Monday, July 21, 2014

Your Bra Past Doesn't Have to Dictate Your Bra Future

Today writer and Butterfly Collection client, Justina Luther, shares her experience of overcoming her bra past for a brighter bra future. 

"What was your first experience with bras? Was it happy, sad, comical or humiliating? For me it was the last option. Thankfully the past doesn’t have to dictate your future. When I was ten years old my chest was developing without my knowledge and I was surrounded by bra ignorance. A scenario with which I’m sure many of you are familiar.

I was a tomboy who took choir and drama classes. During a drama class in the midst of friends, and my crush, my drama teacher called me to the front of the group and told me everyone could see my boobs and I needed to go put on a bra. That was my first jarring and humiliating introduction to my developing bust and the world of bras.

For a long time I wore a bra because it was necessary but ignored it as much as possible. My back hurt, my band rode up and my boobs spilled out as I continued to change sizes but because of my drama teacher’s harsh words I was intimidated by bras and was scared to address the issues or ask my parents for help. I continued with this attitude for years.
Two years ago I decided something had to be done, so I went to be fitted. While the fit was somewhat better, and the bras were nice, I quickly realized the size was again wrong. Being the research hound I am I decided to search the internet for better information. After learning a great deal about bras and breasts I realized bras were not devices contrived to torture me but were actually there to help me.

I stumbled onto Butterfly Collection’s online boutique and decided to do a Skype Fitting with Claire. She was so kind and quickly saw the issues I knew I had, but hadn’t understood what caused them. She suggested a size for me but told me to try 2-3 sizes around it because what was comfortable to me might be different from the size a tape measure recommended. This was the first time someone consciously told me I had control over saying what fit was right for me. That thought was empowering.

In my journey to love the body I have there have been highs and lows and the highs have always been the result of seeking knowledge and taking control over my body image. The first thing I did after I dared to find my right fit was to find a bra (in the right size) I wanted to wear because I thought it was cute! Claudette has some beautiful designs in 30FF and so does Fantasie.

I used to hate my bras, and to an extent my boobs, but our past doesn’t dictate our future and the lies we’ve been told can be overcome with wisdom. Every woman, no matter what’s in her past, deserves a bra that brings her confidence and comfort."


Justina Luther is a lifetime author with a passion for people. Whether it’s her current work, a suspense titled Would You Have Believed Me? or her personal experience short story titled GED=OMG, which was published in Beginnings XIV, she puts her heart into every word she writes. Justina believes words can change the world. She is currently an author on the exciting new blog When Readers Write. To read more of her work, visit www.whenreaderswrite.com

Monday, July 14, 2014

Sternum Shape and Bra Fit

Cora over at The Lingerie Addict asked me why the gores tack on her 34C bras but only tack at the top but not the bottom on her 32Ds and don't tack at all on her 30DD/E bras. This sounds counter-intuitive to most fit information because we learn that when your band is too big the gore stands away from your breast bone so why would Cora's gores tack in big bands but not smaller band sister sizes? The answer lies in ribcage and sternum shape.

Band Size and Ribcage Shape
Let's start with the band. When we measure around our ribcage (the parallel line directly below your breast root) it tells us the circumference of only part of our ribcage. Bra bands are several inches deep and wrap around a greater depth than the single ribcage measurement we can take with a measuring tape. I want to make it clear that the underbust measurement is well worth taking because it's a great starting point but for lots of women it needs to be taken in conjunction with other bra fit factors.


If you have a broad back or a flared ribcage (it's worth reading my article on torso shape and bra fit) then your band has to stretch around large and small circumferences simultaneously. The measuring tape measurement probably tells you the smallest circumference that your bra band will stretch around which is why someone like Cora can measure a 30 around but find her best fit in a 34 band because her ribcage might flare out into a broader back or acute angle which is better suited to a larger band.
Cora, The Lingerie Addict, in a shoot by Old School Pinups wearing Kiss Me Deadly Sirena Corset
In a 30 band Cora's bra is staining over a wider part of her ribcage which lifts the gore away from her sternum at the front. In a 32 band the strain is less so the gore is tilted and fits either at the top and not the bottom of vice versa. In a 34 band the strain is relieved and the gore can sit flush against the sternum. Women with flared ribcages sometimes find that they get some hollow space just below their gore where they can fit several fingers underneath their gore - the is quite normal and in general doesn't detrimentally affect fit.

