Monday, January 26, 2015

The Right Bra Fit Isn't About Your Body

A bra that fits you correctly will stay in place, lift your girls and stop spillage. So good fit is the most important thing about finding a well-fitting bra right? Wrong. I have no doubt that the most important thing about good bra fit is emotional.

Bad bra fit can have dreadful physical effects but the emotional damage can spill into every aspect of your life. Do any of these sound familiar?

"I avoid working out or running with my kids because my breasts bounce too much and I feel embarrassed."

"I choose baggy clothes so that you can't see my bust."

"My back hurts so much that some days I can't work or see friends or run errands."

"I can't face going bra shopping because nothing fits me and the sales assistants make me feel huge."

Helping my clients overcome these emotional hurdles is why I teach them about good bra fit. Besides giving you the support to run around after your kids, or join a sports team, or choose the clothes you want to wear, a bra that fits you means you can STOP thinking about your breasts. It's the greatest freedom we can give our clients is to stop worrying and thinking about their bust. If you're well supported and given the emotional support to feel comfortable in your body then you are free to think about other things and that's fantastic.

My greatest achievements since starting Butterfly Collection are the women who tell me that they used to worry about their bust at work, in public, when socializing or with family but that they just don't think about it anymore. They just get on living their life more fully because they have the physical and emotional support of a good bra and, dare I say, an understanding company.

If you have put off getting the right bra fit then I want you to think about what it would be like to live a life without worrying about your breasts and maybe that will help you take the first step in your better bra life xx

Monday, January 12, 2015

How to Measure Your Bra Fit at Home

We are getting right back to basics today and talking about how to measure yourself for a bra. Knowing how to measure yourself is a really handy skill and for many women it's essential. If you live a long way from a lingerie store that has skilled staff or if you find it physically or emotionally difficult to be fitted at a store then measuring yourself at home is necessary.

I'm going to keep this really simple today but I want you to remember that the numbers are only a starting point in finding your fit. The shape, density and position of your breasts can all play a part in the size that's best for you.

Once you're familiar with the basics of measuring yourself for a bra then it's worth checking out these blog posts:

Soft Breast Tissue and Bra Fit
Shallow Breasts and Bra Fit (you can see our shallow friendly bras here)
Torso Shape and Bra Fit
Breast Roots and Bra fit (you can see our high set breast friendly bras here)
How Height Can Affect Bra Fit (you can see our short torso friendly bras here)

Here are a few things you might have read elsewhere that you won't find in our measuring advice:
  • We don't recommend measuring without wearing a bra because the density of your breasts can affect the measurements.
  • We don't recommend adding inches to your measurement results.
  • We don't recommend exhaling and pulling the tape measure tightly (you usually find this advice in techniques that add inches)
  • We don't recommend measuring with clothes over the top of your bra because this skews the results.

So having said all of that let's get started on how to measure yourself at home for a bra.

Standing in front of a mirror put on your best fitting bra (avoid padded, sports, minimizer and molded bras). The mirror is to help you see your bra fit around your body.

Don't worry if you know the bra doesn't fit you correctly you can adjust it so that it fits you better for the duration of the measuring. Adjust the band so that it's as firm as possible and level with the ground while you do the measurements. Scoop as much of your breast tissue into the cups as possible then take your measurements.

Measure around your ribcage using a fabric tape measure. The tape measure should lie flat against your body. There's no need to pull the tape measure tightly or to exhale.

Make sure the tape measure is level with the floor all the way around your ribcage because this is where the band should sit on your body when your bra fits you correctly. Write down your first measurement in inches. No need to round up or down.

Pass the tape measure around the fullest part of your breasts (over your nipples), again ensuring that it is level all the way around. Write down the size in inches. Don't round up or down.

Now that you've done all the measuring it's time to work out your best starting bra size.

Let's start with your band size. Your ribcage measurement is your band size. If you measure an uneven number round up one inch to get your band size. For example if you measured 31 then your band size would be a 32.

You don't need to round up your ribcage measurement when working out your cup size below; use the exact ribcage measurement.

