Monday, December 15, 2014

Most Sold Bra Sizes and Styles 2014

As we approach the end of 2014 I wanted to share with you which bra styles and sizes were most purchased from Butterfly Collection this year. I especially like to share the information about the most often bought sizes because many women feel they are alone or unusual in their size so it's good to know that there are hundreds and hundreds of women with the same size as you.

20 Most Purchased Sizes
In our first couple of years of business we spent a lot of time introducing women to sizes like 36FF and 32GG because few North American women had seen these sizes before. I'm so encouraged to see lots of FF and GG cups in here because it means that our clients are getting more comfortable with these sizes and have a greater understanding of their fit needs.

It's also pleasing to see 30G in there as it's the first time a 30 band has been consistently in our top 20 sizes. 28 and 30 bands are still largely unknown or met with trepidation which is a shame because so many women (especially teens and young adults) would benefit from these band sizes. In 2015 we will continue to try to spread awareness and break down preconceptions about 28 and 30 bands.

Sizes are in descending order, left to right, from the best selling size, 34F.

34F 32FF 36F 34FF 34G 38G 36G 32F 32G 36FF 34GG 32GG 38F 38GG 36E 38E 30F 30G 34E 32H








 
 10 Most Purchased Styles
Our best-selling bras this year were all core styles available year round (no great surprises there). I was really pleased to see the addition of two Fantasie styles in our top 10 (Lois and Echo Lace) as this is a relatively new brand to Butterfly Collection.

Top Left
The Panache Sports Bra is the outright winner
This is a customer favourite all year round and many of our clients wear it as an everyday bra especially if their job is very physically demanding.

Top Right Quad Clockwise
Tango Beige and Black by Panache
Gem Black by Freya
Lucy Black by Cleo
Envy Caramel by Panache

Bottom Right
Eva Biscotti (and Eva Black) by Elomi

Bottom Left Quad Clockwise
Echo Lace by Fantasie
Profile Perfect Latte and Black by FayreForm
Versailles Black and Latte by Lunaire
Lois Pink by Fantasie

Monday, November 17, 2014

How to Rock Tights Day and Night: Pretty Polly AW2014

Ever since being at school I've loved tights. We had to wear uniform but there was some wiggle room when it came to tights. They had to be opaque (so 40+ denier) but I could wear diamond patterns, pinstripe, dots and squares. Adding this bit of pattern to my outfit has stayed with me ever since and it still makes me happy to have fun and stylish legs!

This season's Pretty Polly tights have such a wide range of styles from sparkly party legs to sub-zero Calgary legs! Here are some ideas for dressing your legs up day and night.

Daytime Legs
I love that Pretty Polly thinks about real life as well as fashion. Most of North America is very cold in the winter so tights that help keep you warm is a genius idea! Pretty Polly Heat Sense Tights actively trap your body heat to keep your pins warm.

Pretty Polly has also thought of women who are on their feet a lot during the day. The Pretty Polly Legs on the Go Tights have a light compression woven into the nylon which eases aching and reduces swelling. The health benefits to compression are reducing the risk of deep vein thrombosis and varicose veins.
Left: Heatsense, Top Right: Legs on the Go 60D, Bottom Right: Legs on the Go Neutral 10D

Faux Stockings and Socks
Whether you like your hemlines short or long you can play around with the illusion of socks and stockings. I love wearing the Secret Socks collection with a denim skirt and long boots because I find the socks really comfortable in boots and you're not pulling up your socks every 10 minutes!

The faux suspender tights have been a long time favourite from Pretty Polly and I love the new Suspender Tummy Shaper Tights that have a medium control tummy panel for a smooth look under dresses and skirts.

Left: Suspender Tummy Shaper Tights, Top Right: Patterned Secret Socks, Bottom Right: Over the Knee Secret Socks

Day to Night Legs
During the party season there are occasions when you need to transition your day look to a night look without time to get changed. A bold pattern pair of tights can work in a professional environment and become a feature of a nighttime outfit with just a change of shoes.

This season I'm particularly in love with the Silk Cashmere Pointelle tights by Alice and Olivia.  They are so soft and work equally well with a simple LBD or a flamboyant skirt. The Retro Diamond tights and the Bow Backseam plus size tights are comfortable for everyday and more than stylish enough for a party or restaurant.

Left: Silk Cashmere Pointelle by Alice and Olivia, Top Right: Retro Diamond, Bottom Right: Bow Backseam
Party Legs
Plain and simple I adore the Pretty Polly Precious Jewel Backseam tights. They are comfortable and warm enough to keep out the night air but the sparkly backseam is a fabulous party touch! The Lace Spot Mock Hold Up Tights are so delicate and beautiful and particularly fabulous with a thigh split dress. The Darkly Floral opaque tights are warm and comfortable and the calf-high tattoo design at the back is an easy way to add a touch of flare to a simple black party dress.

