Monday, February 25, 2013

Why Some Bras Will Never Fit You

Lots of women will say they know their bra size but can never find a bra that fits. Two things are usually going on here; either they really don't know their size (most commonly their band is too big and causing the bra to move around) or they keep trying on the same style of bra. The shape of your bust and the density of your breast tissue means that some bra styles simply will never fit you. Don't despair though, knowing which styles work for your breasts and give you the look you're after the easier it will be to find the right bras.

Related Article: How age affects your bra fit.

Lots of women have only ever tried on bras at big lingerie retailers like La Senza and Victoria's Secret. They try their correct size (rare for the full bust women in these places but not impossible) and find that the bras don't fit them. The problem here is that the majority of bras in these stores are molded styles and despite all the colours and trims, they are all based on just a few design patterns. If this pattern of molded cup doesn't fit your shape then it doesn't matter which size you try on, it will never feel quite right.

Molded Bras Aren't Your Only Option
It's important to break out of a one style trap and try several different styles of bra in your size so you can figure out which ones feels the best and gives you the shape you're after. I know that molded cups are so popular because they offer a smooth look under t-shirts and disguise your nipples but you can get these benefits from other styles too.

Delphi is a seamed bra with the discretion of a molded cup
Most seamed bras have flat, discreet seams that aren't noticeable under clothing. Some seamed bras are made of light foam material that disguises your nipples like a molded cup but aren't as rigid so fit to your shape better (Delphi and Medina are great examples of this style).

Related Video: How Seams Affect Your Bra Shape

Which Bra Styles are Available for Full Busts?
It's a good idea to try out bras in lots of different styles (make sure you know your size range first). Here are the most common full bust styles:

Full Cup Bras have full coverage so they come up higher on your breasts and tend not to emphasize your cleavage. This style gives a lot of stability and many women choose to wear this style during the day when they are busiest as the support is comfortable and reliable.

Serenade is a full cup bra because it encases the whole breast

Molded Bras have either a rigid or soft cup (they both seamless, the rigid cups are usually a little thicker). Molded bras can be very supportive and give a lovely shape. Just be aware that rigid cups can't bend to your shape, your breasts have to form to the shape of the cups rather than vice versa.
Profile Perfect is a soft molded cup so the cup can form to your body more easily
Vertical Seamed Bras combine the best of both worlds; the flexibility of the softer cups with the support and shape of seams. Vertical seamed bras can give lots of lift and accentuate cleavage.

A vertically seamed bra like Medina gives you lift and accentuated cleavage
Balconnete bras have a wider neckline and are lower at the front than a full cup bra. They are often seamed with three or four sections to give your breasts shape and support. An ideal solution for lots of women who want support without too much material or bulk.

A balconette bra like Lucy gives you the support of seams with a less full cup and wider neckline
Before you decide that bras simply don't fit you make sure you have explored all the options that are out there for you. Besides the ones listed above there are plunge, strapless, multi-way, wirefree, sports bras, nursing, mastectomy and vintage styles like cone bras. The style of bra can make a huge difference to your comfort, for example, if you're short, look for bras with straps that are fully adjustable (like Lucy from Cleo) or if you have sloping shoulders look for styles with the straps closer together (like Dessous Neon from Claudette). Your bra should be working with you, not against you.

If you have a particular question about which styles are right for your body you can email your details to or use our Free Size Consultation. xx

Monday, February 18, 2013

How to Help Friends and Family Find Better Bra Fit

It is wonderful and necessary that women who understand good bra fit share this enthusiasm and knowledge with others. You may know someone in the wrong bra and have tried to share your knowledge but found that you were met with resistance. This reluctance to embrace, or even discuss, good bra fit can cause many of us to get frustrated and disheartened. To try and alleviate the frustration I want to give you some tools when talking to women in badly fitting bras.

1) Your bra knowledge can be seem quite complex and overwhelming for someone else.

When we're excited about something it's easy to forget that not everyone else feels the same way. If you unleash all your bra knowledge onto someone (who may not have actually asked you to share it with them) they won't be able to take it in and the whole thing will seem daunting rather than liberating so they shut down. When this happens I truly understand that it can be frustrating. Why aren't they whipping off their terrible bra and immersing themselves in the joy of good bra fit?! But getting frustrated and cross with someone isn't going to help bring about positive change.

You have to appreciate that change takes time and during this time your consistent (rather than all at once) bra knowledge can lead to big changes for others. Be enthusiastic about how your bra fit has improved your life "I haven't had those horrible headaches since I started wearing the right bra" or "It has meant so much to me to start running again since I got properly fitted for a sports bra." Leading a bra-healthy life is the best example you can set to other women and inspiration always creates longer lasting change than simply telling someone to do something.
2) Your well-meaning "trust me you're in the wrong bra" can be interpreted as "trust me you're wrong" or "trust me, you're an idiot" and no one likes to be told they're wrong or stupid.

