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Hand-washingair drying, and careful storage are some of the more obvious things that might come to mind if you’re trying to take better care of your bras. But did you know that the way you put them on is important too? It’s easy to over-stretch a bra band when you’re getting dressed, and doing that repeatedly, day after day, will take its toll on the elastic.

So to help you increase the longevity of your bras, here’s how to – and how not to – put one on.

Don’t put your bra on like this

Almost all bras use a hook-and-eye fastening, and I get it, they can be fiddly. But you should never, ever fasten it off the body and then:

Pull your bra over your head

or

Step into your bra and pull it up

Both of these methods stretch the band excessively. One forces the band to its limits when you’re yanking it down over your shoulders, and the other involves pulling it over your hips and stomach, at least one of which is usually wider than the ribcage it was intended for.

If you put your bra on like this, the band will quickly stretch out and become too loose to be supportive. You might break stitches and damage seams. You could even stretch the elastic to the point of snapping – ever noticed tiny threads poking messily out of your lingerie fabric? That’s broken elastic.

The exception to this rule is, of course, stretchy bralettes and bandeaus that don’t have any fastening, and are intended to be a pull-on style. However, it’s still a good idea to go slowly and stretch these types of bras as little as possible. They’ll last longer if you do.


Related: Here’s How To Make Your Bras Last Longer


correct way to put on a bra

Vanna Unlined Wire Bra | Vanna Hipster in Black/Gray

Do put your bra on like this

Most of us fasten our bras one of the two following ways. Although they are both fine to do, one is slightly better than the other:

Fasten your bra behind your back (the best way)

Doing up your bra directly behind your back puts the least strain on the band. At no point is it stretched more than it will be when you’re wearing it. If you’re really determined to not stretch out your bra bands, this is the way you want to be putting them on.

It’s extra important here to scoop and swoop. It’s very easy to end up with your breasts not sitting in the cups correctly when you put your bra on this way.

Fasten your bra at the front and then swivel it

Of course, not everyone is physically able to reach around to their back. And yet others of us are, but just can’t get the hang of doing up hooks-and-eyes that we can’t see!

The problem with putting your bra on backwards to begin with and then twisting it is that, again, you might over-stretch the band in the process. Especially if you secure your band very tightly, it could be difficult to swivel it round without lots of tugging.

So although this is a very common and not ‘wrong’ way to put a bra on, do be gentle! Take it slow and don’t pull the band further out from your body than you really need to. Use two hands, pulling the band from either side at the same time, so that you’re not putting lots of strain on one side only.

If you have mobility issues but like a firm band and are worried about stretching them out, you could always consider a front-fastening bra instead.

Are you a swiveller or a reacher? Or – hopefully not for much longer after reading this – do you prefer to pull your bras on?


Related: 6 Reasons Why We Adore Front Closure Bras


putting on a bra

Vanna Unlined Wire Bra | Vanna Hipster in Bare/Ivory

We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!


Featured image lingerie:
Vanna Plunge Padded Bra | Vanna Hipster in Bare/Ivory

Boudoir photo shoots have boomed in popularity in the past decade. Traditionally something a woman might have done to gift to her partner, today women are increasingly booking boudoir shoots just for themselves. It’s a chance to dress up in your fanciest lingerie and pretend to be a model for a few hours – it’s fun, it’s pampering, and you get some gorgeous photos of yourself at the end of it. Plus maybe even a newfound level of self-confidence.

Once you’ve picked your boudoir shoot photographer, it’s time to choose the lingerie. There are a few other things to consider taking too, such as heels and props, but the lingerie will of course form the basis of your outfit. So don’t leave it to the last minute! You want time to find not just the perfect look but the perfect fit, so order with enough time that you can exchange sizes if needed.

There are all sorts of lingerie styles to choose from, from bra sets to basques to babydolls, but above all you want to pick pieces that make you feel like your most fabulous self. This is a chance to treat yourself to something really fancy – something that will both look great on camera and make you feel like a million dollars.

For the full-busted people among you, I’ve picked out six of the most glamorous Parfait bras as inspiration. From lace to satin to strapping details, here are some boudoir-perfect styles:

The Cora Unlined Longline Bra

boudoir photo shoot

Cora Unlined Longline Bra | Cora Bikini in Navy Blue

With lashings of beautiful lace, petal-like layers at the base of each cup, and subtle satin trims, this bra is the epitome of elegance. The longline shape also makes it perfect for those wanting a little more coverage in front of the camera. I especially love the rich, navy blue colourway, but it also comes in a romantic crimson pink, and bridal-looking pale ecru and blush pink. 32-44 D-G cups.

