Monday, April 28, 2014

Encouraging Blogging for All Bust Sizes

I had written a post about my frustrations that some people feel there should be fewer full bust blogs and more small bust blogs, a perspective that I just can't get on board with. My summation was that we need more small and medium bloggers not fewer full bust blogs. After some really good input from readers and other bloggers (thank you to Petite and Plentiful and Of Lambs and Lace) I have decided to replace my original article with this one because the only way I can be part of changing the opinion that there are too many full bust blogs is to be part of the voice encouraging more small and medium bust bloggers and resources.

I'm going to create a blog roll for small and medium bust women that lives on this blog. So many of our full bust readers have smaller busted friends and relatives and we can start to cross promote resources and empathy for women of all bust sizes. Here is the beginning of my list and I would love for you to contribute blogs and links to articles that you think would be useful for small and medium bust women. As is in keeping with this blog, anything to do with fit knowledge would be excellent.

Small Bust Big Heart
Petite and Plentiful
Of Lambs and Lace 
Kurvendiskussionen (available in English)
Small Cup (Polish Blog)
The Lingerie Lesbian
Venusian Glow
32AA Bra
Lula Lu Blog

Marielle from Petite and Plentiful really struck a chord for me that the full bust community has been, and still is, experiencing a revolution both in fit and changing social behaviours towards busty women. That kind of revolution needs to happen for women of other bust sizes too because the physical and emotional support to feel great in your bras applies to all women. 

I'm still going to write rebuttals where I see comments that there is too much full bust information out there but I'm going to try and be equally proactive in promoting resources for small busts too. Please write your suggestions in the comments below for small and medium bust resources, thank you! xx

See Blog Roll Here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

5 Tips to Make Your Bra Last Longer

Bras for large breasts work extremely hard to keep your breasts in place and secure. The constant strain on the fabric and elastic in your bra gradually stretches the bra over time until it no longer has enough elasticity to support your breasts. All bras wear out eventually but there are things you can do to make your investment in your bras go further. Here are my top 5 tips for longer lasting bra fit:

Buy Bras That Fit
I know this might seem obvious but a bra that doesn't fit you in the band and cup will die faster than one that does. This is because you pull at bras that don't fit you which stretches out the material and if your cups are too small or your band is too big the whole bra is under excess strain that deteriorates it faster. Here's a reminder of the 5 fit checks of a well-fitting bra:

1. All your breast tissue sits inside your cups (even the tissue at your armpit).
2. The band lies parallel with the floor all the way around your body.
3. The gore sits flush with your body and is comfortable.
4. Your straps don't slip and aren't digging into your shoulders.
5. The wing is supportive and comfortable without digging into your armpit or with breast tissue spilling over the top of the wing.

How You Put On Your Bra
Lots of women don't realize that the way they put on their bra is causing it to die faster. If you hook your bra in the front then twist it around your body it puts the band elastic under huge strain. It also means you're unlikely to be wearing your best fit from the outset as you probably can't twist the correct band size around your body. These two things combined could be shaving 3 to 6 months off the life of your bra. Get hold of the two ends in front of you (do them up as a trial run then unhook again and don't move the position of your hands) pass your arms around your body and do up the hooks. Once you've got this bit done you can lean forward and place your breasts into the cups then lift the straps onto your shoulders. This takes some practice but could save you hundreds of dollars.

Washing and Drying
I've written a lot about how to wash and dry your bras to make them last longer. Here is a recap of the main points:

1. Hand washing is best but if you need to machine wash use a cool cycle and a laundry bag.
2. Never put your bras in the tumble dryer. Heat kills elastic.
3. Hang dry your bras from the center gore, don't hang them from the straps because this stretches out the straps and compromises the fit.

Buy Quality Over Quantity
Not all bras are created equal. Lots of the mall lingerie retailers offer buy 2 get 1 free specials on bras up to a DD or DDD. While this might look like a great way to pad out your lingerie draw you need to think about the quality. These deals usually appear on molded cups (a single piece of shaped fabric) where the straps are attached by one or two rows of stitching. These styles tend not to have reinforced wire tracks (the tubes the wires sit in inside your bra) which is why it's so common for the wires to pop out. You really are better investing in two or three bras of good quality (that fit you well) than having lots of cheaper bras of lesser quality. 

Cycling Your Bras
Your body heat, sweat and salts are what erode the elasticity in your bra. You need to let a bra rest for at least 24 hours and preferably 48 before wearing it again and this means you need at least 3 basic bras to cycle through the week.
The salt build up in your bra (from your sweat) needs to be washed out after every three to four wears unless you sweat a lot in which case you need to wash after every one to two wears.

While there's no guarantee as to how long a bra will last (it depends on your lifestyle, breast weight, torso shape and perspiration) by using some or all of these tips you can prolong the life of your bra investment. xx

Monday, April 14, 2014

It's Better Not to Wear a Bra than Wear the Wrong Bra

Choosing not to wear a bra is a conscious decision and while it may be uncommon amongst full bust women it's still a choice that many make for aesthetic, comfort or health reasons. Choosing to wear the wrong bra is a less conscious decision. It's less of a choice and more of a last resort born out of a western norm of wearing bras and a lack of choice born out of most women only having access to 32+ A-D bras. Besides it being uncommon for busty women to go braless there are also some physical and health concerns about being busty and braless.

