Monthly Archives: June 2016

Women have dozens of bras – but only wear two

Nearly a third of women wear only two of their bras. Photo / iStock

Choosing an outfit each day can be a challenge, as many of us know only too well.

But deciding on underwear seems more straightforward. For despite having drawers full of different styles, nearly a third of women wear only two of their bras.

A survey by the Queen’s corsetiere, Rigby & Peller, found that many gravitate towards their tried and tested favourites day in, day out, reluctant to take a risk with something new.

More than half of the 2,000 women questioned even admitted that their drawers were full of new lingerie which they never intended to wear.

Six in ten claimed they felt more self-assured in their “old faithfuls”, as newly purchased bras ran the risk of being unsupported. A resounding 70 per cent said they would rather wear an old grey bra that felt like a second skin than an expensive new one which turned out to be uncomfortable.

Rigby & Peller, which was founded in 1939, said many women have drawers full of unwearable bras because they have been incorrectly measured.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “Women are persistently being let down by a lack of knowledge and expertise being offered by retailers on what makes a good bra that not only fits, but suits their lifestyle needs.

“We’re witnessing a pattern where ladies are becoming increasingly disillusioned with purchasing lingerie that doesn’t suit them properly – whether the fit is wrong due to being incorrectly measured in-store, or having selected it themselves only to find the shape doesn’t work within their wardrobes.

“Consequently we’re finding that, despite lingerie being available to purchase from multiple retailers these days, the number of our expert in-store appointments has risen dramatically over the last year.

“More and more women are actively seeking out specialist advice for accurate guidance on sizing and styling but also to understand the real benefits of their bras.”

Further findings of the survey include that a third of women had immediately discarded a bra they had just bought after discovering it didn’t fit when they got home.

But the survey revealed that when women eventually found a bra which fitted correctly, the garments stood the test of time, with three in 10 wearing the same two pieces of underwear for over 10 years.

Five per cent were reluctant to throw out a bra they had purchased over 20 years ago.

While wearing a limited set of bras on rotation has been shown to correlate to badly fitting lingerie, it could also be due in part of a larger trend in which many women are now avoiding bras which encourage too much uplift, plunge or cleavage, preferring to go for the more natural look.

Researchers also found the average woman finds just 27 per cent of their lingerie wardrobe comfortable, and a quarter of those polled don’t have a single bra which is comfortable all of the time.

And while nine in 10 women in the survey said they would like to fill their wardrobes with lingerie which both looks and feels amazing, over half felt that they had to sacrifice one preference for the other.

The spokeswoman for Rigby & Peller added: “Unfortunately, the truth is bras don’t last forever – they do have a lifespan.

“This research highlights the importance of having regular lingerie fittings to ensure you’re getting the most from your lingerie.

“The danger of wearing two bras on rotation for a lengthy period is you risk losing fundamental qualities of your bra, like support, over time.

“Plus, technology and trends are constantly evolving meaning bras that you may have had 10 years ago are certainly not the same as today.”

By Alexander Ward

How To Know If You’re Wearing The Right Bra With 9 Easy Tips

Like the tedious task of selecting the perfect bathing suit, finding the right bra can be a difficult, frustrating challenge. Not only can certain bras make your boobs look super awkward, but some fits can be so bad they’re just flat out unwearable.

So, to successfully end the struggle of picking out ill-fitting bras that are either too tight, too loose, or just too… not the right bra for you, I spoke with several underwear experts to get their tips and tricks for ending up with lingerie you love.

“Finding the right lingerie for you is a blend of finding the right size for your body, silhouette for your frame, and style for your needs,” Marissa Vosper, intimates expert and co-founder of Negative Underwear tells me via email. “There’s certainly no set rule book — but it can definitely make a big difference once you find that right fit.”

Finding the best fitting bra will not only be more comfortable on your body, but it will also make your clothes fit and look better. To easily find your best intimates match, here’s some need-to-know tips and tricks to remember next time you go bra shopping.

1. Measure Your Underband

We often tend to think that comfortable straps are a good indicator of a great bra. Lauren Schwab, another co-founder of Negative Underwear, argues that it’s actually the underband of the bra that determines whether you’ll get the best fit possible. Located beneath the cups, the underband is usually the part of the bra that’s fastened in the back. Since this part provides the majority of the support, Schwab stresses the importance of making sure your underband fits correctly.

“Most women don’t realize that the underband on a bra — not the straps — should do the majority of the support work,” explains Schwab.

A properly-fitted underband should rest below your bust and around your rib cage. A band that digs in or rides up could signify that it’s too small. Additionally a loose band (Schwab tells me you should only be able to fit a few fingers between your body and the band) signals that your band is probably too large.

“Most of us wear our bras for way too long — resulting in bands that are overstretched and under-performing,” Schwab adds. “The main reason that straps tend to dig into shoulders is because the band is too loose, so all the work gets transferred to the straps.”

To measure your underband, Schwab recommends using measuring tape to get your size.

“Be sure to measure directly below the bust line — essentially in an even line around your rib-cage where the bottom of your bra band would lie,” says Schwab. “If you get an odd number, you round up to the nearest even to get your band size.”