The Lulu Underwire Bra

boudoir photo shoot ideas

Lulu Underwire Bra | Lulu Hipster in Scarlette

Although black is a perpetual lingerie drawer favourite, I would recommend going for a splash of colour when it comes to a boudoir photo shoot. The details of the lingerie will show up so much better. The swirly black lace here contrasts beautifully against the bright red cups of this bra in ‘Scarlette’, for an striking effect the camera will love. It also comes in a blend of purples and grey-on-black. 32-40 D-G cups.

The Briana Unlined Wire Bra

what is a boudoir photo shoot

Briana Unlined Wire Bra | Briana Highwaisted Brief in Black Floral

Just love black lingerie best and can’t be persuaded otherwise? This embroidered bra is a gorgeous compromise. Although mainly black, that just serves to make the pale embroidery on the cups really ‘pop’. Plus the strappy details are ultra-chic! Planning a bridal boudoir shoot? It also comes in a graceful white version. 32-44 D-H cups.


Related: 5 Reasons Why You Should Do A Boudoir Photo Shoot


The Mariela Unlined Wire Bra

what to wear for a boudoir photo shoot

Mariela Unlined Wire Bra | Mariela Bikini in Nightshadow Blue

If the vibe you’re going for is luxury, it’s simply got to be this bra. The blend of satin and lace – left sheer on the upper cup – is beautiful, as are the finishing details such as the keyhole at the centre-front. I can’t decide which version of it I like more – this sultry black and midnight blue, or the mauve and lilac. 32-44 D-H cups.

The Sandrine Plunge Longline Bra

boudoir photo shoot tips

Sandrine Plunge Longline Bra | Sandrine Hipster in Burgundy

Another longline option for those after either a touch more coverage or enhanced support, this bra is perfect for creating images that are a little flirty. It has a sexy plunge neckline, and the matching briefs are made entirely from sheer lace. Even better, it comes in a whole bunch of colours to suit your style. This deep burgundy is my personal favourite for creating glamour, but you could also choose bright pinkpale pinkivoryblack, or blue. 30-40 D-G cups.

The Marion Unlined Wire Bra

classy boudoir photo shoot ideas

Marion Unlined Wire Bra | Marion Hipster in Tango Red

Bring drama and passion to your boudoir photo shoot in this vibrant, lipstick red bra. It has fully-lace cups for a pretty touch, with a little keyhole and bow to separate them. I do however also love the light pink version, which would be perfect for a more retro vibe. It also comes in royal blue and black, both with the same light beige lining to best show off the lace’s pattern. 30-44 D-H cups.

Which of these bras would you love to wear for a boudoir photo shoot? Let me know in the comments below.


Related: What To Bring To Your First Boudoir Photo Shoot


We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!


Featured image lingerie:
Briana Unlined Wire Bra | Briana Highwaisted Brief in Black Floral

Menopause is a period of significant hormonal changes that can last for years, and cause everything from excess sweating to swollen, sensitive nipples. It’s no wonder they call it the second puberty! Although it’s a completely natural part of aging, it definitely has the potential to leave you feeling pretty miserable.

The most well-known symptom of menopause has got to be hot flashes, a sudden feeling of heat that can be accompanied by sweating, which some people experience multiple times per day (and night!).

However, your breasts also undergo some significant changes that can cause issues of their own.

Breast changes during menopause

During perimenopause (the period shortly before the actual menopause) estrogen levels can spike, just like they do in pregnancy. And that can lead to breast swelling and tenderness.

Later, your estrogen production drops off. Since estrogen plays a role in keeping your skin supple, this can cause the skin on and around your breasts, plus the connective tissue inside them, to become less elastic. At the same time, your glandular tissues which were there to produce milk begin to shrink, making your breasts feel less firm. It’s the combination of these two factors that causes sagging.

But that’s not all. Your cup size may increase with menopause. In many cases, that’s down to general weight gain caused by a gradually slowing metabolism. So before you buy any new ideas, it’s a good idea to book a bra fitting to confirm the size you need – one which may change multiple times before it’s over.


Related: 6 Factors That Can Cause Your Breast Size To Change


Bra and lingerie tips for menopause

Because your breasts are one of the places where the signs of menopause can be seen and felt the most, changing up your lingerie can really help to alleviate some of that discomfort. Now full disclosure, I haven’t gone through menopause myself yet. But based on the symptoms above, it’s clear to me that you should be prioritizing two things – comfort, and breathability.

Here’s how to get them:

Soft, seamless fabrics

If your breasts are feeling sore or tender, pay special attention to the fabrics your bras are made from. Aim to buy lingerie in store if possible, so you can feel the garment in your hand see just how soft, or not, it is.

