“Lingerie is symbolic of womanhood.” Dita Von Teese
I could not have said it better myself Dita. Regardless of your cup size, a perfectly fitted bra will make you feel and look like a million dollars. For your outfit to look great on you, it is equally important to have the correct underwear. The right bra will noticeably improve your appearance. It will contain and lift your breasts, elevating your chest and minimizing your waist. If the size and style are a perfect match with your outfit, then it’s a flattering look all round making you appear slimmer, sexier, confident.
The same applies to your panties. To create a sleek silhouette, the style of your panties are very important. Many women will spend a lot of money on high-heeled shoes to make you appear taller or sexier, yet won’t spent much on lingerie when really they go hand in hand. I am not here to talk about the psychology behind why women will purchase smaller/larger size bra’s that are ill-fitting because it’s a ‘number’ thing. More so I am here to reiterate what I call the “Triple Effect”. The proper fitting lingerie: for work, leisure wear and evening wear will help you feel good because your outfit sits beautifully on you due to your underwear, which in the end will affect you psychologically, in a positive way. Perfect Fit = Lovely Silhouette = Great feeling = Triple Effect. This applies to all women regardless of your shape or size.
Our breasts change with life changes: age, hormones, weight loss or gain, nursing. From puberty to child-birth, from marathon training to over-indulging, our breast elasticity gives and so does our breast composition.
Yet many women will still shop for that special number, that smaller or larger ill-fitting bra they were use to wearing or been told is correct. We’ve associated beauty with a number, not a fit. The reality remains—our breasts do not stay one size. Nor should our bra.
As a bra fit specialist was quoted as saying “When you’re elevated and in the right bra, it feels like a superpower. Pair the perfect bra with a matching panty and you know you look good. You feel like you can conquer the world.”
My advice is purchase the bras that fits you NOW. Even if you have gained weight and intend to lose it again. Still go and purchase lingerie that fits you in this very moment and if you should lose the weight again, go back to your old bras or better yet buy new ones as you will most likely find your shape has changed so your old bras won’t work anymore. Do not continue to wear ill-shaped bras in the hope that one day you’ll fit into them. And ladies, don’t wait for your partner to gift you lovely pieces on special days (of course that is great too), do this for yourself.
When clients ask me how many bras do you really need. I say as many as you want and your budget allows. However I suggest a minimum of seven as it’s important you don’t wear the same bra two days in a row due to losing their elasticity (I am not suggesting purchasing all at once). Two for work in black and nude or ivory. Two for casual wear in black, nude or white. Two for evening in black and a signature colour such as red. One versatile bra that can convert to strap-less, cross over, halter neck etc. Make that an eighth if you include a sportsbra. As for the style of the bra, that is dependent on what suits you and for what purposes. For example you may have small breasts and require a little push up bra. Day wear you prefer a smooth T-Shit bra. Click here to be taken to a fantastic page on Her Room. It thoroughly outlines the various styles available suitable for all shapes.
From here you can just keep adding to the collection with different colours, prints, fabrics, skimpy sexy numbers, suspenders etc. Ideally having three to four for work and the same for evening is great.
As for the texture and print whether satin, lace, animal print, floral etc etc that really is dependent on what you will be wearing them under and where you will be wearing them. For example with wearing bras to work, it could be quite inappropriate to have black lace push-up bra or floral printed showing through a white silk blouse or bulging out of your jacket only to distract colleagues and clients. Unless of course you work in the sex, lingerie, lap dancing or Hollywood movie industry where that is considered ok. Generally speaking, save that for night or day time or make sure it is not on show for all the office to see.
Like bras, it’s important to have classic panty colors and then add prints, patterns, and color. Stock a couple of pairs in white, at least 3 pairs in black, several nude, and an assortment of colorful prints.
It would be advisable to wear knickers where you can not see the panty lines (such as seam-free). Of course absolutely nothing wrong with wearing sexy lacy panties (in fact I encourage it), just make sure it is worn tastefully where it’s not on full display to the world. Use your common sense here. BTW, you can buy seam-free panties in so many pretty colours, prints which are quite sexy. Make sure you buy the right fit where you can’t see bulging through the garments. And there is of course shapers such as Spanx: works magic with hiding bulges and gives you shape where needed. I personally like to purchase the matching panties with the bra so that if the garment allows, I can wear the match. Plus if it’s a night-time sexy bra, I most definitely want it all to match. However I am also stocked with nude and black seam-free briefs and shapers for when I need them under dresses or pants where I want a sleek silhouette. It is not a good look wearing a black lace G-string under a firm fitting white dress.