Now to find your cup size. Subtract your first measurement (the one around your ribcage) from the second measurement (the one around the fullest part of your bust). For example:

Step 3 Measurement (fullest part of your bust) = 39


Step 2 Measurement (around your ribcage) = 31

DIFFERENCE = 8 inches

Compare your Difference Number to this table to find your cup size (we recommend knowing your UK size as most full bust brands are British):

Difference in Inches 4 5 6 7  8 9  10   11  12  13  14
UK Sizes DD E F  FF  G  GG  H  HH  J JJ K
North American Sizes D DD DDD G  H I J K  L M N

NB: Lots of charts show a UK DD to be the same as a North American DD and a UK E to be the same as a US DDD but we simply haven't found this to be true. Of the styles we carry a UK DD cup is the same as a North American D cup.

A Difference Number of 8 equals a UK G cup (the equivalent of a North American brand's H cup). Put your band size and cup size together, in this example a 32G. You now have your best starting bra size!

For many women this process will give them a bra size that works for them in most styles and brands. However, you know your comfort best and so you might find that you prefer a looser or a tighter band. You can use our cup volume blog post to work out how to adjust your bra size for a tighter or looser fit.

I hope this post helps you get a good start on your bra fit for this year. Our Free Size Consultation is a great follow up to knowing your measurements. Great bra fit means you can get on with life more comfortably and confidently! xx

Sign up for our newsletter here

Monday, December 15, 2014

Most Sold Bra Sizes and Styles 2014

As we approach the end of 2014 I wanted to share with you which bra styles and sizes were most purchased from Butterfly Collection this year. I especially like to share the information about the most often bought sizes because many women feel they are alone or unusual in their size so it's good to know that there are hundreds and hundreds of women with the same size as you.

20 Most Purchased Sizes
In our first couple of years of business we spent a lot of time introducing women to sizes like 36FF and 32GG because few North American women had seen these sizes before. I'm so encouraged to see lots of FF and GG cups in here because it means that our clients are getting more comfortable with these sizes and have a greater understanding of their fit needs.

It's also pleasing to see 30G in there as it's the first time a 30 band has been consistently in our top 20 sizes. 28 and 30 bands are still largely unknown or met with trepidation which is a shame because so many women (especially teens and young adults) would benefit from these band sizes. In 2015 we will continue to try to spread awareness and break down preconceptions about 28 and 30 bands.

Sizes are in descending order, left to right, from the best selling size, 34F.

34F 32FF 36F 34FF 34G 38G 36G 32F 32G 36FF 34GG 32GG 38F 38GG 36E 38E 30F 30G 34E 32H

 10 Most Purchased Styles
Our best-selling bras this year were all core styles available year round (no great surprises there). I was really pleased to see the addition of two Fantasie styles in our top 10 (Lois and Echo Lace) as this is a relatively new brand to Butterfly Collection.

Top Left
The Panache Sports Bra is the outright winner
This is a customer favourite all year round and many of our clients wear it as an everyday bra especially if their job is very physically demanding.

Top Right Quad Clockwise
Tango Beige and Black by Panache
Gem Black by Freya
Lucy Black by Cleo
Envy Caramel by Panache

Bottom Right
Eva Biscotti (and Eva Black) by Elomi

Bottom Left Quad Clockwise
Echo Lace by Fantasie
Profile Perfect Latte and Black by FayreForm
Versailles Black and Latte by Lunaire
Lois Pink by Fantasie

Monday, November 17, 2014

How to Rock Tights Day and Night: Pretty Polly AW2014

Ever since being at school I've loved tights. We had to wear uniform but there was some wiggle room when it came to tights. They had to be opaque (so 40+ denier) but I could wear diamond patterns, pinstripe, dots and squares. Adding this bit of pattern to my outfit has stayed with me ever since and it still makes me happy to have fun and stylish legs!

This season's Pretty Polly tights have such a wide range of styles from sparkly party legs to sub-zero Calgary legs! Here are some ideas for dressing your legs up day and night.

Daytime Legs
I love that Pretty Polly thinks about real life as well as fashion. Most of North America is very cold in the winter so tights that help keep you warm is a genius idea! Pretty Polly Heat Sense Tights actively trap your body heat to keep your pins warm.

Pretty Polly has also thought of women who are on their feet a lot during the day. The Pretty Polly Legs on the Go Tights have a light compression woven into the nylon which eases aching and reduces swelling. The health benefits to compression are reducing the risk of deep vein thrombosis and varicose veins.
Left: Heatsense, Top Right: Legs on the Go 60D, Bottom Right: Legs on the Go Neutral 10D

Faux Stockings and Socks
Whether you like your hemlines short or long you can play around with the illusion of socks and stockings. I love wearing the Secret Socks collection with a denim skirt and long boots because I find the socks really comfortable in boots and you're not pulling up your socks every 10 minutes!