The frustration we feel when someone is in the wrong bra is born out of the knowledge that they will be so much happier in the right bra and we want them to be happy because we care about them. Be careful though, it's important not to turn that desire to share joy into making someone else feel bad. One thing I know for certain is that you have to be READY to change your bra fit.

Related Article: The Mental Leap from the Wrong Bra to the Right One

You cannot tell someone else when they are ready for better bra fit, so instead of coercing someone into a bra fitting make yourself available. For example, "Any time you want me to come with you to get a fitting, I'll be there." or "If you ever want me to help you work out your fit and buy some bras to try on at home you only have to ask, I'll have the martinis and measuring tape ready!" Making yourself open rather than appearing frustrated means that when the women in your life are ready to change their bra fit they trust that you will be there and trust that you won't judge them. 

3) You never know how someone's emotional history and self-esteem are bound to their body. 

This is the most important one. We are all a product of our experiences and if you grew up without any bra education then you may have internalized the discomfort, embarrassment and frustration of your ill-fitting bras into something being wrong with you. Avoiding sports, altering what you wear to hide your bust, shying away from public speaking or being noticed in general can stem from years of being in the wrong bra. Many women associate clothing of all types to be a measure of how 'wrong' their body is and so trying on bras will just be another occasion where they feel bad about themselves. Being confronted with lots of bra fitting advice can trigger body insecurity for lots of women.

You may read their reluctance to go bra shopping as stubbornness or stupidity but you have to remember that you don't know that woman's relationship with her body and specifically her breasts. I encounter lots of well-meaning young women berating their Mums for not wearing a better bra and I'm afraid it just won't bring about change. I always suggest that you start with baby steps and build up to a bra fitting with confidence first. It can take years to give someone the confidence to address their bra size so don't get disheartened but instead be part of that woman's journey. Give her the tools to believe she is worth supporting, mentally and physically and let her know that when she's ready to get her bust into a bra that's worthy of her, you'll be there.

Related Articles: These two personal stories of finding the courage to face bra fitting would be good recommendations for someone nervous about trying new bras. Layla's Story and Claudia's Story

I know it can be agonizing to see someone wearing a bra that is obviously painful and unflattering but I also know that you can't make someone prioritize their bra fit (and it's not your responsibility to get other women into the right bra). It's very important we don't segregate women into 'women in the right bras' and 'women wearing the wrong bras' or even more starkly put 'right women' and 'wrong women'. Great bra fit is for everyone we're all just at different stages of our bra journey. The women you know wearing the wrong bras are fortunate that they have you in their lives for when they're ready to take the next step in their bra journey xx

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Video: Are We in A Bad Bra Fit Cycle

In my video blog this week I am once again tackling the subject of why the statistic about 80% of women being in the wrong bra size doesn't seem to have changed in many years. Just today I have read two articles from leading women's magazines giving out bra advice that is just plain wrong. With so many magazines, day time TV segments and boutiques dishing out the wrong information how can we spot good from bad fitting information.

I give you some insight to why this horrid statistic perpetuates and how we can begin to get rid of it. I hope you find it useful! xx

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bras: Entertainment vs Supporting Breasts

North America has a very confusing relationship with bras. On the one hand we see them everywhere in advertising, music videos etc and accept this as the norm. On the other hand we are embarrassed by our breasts (large and small) and are shy to talk about how bras should fit, how they impact our health and how they make us feel.

Images of lingerie have become so commonplace in our society that we think nothing of seeing a magazine cover with a lingerie-clad celebrity staring at us while we buy our groceries and yet many of us are too shy to go for a bra fitting. I think it's very healthy to express yourself through lingerie but the enormous disconnect between images of women in lingerie and a huge percentage of North American women feeling embarrassed by their breasts and bras worries me.

Do women feel empowered by the juxtaposition of lingerie and sport or is it a flimsy marketing ploy?
So why is lingerie so acceptable in the entertainment sphere but shrouded in embarrassment in relation to its actual job, supporting breasts? Somewhere along the line we undermined the importance of the bra and it has been relegated to a marketing tool. Something like the Lingerie Football League can belittle the importance of bras because the lingerie is there as a gimmick to attract media attention. The trivialization of bras through well-worn 'sex sells' advertising, like the cringe-worthy Pussycat Dolls GoDaddy Superbowl commercial in 2012, undermines the core purpose of bras - to support our breasts!

I think many women have disassociated lingerie with real life and relegated it to an airbrushed world where lingerie is just for show because the gulf is huge between bras used in entertainment and bras that need to support us every single day. The Victoria's Secret Angel in American Flag wings has little relevance to the 34GG mother of three in Ohio whose bra has to withstand a constant workout, stay in place, be comfortable and make her feel beautiful.