How to Measure for the Right Fit:
I am not an expert in measuring the correct bra size, however there is plenty of information online where they show you how to calculate your bra size. The site HerRoom is my favourite when I have to refer to any information in regards to bras and fitting. It is loaded with information and very clear. Click on this page to show you how to measure for your bra using the online calculator or manually (chart with universal sizes at bottom of page). Or if you’re not confident enough to do it yourself, go into a lingerie shop or department store and let the professionals measure you up. It is important that you measure the band and bra size as in diagram below. Also on the same page at Her Room is this Video that clearly and easily explains how to measure your bra size if doing it from home, and it also has some interesting historical facts on there too.
Below are Steps on Manually Measuring Bra Size:
- Wear a non padded bra and fasten to the outer set of hooks, not the inner/tightest. Run a tape measure all the way around your body just underneath your breasts and take a measurement in inches or centimetres. Make sure the tape measure is horizontal and fairly snug. Your arms should be down.
- If this measurement is an odd number, then you should try out bras in both the size below your measurement and the size above. For example, if you measured 31 inches (78.7cm), your band size could be 30 or 32.
- If your measurement is already an even number, this is almost always your band size, but you may need a smaller or larger size depending on your body type.
- Bend over so that your chest is parallel to the ground. This is so that you’ll be measuring all of your breast tissue — not just what protrudes outward when you’re standing up.
- Measure around your torso, so that the tape is over the fullest part of your breasts. Don’t pull the tape too tightly — it should be tight enough that it doesn’t evenly move, but not so tight that’s pressing into your breast tissue. Write down the number.
- Make sure your tape measure is straight. That is, it shouldn’t be a few inches down your back, or you’ll end up with an uneven measurement. To combat this, try to measure yourself in front of a mirror, or ask a friend/partner to help you.
- Calculate your cup size. To do this, you’ll subtract your band measurement from the cup measurement you just took. The difference between the two numbers determines your cup size:
- Less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) = AA
- 1 inch (2.5 cm) = A
- 2 inches (5 cm) = B
- 3 inches (7.5 cm) = C
- 4 inches (10 cm) = D
- 5 inches (12.5 cm) = DD
- 6 inches (15 cm) = DDD (E in UK sizing)
- 7 inches (18 cm) = DDDD/F (F in UK sizing)
- 8 inches (20.5 cm) = G/H (FF in UK sizing)
- 9 inches (23 cm) = I/J (G in UK sizing)
- 10 inches (25.5 cm) = J (GG in UK sizing)
- The majority of leading brands use UK cup sizing: AA, A, B, C, D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, J, JJ, K, KK, L, LL. If you’re shopping in the US you might see cup sizes such as DDD or DDDD. These are equivalent to E and F. If you’re in any doubt, particularly with larger cup sizes, you can refer back to the chart on Her Room for international bra sizing.
So how do you know if you’re wearing the right size? Check for the below:
- Make sure the band of your bra feels firm but comfortable around you.
- Check the back of your bra is in line with the front.
- Your breasts should fit neatly into the cup with nothing spilling out below or over the top.
- You should feel your under-wire and side support flat against your body and around the contour under your breasts.
- Pay particular attention to the middle front part of your bra, it should also lie flat against your body.
- Before adjusting your straps, check your breasts are in their natural position (usually half way between your shoulder and our elbow).
- Fasten your bra on the middle hooks. This makes it easy to adjust for weight loss, gain, or if you just want to tighten up a little.
How do you know if you’re wearing the incorrect bra? Check the diagram below.
How to Put On a Bra:
This Video from Figleaves is simple and perfect on showing you how to put your bra on. If you are unable to view the video below please click here.
How to Care for Your Lingerie:
Caring for your lingerie is just as important as caring for your outer garments, shoes and handbags. Give them your TLC and you will receive good mileage from them. Before you cut the tags off have a read of the instructions, but generally speaking all lingerie tends to be cared in the same way. These are my tips:
- Wash your new lingerie before wearing them, even though it may be a brand new piece. For sanitary reasons and to rid the new garments of potential chemical residue, it is a good idea to wash new lingerie. So, be kind to your skin, just wash them before wearing.