Left: Precious Jewel Backseam, Top Right: Lace Spot Mock Hold Up Tights, Bottom Right: Darkly Floral
If you've never explored dressing up your daytime or nighttime looks with a pair of fabulous tights then this is a great season to try them out. See our Pretty Polly collection here xx

Monday, November 3, 2014

5 Times To Use A Bra Liner


Let's not beat around the bush, bra liners are not the prettiest things you'll ever see but they can give huge relief and comfort and that's why we cherish them. In case you don't know what a bra liner is, it's a cotton strip that's shaped to sit between your skin and the band and gore of your bra. If you have a well-fitting bra that's comfortable then chances are that you've never needed a bra liner but there are times in your life when they can be incredibly useful.

1) Rashes
Your breasts generate heat and moisture and this is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Your bra band lie on the crease between your breasts and your torso (your breast root) and if moisture gets trapped here it can causes skin irritations and rashes, most commonly a yeast rash. Some women are particularly prone to rashes underneath their bra band and in the worst cases their skin becomes broken and can bleed. A bra liner absorbs the excess moisture so that bacteria can't grow. Daily use of a clean bra liner can prevent or clear up a rash under your bra band.

2) Heat and Menopause
If you are someone who gets very hot then you'll know how awful it can be to sweat from your boobs. This is particularly a problem for women going through the menopause, in fact it was a menopausal client that prompted us to stock the Wick'em Bra Liners. The bra liner draws the moisture away from the body and absorbs it to the core so that you don't sweat through your clothing.

3) Skinny Torsos
I've written before about how the fat around your torso can affect your bra fit. The more fat your have around your torso the more cushioning you have between your ribs and the elastic/wires of your bra and you can often wear a smaller band. If you have a skinny torso then wearing a band that is tight enough to keep your bra in place can be very painful because you have very little cushioning. Wearing a slightly bigger band works for lots of people but some women find that a bra liner allows them to wear a snug band in total comfort so they don't have to compromise on support.

4) Nursing
I know from personal experience that wire free bras can put more strain on your band. The wires in full bust bras provide vertical structure for your breasts which lifts some of the weight away from your band. Nursing bras tend to be wire free and when you have heavy breasts the added pressure around your band can be very uncomfortable. A bra liner adds a layer of comfort that is so appreciated when your body is already tired and sore.

5) Post Surgery and Illness
Your skin is the largest organ and can be very sensitive and sore after surgery or during an illness. If you have to wear a bra then the pressure around your band can be agonizing. We have clients with arthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic back pain who all report a more comfortable bra fit with the bra liners.

Bra accessories are vital for some women to tailor their bra fit to be more stable or comfortable. Bra liners bring much needed comfort and relief for lots of women xx

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

3 Responses to Our Bra Size Calculator Explained

Last week I posted a link to our Bra Size Calculator on Facebook and it was kindly shared by quite a few people. I read some of the comments under the links and realized there are 3 consistent responses to the calculator and they are so telling about bra fitting as a whole. Here are 3 common responses and what they tell us about bra fitting:

1. "The calculator says I'm a 30H! That can't be right!"

When our calculator returns a size that is much smaller in the band than you're used to wearing or a cup letter that much higher in the alphabet it can be a shock. Considering that most stores and online boutiques fit women into bands that are too big for them so that they can sell them a size that they carry it's not surprising that many women don't know sizes like a 30H or 28GG even exist. The key thing that most people still don't know is that cup letters mean NOTHING without the band size. Lots of people still think that all F cups are enormous and all C cups are average. Georgina at Fuller Figure, Fuller Bust explains the myth of cup letters so well. She says "a cup letter without a band size is like saying it's half past without saying an hour" and she's so right. Half past 3 is quite a different time to half past 9, so too, a 30F is quite a different cup volume than a 40F (5 cup volumes different in fact).

Related Article: Not All D Cups Are The Same Size

If you're wearing a band that's too big for you but your cups 'fit' then your cup letter will be lower in the alphabet. For example, a 38DDD (or a 38F in UK sizing, which we use at Butterfly Collection) has the same cup volume as a 36FF, 34G, 32GG, 30H and a 28HH. If you measure 30 inches around your ribcage then our calculator will recommend a 30H and it looks like a big shock but in reality the cup volume is the same, only the band is more proportional to your body.

2. "This is way off for me, it says I'm a 40F and I'm a 42C."

This is rarely talked about but body fat and height make a difference to bra fit for some people. Here are some generalized correlation between body proportions and bra size:
3. "The cup size is way too big for me. It says a 36FF and I wear a 36E."

