There are so many perks of being a woman, like giving birth, getting our period and being pressured into having a perfect, flat stomach. Oh, I’m sorry, did I say perks? That must’ve been my mistake. And for some of us, wearing a bra is just another necessary evil of life to stop the girls from flinging around when you turn too sharply or bend over to pick something up.
Some women have the luxury of find a bra that fits right, accentuates some cleavage and doesn’t have to be specially made. And others, well, we’re just not that lucky. Finding a bra can be like finding the right jeans – frustrating and squishy.
Bras are far from one size fits all, but luckily, there are hundred of shapes, styles and brands to choose from in this day and age, and if even those don’t fit, you can always get them specially made.
While we might not be able to help you find the right man, we can help you find the right bra, and who knows where that could lead you! Finding the right bra is a confidence boost that could help you run for president or ask out your mailman; it’s up to you what you do with it.
Going to your nearest bra store specialist is always the best option to find a bra that fits right, but if you’re too embarrassed to ask or you bought the bra online, here’s how to know if it fits right.
The band should lay evenly all around your body and sit underneath your breasts. If it’s too tight to even get a finger under it, you’ve got the wrong band size. If it rides up under your arms or your back, then it’s too big and you should try going down a band size. The band is a reflection of the size of your back and should be comfortable for you to wear and not have to adjust or pull at during the day or night.
When you’re buying the bra, it should fit well on the loosest set of hooks so that when the band starts to stretch, it can be tightened easily. You won’t get much wear out of a band size that fits on the tightest when you buy it, because when it stretches you’ll have no where to go.
Are you a glass half empty or a glass half full girl? If you’re spilling over the cups and getting that awkward excess boob in your shirts, it may be time to move to a bigger cup size. On the other end of the scale, if the cups don’t sit flat against your skin, it may be time to move down a cup size. If you fit nicely and can bend over without your nipples falling out of the cup, that’s a great sign.
Check the bra from the side with your hands on your hips. This way you can see the way you fill the cups. You should also have your breasts properly fill the cups, once you have the bra on, reach inside the cups and lift up each breast.
The straps are the easiest part because they are the most adjustable, but you shouldn’t be buying your bra on the tightest the straps can possibly be, as when they stretch, they will be of no use. Make sure the straps can fit your shoulders properly and can support the load in the cups. This might mean if you have a bigger bust then you may require thicker straps. Anything too stretchy will be uncomfortable and will bounce too much.
The type of bra
Now that everything else is right, it’s time to make sure that you’ve got the right shape that is comfortable to you. A balconette, a full cup or a demi bra may be the right style for you.
Image via rantchic.com
Did you know an unsupported A-cup breast bounces up to an inch and a half when running? Exercise can be painful for women, and tearing of the breast tissue (caused by bouncing) can speed up the inevitable work of gravity and cause our breasts to sag. A sports bra can halve the movement of your breasts during exercise and should therefore be at the top of every woman’s sportswear shopping list.
To achieve the best support, a professional bra-fitting is vital, but for those who may be shy or need a refresher course, here are some handy tips to find the best-fitting sports bra. Three main factors contribute to a quality sports bra: cups, straps and band.
There are two types of cup support in sports bras: compression and encapsulation. Compression bras will press your breasts against your chest and commonly come in small/medium/large sizing and a pull-over style. They are better for small breasts and low-impact workouts. On the other hand, encapsulation bras have individual cups and are better for larger breasts and higher-impact activities, like running. However, regardless of your cup size, every woman should have an encapsulation bra for maximum support.
While there are some trendy sports bras on the market, aesthetics should not be the primary consideration when shopping for a sports bra. Racerback or T-back straps offer better support as they secure the bra (and breasts) closer to the body. Wider straps are preferable to thin straps, and adjustable straps that will help you achieve the best fit and allow you to alter the bra if your body changes shape.
The band, including the side panels, should be firm, but not too tight. One finger should fit underneath the band, but you shouldn’t be able to stretch it more than an inch from your body. Sports bras with adjustable back clasps are often preferable to pullover designs, especially for larger breasts and more vigorous exercise. When fitting the bra, you should secure it using the first clasp. If you have to use the last clasp, it is often advised to purchase a smaller size to account for a bit of stretching over time.
Image via Pinnacle Health Group
SheSaid chatted with Zoe from Australian online underwear store Zodee, a web site that showcases the best and biggest range of underwear available today.
“Zodee is an online retailer only – no bricks and mortar stores, selling underwear and lingerie,” says Zoe who came to Australia after graduating from a degree in Textiles and Clothing in the UK. Initially working for two top swimwear labels Zoe soon realised that there was a gap in the market for pure cotton underwear. So she did what any self respecting chick would do – she decided to design her own undies and set up a web site to sell her (under)wears.