Breast Bone Shape
The other fit factor to consider when a larger band fits you better than a smaller one is the angle and shape of your breast bone. When you measure around your ribcage it cannot take into account the shape of your breast bone (sternum). When your sternum is acutely angled or protruding you often find that you need either a very short gore than sits below your sternum or you need a larger band to accommodate the shape of the breast bone. You may find that your breast bone hollows where your gore is meant to tack, or that it protrudes more at the top than the bottom. This shaping of your sternum affects which band size and gore height will work best for you.

The band number and cup letters are far less important than finding a fit that feels right to you so don't worry if you measure a 28GG but find that a 30G or 32FF fits you better, it could very well be that other aspects of your torso are affecting your fit. xx

Monday, June 30, 2014

Bra Fit Tips for Women with Active Jobs


I'm so thrilled to have this guest post by The Lingerie Detective's Avigayil. Being busty and having a very physically demanding job can be made more comfortable with some bra know-how and Avigayil has fantastic experience and tips on staying comfortable and supported at work.

"Lingerie style and fit is important when your job is physically demanding. I was an in-home caregiver for a wheelchair bound client for seven years. In my daily job I performed a standing transfer wherein I supported the full weight of my client to move her in and out of bed, on and off the toilet, and in and out of the shower. Given my highly active career, I had to find lingerie that was comfortable, supportive, and flexible. Here are a few tips for what kind of lingerie to look for if you also have an active job. 
Panache Sports Bra has wicking material and a J hook to turn the back into a racerback style
Fabric

Look for bras with breathable or moisture-wicking fabrics. Breathable fabrics allow air to flow towards your skin and sweat to flow away from your body. Moisture-wicking fabrics draw the sweat away from your body and cause your skin to dry quicker. If you are prone to heavy sweating or your active job requires you to be in close proximity to people while still performing well, then a moisture-wicking sports fabric would probably be a good choice. Natural fibres like cotton are breathable and can be a good alternative to synthetic if you have sensitive skin. I am also a fan of mesh: even though it is made of synthetic materials, the perforated design allows for a good exchange of air between the world and your skin.

http://www.butterflycollection.ca/basic-beauty-latte-855192-by-wacoal/
Basic Beauty by Wacoal has a V back strap design to keep your straps firmly in place
Bras
When selecting a bra, look for designs with a t-back, racer back, or J-hook on one of the bra straps that allows you to convert the bra. This back style serves two purposes. First, it redistributes weight that would be on your shoulders and places it closer to your core. Secondly, it moves your straps farther in on your body so there is less of a chance of a strap falling down when you lean over, reach for something, or contort into an interesting position while at work. On the same note, look for bras with straps placed farther in on the front. Even if you do not have narrow or sloping shoulders, active work often means our shoulders are in a variety of different positions. When the bra straps are positioned closer to the core, they move less and require minimal (ideally no) adjustment throughout the day.

Two styles I suggest for an active job are the dependable sports bra and a non-molded cup bra. I think the sports bra is a no-brainer as most sports bras are about containment. They offer great support, reduce breast bounce, and tend to keep larger breasts closer to the chest. The materials used in sports bras either have moisture wicking properties or are breathable. This Panache Sports Bra has a couple other features that make it a great bra for work: the moulded cups offer extra padding for sensitive chests and it is cut lower under the armpits to prevent chaffing. While it is not a dedicated racer back bra, it does have the racer clip for conversion.