Lots of people think that women who don't wear a bra are doing themselves damage but there is actually very little data on whether low impact daily activities actually cause damage to your breasts and skin. Many women simply don't see going braless as an option because it's too painful to be unsupported (the larger your bust, the greater the gravitational pull on the ligaments in your breasts and this can be very painful). There is more information about the impact of not wearing a bra when working out. I wouldn't recommend that anyone works out without a bra because the impact on the ligaments and milk ducts inside your breasts can cause strain that is painful.

There is a potential rash/irritation hazard to your skin when not wearing a bra because moisture can get trapped between your breasts and your torso and prevent air circulating, especially if you're sat for long periods. Some women finding nipple chafing too painful to go without bras and don't like adhesive covers. On the whole though there is very little evidence that going braless is bad for your health (breast sag is primarily dictated by your genes, diet and skin care - for example, over exposure to the sun can cause your skin to become thinner and sag). On the flip side, there is a wealth of evidence about the damage a badly fitting bra can do to your health.

The most common mistake with bra fit is wearing a bra that is too big for you in the band and too small in the cup. A band that's too big for you can cause shoulder and neck pain, back ache, headaches, shoulder dents, chafing, skin irritations and bruising. Wearing a cup that's too small means that your breast tissue is often squished against other skin tissue which traps moisture (a perfect breeding ground for bacteria rashes) and prevents air circulating around your skin - all skin prefers to breathe.

When I see women wearing the wrong bra it breaks my heart because I know that it's not a choice, it's a last resort that's not empowering or comfortable. When I see a woman choosing not to wear a bra I see a conscious decision that is far better for your health than subjecting your breasts to the problems caused by the wrong cup, band and style. This is why the conversation about bra fit outside of the A-D paradigm is so important because millions of women still don't know they don't have to resign themselves to painful fit and they don't have to abandon bras, they can choose to be comfortable and happy in their bras with the right size and fit. xx

Monday, April 7, 2014

Features to Look for in Spring Bras

As the weather starts to get warmer our wardrobes become lighter in colour and fabric weights and the cuts of our clothing change too. Tops and dresses with lower necklines and/or sleeveless designs can require different bras to the ones we can wear under the thicker fabrics and longer sleeves of winter. Besides the design of the bra the weight of the fabric is something to consider so that you stay comfortable as the weather heats up.

Fishnet by Claudette has bold coral straps as well as a lower neckline making it a great style for spring and summer

As your sleeveless clothing comes out of hibernation there are two schools of thought on bra straps. Out-of-Sight to give a neat finish or Bold and Beautiful straps with bright colours and interesting textures that are meant to be seen. Exposing a well worn beige strap that's seen better days can make your otherwise polished outfit look a bit dingy so opt for something with a bit more attitude.

The V back on Basic Beauty keeps your straps out of sight on sleeveless tops

If you want the out of sight option then look for bras with straps set closer together like Basic Beauty by Wacoal or Enchanted by Freya. Some basic bra styles also have a J hook in the back which allows you to turn the bra into a racer back which is ideal under vests and T backs.

Lots of spring styles have lower necklines and you may find that the full coverage bra you've relied on all winter is a bit too much coverage under your beautiful new spring dress. Look for styles that have a medium to short gore as this is a good indication of how much cup coverage you'll get.

A plunge style like Neve by Cleo (above) will give you maximum V but you can also get a lower neckline with medium to firm coverage with styles like Idina by Panache and Dessous by Claudette.

Etta by Elomi (arriving in June) has some fantastic spring features like the J hook and lower gore

Etta by Elomi (that arrives in June) not only has the J hook mentioned above it also has a shorter gore compared to other Elomi styles.

Lots of women won't be affected by the weight of fabric in their bras, however, for some the warmer months leave them sweating and uncomfortable in bras that don't breathe well. If you rely on molded bras then this can be a problem in spring and summer. Lots of molded styles have very tight weaves because the firmness of the cups contributes to the support of the bra. This can be a sweaty nightmare for women who heat up easily.

If you like molded cups then look for spacer bras (like Profile Perfect) that are more breathable than tight weave molds
If you can't give up your molded styles then look for spacer bras, like Profile Perfect by Fayreform, that are made from a breathable weave that has air pockets in the fabric to keep you cool. This fabric also wicks moisture away from your skin like a sports bra.

Lucy is a fantastic mesh bra that breathes easily and keeps breasts cool in warmer months

Mesh bras are a great lightweight option for the warmer months as air passes easily through the fabric keeping your breasts cool. Lucy by Cleo is still our best-selling mesh bra, especially the white version for warmer days.

The last, but most important, feature to get right is your fit. Make sure your bra wire sits flush against your breast root so that you don't get skin on skin folds where bacteria can cause rashes and irritations. Ensure your band is stable so that your bra can't ride up your back and chafe against you. A well fitting bra is the best way to staying cool and comfortable all year round. xx