Monday, June 24, 2013

3 Reasons Why You Spill Out of Your Cups

Spilling out of your bra cups ranges from a little bit of breast tissue pillowing at the top of your cups to breast tissue falling out of the middle and sides of your cups creating a quadrabood and even sextaboob look. Having a cup that's big enough to encase your whole breast doesn't just look more polished it's also easier on your breast tissue which isn't stretched and bisected by cup edges digging into it. There are three main reasons why your breast tissue spills out of your cups. They can happen individually, in pairs or all 3 simultaneously!

Cup Spilling Reason #1 - CUPS
It's a painfully obvious one... Your cups are too small. A lot of women don't know that cup sizes go beyond a D cup or don't realize that the tissue at their armpit is actually breast tissue and not fat and wants to live inside the cup rather than be forced out. A well fitting bra cup will encircle the breast either all the way around (full cup) or in a semi-circle at the bottom leaving the top exposed (demi cups, balconettes and plunges). Whatever the style, where the cup comes into contact with the breast the cups want to go around the outside edge of the breast not sit on it.

This image from Thin and Curvy demonstrates how your cups sag at the front when your band is too big

Cup Spilling Reason #2 - BAND
Your band is too loose. My old favourite, the band! You may actually be wearing a cup volume that's right for you but the band is too big (remember that the cup volume is different from the cup letter - a 38E, 36F and 34FF have the same cup volume but different cup letters). When your band is too big for you the whole bra is tilted at an angle which tips forward under the weight of your breasts. When the angle is tipped forward like this it skews the angle of your cups and your breasts can fall out of the cups even when the cup volume is big enough for you. You need the band to keep your whole bra in place so that the cups can work effectively. If your band rides up your back then you need a smaller band and a larger cup letter, possibly even a larger cup volume.

Cup Spilling Reason #3 - STYLE
The style is wrong for you. You may find that in some bras that no matter which size you try you still spill out of the cups and that simply means that the style isn't right for you. If you have very close-set breasts or very full on top breasts you may come across this more often than other breast shapes. If the style of the bra cuts very acutely across the place where you have full breast tissue then you will always get some quadraboobing. Once you figure out which styles of bras work well with your shape you'll know how to spot a style that just isn't right for your breasts.

Our bra calculator is an easy and quick place to start figuring out your bra size and to stop your cups spilling xx

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Dos and Don'ts of Returning Bras

Buying bras online often involves returning and exchanging them. When you have a good understanding of your size and which styles work for you the returns and exchanges happen far less often. The return and exchange policy will differ depending on where you buy your bras but with a few simple tips you can speed up the process of getting your refund or exchange.

There are some dos and don'ts when it comes to returning bras for a refund or exchange (we know having been on the receiving end of some strange return surprises!) Here's a handy checklist which will help you get your refund or exchange fast and without any hassle from your lingerie retailer:

1. Cut the tags off.
2. Forget to include the tags with your returned package (they often have a barcode on them which is how they are filed and retrieved in a warehouse)
3. Smoke when trying on bras. If your home is smoky then the new bra will pick up the smell so try and keep the bras sealed in a bag and away from any smoke.
4. Send free samples of your pet's fur back with your bra! A lint roller is a cheap and easy way to ensure that bits of your pet aren't stuck to the bras you return.
5. Send bras bras back with deodorant on them. This can be tricky to avoid so a good tip is to run a sponge under medium hot water then ring it out and dab (don't wipe) on the area where you can see deodorant. The marks should come up easily and dry quickly.
6. Return your bras after the exchange/return period has expired without contacting your retailer first.

1. Send the product back in the same condition you received it.
2. Return it within the time frame that your retailer gave you at the time of purchase. Most retailers allow you to return full price bras within a fixed time period from sale.
3. Tell your retailer why you're returning the bra so they can help you figure out other options. A good retailer should be able to diagnose the fit issues you had with a style or size and be able to recommend other brands, styles or sizes either from their store or from another one. Your fit and comfort is the primary concern.

Weirdest things we've had returned
1. A bra that was sold 18 months earlier and had been worn A LOT with a note saying she expected the bra to last two years because that's how long her Aunt's bras lasted.
2. A grocery list included with the return - it gave us some ideas for dinner :)
3. A chocolate bar wrapper stuck to the bra.
4. Two beige bras covered in red lipstick and glitter - we assumed someone had a good night out!
5. Luggage tags from a flight to Hawaii from Edmonton - we'd like the tickets next time please ;)

I hope this list helps you get your returned bras dealt with quickly and without any hassle! xx

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fathers, Daughters and Bras

It was Father's Day yesterday and millions of us were fortunate to have a father figure who we could celebrate. My own Dad is a phenomenal human being. Being the only male in our house he dealt very well with the constant round of bras on the radiators, PMS rotation and ever shortening hemlines! I'm very lucky that he never made me feel there were limits or expectations to my life because I was female. Instead he supported my dreams to travel and most especially to start a business that I truly believed in. He's a huge influence on why I started and how I run Butterfly Collection and now he's probably one of the most bra savvy 65 year olds on the planet!

