Yes There Is A Bra For You
The sad truth is, more women than not waste more money on very bad undergarment purchases than they would even admit to their best girlfriends. Working in the the Lingerie section of a prominent Department store I could fill a book with more Don't's than Do's. Some women come willingly, but most step grudgingly across the carpeted threshold with preconceived notions. Why? It's all about size.
It's funny how women are so fixated with the "Number". They'll shop for hours or even weeks finding that perfect color of eyeshadow or paint for their walls, but when it comes to their body size they stand fast. "No, I'm a 36B and I'll fit in that bra no matter what it takes, &%$&!!, now give me that shoehorn." Although some of the other sales girls roll their and throw their hands up, I refuse to let a woman walk out with a bad fit.
So for all you woman out there no matter what size you may think you are, here's a quick lesson in what will save you time and $$$.
1. First and foremost: You MUST set time for this kind of shopping trip. This is not a mad dash purchase or money and time will be wasted.
2. Realize you must try them on. Some stores don't let you return undergarments.
3. Bring a semi-tight White T-shirt or grab one off the rack before going in for battle.
4. DO NOT BRING YOUR CHILDREN, GIRLFRIENDS, OR GOD FORBID, YOUR HUSBAND. You must do it alone.
Now, approach a sales clerk. Ask them if they are a bra fitter. If there is one great, but if she is on lunch ask for the measuring tap. If they don't have one leave and never go back. If she's there, she'll take you back to the dressing-room and do a quick measure. If you are doing it yourself, here's how you measure:
1. Take the tap around your upper shoulder blades and bring it up front under your armpits. Hold the tape loosely as you take a breath and let it out. This "#" is your body size, e.g. "36B", it's the 36.
2. Now take the tap and measure your bust by coming from the middle of your shoulder's across the highest point of your bust. To do this keep your bra on. Some of us are not as perky as we used to be. And don't follow your exsisting bra band it may not be fitting good. Try to keep the tape at your lower shoulder blade. Keeping with the "36" example from above, say you measure your bust at 40. Subtract 36 from 40= 4. Each inch difference = a cup size. 1=A, 2=B, 3=c, 4=D, and so on. So our e.g. has a 4" difference which should be 36D. Now I say "should" because this is still just an estimate. Now don't go running out demanding bras in only 36D. I repeat this is only an estimate.
Now let's fill those cups.
It can be overwhelming and hopefully you have the full attention of a sales clerk to help, don't forget she got a pretty good objective view while measuring and can offer some good suggestions. But again if she is not available, here are some pointers.
1. Decide first on wire or no wire. I know wire is a pain, (and believe it or not I just saw a commercial for Playtex referring to this very problem, see you're not the only one) but if you are a fuller figure, try several there are some really comfortable ones out there. I always recommend if you are 38C and up to always go with a wire or buy at least 4 wireless bras to alternate. A fuller figure will wear down a bra fast. Oh and no matter what bra you do get never wear the same bra two days in a row. (I will get to the maintenance later).
2. Look for bras that have wider straps or the new gel straps. They won't dig into your shoulder and will give much needed support. Also make sure they don't have too much elastic. I mean in the straps, body band, and even the cup, you really don't need any more bounce, support is what you want. Just imagine a baby in one of those shoulder slings, do you really want the poor thing swinging back and forth.
3. Try to latch your bra in the middle clasp. That way you can tighten or loosen throughout the month. Remember the B word...Bloat.
4. Do the D and D. Dip and Distrubute. Yes, don't be shy use both hands.
5. Put the T-shirt back on and check everything. Front, back, underarms. The t-shirt will accentuate any problem areas. You should be looking for excessive flesh. Do not settle. If it doesn't work but you really like the style flucuate the size. Say you measured the 36D:
- If the cup is puckered or loose at the top try a 38C or 40C. Changing the cup size down one but compensating by giving you a bigger body size.
- Can't clasp the first hook go with a 38D or even a 40D.
- Do you have pillow top, too much flesh flowing from the top of the cup you may need a bra with a fuller cup style.
- Is the wire directly under the middle of your armpit? It should be, otherwise it will continually cut into your underarm. If you put your arm down it should not be in front of your arm, it should run vertically toward the back of your arm.
- Everyone has back flap, don't shake your head, we all do. Your back should be covered. Sure wearing those sexy skimpy ones are fun but do so in moderation. Nothing looks worse than a bad fit. Why ruin a pretty blouse or sweater.
A quick overview on Pushups.
Not all pushups are alike. Some have side pads to bring your breasts together from the side giving you that deep cleavage. Others have bottom pads to give you just that little lift. I recommend these only for the smaller breasted. For those who are fuller but want that lift there are pushups without the extra pad, it lifts because of the structure of the bra itself. The cup will be very contoured meaning moderate to heavily padded and stiff. But keep in mind, again whichever you choose try it with a t-shirt and check for overflowing flesh.
There are bra helpers to give you a better fit. Attatchments such as bra extenders (when the bra is very close to fitting around the body you just need that extra hook), and strap holders (if you have narrow shoulders or need a t-back bra). Most stores have this or check your local fabric store.
I always recommend to buy at least 3-4 bras. You should alternate them each day. Wash them with mild shampoo while you are in the shower. I do toss mine in the dryer for the last 10min. Although this is not recommended by manufacturer's directions. NEVER use any type of bleach product, there is too much elastic in the bra even the cotton ones, the bleach will eat away at the fabric. I am assuming you don't like spending the big bucks on something most won't ever see, make it last.
And one last important point, always pick out a bra in the color of your skin if you are wearing a light see through top.
I hope the above guidelines has helped squelch some of the willies of shopping for bras. Honestly, I LOVE getting fresh new undergarments. How you look on the outside soley depends on what you wear underneath. Choose wisely.
***UPDATE: Well it was finally time for me to go shopping again. But just to show you what a good fit and very good care can do, I was able to wear 4 bras for five years...ok maybe i went over the time limit a little bit. So I went to my favorite store, JCPenney, with my white top in tow. I decided even though I loved my Lillyette's I wanted to try something new. And this is where I broke my own rule for the full figured fit. I tried on two WIRELESS bras. Thought they felt awesome and purchased these. Of course huge mistake...after two hours of wear no support whatsoever. But this whole experience led to a great discovery of the As Seen On TV "Strap Perfect". Putting this on the wireless bras helped, it really did help hold everything up. Of course it also made me feel better about the money I spent on the bras wasn't wasted. Sure I spent more for the strap but I know I will get a lot of use out of the strap for the summer as well. Now I also bought two other bras that were wires and a total surprise for me because they were JCPenney's own Underscore brand. It was the no-line underwire, although it does have a little lace on the cup. What a deal 2/$24 or 14.99 a piece. As soon as I put it on the fit was fabulous like a second skin. I am not a bra snob I will buy whatever fits good and these were it.
***UPDATE (8/8/2010): Must spread some more bra news. I succumbed to the need for some pretty bras and tried several on at another one of my favorite stores, Kohls. I instantly fell in love with an Olga contour padded (light) style#35417. I went home and put on this top I haven't worn yet because it is a little cleavage revealing and I hadn't come across a bra that would give me a lift with the support I needed and also be low cut so the bra wouldn't show. Well this Olga fit all the mentioned critiera. Olga as become my new best friend. I keep checking myself out in the mirror because sadly I have noticed a slight droopyness and this bra gives me a great lift with comfort. Thanks Olga
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