Try: Measurement Tape Rule, $4, Konga

2. Measure Your Cups

Like your underband, cups play a big part in finding a great bra. Your cups should usually sit comfortably against your body, and never dig into your skin or be too loose.

“The cup of your bra should fully hold all of your breast tissue,” says Colleen Leung, technical designer from lingerie company Adore Me via email. “Along the neckline of the cup, your bra should sit smoothly against your body, without cutting in, or leaving a space between you and the cup.”

To find your perfect cup size, you’re definitely going to want to get a precise measurement. Stephanie Alexis, a New York City-based stylist, recommends measuring your cup with measuring tape, and loosely measuring around the fullest part of your breasts, with the tape straight across your back, bringing it to the front

3. Calculate You Bra Size

Once you’ve found your band and cup measurements, your next best step is to calculate your bra size. Your bra size is usually found by subtracting your band size from your bust measurement. So, if your bust is 37 inches and your band is 34 inches, you would simply subtract 37 from 34 to get 3 inches. Each inch usually represents a cup size, explains Alexis.

“To get the best fitting bra measure both the band and the cup size,” Alexis says. “Once you have your measurement, subtract your band measurement from the bust measurement and the difference calculates your bra size. Each inch represents a cup size.” So one inch would be an A, two would be a B, three would be a C, and so forth.

4. Inspect Your Underwire

Especially if you have a bigger cup size, underwiring gives breasts the shape and support that they deserve. Orit Hashay, founder and CEO of bra discovery platform, Brayola, stresses that underwire also is crucial in finding that great bra fit, making it super important for you to inspect the wiring when shopping for intimates pieces.

“The wire needs to be adjacent to your armpit, and the cups should lay flat on your breasts,” says Hashay through email. “If there appears to be a slight gap, this may be an indication of the wrong size.”

Aside from gaps, other wiring red flags include ones that feel like they’re digging into your chest. This can make both you and your bra feel very uncomfortable.

“If the wire is cutting into or squeezing your chest at any point, it likely means the cup size is wrong,” notes Vosper via email.

Try: Fantasie Selina Full Cup Underwired Bra, ₦ 15,100.00, Whispers nigeria

5. Don’t Forget Your Straps

Although the majority of the support comes from the band, it’s just as crucial to make sure your straps are performing correctly. Straps that are too tight can make things quite painful for your back and shoulders.

“The straps serve to support the lift of the cup and should help to smooth and support the side of the breast,” explains Colleen Leung. “Straps should be worn comfortably, sitting easily over the shoulders while not falling off. If the straps are cutting in, they are too tight, and the band may be too loose.”

6. Check Fabric

Fabrics aren’t as important as your band, straps or cups, but they can play a role in determining what bra is right for you. Some fabrics can be really be irritating against the skin, making it important for you to pay extra attention to what kind of materials you select. When possible, always go for breathable and non-irritable fabrics, as they are usually gentle enough for sensitive skin types.

“The materials of the bra, including the straps, the fabric and the elastic should be comfortable and soft against your body,” suggest Leung. “Nothing should feel scratchy or irritating as you move in your bra.”

Try: Fantasie Eclipse Moulded Balcony Bra, ₦ 15,700.00, Whispers nigeria

7. Treat Your Sports Bras With The Same Caution

Sports bras’ lack of cup sizes might seem more straightforward, but it’s still pretty easy to pick one that doesn’t support your bust. Keeping your breasts supported during workouts is key, and it’s always smart to select a piece that offers double the support of your everyday wear bra.

“A sports bra must offer extra hold and support,” explains Leung. “Depending on your type of activity and your cup size, your needs in a sports bra will vary, but any piece you choose will need to feel more firm around your body. ”

To find a sports bra that offers support, Leung recommends finding one that has a wide band around the bottom edge. The band should sit under your breast tissue, and shouldn’t shift while you move. In addition, she notes that your straps should be firm and not too stretchy.

“The straps should be firm with minimal stretch,” says Leung. “However, they should also be soft to the touch, so the straps don’t cut into your skin.”

Also, you should do some tests in the dressing room to see how it reacts to movement. “Jump up and down, reach your arms above your head and bend forward and to the side,” Leung suggests. “Once you stand up, the bra should still be comfortably held in place.”

Try: Elomi Energise Underwire Sports Bra, ₦ 13,800.00, Whispers nigeria

8. Do A Comfort Test

No matter what kind of bra you choose, finding a comfortable piece generally means you’ve also found one that fits. Trying on your bra before purchasing — even if it’s the size you usually wear — is highly recommended.

“If your bra is really uncomfortable then there probably is something wrong,” says Hashay.

Trying on bras underneath a few of your go-to wardrobe pieces is also recommended, especially since it’s helpful to see how your bra looks in your favorite tee, sweater, or blouse. Vosper recommends inspecting your profile from front to back to make sure your bra doesn’t look awkward underneath your clothing.

“Assessing bra fit is often charged with our own (often skewed) body perceptions — sometimes seeing how your shape looks with your favorite clothes on can help lend a bit more objectivity,” adds Vosper.