The faux suspender tights have been a long time favourite from Pretty Polly and I love the new Suspender Tummy Shaper Tights that have a medium control tummy panel for a smooth look under dresses and skirts.

Left: Suspender Tummy Shaper Tights, Top Right: Patterned Secret Socks, Bottom Right: Over the Knee Secret Socks

Day to Night Legs
During the party season there are occasions when you need to transition your day look to a night look without time to get changed. A bold pattern pair of tights can work in a professional environment and become a feature of a nighttime outfit with just a change of shoes.

This season I'm particularly in love with the Silk Cashmere Pointelle tights by Alice and Olivia.  They are so soft and work equally well with a simple LBD or a flamboyant skirt. The Retro Diamond tights and the Bow Backseam plus size tights are comfortable for everyday and more than stylish enough for a party or restaurant.

Left: Silk Cashmere Pointelle by Alice and Olivia, Top Right: Retro Diamond, Bottom Right: Bow Backseam
Party Legs
Plain and simple I adore the Pretty Polly Precious Jewel Backseam tights. They are comfortable and warm enough to keep out the night air but the sparkly backseam is a fabulous party touch! The Lace Spot Mock Hold Up Tights are so delicate and beautiful and particularly fabulous with a thigh split dress. The Darkly Floral opaque tights are warm and comfortable and the calf-high tattoo design at the back is an easy way to add a touch of flare to a simple black party dress.

Left: Precious Jewel Backseam, Top Right: Lace Spot Mock Hold Up Tights, Bottom Right: Darkly Floral
If you've never explored dressing up your daytime or nighttime looks with a pair of fabulous tights then this is a great season to try them out. See our Pretty Polly collection here xx

Monday, November 3, 2014

5 Times To Use A Bra Liner

Let's not beat around the bush, bra liners are not the prettiest things you'll ever see but they can give huge relief and comfort and that's why we cherish them. In case you don't know what a bra liner is, it's a cotton strip that's shaped to sit between your skin and the band and gore of your bra. If you have a well-fitting bra that's comfortable then chances are that you've never needed a bra liner but there are times in your life when they can be incredibly useful.

1) Rashes
Your breasts generate heat and moisture and this is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Your bra band lie on the crease between your breasts and your torso (your breast root) and if moisture gets trapped here it can causes skin irritations and rashes, most commonly a yeast rash. Some women are particularly prone to rashes underneath their bra band and in the worst cases their skin becomes broken and can bleed. A bra liner absorbs the excess moisture so that bacteria can't grow. Daily use of a clean bra liner can prevent or clear up a rash under your bra band.

2) Heat and Menopause
If you are someone who gets very hot then you'll know how awful it can be to sweat from your boobs. This is particularly a problem for women going through the menopause, in fact it was a menopausal client that prompted us to stock the Wick'em Bra Liners. The bra liner draws the moisture away from the body and absorbs it to the core so that you don't sweat through your clothing.

3) Skinny Torsos
I've written before about how the fat around your torso can affect your bra fit. The more fat your have around your torso the more cushioning you have between your ribs and the elastic/wires of your bra and you can often wear a smaller band. If you have a skinny torso then wearing a band that is tight enough to keep your bra in place can be very painful because you have very little cushioning. Wearing a slightly bigger band works for lots of people but some women find that a bra liner allows them to wear a snug band in total comfort so they don't have to compromise on support.

4) Nursing
I know from personal experience that wire free bras can put more strain on your band. The wires in full bust bras provide vertical structure for your breasts which lifts some of the weight away from your band. Nursing bras tend to be wire free and when you have heavy breasts the added pressure around your band can be very uncomfortable. A bra liner adds a layer of comfort that is so appreciated when your body is already tired and sore.

5) Post Surgery and Illness
Your skin is the largest organ and can be very sensitive and sore after surgery or during an illness. If you have to wear a bra then the pressure around your band can be agonizing. We have clients with arthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic back pain who all report a more comfortable bra fit with the bra liners.

Bra accessories are vital for some women to tailor their bra fit to be more stable or comfortable. Bra liners bring much needed comfort and relief for lots of women xx