Ladies. I want to talk about your underwear.

Ugh. I’m so sick of four boob. With the weather last week being very lovely, the ladies of Glasgow took off a few layers and the land witnessed how many of them wore ill fitting bras. I spent most of the time wanting to lecture women on correct bra sizing and fitting. How is it that so many women just plain don’t know how to find a correct size bra?

Messy Carla wrote a bit about it recently, but I wanted to go into it too, since its something thats frustrated me for so long. I’m a girl of, shall we say, generous sizing, and I didn’t always know how to fit my own bra. I still don’t know why its not compulsory to learn how to size yourself, the same way you need to learn about tampons and shaving your legs. There’s always been that statistic of 75% of women wear the wrong size bra, and for something that makes such a social, personal and sometimes maternal impact on our lives, we really don’t take care of our breasts!

I abide by a few simple rules about my bras, and since I started following them, I’ve seldom had trouble. Of course, whats right for me may not be right for another, but I’ll ask you to at least try them out, especially if you are always complaining about your bra. A bra should be a wonderful help, something to make you feel good and even sexy! There’s nothing better than wearing lingerie under a tatty old tshirt, a little secret only you know 🙂 Beautifully fitted underwear *does* make you feel better, improving your posture and making you comfortable in any situation. Trust me, its a whole different ball game when you can go about your life without worrying about your bra!

So, the rules.

1. Primark sucks. Sorry, its true. You can get some cute looking bras there but it won’t wash well, the underwire WILL poke through sooner rather than later and their sizing is atrocious. When paying for the things that will sit closest to your body, in the most intimate of places, quality counts. Treat your body with a few carefully selected well made pieces, not 39 cheap bras that itch and ride up. Leave the cheap stuff for the outside, know you are a total queen underneath.

2. Look after these bras. Even if you don’t hand-wash them (which is best but lets face it, you won’t always have time/inclination) make sure you have a lingerie bag for machine washing, and use a delicates friendly detergent. Hook the bra clips together before you wash them so they don’t attach themselves to something else or damage anything. Make sure there’s plenty of room in the machine for them to tumble around. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE TUMBLE DRY BRAS. Always air dry. Clear?

3. Wearing a bra right now? Do me favour and lift up both straps as high as they’ll go. If there’s more than an inch gap between the straps and your shoulder, you’re wearing it waaay too loose. Use the ring slide to tighten the strap until the pull is only about an inch. It may seem too tight but that’s why you have the extra inch. That sounded much dirtier than it was supposed to. The inch will still let you (and your boobs) move without straps falling down or your boobs flying out.

4. Having just done that, go stand at a mirror (after you’ve read this bit!) check the middle bit joining the cups together, called the gore and see if it sits flat against your body. If it juts out at any angle or doesn’t rest on your skin at all, this bra does not and probably will not fit you. Have a look round back, assuming its a standard back fastener. Even after tightening up the straps, this should not ride up, but instead go straight around and level with the bottom of the front of your bra (this is often where cheap bras fail, especially very thin strapped or thin backed ones). Basically, if this happens its because the back of the bra is not constructed to support the weight of your breasts pushing down the cups. If this is the case, chuck. It is not the bra for you. Donate it/them if you can, maybe there’s a home for them someplace else, but right now its not doing you any favours.

5. Finding a new bra is difficult. In 3 different places I got 3 different sizes, because even though we know dress sizes ranging from shop to shop, bra sizes are meant to be universal. They’re not. And even when you do find a shop you like, the ranges! The possibilities! But, try as I might, I will never be comfortable in or suit a triangle bra. I need full support for these bad boys! I tried what styles were recommended for my size, and found I always stuck with balconette bras. These flatter my shape more than half cup (even fully secure I felt it looked like I was spilling out of them!) or full cup (granny bra alert!). I definetely couldn’t get away with backless bras (no glue could keep these up at a manageable level!), or most plunge bras (the gore is often very flimsy and I need more support). But this part is personal to you, and your size. Try stuff on, bounce around in the dressing room (it’s research!) and trust your body. Have a look at what’s out there. Get fitted at each store so you know what their sizing thinks you are. Ask questions about the construct of the bra. Any decent bra fitter should be happy to answer these questions.

6. Got a bra you’re happy with? Awesome. Lets put it on like a pro. Like the corsets of days gone by (and in my case, last Saturday, but thats another story!) the reason you get at least three sets of ‘eyes’ for your hooks is the bra is supposed to mould and form itself to your shape in time, and you use these to tighten it as it wears in. For a brand new bra you should fasten it at the last one (at this point it’ll still be tight at this size). So, with cups lying with the outside of the bra resting on your stomach, clip the eyes and hooks together. If you usually clip them at the front then spin it round the back, try to clip them at the back as this saves stretching the fabric. Pull your straps, and by extension cups, up into place, pulling them up to check the tightness and adjust if necessary. Double check your back to see if you haven’t twisted the fabric and it is sitting at the correct level. Move your thumb over and under the gore to check it is sitting against your skin. Finally, lean over slightly, hold the top of your cups up and out a little, and jiggle your boobs! Seriously, this fills the cup more naturally and redistributes your breast tissue, so when you let the cups go and stand up straight, don’t be surprised if you suddenly have a cleavage where you didn’t before! True story, after fixing my sister’s bra for her she found herself SCANDALISED I TELL YOU to see she did have a cleavage after all! Heh!

So thats it. My rules. It boils down to, the closer it is to my skin the more expensive it is (a good life lesson I think!), never put up with bad bras, and when the difference of about 20 seconds fixing my bra gives me a days worth of vavavoom, its totally worth it.

Let me know about your experiences/tips/whatever! And if you try out anything I’ve suggested, let me know about that too!


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