It’s an essential undergarment most women don’t give enough thought to!
Studio 5 Beauty and Style Contributor Holly Stone busts some old school bra
beliefs and offers her stylish solutions.
Just like eyebrows are the most neglected feature of the face but the most
important frame to the eyes, bras are the most neglected feature of fashion
and yet the most important frame for the figure. While underwear is not
nearly as fun to shop for as outerwear, it sets the entire stage for your
fashion performance. Improving your image doesn’t have to be a huge
undertaking. With a slight change of thought, you can slowly evolve at your
own pace and in most cases, a subtle enhancement goes a long way. It is
time to “BUST” the long time thoughts that a bra is a bra is a bra. Let’s
embrace some new thoughts and team up with our bras to give our boobies,
backs, shoulders and self-confidence the support they deserve.
Part 1: Care For It
I am not a bra sales person. I am not working on commission. I don’t work
for a fashion brand. I don’t promote any one label. I am a woman who has a
budget, who wants to look my best and who wears a bra. I know that bras are
an investment so here are my tried and true tips for the proper care to get
the maximum wear out of this wardrobe necessity.
Old Thought: I only need a couple of good bras.
Busted: In order to get the most from your bras, you should own a minimum
of 3. 4+ is ideal.
New Thought: Your bras support your structure. When building a home you
wouldn’t skimp on the frame-you would want AT LEAST a solid base. Your
bras ARE your base. From a health standpoint, improper support can result in
back, shoulder and neck pain. From a fashion standpoint, no fabulous blouse
can compensate for a poorly supported outline. A flattering silhouette builds
from your underwear out!
Old Thought: I can wear the same bra 2, 3, 4 days in a row.
Busted: Bras should never be worn back to back but must be rotated. A 3+
bra rotation is ideal to get the longest life span from your bras.
New Thought: The fabrics of bras are very unique. They have reforming and
reshaping abilities much like a rubber band. Since the structure of a bra is
strategically designed, a bra needs to rest and breathe in between uses. With
a 24 hour break, the fabric can readjust better to its original form and be
refreshed for its next wearing.
Old Thought: Bras are so expensive; they should last as long as my favorite
Busted: A 3 bra rotation can last a maximum of 18 months.
New Thought: You wear it from sun up to sun down. It goes everywhere, does
everything you do. It bends, and sweats, expands and shrinks. It absorbs
your body oils. It supports posture, in some cases holds heavy weight and
stands firm. These huge tasks take their toll. Again, just like an elastic band,
a bra will eventually lose its ability to snap back to its supporting form and
becomes incapable to support you properly. Only YOU can determine the life
span of a bra based on how you take care of it.
Old Thought: Bras must be hand washed and line dried with expensive
special care detergent.
Busted: Bras can be washed in washing machine and dryer IF you follow these
1. Connect hooks and eyelets together to prevent twisting or snagging
2. Place in a lingerie bag
3. Wash in cold water with a delicate fabric detergent (found anywhere)
4. Washing machine on delicate or gentle cycle
5. Dryer on gentle air-dry or “fluff” (no heat) cycle
· Lingerie bag: $5 Wal-Mart
· Ecos Fabric Cleaner $7.97 Wal-Mart
Old Thought: I know my bra size and am wearing the correct one right now.
Busted: 75-85% of women are wearing the wrong bra size.*
*Source: Breast Size, Bra Fit and Thoracic Pain in Young Women: A
New Thought: Women’s breasts vary widely in size and shape; most are
asymmetric to a degree and can change from month to month depending on
the menstrual cycle, taking birth control or other medications, pregnancy, or
weight gain or loss. Because life happens to all of us, get measured by a bra
fitting professional at least every 2-3 years. It takes less than 4 minutes, is
very discreet and is worth its weight in gold for health support.
· I recommend a bra fitting by any specialist in Nordstrom lingerie depts.
They are generally OUTSTANDING experts.
Part 2: It Will Care For You
Today’s bras are so advanced that you can literally call out any feature you
desire and there will be a specific design to achieve your desired look. And
do it so comfortably you won’t believe you are even wearing a bra!
Old Thought: Wearing a bra in good condition and the correct size doesn’t
matter as long as I am wearing one.
Busted: Wearing a well-fitting bra can be a matter of health.
New Thought: Doctors recommend that wearing a supportive bra in the
correct size can help improve or alleviate neck, shoulder and even back pain.
* Source: Deborah Franklin, Health Magazine/Universal Press Syndicate
Old Thought: Padded bras are only for smaller cup sizes.
Busted: Padded bras are great for SHAPING any cup size to your preference
while maintaining needed support.
New Thought: No matter your cup size, todays padded bras can create shape
WITHOUT adding volume. And shape is equally important to enhance your
favorite fall sweater.
But if its volume you want, welcome to the world of demi-bras…padding
below the breast to push you in and lift you up.
· To enhance shape (not volume) with padding: TBD
· To enhance size with padding: Chantelle Intimates Push-Up Plunge Bra
Old Thought: Lift comes from bulky padding and stiff underwire. So
Busted: Lift is a balance that can be achieved with proper strap and band
New Thought: Underwire today is flexible and contouring. Fit is everything
and proper fit should be found in your straps and band in relation to the
underwire and cup size. Make sure your straps align straight up and down
and do not tug or lift your back strap or cut into your shoulders. Your back
strap should be firm but not cutting into your back. If your straps, band and
cup size fit, your underwire should not be noticeable except in a flawlessly
lifted bust line.
Recommend: Balconet Bra Dillard’s $48
Old Thought: I am a size f/g. My bra resembles a harness yet I still look
Busted: Minimizing + support IS possible.
New Thought: First, the fuller the cup size, the wider the straps should be to
provide lift and equally displace support between the band, cup and straps.
Bras today are made in the same spandex designed to smooth out wrinkles
from pantyhose. While your comfort will be overflowing, your bosom will not.
Recommend: JC Penny’s has expansive selection of plus size bras from
ranging from a-i.
Old Thought: I had a mastectomy. Now my bra tells my story and I can’t find
a good shape.
Busted: I applaud your courageous journey having walked this with my own
mother. And I agree, your story should only be told if you want it to. You
have more options today than ever before. And many insurance plans will
cover the costs for these
Option A: A breast prosthesis simulates the shape of a natural breast. There
is a wide selection of thoughtfully created mastectomy bras designed to
make the prosthesis look natural. The shape and fabrics will
even provide comfort around the scarring area.
Option B: Built-in form bra. Designed with a polyurethane foam form
designed to simulate a breast.
Option C: Custom tailored bra