Monday, October 20, 2014

Style Focus: Sports Bras

Our clients buy sports bras for everything from triathlons to post-surgery recovery. The design of sports bras is different from everyday bras because they have to support you during more intense movements. Here's our guide to the features you'll find in sports bras so you can work out what's best for you:

Wicking Fabric
You'll probably work up a sweat in a sports bra and you don't want that sweat to get trapped against your skin because it causes friction which rubs and irritates the skin. Wicking material is usually made up of multiple layers that pulls moisture away from the skin towards the outer layer where it can evaporate. Working out in a bra that doesn't have wicking material can cause you to get sores under your breasts and at the armpits and this leaves you open to infection so DON'T DO IT! 

Compression or Encapsulation
These words refer to the cups on a sports bra. Compression cups aren't sized like regular bras (e.g. 32FF, 34G, 36GG etc). Instead they have sizes like small, medium, large. The cups support by keeping the breast tissue compressed close to the chest, thus minimizing bounce. This works well for high impact sports. If you prefer your breasts to be separated then you need an encapsulation style sports bra which houses each breast in a separate cup.
Enell is a compression bra that supports by keeping the breasts close to the chest.
Wide Straps
While your band is still the most critical part of your support in a sports bra (if your band is too big for you in any bra then it can't support you enough and the pressure rests on your straps) you also want wider straps to disperse the impact of vertical movements like jumping and running.

Tapered Armpits
When you're working out you have a greater range of arm movements. If your cups come up too high towards your armpits the fabric can rub against you and chafe the skin. Lots of sports bras now have tapered armpits so that the edge of the cup doesn't rub. Panache Sports Bra is particularly good for this because they have also adjusted the position of the straps so that they don't slip on narrow or sloping shoulders.
The tapered armpit on Panache Sports Bra means you can move your arms through full rotation without chafing
Racerback
Some sports bras have a J hook on the straps at the back so that you can create a racerback shape. This is a cross shape that reduces the movement of the bra even more.

Both Panache Sports Bra and Cake's Orange Zest Sports Bra have racerback options

Monday, October 6, 2014

Bras For Narrow Shoulders


Women of every size and shape can have large breasts and if you're someone with narrow or sloping shoulders then bras can be a strap slipping headache. Lots of bras have straps that are wide apart partly because of style and partly because not every manufacturer has figured out that just because someone has a large cup volume doesn't mean they're taller and wider than someone with a smaller cup volume. It can be so frustrating to find a cup shape and size that works for you only to have the straps slipping off your shoulders every 5 minutes.

A quick note about slipping straps. The most common cause of straps slipping is your band being too big. When your band is too big it can ride up your back and this slackens the tension of your straps and they gradually slip off your shoulders. If you know that your band and cup sizes are right and your straps keep slipping then it's most likely that you need a style with straps set closer together.

There are some full bust bras that are ideal for narrow and sloping shoulders. Here are some of our favourites:

Eva by Elomi  (34-40 E-JJ) - The outside panel of this bra has been extended so that it swoops up past the armpit and the straps sit about half an inch closer in on the shoulder than a regular strap position.
Eva by Elomi at Butterfly Collection

Etta by Elomi (34-40 E-JJ)- Etta is built on the same short torso friendly frame as Eva (by the way Eva has just been inexplicably renamed Yolande by Elomi - just to confuse everyone!). Not only do the straps sit closer in on the shoulders there's also a J hook in the back so that you can wear the straps as a racer back for the ultimate zero slipping straps!

Etta by Elomi at Butterfly Collection

Basic Beauty by Wacoal (32-38 E-GG)- This smooth cup bra has Wacoal's V back straps which means the straps are angled in a V shape at the back where they join the band. These straps sit about 1.5 inches closer in on the shoulder than a regular strap position and they really don't move no matter what you're doing. This style is very popular with our clients who have physically demanding jobs.

Basic Beauty at Butterfly Collection

Versailles by Lunaire
(32-38 E-G)
- Another smooth cup bra, the cups are a teardrop shape which means the straps are positioned at the top of the cups rather than to the outside edges. The straps sit about an inch closer in than an average strap position.

Versailles by Lunaire

Deco Vibe (28-38 E-GG) - This is the newest Deco basic by Freya and it comes as standard with a J hook in the back so that you can make your straps immovable. Without the J hook the straps are in a pretty standard position but I think it's great that more and more styles are becoming available with the J hook for those people who really need to adapt the straps.
Deco Vibe Blush at Butterfly Collection

Not every size is covered in these suggestions but there is an accessory that can stop straps slipping on any bra. A strap holder is a piece of elastic that you loop over your straps and it keeps them in place. What I like about the strap holder is that it stretches as you move so it's flexible. It's not a solution that everyone wants so as we get more close set straps styles for small bands in the H+ ranges we'll let you know xx

Monday, September 22, 2014

Why Bras Slip Down


Sometimes a client asks me why her bra slips down her body during the day. She puts it on in the morning so that the wires are flush with the root of her breast but it still manages to wiggle its way down her body. There are 3 main causes for bras that slip down the body:

Wire Shape
If you have a wide breast root and you're wearing a bra that has narrow cups (like Gem in the picture above) then it's like trying to keep a tennis ball in an egg cup. You might be able to squeeze the tennis ball into the egg cup but the pressure is going to build and the tennis ball will pop up.