Cheaper laces and embroideries can potentially feel scratchy, especially if left unlined, so you may prefer to get your dose of chic design from a print instead. And it may also make sense to avoid seamed cups, since those seams can irritate sensitive skin.

Breathable fibers

Whether it’s a bra, a brief, or a set of PJs, the key to staying cool during hot flushes and night sweats is fabric that lets your skin breathe. Breathable underwear is also crucial to keep yeast infections at bay, something that menopause-related vaginal dryness puts you at a higher risk of.

Look for natural fibers such as silk, bamboo, linen and cotton, and avoid polyester, a common man-made one that traps moisture against your skin. Synthetic fabrics described as ‘moisture wicking’ are okay though, since these are technical fabrics woven in such a way that they encourage moisture to evaporate away. Side note: a silk nightie won’t do you much good if you’re sleeping in polyester bedding, so check that too!

Unlined bras

You may also find that thick, molded foam cups cause you to overheat and lead to a bad case of ‘boob sweat’. If that’s so, swap your padded and t-shirt bras for unlined ones. They’re more lightweight and breathable, and yet you may be surprised to know that this style can be equally supportive!

Wire-free bras

Suffering from breast tenderness? A well-fitting bra with underwires shouldn’t feel uncomfortable, so definitely book that bra fitting to check you’re not simply wearing wires that are too long or short for you.

However, there is, of course, the option of going wireless. Whether you choose a soft and stretchy bralette or a wire-free bra with a little more structure to it, many people find these to be the most comfortable choice on days when their breasts are feeling particularly delicate.

Especially if you are going or have gone through menopause, I’d love to hear what lingerie fabrics and styles worked best for you. Leave a comment down below!


Related: How To Shop For Wireless Bras


We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!


Featured image lingerie:
Dalis Bralette & Hipster in Bare | Ciara Bralette & Bikini in Ivory | Adriana Lace Bralette & Bikini in Raspberry

Breasts don’t just come in different sizes, they come in significantly different shapes too. And from the level of perkiness to how spaced-apart they are, that affects how bras will fit. But luckily, bras come in a whole bunch of styles, each suited to different breast shapes. There’ll always be something – that perfect combination of size and style – that fits you like a glove. You just need to find out what it is.

And once you do discover not just your best bra size but also your ideal bra design, shopping for great-fitting bras will become much easier!

Today, we’re looking specifically at styles and solutions for ‘full on bottom’ breasts.

What are full on bottom breasts?

Essentially, this breast shape has more tissue below the nipple than above it. The lower half of the breast is fuller and more rounded, while the top is not. It also sometimes gets called ‘shallow on top’ for that reason. If you take your bra off and stand side-on to a mirror, you’ll know you probably have full-on-bottom breasts if they follow a straight or concave line out from your upper chest down to the nipple.

Lots of people have full-on-bottom breasts. Sometimes, it’s the shape your breasts originally grew into. Other times, it’s due to lost upper-fullness as a result of aging, weight loss, or prior pregnancy.

Fit problems of full on bottom breasts

If you have full-on-bottom breasts, you’ve likely had issues with gaping bra cups at some point. That’s because your upper breast is too shallow to always fill the top part of the cup out.

Although a gaping cup is often a sign that you need a smaller cup size, it’s not always that simple. If you’re filling out the lower part of the cup perfectly but just not the top of it, sizing down could mean there’s now not enough space at the bottom. Instead, what you need in this situation is a change of bra style.


Related: Why Bra Cups Gap (And How To Avoid It)


best bras for full on bottom breasts

Cora Unlined Longline Bra | Cora Bikini in Pale Blush

Ideal bra styles for full on bottom breasts

Shorter cups

Half-cup and demi bras (which includes balconette bras) only come up as high as the mid-breast or so, meaning that they encase the full part of your breast only. Higher up, where the cup may otherwise gape, they have no fabric. Hence, these are a perfect bra style for this breast shape!

Plunge bras are unique in that they have a very low cup at the centre, but then are taller at the outer sides. So there is still potential for them to gape towards the apex, where the cup joins the strap. Look for plunge bras where even the highest part of the cup sits quite low, ideally no higher than the underarm.

Stretch fabrics

Molded bras hold their rounded shape even on the hanger, so you either fill them out or you don’t. They don’t mold their shape to you in the way that an unlined, stretch-fabric bra would. If you’re having issues with gaping cups that are molded, switching to stretch-lace or stretch-mesh bras can make all the difference. Bralettes can be a good choice, but it’s perfectly possible to find wired bras made from stretch fabrics too.