This image could be empowering if bra fit knowledge and confidence were commonplace. Sadly this bra doesn't fit the model (wires resting on breast tissue at the center) so it seems to suggest bra fit is secondary to entertainment.
The Victoria's Secret Show has become a highlight of the annual TV schedule raking in millions of viewers and advertising dollars. The event keeps getting bigger and bigger and yet the fundamental fitting issues at Victoria's Secret boutiques are legendary. What use is a bra if it doesn't fit? You'll look great if you get caught in a surprise runway show?! The lack of attention to fit in the VS Runway Show reinforces the idea that fit isn't as important as looking a certain way. The Hollywood tinted lens through which we see lingerie can alienate women who self-elect that their bodies are too big, too small, too different to be worthy of confidence let alone beautiful, well-fitting lingerie. 

I don't think that lingerie needs to be eradicated from our entertainment sphere, however, I think we need a considerable redressing of the balance to bring the bra back to the real world. We need to make talking about bras and good fit as commonplace as pop stars dancing up a storm in their basques. If you've never had a conversation with the women in your life about if they feel happy and confident in their bras then I urge you to start that conversation. Let's take back the bra and make sure it's doing the job it was intended for, supporting breasts. If you need help working out your best fit then our Free Fitting Services is a great place to start xx

Monday, February 4, 2013

Judging Women by What We Wear

The image above was created by Rosea Lake, a woman at a college here in Vancouver, to explore the preconceptions we have about women based on what they wear. As busty women we are more than familiar with the relationship between our breasts, our clothes and social stereotypes. Rosea's photo could so easily have been about cleavage; the two stereotypes are the same. Something as surface as your skirt length or visible cleavage is loaded with social assumptions.

I wanted to write about this subject because I know a lot of you experience breast bullying and big boob stereotypes in your everyday life from family, friends, colleagues, strangers on the street. Stereotypes are designed to pigeonhole people and limit their possibilities. While this isn't something we can change overnight we can change things by refusing to be pigeonholed by those who would stereotype us. This takes a lot of courage and confidence to do but I know that through the support of other busty women we can begin to change social perceptions.

Related Articles:  I've stopped being ashamed of my chest and Claudia's Story: Ending Breast Shame

We have to remember that our clothes are only as important as the meaning we attach to them. Many people still don't recognize that 'clothes don't make the (wo)man'. Clothes are entirely linked to our societies. Different clothes are perceived differently by different cultures, and for that matter, different eras (I've written before about how the cleavage was a revered and respected feature in the 16th Century).

Women in tribes like the Himba do not wear any clothing above the waist so no judgement can be attached to the exposure or concealment of their breasts. There are other exterior indicators to marital and hierarchical status like hair and beads, but the covering or revealing of body parts does not spark social commentary.

The fact that semi-naked (and indeed naked) communities exist without the threat of condemnation, physical or sexual attack lets us know that clothes only become associated with behaviour or morality when we teach that they do. Something as simple as the length of a skirt only becomes synonymous with intelligence, personality or sexual availability when we are taught that skin exposure equals sexuality and covering up equals an aversion to sexuality.

I see lots of comments from people saying that if you dress in a way that is attractive to other people then you should expect attention. So what exactly is meant by attention? Is it wrong for a man or a woman to notice another man or woman and think they're attractive? Absolutely not, it's essential for the perpetuation of our species. Is it wrong to look at someone and assume you know their availability, sexual expectations and intelligence based on what they look like, or to assume you can do or take what you like? DEFINITELY. No matter what you look like only your words let someone else know what kind of relationship you want with them. It's an old saying but no means no. Period.
The second issue with this argument is that we only ever want to be attractive for other people. I work with women to improve their confidence and self-esteem through better bra fit. The physical effect of this emotional journey is that they look happier, more confident and more beautiful than ever before. Is this for someone else? Absolutely not. This transformation is about the woman and her well-being. Beauty is not just about sexual attraction, it's about happiness, confidence, joy and choice.

I wrote this post because I was sad about a lot of the comments Rosea's photo received but the fact that the photo has been so widely shared and so strongly supported says that change is happening for women. I hope in our own way we are tearing down the stereotypes around breast size and replacing them with confidence and desire to teach new cultural norms like "everyone's body should be respected" and the tried but true "don't judge a book by its cover". xx

Friday, February 1, 2013

Video - How Bra Seams Change Your Breast Shape

The next installment of my video-blog (vlog) is live and this week I'm talking about how bra seams work to change your breast shape. I know that seamed bras are a bit daunting for some women so I hope this post will help you understand them a little better so you can consider trying one next time you're bra shopping.

Something I didn't get to mention in the video is that seams give your bra stability and keep your breasts in place. Some molded cups will cause your breasts to slide around inside them whereas a well-fitting seamed bra will keep your breasts in place. xx