“I happened to be talking to someone one night and a friend of my partner said “Why don’t you sell it on the Internet?” and I laughed because I’d never even surfed the Internet, never even been on a web site. And then I though ‘I can do this.’ I put my range on the web site and two months later, when I hadn’t got any sales, I thought ‘OK, nobody knows my brand, I’ve got to do something about this.’ So I started approaching other underwear companies to get them to sell their products on the site and only one gave me a go that was Lovable and I put Lovable on there. Sales started to increase, because obviously people were looking for Lovable and found it on my web site, then started buying my underwear as well,” she says recounting the early days as an online retailer.
The Zodee mission is to have all brands represented on the web site and at present, some of the world’s top brands are available including Lovable, Crystelle, Elle Macphearson, Bendon, Fayreform, Real Woman and Bonds with Simone Perele and Oroton soon to be added. The Zodee site features sections including Ladies,Maternity and Bridal.
An online underwear store is the perfect place for your shy/clueless-but-well-meaning boyfriend to pick out something nice for you! And while the majority of online underwear shoppers are women, Zodee is noticing an increase in men shopping for undies online, both for themselves and as gifts for their loved ones.
“It’s so much easier, they can go into their wife’s or girlfriend’s draw, find the size, go on the Net, order it and it’s delivered to them” says Zoe. “They don’t have to enter a department store or boutique and be confronted with sales people trying to sell them this, that and the other. Most men know what they want to buy,” she reveals. “They email us if they need any further information or recommendations ‘My girlfriend normally wears this, what would you recommend?’ We’ll email them back text links where they can look the products we’re suggesting and they can just go in there, order it – easy peasy!” says Zoe.
What’s more Zodee offers what would have to be one of the most flexible return and refund policies around, so if it doesn’t fit, or you absolutely loath his well-meaning, but way off the mark gift, you can swap it. “Anyone can exchange, but if they’re a Zodee club member – membership is free – they can exchange free of charge. If the bra they get isn’t the right size, or they’re not happy with it, they can send it back for a full refund, or we’ll dispatch a different size to them at no extra cost, so that’s a benefit of being a Zodee club member.” Now that’s what we call service.
Visit Zodee online to view the gorgeous range of underwear available to buy sexy, classy and and not a peek-a-boo bra in sight! Phew!
by Sally Schofield
But it’s not only
- 1875 ? the “Union Under-Flannel” – a no-bones/eyelets/laces/pulleys garment made from wool fabrics
- 1889 ? the “Bien-?tre” – French for “Well Being” a design that perhaps rebelled against the constrictive dangers of the corset
- 1893 ? the “Breast Supporter” – a garment which included separate pockets for each breast, shoulder straps, and hook-and-eye closures
At the turn of the century, things were travelling in leaps and bounds in the bra department and in 1907 Vogue magazine first used the term “brassiere”, which interestingly, has its origins in the old French word for “upper arm”.
This is not to be confused with “brasserie” which is, of course, somewhere to eat.
Hot on the heels of Vogue, the Oxford English Dictionary, bastion of all things proper, lists the word “brassiere” in the 1912 edition.
Later, the outbreak of World War I forced women en masse into the work force. Factory work and regulation uniforms made wearing a corset everyday something of a problem for our war-time sisters. This did not deter women from the purchase of such items and in 1917 The U.S. War Industries Board requests women to stop buying corsets to reduce the consumption of metal. Sources say up to 28,000 tons of metal were conserved through this effort reputedly “enough to build two battleships.” Yay team!
During the 1930s the word “bra” came into popular usage and in this decade Warner developed what would become the universal cup sizing of bras around the world.
Soon World War again threatened women’s underwear manufacturing and between the years of 1941 and 1945, with common fabrics such as cotton, rubber, silk and steel in short supply. Manufacturers adapted their designs to utilise the new range of synthetic materials.
Recent years have seen some technologically-advanced enhancements to this basic bra model including padding and boosting by way of inserts, gel pouches and now inflatable pockets. I wonder what our ancient warrior sisters from Crete would think of that?
Women in the 21st century have a selection of underwear available to them like never before in sizes, fabrics and types of support, for sport, maternity, evening wear and everyday wear.
Let’s go shopping…
Our favourite little songstress? Kylie Minogue is following in Elle Macpherson’s steps. Kylie is launching her own lingerie line. Love Kylie is the label that will feature her own range of undies and bras.
Holeproof and Kylie have joined forces to create a 24-piece range that is fun and functional. But Holeproof says, “The key is to keep it sexy”.
You will love the Lucky Knickers that untie on the side. Check it out next month at Myer and selected lingerie boutiques. Perhaps you could buy some and wear it to her concert!!!!