Taking two measurements can never tell you the whole story about someone's breasts. The most important things it can't tell you are the shape of your breasts or the shape of your torso. If you have a flared torso or have shallow breasts then the results of a calculator are going to be wrong. Very often if the results come back at a larger cup volume than you're wearing then your torso shape or breast shape plays a significant part in your bra size. Calculators are only ever a starting point, they are NEVER gospel, how could they be when women are so infinitely different?

There are lots of bra calculators out there and lots of them are rubbish and some of them are good (I hope ours is still on the whole good!) One thing is for sure; every single bra size calculator will be wrong for lots of women. They are one bra fitting tool that needs to be used in conjunction with other tools to arm you with the knowledge you need to understand your unique breasts and bra fit xx

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!"

Monday, June 2, 2014

3 Unexpected Boob Side Effects of Pregnancy


Once the wonderful news had sunk in that I was pregnant I thought how lucky I was that I had unlimited access to bras to see me through the changes I would experience during pregnancy. At over 8 months pregnant I still didn't have any volume increase, unbelievable! I thought it was a given that my boobs would get bigger and when they didn't I was really surprised. To add to my naivety there were three more changes that I didn't expect:

1) Bras and Breathing
Pregnancy triggered my asthma which has been very manageable, almost dormant, for years. Within weeks of getting pregnant the additional demand on my blood supply meant that my lungs were compromised and I needed to get new medication to get my asthma under control. I was very quickly aware that my band size was bothering me. Pre-pregnancy I wore a very firm band and I expected to be able to stay in the same band size for a few months at least. Within a month I had switched from a 32GG to a 34G and at 3 months I had switched to a 36FF so that I could breathe! I am carrying the baby quite high which exacerbates my breathing so by 4 months I had moved to a wire free bra (Sophie has been a godsend!) to relieve the pressure around my lungs even further.
I was in a wire free bra by 4 months to alleviate the pressure on my lungs. Sophie Nursing.

2) Attack of the Itch!
At three months pregnant it was Christmas and I was having a lovely evening with family when all of a sudden, literally out of the blue, my breasts started itching. Not a little discreet itch but a full on tearing at my boobs itching! I went to take off my bra and I had broken the skin on my chest and caused lots of blood blisters - my poor boobs! This maddening itching lasted for about 8 weeks and I found a couple of things to ease the irritation.
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. My breasts didn't feel particularly dry but applying almond oil morning and night kept the itching at bay. The only drawback of having oiled up boobs is that the oil soaks through your bras (and if you're unlucky through to your clothing). I have an Elomi Eva that is forever oil stained but it was so worth it just to keep the itching at bay.
  • No hot showers. Again this is because it dries out the skin so I avoided hot water directly on my breasts for a couple of months.
3) Feeling the Heat
I expected my breasts to feel more tender (although they haven't been particularly sore) but I didn't expect them to feel so hot! Most of my pregnancy has taken place during winter and yet my breasts seem to have heated up faster than any other part of me. I had to be careful to wear breathable layers (and breathable bras) so that I could regulate my upper body more easily.

Did something happen to your breasts or bra size that you weren't expecting during pregnancy? Share your stories in the comments section below and help someone else understand their bonkers baby boobs! xx

Monday, May 26, 2014

Review of Naked Men's Underwear


Today I'm handing you over to Mr Butterfly who has been testing out the Naked men's underwear range. He's put his buns on the line to find out if this brand is good enough for the men in your life!

When it comes to underwear I have never been too fussy about where I buy them or about the quality of fabric. I would buy a three pack from Costco or if I was in England from ASDA. That pretty much describes the amount of effort I would put into buying underwear for myself. That has all changed since I have been wearing Naked.

I have been wearing Naked for the past 3 months and these are the things I have enjoyed while wearing them:

1) Soft fabric against my skin
2) Comfortable while walking or sitting
3) Underwear design gives great shape
4) Minimum movement while bicycle riding
5) Breathable fabric keeps me from overheating
The longer leg Boxer Brief has been my preferred style for bike riding because the legs don't ride up
The soft fabric and contoured pouch design have been a revelation. I live a very active lifestyle from P90x workouts and Judo training to biking to work. Having a pair of underwear that is breathable so you don’t get overheated, and a form fitting design that keeps the bits and pieces together (so that you’re not constantly adjusting) makes it tough to go back to those multi-pack underwear that don’t have the same benefits. I mostly wear the Boxer Briefs for biking and very physical activities as the legs don't roll up. I wear the Trunks for work because they are lightweight and comfortable for long periods of sitting. The waistband is not sewn onto the rest of the underwear, it's all one piece so there are no edges or seams to irritate you.

Continuing the comfort theme, all of the Naked designs are made without tags. The label information is printed on the inside of the waistband but I’ve noticed that the information does wash off after a few times in the washing machine. The price difference is a big change from my multi-pack undies (each pair is $32) but the difference to my comfort is huge too and these underwear don't look worn out or pilled after 3 months.