Dessous is a mesh range full cup bra that's ideal for shallow on top breasts and narrow or sloping shoulders
Now, just because you have an active job it does not mean you cannot wear pretty bras to work. I recommend trying a full soft cup bra (underwire) with straps that are set in a bit. If you have shallow on top breasts, then I recommend the Dessous line by Claudette. I could probably skydive in my Dessous and my breasts would not escape the cups. The coverage of a full cup along with the underwire offers the support your breast tissue needs. The closer set bra straps will keep you from having to readjust your bra throughout the day. The soft cups are also useful for work where your chest may encounter objects or people on a regular basis. Whereas a molded cup bra keeps your breasts acting as one, a soft cup allows each breast to move independently. Therefore, if I get an elbow/box/etc. squished against my one breast, it will not try to adjust my entire bra or push my breast out of the cup. My one breast will just “go with the flow,” while still encapsulated in the bra, and then settle back down. I found soft cup bras the best match for my work as a personal caregiver.

Underwear

The world of lingerie does not stop at bras so I would be negligent not to mention their common counterpart: underwear. Wear comfortable underwear. If your underwear likes to ride up or give you a wedgie, then leave them in your underwear drawer (or throw them out). While underwear style is going to mainly come down to personal tastes, I found high-rise full coverage bikini style briefs the most comfortable. Again, your moisture-wicking or breathable fabrics are going to be vital. There is nothing like the discomfort of overheating between your legs because the synthetic pair of underwear you purchased for $5 does not breathe. Do not be deceived by the cotton gusset: if there is a layer of fabric on the outside of the cotton gusset that does not breath that means that your crotch is not getting proper air circulation. Try out a pair of 100% cotton underwear or performance underwear. Mesh is also an option for the aforementioned reasons.

No matter what lingerie you choose to wear, fit is always imperative. Always buy underwear in your current size and get bra fittings regularly. Wearing proper fitting underpinnings will make a world of difference to both you and your skin."



Avigayil Morris is a full-time wife and a full-time student about to graduate with a BA in English. A long time deal blogger for Bargainmoose, she has recently started her own lingerie blog called Lingerie Detective as a creative outlet for her overwhelming obsession with underpinnings and as a place to exhibit her ever increasing collection. Her other obsessions include animals, water, nature, food, fashion, and earth friendly living.

Monday, June 23, 2014

I'm Busty And I Know It


Today I'm handing you over to one of our guest bloggers who, like thousands of women, has shallow breasts. Fitting shallow breasts is challenging and as Justina explains, the public perception of this 'type of full bust' can be infuriating.

My measurements are 30” under bust and 39” across the fullest part of my bust, and I usually wear a UK 30FF (sometimes 30G or 32F). Because I am somewhat shallow busted I’ve been called a liar when disclosing my bra size. Ladies let me tell you, I’m full busted and I know it. There’s nothing unreal about my measurements, or yours, just because they don’t “fit” what someone else thinks a full bust should look like.

A friend once laughed in my face in the middle of a mall when I told her my bra size; “You’re smaller than I am, and I’m only a C cup,” she said. When I tried to explain she might have been improperly fitted or her band size might be different, she laughed harder. Reactions like this used to really bother me. The general perceptions about big boob sizes and shapes are way off reality and it's important that you don't listen to the general ignorance about your boobs.

The Curse and Blessing of Shallow, Wide Breasts
I have soft, bottom heavy breasts with slight tissue migration. My shape can be a blessing and a curse. On the upside, I can wear a well fitted plunge bra because my tissue doesn't spill into the center when unsupported. On the downside, if I don’t pull all my tissue forward from the sides I spill out under my arms and my fullness vanishes. This anatomical layout has led to some unfortunate fittings because not every fitter understand the needs of a wide, shallow bust.

When I first began to learn about my true bra size I decided to go shopping. A cheerful department store saleswoman greeted me and I told her the size range I wanted. She eyed me dubiously and told me she needed to fit me first. She took me to a fitting room and asked me to take off my shirt. After observing me she smiled and went to grab what she “knew would fit.” With stilled breath I began to put on the bra she brought me. I went to bend over to adjust myself into place, which is a must for me, when she asked what I was doing. When I told her she said, “Don’t do that. Stand up.” I obliged and looked in the mirror at filled cups and the tissue that spilled out under my arms. I told her I needed a bigger cup size and she laughed. I left the store.

"The best thing we can do is educate ourselves about our bodies and our unique breasts."