I have this incredible male influence in my life and yet I have to admit that I sometimes feel rather hopeless in my goal of giving busty women the confidence to defy breast stereotypes and sexism. There is such a frightening swathe of men (and sadly other women) who show no respect or humanity for women and I often wonder if we can make a difference and end the cycles of body-shaming and gender stereotyping. And then I remember a phone conversation I had with a father of a busty teen and I know that there is a vast amount of good and change out there.

The conversation was with a father whose 14 year old daughter was developing quickly. He explained to me that his wife had died of ovarian cancer six years previously and he needed help to help his daughter begin her bra journey. He told me that he had two sisters who both had complex body issues that stemmed from their father and he didn't want that for his daughter. He had researched bras and body confidence in teens which led him to this blog and our store. His primary concern was that his daughter had a resource she felt comfortable with to find bras and understand her fit. A Dad wanting bra fit education for his daughter. That's a good man. We came up with a series of options for his daughter and she chose which one she wanted to pursue. Two years later she emails me every time her size or shape changes and understands what good bra fit looks and feels like on her body. That's a gift her father gave her that will stay with her forever.

I don't know if we'll ever eradicate stereotypes and sexism around breasts but I know there are kind fathers out there who are ending the cycle of body shame in their family and that is immeasurable change for good. xx

Monday, June 10, 2013

How Cup Edges Affect Fit

Continuing our series on how aspects of your bra affect your fit today we're looking at cup edges. If you have full on top breasts this feature of a bra will matter more to you than someone who is shallow on top. A hard or soft cup edge can be the difference between pillowing over the cup or a smooth look so knowing which edges work for you can improve your fit.

There are four bra edges: tapered, elasticated, molded and fixed. 

(L) Jasmine uses stretch lace to create a tapered edge (R) Loretta uses nylon and embroidery to taper the cup

Tapered edge bras are the most universally friendly because they're designed to come to a fine, delicate edge that doesn't create any pressure on your upper bust. Most commonly lace, embroidery and nylon are used to create a fine edge.

(L) Idina and (R) Profile Perfect use an elasticated edge to add more support to the upper breast
Elasticated edges are designed to stay close to your body. If you have full on top breasts the elastic can indent the soft upper tissue on your breast and make it look like you're spilling. Elasticated edges are great for women looking to minimize bounce through the upper tissue.

Molded bras like Maxine have a rigid molded edge so you need to be careful to choose the right shape for your breast

Molded edges can also cause a spilling look for full on top breasts if the shape or size isn't right. A molded edge may appear as a ridge under clothing if the cup is thick. You may find that you have some upper-tissue bounce in a molded cup as the edge of the cup doesn't hold down the breast. Non-rigid molded cups (seamless soft cup bras) can have an elasticated edge.

(L) Tango II and (R) Lottie have fixed edges

Fixed edge cups simply mean there is no elastic in the edge and no tapering. This works for lots of women as the edge lies flat against the breast without creating any indent. Again, however, women with full on top breasts may find that fixed edge cups cause a spilling look if the cup shape is wrong for them.

I hope this short guide to bra edges helps you choose the right bra edge for your shape and support preferences. xx

Monday, June 3, 2013

Back Fat and Bra Fit

This isn't a term I love but there's no getting around it, lots of women ask me about back fat. I'm going to start by saying that in the big scheme of things back fat is not something you need to worry about. No one who matters is looking at your back and judging you so you don't need to scrutinize yourself either. Having said that I know that it bothers lots of women so I want to help you understand how your bra size and shape can affect how your body looks under clothing. There are two main causes of avoidable back fat 1) bands that are too loose and 2) wings that are too shallow.

How a Loose Band Gives You Back Fat
When your band is too big for you it rides up your back creating an arch shape which cuts across the widest part of your back and pushes the flesh downwards which creates rolls on your back. The weight of your unsupported bust at the front pulls the tissue near your armpit to be pushed up which creates overhang too.

The red line shows where the bra band should lie so that the flesh is not pushed up or down

Lots of women think that a snug bra will give them back fat but it will do quite the opposite. A snug band will fit you at the narrowest part of your torso. The will stop the flesh above and below being forced up or down into rolls. A loose band doesn't just cause rolls it also lowers your bust at the front and causes your straps to dig in.

How the Depth of Your Wings Affect Back Fat
Bras with deeper wings will smooth out your back. Just as long panels of shapewear smooth you out under clothing so too a deeper wing will smooth out your back.
Left, Lucy by Cleo. Right, Profile Perfect by FayreForm
In the image above you can see that the wings on Lucy are shallower than the wings on Profile Perfect. The deeper wings spread out the pressure of the band over a greater area and so the back appears smoother than the shallower wing

Fit is more important than Fat
If you carry a lot of weight around your back then you are always going to get some dips where your bra fits but having a bra that fits you correctly is more important than something even you can't see without twisting in a mirror. If it really bothers you then you can wear shapewear over your bra that will add another smoothing layer to your undergarments but in general choosing a bra that is the best shape and band size for you will make a huge difference to the smoothness of your look xx