- Use a lingerie wash-bag for the laundering of all lingerie garments.
- When machine washing garments in a wash-bag, ensure that you use cool water, a mild detergent, and place the washing machine on a gentle cycle.
- If hand washing garments, use a mild detergent with cold water, and avoid rubbing the fabrics.
- Always ensure that the back hook and eyes are clasped together prior to washing to prevent snagging other garments.
- Avoid drying garments in direct sunlight and do not tumble dry. Either lie them flat over a drying rack or peg them up by the straps or clasp the hooks together over a rail. Avoid using pegs on any part of the bra cup or band.
- Stowing them in their original shape is the best way to preserve the shape. If you crush them or fold them, you are likely to destroy the shape of the bra. If you are not careful, not only will the bra not enhance your cleavage, you might end up looking like you have extra nipple.
Some Handy Tips:
- Eight to ten months is about as long as a bra lasts if worn correctly and taken care of. After that, the band is stretched out, so it’s not going to support you anymore. That’s why you should have six to seven bras in your wardrobe so you can rotate them, making them last longer.
- Bras shouldn’t be worn two days in a row. When you’re wearing it two days in a row it will strain the elasticised band and it won’t be able to snap back so quickly. By letting it rest every second day, it will regain its elasticity. It is like running, you must rest every second day so not to damage the muscles.
- Washing bras in cold water helps keep the elastic fresh because the cold water shocks it. (refer to how to care for your lingerie above).
- When measuring your band size, you should go according to the outermost set of hooks, not the inner as mentioned above. A bra is going to stretch about three inches in its lifetime. Buy a bra that fits snugly on the last set of hooks, and only later should you need to use the tighter ones.
- Too much washing will shorten the life of your bras. There is a balance between keeping your lingerie fresh and not over washing them, and where you live often determines how often you should wash your bras. If you live in a hot, humid climate and perspiration is your constant companion, you may need to wash your bras everyday. If you live in a very temperate climate, and don’t know what perspiration is, you can wear your bra 3 or 4 times before washing. But in the end, that is up to you. Sports bras should be washed after every wearing.
Where to Purchase Your Lingerie:
There are plenty of lingerie labels out there that cater for all budgets. It is a billion dollar industry because every woman needs underwear. There really is no excuse to not purchase decent fitting underwear anymore. Whether you spend a little or a fortune, are conservative or more risqué, slender, voluptuous, sporty or on the larger side, or pregnant you will find it all.
A little tip: If you have been accustomed to purchasing a certain brand why not experiment and change it a little. With the thousands of wonderful brands out there, it is a lovely feeling to mix it up a little and purchase different styles from other brands giving your lingerie draw a little more interest and hence excitement when dressing in the morning or evening.
For those that don’t know where to start here are a few suggestions: These are only a handful. Please go online or departments stores to view thousands more.
High Priced/luxury: La Perla, Agent Prov0cateur, im Lingerie Plus individual designers such as Dita Von Teese, Dolce and Gabbana, Stella McCartney which are all sold on various online stores such as net-a-porter, Matches, The Iconic and others.
Medium Priced: Heidi Klum, Pleasure State, KISSKILL, Triumph, Bras N Things, Figleaves, Elle McPherson Intimates, Calvin Klein. Again the individual labels are found on many online sites such as net-a-porter, Matches, The Iconic, Shopbop etc.
Many of the luxury and medium range labels mentioned above are also found in Department stores or have standalone stores if you don’t wish to purchase online. If you are on a tighter budget, do not be put off with going to Target, Cotton On or K-Mart. You may have to try on quite a few bras to get the right fit, but you may be pleasantly surprised at what you can find in these cheaper department store. Plus they have a huge range of shapers and knickers.
All information was sourced from Her Room, Triumph, Lovable, Figleaves.
I hope you found this post useful. In my consultations I advise on the correct underwear to wear for the garments in your wardrobe. Please do not hesitate to email me with any questions or book in for a style session. Email: email@example.com
Not only will you admire yourself in the mirror when dressing in your gorgeous underwear, it will do wonders for your outfits, hence your confidence. It is sexy and re-assuring walking out the door ‘knowing’ you feel great under your garments. Now go out purchase some fabulous lingerie and LOVE yourself.
See you soon