Helpful Info on Bra Shopping
Why is it that so many women hate bra shopping? With all the options on the market today, and all the “professional” fitters, you’d think that bra shopping is a piece of cake.
Well, it’s not, and I’ll tell you why.
There are so many factors that affect your bra fit that most women don’t know about. I think the industry is trying to do a better job at educating us, but we’ve got a long way to go.
Where Do I Begin?
Let’s start with some of the basics. The first thing you should know is that not all bras and breasts are created equal, so finding the right bra that fits your shape perfectly can be a challenge.
There are various breast shapes, body types, bras styles, and fabric compositions. Knowing a little about these will help you tremendously when you go shopping for your next bra.
There is not a standard breast shape.
Some are round, some are oval, some are long, and some are short. Some are perky, and others are droopy. Some are full on top, while others are full on bottom. Some are close together, and some are far apart. All are directional, but their headings vary: north, south, east, west 😉 Some are wide on top, while others are narrow. Some pairs are even different sizes. And of course the obvious, some are big, and some are small.
Just like the breast shape, there is no standard body type.
Broad backs, narrow shoulders, rib contours, and breast placement all come into play when finding the right fit.
Some bras styles work better on some shapes than others.
For seamed cup bras, the directions of the seams will affect the fit. Vertical seams work better with round breasts, and horizontal seams work better with oval breasts. Diagonal seams work well on both shapes and provide more uplift.
And then there are those molded cup bras. I do not like them, especially for larger breasts. They are made from foam that is pressed and steamed into place. The weight of the breasts will eventually cause the molded shape to stretch; therefore, the support is easily compromised. The thing is, they are cheaper to manufacture because there is less sewing involved. Unfortunately, they just don’t work well for the larger cups sizes. I could go on about how awful I think they are, but I will stop. My daughters love them. I hate them. We all have our own opinions on them.
Demi-cup bras are only half a bra cup, so unless you want your cups to floweth over, I would stay away from them as an every-day bra. They are, however, great to wear if you have a dress that is cut low across the top (versus a plunging neckline.)
The placement of the shoulder straps is also something to consider. Balconette and demi-cup bra straps are set farther apart. This is not a good option if you have narrow shoulders. Also, if you have large cups, the straps should be closer to the apex, so these might not work for you either.
Laces, fabrics, stabilizers, and elastics contribute to the support of the bra.
Finding the just the right fabric is tricky. It needs to be comfortable, supportive and contain just enough stretch to allow the girls some breathing room when needed.
When engineering pretty large-cup bras, the fabrics have to be both industrial strength and attractive — not two things you normally find working together. And let’s not forget something very important: comfort. There are rigid laces out there, but most are not comfortable enough to wear all day long. To provide the additional support to stretch laces, you have to incorporate a stabilizer, which adds another layer, which leads to additional work. My guess is this is why there are not more pretty large-cup bras on the market.
Nylon fabrics are best for stabilizing and support, as they have minimum stretch.
Elastics are used for the bands and sometimes the straps. After a while, the elastics will give, and you will notice your bra becoming looser. When this happens, it’s time to go bra shopping.
Just the Tip of the Iceberg
So there it is, some quick info to get you started. If you have any questions on what type of bra you should purchase, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
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