What was your first experience of wearing a bra?
Mine was horrendous.
I don’t even want to talk about it.
Lets just say at that particular time in my life, (and to be fair even to this date) I was not at all interested in discussing boobs and bras with my Mum, let alone having a stranger in a lingerie shop put her hands on me to *fit me* properly.
I don’t think I’ve ever owned a matching set of bra and knickers and I purchase most of my *undergarments* from sales at Target or Myer. (Seriously, I have bras that cost me less than $5).
Anyway, as I have been trying to grow up a bit recently (LOL) I decided to learn more about how to get a properly fitted bra, the different styles and how to take care of them.
So I got on the phone with the lovely Birkit Kroon from Simone Perele.
Birkit has worked with Simone Perele since 2004, initially in The Netherlands and now in Australia. She has a passion for the brand and says:
[quote]You can feel that every Simone Perele product is made with so much love, care and knowledge. Simone Perele designs lingerie that suits a woman’s body and not the other way around, where the body has to change to fit the lingerie.[/quote]
I have always thought bras were uncomfortable and uninteresting so it was fun to talk with someone who has a passion for them!
First off I asked Birkit about the sizing and what the numbers and letters mean.
An example is a bra that is sized 12C:
Birkit told me the number 12 indicates the band size around your torso and the letter C indicates the cup size.
However that does not mean that the cup in a 16C is the same size as the 12C cup!
As with other items of clothing and shoes, sizes are different the world over and often vary between brands as well. That’s why it is important to get fitted properly and if you can, purchase bras in a local shop so you know it fits correctly.
How do you know a bra is the correct size?
The band around your torso should not be too tight. You should be able to put 2 fingers between your back and your bra and move a little from left to right.
If it isn’t possible to move your fingers at all, the bra is too tight and will start irritating during the day.
A tight bra is not good. It leaves marks, the wires poke you all day, and you’ll probably end up with some bulging. (That’s attractive)
If it’s too easy to move your fingers then the bra is too loose. An example of this is when you see someone wearing a bikini top and the back of the bikini is almost in their neck. Too loose!
If wearing a bra with a wire, the wire should be completely around the breast, but not too high up under your arms at the same time. You breasts still need to be separated at the front.
Personally I always seem to have a red mark left around my torso whenever I wear a bra, I just always assumed I was wearing the wrong size. However Birkit suggests that:
We wear a bra to support our breast and our back, not to keep ourselves warm. It’s normal that when you want a bra to do its job, it is tighter around you than a t-shirt or a sweater. It’s like socks and jeans, they are a little more tight then the rest of the clothing because they need to stay in position. When you take them off you’ll always see a little red line.
She did stress that a red line is different to an irritation of the skin. It is never normal, says Birkit, to have to rub and scratch and to have irritated skin from wearing a bra.
A great point she made was that the red mark from a bra is kind of like sock marks. When socks lose elasticity and fall down your know they are too big and not the right fit. Same with a bra.
To underwire or not to underwire?
A wire gives a lot of support in a bra, more than a wireless bra. That does not necessarily make one *better* than the other. It simply means that you wear a bra to support the breast, neck and back and if you need more support than you are better off wearing a bra with a wire.
[box_success]Fun Fact: The underwire in a bra used to be steel. Ouch![/box_success]
Birkit recommends having one good strapless bra in your wardrobe as you will surely need it one day. A skin colour one is a good choice.
[quote]Spend a bit of money if you can and make sure you get a good one. Try your normal bra size first but keep in mind that strapless bras are made to wear tighter than your normal bras. [/quote]
What’s up with the 3 sets of hooks?
When buying a bra, always choose a bra that you have hooked in the middle.
Birkit says to never buy it on the tightest hook as then you can not adjust it. As you wear the bra and the band stretches you can move to using the end hook.
(I can honestly say I have never used anything other than the end hook. I really never thought that having 3 sets of hooks served any sort of actual purpose!)
[box_tip]Top tip: Birkit says you don’t need a bra at night as you’re lying down, the weight doesn’t hurt your back and you don’t need the support.[/box_tip]
Washing your bras
Things such as acid on the skin, moisturizers and sweat can influence when you should wash. But with normal use and wear, Birkit told me that you can wear a bra for 2 days before washing.
Now this I found interesting, Birkit says that washing bags are really to protect the washing machine, not the bra. As it’s very violent inside a washing machine a hook from a bra can actually cause damage to the machine.
If you are going to put your bras in a washing machine (tsk tsk) use a 30C (86ish F) wool wash in a machine that is neither too empty nor too full.
But of course hand washing is best.
And never, ever use a dryer.
How to store your nice bras
Once you have (hand ) washed your bras it is ideal to dry the bra as it will be worn. By that I mean hang the bra and make sure the cups are not folded, creased or pushed inside out.
Stacking is a good alternative to hanging. Simply make sure the cups are in the correct position and stack them on top of each other.
[box_tip]Top tip from Birkit: If you have a bra cup that has lines or creases, use the steam from a boiling kettle. Simply hold the cup over the steam and use the curved side of a spoon to press out any crease or folds.[/box_tip]
Two final thoughts from Birkit
[quote]Bras are like shoes, there are different shapes and different styes for different occasions.[/quote]
(You wouldn’t wear your dirty old sneakers with a formal gown would you?)