Are You Getting All the Support You Need?

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Much like in business, in your personal life you need to be able to count on that support. I’d like to address a different kind of support systems, a very underestimated but important topic, close to all “the girls”; it can add curves, reduce weight, lift up, bring together and help with all-around balance and posture. Now, that is an unconditional friend: the Bra!

As an Image Consultant I can say that it’s probably one of the most difficult items to shop for yet one of those that make the most difference with garments. When a bra fits well, so does the dress, or the top and it shows, in the attitude, the vibe and the strut…

70% of women wear the wrong size bra. If your bra creates bulges, the cups don’t fill, if they spillover or there’s too much cleavage, if the breasts are too far apart, or the band digs, chances are you are wearing the wrong size bra. Don’t panic, tips and principles spelled out ahead; a lesson in basics and simple facts to keep in mind:

  1. The band of the bra should fit snug around the torso but not too tight where it digs into your skin creating unflattering bulges, neither should it be so loose that it moves around creeping up and changing the center point, exactly at the sternum.
  2. Cups should lie flat against the skin, enveloping the breast, no puckering (too big a cup), no poking (too small).
  3. If the cups and straps fit but the band is not long enough to go around the torso in a way that a finger can fit through, then an extender would be a good solution. They are sold in most places where you buy your bra.
  4. Different bras are meant for different purposes and lifestyles: underwire, soft cup, balconnet, racer-back, minimizer, push-up, padded, convertible, full coverage, breast feeding and mastectomy bras. When buying a garment with a unique cut, neckline or back opening, make sure that you consider the undergarment. It is wise to try it on with the correct bra before committing to it just to make sure you are comfortable with it and you have all the necessary pieces that you need to be able to wear it even for a last minute dinner. It’s a great stress reducer!
  5. There has been a 150 percent increase between 1998 and 2003 in the number of U.S. women opting to have both breasts removed to minimize the possibility of cancer spreading. If you have had a mastectomy or a lumpectomy find a certified bra fitter that can assist you with selecting a bra that is right for you, for the type of surgery you had, the stage of healing and the placement of the scars. The American Cancer Society’s web site www.cancer.org is a great resource for searching this and other related information.
  6. Take good care of your intimate apparel so it lasts longer. Hand washing bras in cold water and drying on a flat surface over a towel, are best. However, if you need to use a washer and dryer, the delicate cycle is a must; use a delicate fabric wash as well, it is gentler and it prolongs the life of your undergarments.
  7. Is your cup full? Find your size. Sizes range from: AA, A, B, C, D, DD also called E, DDD or F, G, H, I,J, and K. Some manufacturers also have half sizes for cups that fall in-between the most common ones and others offer petite as well, which tend to fit breasts which are closer together.
  8. To be or not to be? Unless you are participating in a wet T-shirt contest, color bras under a white top are not advised. Better choices for a feminine, intriguing approach and depending on the skin tone are: beige, taupe, buff, chocolate and in some cases, off white for a more daring look (office staff, please disregard). T-shirt bras have a smooth finish that makes them poetically invisible and good under practically everything versus the lacy construction of the more commonly known as “sexy lingerie”. I recommend lace for wearing under “forgiving fabrics”, those that don’t show everything under the sun, unless the desired effect, of course, calls for a purr….

For those who have a more difficult time finding the right bra, there are a number of specialty stores; you can search the internet or ask your trusted local wardrobe consultant or boutique to see who they work with.  It is important that they work with a vendor with access to a large selection of brands and that is available to meet you and measure and consult with you about your particular isssues.  How long should a bra last? You need retire the bra when you can pull the back band more than 1 inch away from your back.  When you have it clasped on the tightest hooks and you are still tugging, shifting and moving you bra and breasts into place throughout the day, it is time to say goodbye, no matter how attached you are to your “buddy”. Most brands suggest that their bras are only good for a year if the bra isn’t being worn daily or very frequently; the less you wear it, the longer you can keep it, so stock up on bras and get pretty ones too!..

A word (or two) of advice from the wise: as your body grows older and changes, so should your bra needs. Go for fitting at least once a year. Buy bras that make you feel as well as look great. A properly fitting bra can do wonders for you, your clothes and, may I add, for your self esteem; the gift of our undercover friend is simply priceless: the inner hug that just makes us feel secure and stand tall…


write by Anthea

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