Trust Your Knowledge
Sadly most fitters know little to nothing about what true fit looks like, couple that with a shallow projection and it’s difficult for me to be fitted correctly. As I educated myself about breast shapes and bra styles I learned to find stores with the size I thought I needed. If the fitter didn’t fit me correctly I had the confidence to ask for the sizes I wanted not just the sizes they thought I needed. Ladies, only you’ll know what feels and looks right for you so trust your knowledge of your boobs.

Over time I have narrowed down that Freya full-coverage, unmolded, 30FF bras work best for me. I also like Fantasie in that style, although I need a 30G. I’ve learned not to be afraid to try different sizes because even within a single brand there can be a lot of variances.

The best thing we can do is educate ourselves about our bodies and our unique breasts. The more knowledge you have about your body, the more you will love you and be able to care for your curves. That’s a lesson I’ve learned.

Justina Luther is a lifetime author with a passion for people. Whether it’s her current work, a suspense titled Would You Have Believed Me? or her personal experience short story titled GED=OMG, which was published in Beginnings XIV, she puts her heart into every word she writes. Justina believes words can change the world. She is currently an author on the exciting new blog When Readers Write. To read more of her work, visit www.whenreaderswrite.com

Monday, June 16, 2014

Finding Your Bra Fit in Your 50s

Today we have a guest post from one of our customers (not featured in the picture above) who has had a bra revolution and awakening in her 50s. This is something we encounter every week as women who have never had access to bras over a DD cup start to discover they have options that can make a huge difference to their life.

"I am 58 years old and have worn a bra every day for the last 47 years so you would think that I know what I am doing when it comes to buying a bra. Not so! My Mom chose my first bras because I developed so young so I just went along with the beige contraptions she gave me. In my teens I got a weekend job and bought bras I thought looked nice but didn't really fit. By the time I got into young adulthood I felt like my boobs were out of my control.

In my twenties I had my children and my boobs ballooned which meant I had zero choices for a correctly fitting bra (I probably needed something like a 32HH, which I'm sure didn't exist at the time, but I sure wasn't in that size, more like a 42DDD). We had very little money during those early years and raising a young family meant I wasn't thinking about finding better bra fit so I just struggled on in badly fitting, beige bras. This went on for so long that I just believed all bras were uncomfortable and ugly.

Spending years in the wrong bra size has resulted in both my shoulders having deep grooves which will be a permanent reminder of my lack of care and knowledge when it came to choosing bras. Before I knew it, menopause arrived and I had another shift in the size and shape of my boobs which left me loathing my boobs all over again. Thank goodness at this point one of my friends stepped in and said that she had done a Skype Fitting with Butterfly Collection and felt good in her bras for the first time in her life. I was really nervous about talking about my bra fit with a stranger but Claire's advice was friendly, easy to understand and life changing! I found out I was a 36J or 36JJ depending on the style. It took a little while to get my head around these new sizes - I'd never heard of a 36JJ before. Once I tried on a 36JJ Elomi Eva (4 band sizes smaller than the 44G I had been wearing) it was a HUGE REVELATION! 

In my 50's, I have discovered that I still have a decent set of boobs that look good in the right bra and make me look more put together. I have always been 'top heavy' but now they look more in proportion to the rest of my body because my new bras actually make me look a bit smaller - maybe that's because they're higher on my body and more contained. All of that is great and beneficial to my breast health but on top of that I get to wear bras in gorgeous colours and fabrics for the first time in my life.

"It takes a very long time to believe that you deserve great lingerie even though you are not in the first flush of youth."

I have been told that I have good strong thick hair. I like to look after it and have it cut and styled regularly to keep it that way. Only in my 50's did I realize that I could apply the same criteria to my boobs. It takes a very long time to come to beleive that you deserve great lingerie even though you are not in the first flush of youth. It also takes a time to allow yourself a bra treat just because you like the colour or the style and not because you have just thrown out something you have worn for far too long. So now I have bras for work and bras for different clothing rather than a 'one size fits all' type of bra. I love what I wear beneath my clothes now and it makes me feel 50s fabulous!"