You don’t even need to find a bra that’s stretchy all-over. A stretch-lace trim across the upper cup can be all that’s needed for it to lie flush against your skin.

Push-up bras

If there’s padding at the base of the cup, your breast tissue sits on top of it and so gets lifted higher. This creates a more rounded shape to your upper breast – in other words, adding upper fullness. So push-up padding can help you to fill out the tops of cups better.

Don’t want to buy a whole new bra? You can also use padded inserts, sometimes called bra cookies, to recreate that push-up effect in a regular bra you already own.

If you have full-on-bottom breasts, which bras or bra styles have worked best for you?


Related: How To Tell If A Bra Fits In 4 Easy Steps


full on bottom breasts

Briana Unlined Wire Bra | Briana Highwaisted Brief in Black Floral

We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!


Featured image lingerie:
Charlotte Padded Bra | Charlotte Bikini in Blossom Print

If you’re a plus-sized person, it seems only sensible to assume that you need a plus-size bra. However, bra sizing works very differently to sizing for tops and dresses, and things aren’t quite that simple.

Many plus-sized people, of course, do wear plus-sized bras. But if you are on the smaller end of plus, you may not need to. Also, it’s possible to need a plus-size bra even if, for your outerwear wardrobe, you are on the larger end of straight sizing (such as a US 10 or 12).

What bra sizes are plus-sized?

It helps to start by explaining what the term ‘plus size’ means in the lingerie world. It refers solely to the band length, the numerical part of your band size, and has nothing to do with cup size. Although there is slight debate on where plus sizing starts for bras, it’s either a 38 or a 40 band depending on who you ask.


Related: Are Full Bust Bras and Plus Size Bras The Same Thing?


what is plus size bra

Charlotte Padded Bra | Charlotte High Waist Brief in Nude

Why a well-fitting bra band matters

The band of a bra is responsible for the majority of the support work. If you simply assume you’ll need a 38+ size because you wear plus-sized clothing, you may end up in a band size that’s actually too big.

A band that’s too loose won’t offer much lift and could lead to backache and slipping shoulder straps. It helps to educate yourself about how a bra band should fit, so you know what to check for.

Why isn’t it as simple as plus-sized clothing = plus-sized bras?

Reason 1: Bra sizing varies (rather a lot!)

The actual numbers on clothing sizes have no direct relation to your size, i.e. if you wear a size 20, that doesn’t mean that a particular part of your body or the garment measures 20″. That becomes especially clear when you remember that what the US calls a size 20, the UK calls a size 24 and Europe calls a size 52. They’re just arbitrary numbers.

Bra band sizes, on the other hand, are based on actual measurements, with a 40C bra, for example, intended for someone with a 40″ underbust. Well, or not. There is a lot of variation in how bra sizes are measured, with some brands still favouring a traditional ‘+4’ fitting method (in which someone with a 36″ underbust would add four to it to arrive at a bra band size of 40).

And that is one part of the problem. Some 40C bands will stretch up to 40″, others will only stretch up to 36″. There’s a whole lot of variation between different brands. More so, possibly, than with brands that make other types of clothing.

Reason 2: More things influence bra fit than just measurements

Lack of standardization is one reason, but even if all 40 bra bands measured exactly the same, that wouldn’t mean that everyone wearing one had the same underbust measurement.

That’s because finding a bra band size that fits involves more than just taking a measurement. A few things influence the band size you’ll need, such as your muscle-to-body-fat ratio and your bone structure.

Because of this, it’s not as simple as saying a US 16 equals a 40 band, an 18 a 42 band, and so on. Bra sizes and clothing sizes don’t align neatly like that. And at the point where straight and plus sizes meet, there’s some overlap. A smaller plus-sized person who prefers a tighter band or is simply wearing a brand that comes up small could get their best fit in a 36 or 34 band size. While a larger straight-sized person could be wearing a 38 or 40 because it’s what works best for them.

So do I need a plus-sized bra if I’m plus-sized?

Coming back to our original question, the answer is “not necessarily”. If you are on the cusp of straight and plus sizing with an underbust measurement in the region of 34-42″, you may or may not need a plus-size bra. The best way to find out is to get a professional bra fitting. Just remember that sizing varies between brands, so it’s perfectly possible to be a 36-band in one brand and a 40-band in another!


Related: Ask A Bra Fitter: What Are Bra Fittings Like?


what is the best bra for plus size

Charlotte Padded Bra | Charlotte High Waist Brief in Black

If you are between straight and plus sizing for outerwear, do you wear plus-sized bras? Why or why not?


We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!