Your wide breast roots force their way out of the narrow wire shapes and your bra slips down. To resolve this problem look for bras with a wide wire - Panache is particularly good for wide wires.

For more information on breast root shapes click here.

Torso Shape
I've written a lot about torso shape because for some women this is the biggest shape factor that affects their bra fit. If you have a flared torso that is wider at the top of your band than it is at the bottom then you can often find that your bras slip down.


Lots of my clients with flared ribcages wear their bands on the loosest hook at the top of their band and the tightest hooks at the bottom to offset the size difference. There's no easy fit fix for a significantly flared torso but bra extenders can help you create a wide fit at the top of your band and a tight fit at the bottom.

For more information on how torso shape affects bra fit click here.

Cup Size
Similar to the tennis ball in an egg cup scenario, cups that are too small for you cause a pressure build up and eventually your breast tissue wiggles out of the cups and forces the bra down. Your bra wire should go all the way around the outside edge of your breasts without spilling over the front, sides, armpits or beneath the band.

Have you experienced your bra slipping down your body? Was there a reason not mentioned here, we'd love to read your experience xx

Monday, September 8, 2014

Back to Work Full Bust Bras

The long Labour Day weekend signals the end of summer for lots of people and many of you will be back at work. You might not think that your bra fit matters a great deal if you have a desk job but when you sit down your bra can poke into your armpit or roll up on your tummy if you don't have the right style. We've picked out some bras that will give you enough support and versatility for a great foundation under your autumn back to work wardrobe.

Neutral Support
There are lots of beautiful neutral colours around for fall fashion so a neutral coloured bra is an essential for your back to work wardrobe.

Fit Tip: If you have a short torso or find that when you sit down that your wires poke into your armpits then you want to look for bras with short wires. If you have a long torso or your breast tissues tends to spill over the side of your bras then you probably need a long wire.

Neutral Short Wire Bras

Left: Eva by Elomi Middle: Echo Lace Beige by Fantasie Right: Etta Beige by Elomi
















Neutral Long Wire Bras

Left: Envy Caramel by Panache Middle: Basic Beauty Cappuccino by Wacoal Right: Profile Perfect by Fayreform

















Black is Back
Autumn fashion brings deeper colours and the beginnings of classic black tailoring. It's so useful to have a supportive black bra that works with lots of necklines so that you can match t-shirts with pencils skirts or cowl necks with dress pants.

Fit Tip: If you find that bra bands roll up against your tummy when you sit down then look for bandless styles where there is no material below the line of the cups. 

Black Short Wire Bras

Left: Gem by Freya Right: Versailles Black by Lunaire
























Black Long Wire Bras

Left: Lucy Black by Cleo Right: Tango Black by Panache

























Monday, August 18, 2014

When To Use A Bra Extender


Bra accessories are one of the easiest ways to tailor bra fit to your body. The most popular bra accessory we sell is bra extenders. This useful bra accessory is used to make your bra band longer. There are a few times when a longer band is helpful:

1) A brand new bra can be very tight but after a few wash and washes the elastic relaxes. An extender can be used in the early weeks to make the bra more comfortable while it breaks in. This way you don't lose the longevity of a band's elasticity and you don't have to suffer an excessively tight band while the fabric relaxes.

2) If your ribcage measures an odd number, 33 for example, then you might find that the band size up (34 in this example) is too loose or stretches out too quickly and the band size down (32 in this example) is too tight. The bra extender allows you to turn a 32 band into a 33 or 34. The extender can then be removed when the band stretches and you don't lose any life of the bra.

3) Lots of women experience weight fluctuation and bra extenders are an easy way to maintain a comfortable band fit without having to buy bras in a bigger band size.

4) Many pregnant women find that their cup size doesn't alter in early pregnancy but that their band starts to feel tight. This is due to the increase in fluids and sensitivity around the upper abdomen. Rather than buy new bras that will fit for a matter of weeks you can use a bra extender to give you more breathing room in early pregnancy.

5) Some of our customers have told us that they use their bra extenders on days when they have pain flare ups. From arthritis to fibromyalgia, there are conditions that can cause increased pain. On those days the bra extender allows for a looser fit while still retaining some support. The extender can then be removed for better support on days of lesser or no pain.

It's important to remember that your band is the most important foundation of good support. It needs to be snug so that it can support the weight of your breasts. Don't forget to remove the extender from your bra as the band loosens and you can use the bra's own hooks. Bra extenders are a great way to have more size flexibility without compromising on fit. Let us know why you use your extenders xx