups.
Hold one boob from the rib cage towards the front to make sure "no one" is trapped under the band, and "everybody" is well fitted within the cup without extra room or bulging over. Do the same with the other boob.
Maggie pointed to the fact that one breast is bigger than the other (we know this in our own experience), and that the smaller one should be pulled in more for a balanced fit and look.
Third consideration: Fitting is in the details.
Fitting is in the details, and these details made the whole difference. In addition to band width, characteristics of tissue and rib cage, and cup size, there are also different styles of bras, more sporty, more lacy, more everyday, for we are all different women. Insightfully, Maggie pulls out bras that best fit your body and your preferences and style. It is an art.
Tip No. 3: Get fitted by an expert
If you do not fit in a bra, you are not the problem. The bra is the problem (or the person helping you). Alla Prima is a store where you can be yourself with your boobs. Maggie works from you to the bra, and not the other way around. You are not made to fit in, as Maggie put it "we fit you."
As a final touch, she makes you wear the unforgiving black t-shirt. Wow. And guess what, even those clients whose body type called for a V neck, looked great with the unforgiving round neckline t-shirt.
Tip No. 4: Invest in 3 good fitting bras
With 3 good fitting bras, you are all set. One will be in use, one in the wash, and one in rotation.
Tip No. 5: Take good care of your bras
You want your bras to last. Wash them every two wearings, the elastic seems to have memory! You can use hair shampoo, or this special soap (special gift!).
Soak for 5' without rubbing. Use cold or tepid water. Rinse. Hang. If you wash it in the evening, it will be the perfect time to pour a glass of wine. If in the morning, I would advise you to avoid wine in favor of tea or coffee.
With Alla Prima's character and quality of bras, you can be free. The place fits who you are, and that complements what I do in a fundamental way. Having this great fitting bra provides the basis to work on the rest of your wardrobe to look your best.
As a perk, you may also end up engaging with Maggie in conversations about queer theory, Argentine historians, and the most stylish brands of messenger bags.
And as Maggie likes to say. Everybody in?
I would love to hear your comments and stories about bras below!
Stayed well fitted!