Featured image lingerie:
Marion Unlined Wire Bra | Marion Hipster in Tango Red

Most of us, whatever size or shape we are, would like a silhouette that’s sleek and smooth. It’s especially frustrating when our lingerie creates bumps that aren’t there without it – I’m looking at you, VPL! But it’s not just briefs that can lead to a lumpy look, bras can too.

Here are four ways that your bra could be creating a bumpy outline, and how to fix them (without any need to resort to shapewear):

Cup overspill

how to tell if your bra is too small

Cup overspill happens when the cup size you’re wearing is too small. It also gets called ‘quad-boob’ or ‘double-boob’ because, from the side, you end up with two bumps instead of one. Overspill is most visible when you’ve got a close-fitting t-shirt on top.

There’s an easy solution to this – choose a larger cup size. Your breast tissue is spilling out of the current cups because there’s just not enough room for all of it to go inside. You can also minimise the likehilood of overspill by choosing a bra with a taller cup, such as a full cup bra, which will contain your breast tissue better than a low-cut demi or plunge.

Misshapen cups

lumpy bra

If it’s a molded bra cup bra that’s looking lumpy, check that that cups are still in good shape (literally!). Unlike an unlined bra which molds to your body, a molded one holds its shape – so if the cups are dented off the body, they’re probably going to look dented on the body too.

If the cups are misshapen, wash the bra and then reshape them while it’s damp, before laying the bra face-up on a towel or draped over a washing line to dry. Unfortunately, because molded cups are formed with special machines that use heat and pressure to ‘stamp’ them into shape, it can sometimes be impossible to get big dents out with just our fingers.

To avoid damaging molded cups in the first place, hand-wash and air-dry them (so they’re not tossed about in machines), reshape them while damp as explained, and pad out or stack the cups when storing so they don’t get crushed.


Related: Bra Care 101: How To Wash Bras


Band cutting in

how tight should bra band be

If your bra band is digging in at the sides or back and creating bulges, that could mean that it’s too small. Your bra band should feel firm, but it shouldn’t be so tight that it’s uncomfortable or leads to chafing. Try a larger band size, but be sure it still lies horizontally all the way around your body (which is essential for good support).

The issue could also be that the band is too narrow. Especially if you have lots of soft flesh around your ribcage, a narrow band may always create a bump here even in the right size. In this case, try a bra with wider wings, which will be more smoothing.

Straps digging in

bra straps too tight

Is the bumpiness on your shoulders? Straps that dig in are often the result of a band that’s too big. The band won’t be offering enough support, so you may have the straps set extra-tight to compensate. But while shortening the straps can lift your breasts up to some degree, overdoing it can lead to discomfort and ‘shoulder dents’ visible under clothing.

You should be able to comfortably fit a finger or two under your straps at the shoulder. If not, adjust them longer. However, also check that your bra band isn’t curving up at the back, and try a smaller band size if it is.

As with bra bands, straps can also dig in when they’re too narrow. This is especially the case if you’re full-busted, since you’ll have lots of weight pulling down on them! A wider strap spreads that weight over a larger surface area so it presses in less – just like snowshoes stop you from sinking into the snow.

You don’t have to let a bra interrupt the clean lines of your outfit. Do you like your bras to look completely smooth (invisible even) under clothing?


Related: Bra Shopping Guide: Tips For Buying New Bras


We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

When we talk about the different bra shapes, what generally comes to mind is the cup style – plunge, demi, triangle and so on. But there’s another very important part of the bra that affects its fit: the back.

The shape that the band and straps make at the back can have an impact on the support, comfort, and practicality of the bra.

Read on for our guide to the six most common shapes you’ll come across, with the pros and cons of each. 

Square back

With a square back bra, the band runs straight across and the straps meet it at right angles, creating a square-shaped outline. It’s a very common bra shape.

The downside to a square back is that it can be rather visible under clothing. Square back bras have a tendency to cut in more, especially if the band is narrow. However, because it’s an easy and inexpensive construction method, square back bras are frequently priced lower than other styles.

Ballet, Leotard or U back

Like square backs, ballet or leotard backs are pretty common. They get their name because their shape is similar to that of a ballet leotard – the band curves down from one strap and up to the other in a smooth, continuous line. Together, the straps and band form a ‘U’ outline, hence why this shape is also called a U back.

Ballet backs have wider bands to allow enough depth for the line to swoop down and up again, and that makes them more supportive. You’ll find this shape on many full-bust bras.

V back

This bra back shape is pretty self-explanatory – the straps are angled in a more-or-less straight line from the shoulder to the centre fastening. Together, they form a ‘V’ shape.