9. Try Using Tech

Selecting your bra definitely causes some added frustration, especially since many women are surprisingly wearing the wrong bra size to begin with. So, if you are looking for a fresh approach to the awkward in-store measurements, new apps allow you to find that perfect bra fit, right from the comfort of your own home.

Using patented computer vision technology to analyze body size in relation to the iPhone’s dimensions, the ThirdLove iPhone app helps users find with their correct bra size (including our exclusive half-cup sizes). All you need to do is take two photos of yourself in a mirror wearing a supportive bra and fitted tank top, and the app will do the rest in under 10 minutes.

Your relationship with your bras is about to get a whole lot healthier.

Images: Caroline Wurtzel (2), Andrew Zaeh (2), Bianca Consunji/Bustle; Milada Vigerova/Unsplash; Foundry, adamkontor, Unsplash, Hans/Pixabay

9 Tips For Shopping DD+ Bras & Repping Your Fuller Cup Pride In Comfort

If you have a large bust, then you know how challenging finding the perfect DD+ bras can be. From getting properly fitted to finding the right kind of support, DD+ bra shopping can pose a unique set of challenges, and it can be tempting at times to admit defeat and settle for a lifetime of ill-fitting, boring designs in basic shades.

For a long time, I viewed my substantial chest as a major inconvenience. I longed for a small cup size, self-supporting boobs, and wispy, insubstantial bralettes. I hated how matronly I felt in the designs that were available to me, as well as the fact that it was almost impossible to find an H cup in most standard lingerie boutiques.

Over time, however, I learned the art of shopping for large breasts, and found ways to appreciate and celebrate my unique body just the way it was. I discovered amazing lingerie companies that actually make fun DD+ designs, and developed an understanding of specific styles and designers that work well for me. If you’re frustrated with the difficulties and complexities of navigating lingerie for the majorly busty, check out the tips I’ve acquired that can make living the DD+ life a little bit easier.

1. Get Professionally Fitted

Glamorize Elegance Front-Close Bra, Sizes 34D – 48G

It’s time to get yourself to a serious lingerie boutique. I’ve had very good experiences with Nordstrom, but any specialized shop with a wide selection of sizes and knowledgeable staff is a good bet. Knowing your correct size should make all the difference between a disappointing shopping experience and a great one.

Bra sizing is more than a question of appearance; wearing the wrong size bra can contribute to back, neck, and shoulder pain, especially for larger sizes. The vast majority of the support in a bra should come from the band, allowing your entire abdomen to support the weight of your chest, instead of relying on straps that pull and tug on weaker shoulder muscles.

2. Know What You Want Before You Shop

Freya Deco Delight Molded Plunge Bra, Sizes 28DD – 38G, ₦12,630.00, Whispers nigeria

It’s easy to walk into a store with a vague idea of what you might be looking for, only to become overwhelmed by the sheer variety of styles, colors, and sizes that are immediately thrust upon you. Shopping for DD+ bras is a serious undertaking. Before I start, I like to know not only my current size and the style of bra I’m looking for, but also the outfit(s) that I intend to wear this piece with, and the max budget I have to spend (good bras can get pricey).

Walking into a lingerie boutique armed with all this information keeps me from becoming distracted or unexpectedly splurging; it also limits the number of designs I have to try on, because getting in and out of structured undergarments can be exhausting. For example, if I know I’m looking for a multi-way or strapless for a formal event, there’s really no point in bothering with full coverage or sporty styles. Setting clear expectations for a shopping session can help minimize frustration and confusion later on, giving you a better overall experience.

3. Get To Know Different Styles

Seduction Lace Demi, Sizes 36C – 44H,

The language of lingerie can sometimes be more confusing than helpful. Balconette, plunge, multi-way, demi-cup, T-shirt bra: What do all these terms even mean? And more importantly, how will these styles make you look and feel? Although at first this language can seem arbitrary and jumbled, these different bra styles are made to offer you unique benefits depending on what look you’re hoping to achieve.

T-shirt bras are a great option for everyday support and comfort. These are usually designed to disappear under casual clothing, and are generally pretty simple in construction. Full coverage bras are great options if you like a lot of support and zero spillage. Balconette and demi-cup styles tend to do the opposite; they offer less coverage and push boobs up for maximum cleavage and sexy goodness; great for parties and your fave LBD, not as helpful for low-key or office environments. Finally, multi-way refers to a bra’s straps, not the cups. These bras should allow you to rearrange your straps in a number of ways (i.e. crossed in the back, T-backed, strapless, etc.) so that you can get maximum outfit potential from a single item.

4. Try On New Bras Under Clothes

Shadow Stripes Contour Flirt Bra, Sizes 38G – 42H

When you’re trying on bras, don’t forget to check out how different styles look under clothing. A bra that looks hella sexy on its own might create odd lines under the blouse you had planned on wearing it with, and there’s nothing more frustrating than getting home with some new lingerie only to find out it’s a no-go the next day when you’re getting dressed for work.

For more body positivity, check out the podcast below, and be sure to subscribe to The Bodcast for more inclusive inspiration.