Naked is a Canadian company based in B.C. and like us they have built from the ground up so their selection of colours and patterns isn’t huge right now but I’m sure over time they’ll continue to add to their collection. It’s obvious that they’ve focused on the things that really matter first, like comfort, quality and ethical production – Naked has some of the most sustainable and ethical manufacturing processes in Canada.

All in all I have been very impressed by Naked. It has made buying underwear for myself more enjoyable. There are not a lot of options out there for us men so to find a pair of underwear that is both practical and smart looking makes me happy. See Naked at Butterfly Collection here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bra Fit For Special Needs Girls


This week is a guest blog from a fantastic special needs teacher who also happens to be my Mum. When we talk about good bra fit for everyone there really are no exceptions. Bra fit for special needs daughters can be daunting for parents so this post hopes to shed some light on the importance and techniques for dealing with bra fit for special needs girls.

"Talking to your adolescent daughter about puberty can be difficult enough but especially so if your daughter has learning difficulties of any kind. I am fortunate to be the Mum of two healthy girls and having worked hard to have good lines of communication we discussed puberty in terms of emotional and practical changes so that they were empowered to have choices over their bodies and understand what was happening to them. Having taught adolescent special needs students for 20 years I am acutely aware that these girls do not have the same capacity for understanding puberty or making choices about the changes to their body. Does this mean you don’t try to explain or address puberty for special needs girls? Absolutely not.

The individuals within the special needs spectrum have a huge array of abilities and capacity for understanding so your communication with your child needs to be geared to them. It’s a mistake to think that being special needs automatically means you can’t talk about things like puberty and bras. Breast development is indiscriminate and as with any other girl your daughter deserves the physical and emotional support through her changing body whether you can explain it to her or seek out the right bra support on her behalf.

All too often parents of special needs girls do not address the needs of a pubescent daughter as though somehow being special needs means things like bras don’t apply. Lots of parents find it hard enough to discuss puberty with their children so adding a layer of mental and/or physical disability into the mix can be crippling for communication. Somehow we need to change this barrier between communication and puberty in special needs girls because many special needs girls develop at an early age and can have very heavy breasts and yet many of them are left without any bra support. In other cases, although a girl may be wearing a bra, it is obviously not a proper fit and regardless of your abilities being uncomfortable is horrible.

Being a special needs girl does not necessarily mean you are excluded from feeling embarrassed or self conscious. The kind of teenage behaviour you see in mainstream schools happens in special needs schools too. Kids notice and comment on each other’s bodies and the interest in sexual body parts is just as prevalent, if not more so. Being in the right bra gives a special needs girl some control back over her breasts, allows her to participate in physical activities more comfortably and adds a layer of privacy while her body is growing and changing.

I wish there was a checklist for how to help your special needs daughter with bra fit but it does depend hugely on her abilities and comprehension. Having said that here are some suggestions about bra fit and special needs that could help you give your daughter good breast support:

1) If you can talk to her about puberty then do! Talk about how the changes mean she is becoming a woman and as a woman she can start to choose the bras she would like to have to support her. Include her in the transition to bras and ask her what she thinks about wearing a bra. Explain to her that she can continue to do her favourite things without being uncomfortable, like playing basketball, or dancing or playing with her friends.

2) Be realistic about what kind of bras your daughter can physically get into and wear. If your daughter has any upper body physical disability then a wire is probably not the best option as it can sit awkwardly against her ribs. Opt for wire free bras. There are lots of wire free bras available up to a K cup in sports and regular designs. Sports bras are particularly useful as lots of special needs children and teens are very physically active.


A front closure bra may be more practical
3) Consider who is going to get your daughter in and out of her bra and how difficult that will be. If she goes to a swimming class as part of her schooling then will an assistant be available to help her with her bra? Perhaps a front closure bra would be more practical for a girl who has enough dexterity to put on a front closure but not a back closure.

4) If a conventional bra is not practical then look at quality crop tops that add a layer of compression and support to the breasts.

5) If it’s possible to get colours and patterns in bras that are suitable for your daughter then ask her which colours and designs she likes. Being given power over her choices empowers any girl and will make her relationship with her bras more positive.

6) ASK FOR HELP. Bras are still a mystery for millions of able bodied, mentally capable women so figuring out which bras are right for you daughter’s particular special needs can be overwhelming. I know that Claire works with parents of special needs daughters via Skype to help them learn about fit and style options within the comfort of their own homes. Familiar surroundings are very important for special needs children so your home is the best place to teach about bras and to try them on your daughter. 


Life may be very different for special needs girls in many ways but Mother Nature makes no allowance. They get boobs, periods and curves and they deserve to have these changes respected and acknowledged. It can be incredibly difficult for the parents of special needs daughters to recognize and acknowledge these changes but failing to do so can leave a special needs girl feeling exposed and confused and that’s not good for any human being."