V back bras are a solution for anyone with narrow or sloping shoulders that regularly experiences their bra straps slipping off their shoulders. Because these straps are being pulled in towards the centre of the body, they’re held in place more securely. This also helps to make the bra more supportive.

Many, though not all, V back bras also have a deep band, which would make them extra-smoothing. Those particular V back bras are a great choice for eliminating back bulge, too.


Related: Which Part Of The Bra Provides The Most Support?


Racerback

A racerback bra is not dissimilar to a V back one, except that the straps converge higher up, between the shoulder blades. The resulting shape is hence more of a ‘Y’ than a ‘V’. Sometimes, the straps will separate out again after they’ve joined, thus creating an ‘X’ shape.

Racer back bras are incredibly supportive, and are often found on sports bras – hence the name. They offer lots of lift and support, and definitely won’t slip off your shoulders.

Because the straps are joined, racer back bras usually have a front rather than back fastening, so that they’re easier to get on. This means they’re an ideal choice for people with limited arm mobility.

T back

A T back is similar to a racer back, but the straps meet even higher up the body, just behind the neck. A single strap or strip of fabric then runs down the spine to meet the band. Thus, creating a ‘T’ shape.

Again, T back bras completely eliminate the problem of slipping straps. They’re also typically front-fastening. Unlike racer backs, however, these are often designed more as a fashion statement than with support in mind, using only narrow elastic or pretty lace for a delicate look you’ll want to show off.

Low back

A low back bra is exactly what it sounds like, one with a band that sits lower than usual on the body. Since having the band too low reduces the support, it is often extra-wide to try to compensate for that.

You can buy converter straps to turn a normal, back-fastening bra into a low-backed one, but again, this reduces the support level. A low-back bra isn’t designed for everyday wear. It’s intended especially for wearing with low-backed clothing when you’d rather have some support than not wear a bra at all.

Can you think of any other bra back shapes I’ve missed off this list? What’s your favourite style to wear and why?


Related: This Is Why Your Bra Band Rides Up Your Back


We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

Bras are rarely cheap, and finding one that you like and that fits well can take some effort. Once you’ve finally got hold of one that ticks your boxes, the last thing you want is for it to fall apart a month or two later. Put it in the tumble dryer however, and that’s exactly what could happen.

Bras may look like ultra-sturdy garments, with all their wiring, molding and thick elastic, but they are deceptively delicate. It’s essential that you take good care of them to keep them looking good and fitting well. And allowing your bras to air dry is the most important step of your care routine.

What’s the problem with tumble-drying bras?

Tumble dryers work by tossing your clothes about while blasting them with hot air. Both of those things can be damaging to bras, but it’s the heat that’s the primary issue.

Certain fabrics can shrink when exposed to excessive heat, such as silk and rayon. And nylon, the fiber that a lot of lace is made from, can be damaged or discoloured if subjected to heat for too long.

But the biggest problem of all is what heat does to elastic because that’s in all of our modern bras. Many fabrics contain elastane (also known as spandex or Lycra), from stretch lace to powermesh. And even if the bra is made from a non-stretch fabric such as pure silk, it will have elastic trims. Most bra bands are edged with it, and the shoulder straps will always be at least partly made from elastic.

The high heat of the tumble dryer breaks down elastic fibers, irreversibly damaging them in a way that makes elastic lose its stretch. 


Related: Bra Care 101: How To Wash Bras


how to hang bras to dry

How does tumble-drying reduce the bra’s lifespan?

Once your bra band loses its stretch, it’s no longer fit for purpose. This is the part of the bra that’s responsible for around 80% of the support work, and it can only do that if it’s fitting nice and snugly.

If your bra band has stretched out just a little, you can move the hook-and-eye fastening in a step. But if you keep tumble drying it, eventually the elastic will degrade to the point that the bra feels loose even on the tightest setting. You’ll know that your bra band is too loose when it starts to ride up between your shoulder blades.

Similarly, the strap elastic will become less and less stretchy, eventually starting to fall off your shoulders even when adjusted to the shortest length.

Tumble-drying also shortens the bra’s lifespan simply through the repeated action of being flung against the inside of the drum (and against any heavy clothes, such as jeans, that you may be drying with it). Molded cups can become misshapen, and fabric can begin to wear thin from all the rubbing.

To summarise, the tumble dryer puts your bra through a lot of needless wear and tear. It makes the bra ‘age’ much quicker than it otherwise would. After less time than you probably think, the bra will start looking older, stop fitting so well, and may even break, such as the underwire popping out of its casing.

can you dry bras in the dryer

How should I air dry my bras?

