The next stop on my quest of rediscovery after becoming a mom was to ditch the maternity bra.
I was done breast-feeding & it was time to reclaim my breasts and my underwire bras!
I had been wearing a maternity bra for over a year and I was really, really happy to get rid of it. You see, the women in my family are generally well-endowed in the “girls” department. Our cups runneth over, so to speak. We need support – good support. Well-engineered, thick strap, “cup size does not stop at a DD” type of support. And this no-underwire maternity bra just wasn’t cutting it anymore.
My bra was literally & figuratively dragging me down.
So a visit to my favourite bra-fitting boutique, Secrets From Your Sister was now in order. A long time ago, I realized that I wasn’t going to get the kind of support I needed from any old lingerie store at the mall. If I wanted a good bra that didn’t look like something my 90 year old nonna would wear, I had to go to a proper bra-fitting boutique. It was a bit of a search, but I finally found one that I liked and I’ve never looked back! What a revelation to find such well-fitting, wonderfully supportive bras for my double G’s that also looked sexy. Huzzah!!
I booked an appointment and my expert fitter Kate helped me find some new bras.
Kate shared some of her secrets with me, so I thought I’d share them with you!
Laura: So Kate, what’s so good about the fit of this bra?Kate: The wire is sitting nice & flush against your chest wall and if you follow the underwire, you see it is getting in all the breast tissue. The band is snug but I can get my fingers in and away and it is sitting low on your back, well below your shoulder blades. I can get my fingers underneath the straps and you can shrug your shoulders comfortably. At the top of the cup, there is no spillage or pillowing.
Expert Tip: Always do a “scoop up and in” when you are putting on a bra – we don’t realize how much breast tissue we have on the side or underneath, so when you put a bra on you really have to lift your breast tissue into the bra.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you see in a badly fitting bra?Kate: The #1 mistake I see is when women go too loose in the band. Women compensate for their cup by going bigger in the band. So they go for a 38D when in reality, they are probably a 34E. Having that support in the band is vital – 80% of the support from the bra comes from the band. When the band is too big, the bra rides up the back, putting pressure on the shoulders and the breasts sit lower on the body. For some reason, a lot of North American manufacturers don’t go above a DD and so we see that many women are wearing a bra that is too small in the cup.
What can a properly fitted bra do for you?Kate: The most important thing is comfort. If you are larger breasted, a well-fitting bra puts less pressure on your shoulders and on your neck. Then there is appearance – how you look in clothes can completely change because your breasts are sitting on a different part of your body. A lot of times, women will say “Oh, I have a waist!” after a fitting. And also, a great bra can boost your self-esteem – when you leave the house in a beautiful bra that fits, you feel better walking out the door. It is about how you feel, not about what someone else sees.
Expert Tip: A weight loss or gain of 10 pounds is a good time to come in to be re-fit. 10 pounds will probably change your band size.
Some of these bras can be quite expensive. What’s up with that?Kate: If you look at a bra like a pair of shoes that you wear everyday, a lot of women won’t flinch at spending $150-$200 on heels that are both beautiful & comfortable, but spending that much on a bra can take someone’s breath away. A bra is a foundational garment that is engineered – there are a lot of components that go into making a beautiful, well-fitting, supportive bra, which is why they cost what they do. If you have good quality bras and you take good care of them, they will last you a long time and you can have fewer of them.
So tell us how to take care of these feats of engineering.Kate: We suggest you wash your bra after no more than 3 wears and that you rotate your bra wardrobe. An ideal wardrobe would be 4 bras, so that you are not wearing one bra all the time. If you take care of your bras properly, the bras can last up to 2 years. We suggest hand washing your bras, which can sound like a lot but if you use a product called Soak – it is like a bubble bath for your bra, it can make it a lot easier.
Expert Tip: Fill up a laundry basin or an old mixing bowl with cool water, pop the bra in there with a squirt of Soak and leave them for 15-20 minutes (to be honest, I’ve left mine in overnight and they’ve been fine!) Give it a quick rinse, press off the excess water with a towel and then hang it to dry.
So let’s talk about sports bras.Kate: Sports bras are super important for all shapes & sizes. A lot of women feel self-conscious and they might not feel like participating in sports because they don’t feel properly supported. The two most important reasons why we should have a sports bra is support for confidence and comfort for endurance. Because you want to be focused on the activity, not how the sports bra is feeling. In terms of fit, you want the band to be snug.
Expert Tip: When you are trying on a sports bra, mimic the activity you will be doing in the change room to make sure it gives you the support you need.
I have a real pet peeve about minimizing bras, I feel like they actually make you look bigger. What do you think?Kate: Minimizer bras compress you, but the breast tissue has to go somewhere, so it goes east & west. You end up looking wider than you actually are. In a properly fitted bra, your breasts are pulled up and in and they are more within your body frame, which highlights your waist. And yes, there will be more projection, but that is your body, so if you can just embrace it, it will make your life a lot easier!
Here are some of Kate’s favourite brands that carry larger cups/bands. I’ve also included my favourite everyday undies, because let’s face it, those matching sets are great for special occasions, but aren’t what you’d want to wear all the time. Special mention also goes to this lounge bra, because even a well-fitting bra needs to come off at some point but at the end of the day, the girls still need some support!
So, tell me, what are your favourite brands? What are your bra-fitting pet peeves? Where do you go to get your perfectly fitting brassieres?