Monday, March 2, 2015

Sensitive Skin and Bra Fit

I have sensitive skin on my face and my eyes puff up to the size of two squidgy golf balls if they get a whiff of a chemical they don't like. Luckily for me there is a lot of hypoallergenic makeup on the market so I can still wear mascara without the risk of leaving the house looking like a panda bear who's been in a fight. If you have sensitive skin on your body then bras can bring you out in an array of blotches, hives and rashes that are painful and upsetting. Unfortunately there aren't an array of hypoallergenic bras on the market, especially in DD+, so you have to find other ways to get an irritation free fit.

It's worth noting that problems caused by sensitive skin are different from skin irritations caused by bad bra fit. If you are wearing an ill-fitting bra then you can get rashes and broken skin as your bra rubs against you and punishes your skin. This article helps you understand how to stop your bra attacking your skin!

You may be sensitive to synthetic materials or metal so having a synthetic-material-bound-wire wrapped around your body poses a big problem. If you can find an all cotton bra they tend to be unwired and most likely a nursing bra. If you don't want to sacrifice the support of a wire then you need a barrier between you and the bra.

Bra Liners

Bra liners are usually made of 100% unbleached cotton. They sit between the band of your bra and your skin because the band is where the greatest pressure is exerted by your bra. Bra liners are not the sexiest things you've ever seen in your life but they are indispensable for thousands of women with sensitive skin because they can continue to wear off the rack bras in comfort.

Extremely sensitive skin can't be in contact at all with synthetic materials, elastic and metal and in this case custom made cotton bras or going braless are the only solutions. One of my clients wears a Cake Cotton Candy bra underneath all her bras to prevent breakouts.

Scentless SOAK

One of the biggest enemies of sensitive skin is starch and unfortunately almost all new bras bras are sprayed with starch because it helps the bra keep its shape during transit and display. One wash can leave starch on the bra so it's really important to soak your bra in scent-free detergent and gently massage the bra so that the starch washes off. It's worth doing this a couple of times before wearing the bra for a long time. We love Canadian, rinse-free lingerie wash SOAK because it's so easy to use and their Scentless wash is completely skin friendly.

In a perfect world there would be pure cotton bras made with BPA free plastic wires but until then we need to find ways to get the best support possible without provoking an allergic reaction xx

Monday, February 16, 2015

Features of Full Support Bras

'Full Support' is often used to describe a bra, but what does this really mean? The way a bra is constructed and the materials it is made of change how much support that particular bra will give you. Bras range in support from light to sports level because we use lingerie for everything from aesthetic boudoir pieces to intense workouts.

If you have a heavy bust then your everyday activities probably need a lot of support. Women in very physically demanding jobs sometimes wear sports bras for work but that's not for everyone. You can get a lot of support from everyday bras if you know what to look for in a Full Support Bra.

There are some common features in Full Support Bras:

1: Lois by Fantasie 2: Profile Perfect by Fayreform 3: Tango by Panache 4: Profile Perfect by Fayreform 5: Basic Beauty by Wacoal
1) Cups that go all the way around your breasts [image: Lois by Fantasie]. Full cups that encircle your breasts ensure there is a downward force that keeps your breast tissue in place as you move. A bra that exposes the upper part of your bust is versatile for your wardrobe but won't give you the same level of support as full cups.

2) Elasticated edging on the cups. [image: Profile Perfect by Fayreform] Full cups that have elasticated edges enhance your support level. The elastic gives you a comfortable fit but it also adds a layer of resistance that increases support.

3) Wide straps. [image: Tango by Panache] Full support is all about minimizing bounce and impact when you move about. Wide straps absorb more impact so that you stay comfortable during your busy days. Lots of wide straps also have a layer of foam cushioning at the shoulder for comfort and support.

4) Deep bands: the more hooks the better. [image: Profile Perfect by Fayreform] The taller your band is the more impact it will absorb. A bra with a deep band can be the most important feature for a really heavy bust.

5) Materials that don't stretch easily. [image: Basic Beauty by Wacoal] A cup that's made of a non-stretchy material will give you more support because the cup itself resists bounce.  Some bras are made of soft stretchier material but have a double layer of that material to give you the benefit of a stretchy fabric's comfort and fit with the support of the thickness.

Choosing bras with two or more of these features will give you a full support fit so you can get on with your busy days in comfort. xx

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Empowering Websites for Girls

A big part of my job is helping women identify and let go of the big boob baggage they've been carrying around for years. Bullying at school, shaming within the family and teen self esteem issues can all leave women carrying around self-doubt and insecurity for decades. Great adult confidence starts with experiencing diverse and empowering toys, stories, adventures and mentors as a child.

Here are some of my favourite websites with resources to help you raise or encourage a girl in your life...
Books, Toys and Entertainment


International Projects

Career Help and Inspiration 

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

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