You can either hang your bras up or lay them flat to dry. If you hang them up, don’t do it by the straps or band as this will cause the elastic to stretch out. Instead, drape them over the washing line or drying rack from the centre-front. If you’re using pegs, I recommend finding ones with rubber grips to avoid snagging delicate fabrics.

You can remove some of the excess water from unmolded bras so that they dry quicker by pressing them between a towel. It’s not a good idea to crush the cups of molded bras however, which can deform them. Speaking of which, remember to reshape these cups while they’re still damp to help them dry nice and smooth.

If you have particularly wet bras to dry, which can often be the case after hand-washing, you can even give them a whirl in a clean salad spinner. It mimics the spin cycle of a washing machine, only on a much gentler scale.

Lastly, be sure to air dry your bras somewhere with good ventilation, if you’re drying them inside. It will avoid them staying damp for ages, something that can lead to clothes having a less-than-pleasant smell.


Related: Organize Your Lingerie Drawer In 3 Easy Steps


can you dry bras


How do you dry your bras? Leave a comment and let us know!


We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

The definition of underwear versus lingerie is a hotly-debated topic. Even within the industry itself, no one really seems to be able to agree on the exact difference between the two, besides the fact that only the word lingerie is applied strictly to womenswear.

What’s my opinion? It’s that the answer to the question “what’s the difference between underwear and lingerie?” is “none, or at least very little”.

If you’re curious about why, or why there’s so much confusion, then read on.

Is there even an official definition?

I checked a few dictionary definitions of the word ‘underwear’ and they all agreed that it’s clothing worn under other clothing, always or often next to the skin. But when I tried the same for ‘lingerie’, the results definitely varied more.

The Cambridge Dictionary simply defines lingerie as “women’s underwear”. Simple, right? The Oxford dictionary expands on this with “women’s underwear and nightclothes”, implying that lingerie includes things like babydolls and chemises whereas underwear does not. Which makes sense – a nightdress isn’t really underwear since you wear it on its own.

But then the American Heritage Dictionary goes one step further with its definition of lingerie as “women’s undergarments or sleepwear, especially when designed to be visually or sexually alluring”.


Related: Why Don’t I Wear The Same Bra Size In Every Brand?


So is lingerie just the ‘sexy’ stuff?

A significant number of online retailers have categories for ‘bras’ and ‘briefs’, and then a separate category for ‘lingerie’. Sometimes, that lingerie category is there to group together all of the other garment types, such as bodysuits and basques. Other times, bras and briefs do appear in the lingerie category too, but notably, only the fancy ones.

If companies are doing this, it would imply that they think someone searching for, say, a lacy bra is more likely to click on ‘lingerie’ than ‘bras’. Or that they assume people who are clicking ‘bras’ are only really looking for a plain and practical one.

Maybe some customers do think like that. But I would argue that for others, these retailers are only making it more difficult to find what they’re looking for. Some people will tell you that underwear is the basic stuff, and lingerie is for the boudoir. But what is one person’s special occasion set is someone else’s everyday one, so who are brands to tell us which bras are stylish or sexy and which aren’t?

Other influencing factors

Does our penchant for calling only the prettiest of undergarments ‘lingerie’ stem from the fact that this word originated in France, a place that’s long been associated with beautiful laces and fashion? It’s plausible. Describing a bra set as lingerie can make it seem more glamorous. Brands trying to appeal to your fashion desires more than your practical needs are therefore more inclined to use that word.

It’s also worth mentioning that the word ‘underwear’ has come to mean slightly different things in the US and in the UK. Not as far as the official definition is concerned, but colloquially, quite a few US people say underwear specifically to refer to bottoms (briefs, thongs, etc.). They don’t include bras or other garment types in that, so to them, lingerie becomes more of an umbrella term that includes everything.

In the UK however, bras at least are always counted as underwear too, so there’s less difference between the two terms. Perhaps that’s why the retailers who separate out ‘lingerie’ and ‘bras’ tend to be US ones.

I don’t have a firm conclusion for this article. ‘Underwear’ and ‘lingerie’ are going to go on meaning different things to different people. All I know is that to me, all underwear is lingerie – everything from the lacy push-up bra to the plain, beige nursing one.


Related: How Often Should You Change Your Bra?


We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!


Featured image lingerie:
Parfait Panty So Essential Hipster in Surf

Do you differentiate between the terms underwear and lingerie, or do you use them interchangeably? If you prefer to use one over the other, why is that?

If you’re here, it’s probably because you’ve had a niggling feeling that you need a different bra size. Many people aren’t wearing the size they should be, but how do you tell?

You could get a professional bra fitting, of course. But if you don’t have a boutique nearby or are simply pressed for time, here’s a helpful checklist.

Take a look through and see if any of these 11 signs or symptoms apply to you. They all indicate that your bra likely isn’t the correct fit, especially if you can tick off multiple issues.

1.  You constantly readjust the bra

A bra that fits well will feel secure, holding your bust firmly in place all day long. If you’re forever shifting the cups, yanking on the straps or pulling at the band, it’s not your size. The specific problem could be one of many fit issues however, so read on to discover more.

2.  Your band arches at the back

One of the most common bra fit problems is wearing a band size that’s larger than you really need. You’ll be able to tell if this is the case because the band will curve up at the back, instead of lying horizontally all the way around the body. The band is responsible for most of the support in a bra, so getting a good fit is crucial for lots of lift.

3.  Your straps slip off

There are a number of reasons that your bra straps can keep slipping off your shoulders, but a common one is that your band size is too big. As described above, that makes your band ride up at the back, pushing the straps higher and therefore making them fit looser.

4.  Your straps dig in

If you’re having the opposite problem, that the straps feel far too tight, this could also be due to a too-large band. Because a looser band is less supportive, more of the weight from your bust pulls down on the shoulder straps instead.

5.  Neck, shoulder or back pain

This too can result from wearing a band size that’s too big. Instead of the weight of your bust being distributed around your ribcage by a firm-fitting band, more of it gets put on your shoulder and neck, straining those muscles. The lack of support can also affect your posture – especially if you’re full-busted – and that can lead to back aches too.


Related: Ask A Bra Fitter: Here’s How To Have The Best Bra Fitting


how should a bra fit

Problem: The band is riding up their back and the bra is being worn on the tightest hook. | Solution: Replacing this bra with a new bra that is one band size smaller and a cup size (or more) larger.

6.  The cups look wrinkly

It’s pretty obvious that if there’s a gap between your breasts and the cups, they’re too big for you. However, on some styles it’s less clear that you’re not filling the cup out fully. Stretch fabrics for example will probably still lie flat, but will look wrinkled instead of smooth.

7.  Your profile looks bumpy

If you put a t-shirt or stretchy top over your bra and your breasts don’t look follow a smooth line, it’s most likely because the cup size is too small. Your breast tissue can’t all fit inside the cup, so it spills over the top and creates that bump in your silhouette.

8.  Your skin feels chafed

A poorly-fitting bra band can lead to skin irritation and abrasions. It’s no different to getting blisters from a pair of poorly-fitting shoes. If the band is too loose, it will move around more than it should, and if it’s too tight it will rub when you move. As a grown-up Goldilocks probably would have said, you want your bra band size to be just right.

9.  The centre doesn’t touch your skin

The front-centre of the bra, between the cups, is called the gore or bridge. In an underwired bra, this should always ‘tack’, meaning it lies flat against your skin. If there’s a gap between it and you, that signifies that the cups are too small. They can’t fully encase your breast tissue, which is instead pushing the bra outwards.

10.  The wires dig in

Underwire discomfort is often caused by a cup size that’s too big or small. If it’s too big, the wires will be longer than needed and may poke in at one or both of the ends. If it’s too small, instead of wrapping neatly around the curve under your breast, part or all of the wire will end up sitting on top of the breast tissue. This also leads to poking and rubbing.

11.  A painful, ‘bouncing’ feeling

Although a regular bra isn’t designed to keep you comfy during an intense workout – you need a sports bra for that – it should feel firm and secure enough when you’re going about your daily life. If you can feel your breasts bouncing painfully about when you go downstairs or run for the bus, you need more support – which may mean that the band is too big.

My bra doesn’t fit, what now?

If you’re only experiencing one of the above problems, it’s hopefully easy to solve. For example, if the issue seems to be cups that are too small, just try a size up. However, if your bras are causing you all sorts of hassle, it may be easier just to get remeasured and start from there. You may well need a different band size and a different cup size, and it could be that they’re more than one size out from what you’re wearing now. It’s not unheard of for someone who thinks they are a 36B to discover they should have been wearing a 32DD all along!

As mentioned at the start of this article, booking a bra fitting is the ideal option. A professional can not only help you work out your size, but also recommend specific styles or brands that may work better for you than others. Just remember that sizing varies between bra brands, so even if you get fitted as a 38G in one bra, that size may not provide your best fit in another lingerie brand.


Related: Bra Shopping Guide: Tips For Buying New Bras


how to know if a bra fits

Problem: The cups are too small. You can see the wire digging into their breast tissue on the side of the left cup. Because of this, the band is pulling away from the body, too. | Solution: Replacing this bra with a new bra that is at least one cup size larger.

We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!


Need more bra fit advice? Ask your questions in the comments below!

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