Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fearless Fashion: In Bras We Trust

I usually blog on Fridays but Miss Aja B. asked me to blog about a Fearless Fashion moment I had during Full Figured Fashion Week that has changed my life. During this phenomenal moment, I learned about...**drum roll**...BRAS.

So, for the past two years, I have worked on the FFF Week production team as the event manager and organizer of the 2-day Curves in the City Shopping Event. Many great vendors come out, some being major retailers, and it’s an overall great time for all.

The Lane Bryant team
This year, Lane Bryant had a table on Day #1 and instead of vending, they provided bra fittings and advice. The Lane Bryant team, headed by Heather McGarry, Marketing Manager, are awesome. They're so accommodating and gracious. Truly a pleasure to work with.

I had no idea what was about to happen and I have to say, it was one of the most enlightening moments in my life.  I walked up to the table to say "Hi" to Heather, who was there with Ms Lewis, the one giving the bra fittings. Imagine my surprise when I saw Ms Lewis sizing me up literally and then she asks me, “Are you a 48 in band? DD in cup?” WOW, yes! She knew off the bat by just looking at me.  I was sold.  This woman is the bra whisperer!  She then informed me that there are three types of bras: One that brings the girls UP, one that pushes the girls OUT and one that pushes the girls IN. Say it with me: Up, out and in! 

Ms Lewis working her magic
She told me that I did not need them lifted up or out. I was fine in that department, thank goodness. **PHEW** 

However, I needed them pushed in to give me more shape and cleavage. She informed me off the bat that I was wearing the wrong bra because my underwire was too high in the front.  She then suggested I get a plunge bra. I admitted to Ms Lewis that I usually shied away from plunge and balconette bras because I thought my breasts were too big for those styles and would spill out. She informed me that I was wrong. If you’re wearing the proper cup size, there will be no spilling.  That is why it is so important to know your correct bra size.

Cushion Comfort Plunge Bra
She showed me the Cushion Comfort Plunge Bra ($38 - $44, depending on size and color), which comes in 12 different colors and prints. It has convertible straps so you can wear the straps in an X style, if needed. There’s also no boning on the sides and nice padding there. I felt the bra and loved what I felt. It offered support, was sexy and comfortable.

The second bra she suggested I get was also from the Cushion Comfort line but it’s a balconette style bra, which comes in 8 different colors or prints ($38 - $50.50, depending on size and color). The straps on this bra style are not convertible. However, it offers a nice sweetheart neckline that will enhance your cleavage, smoothes your sides out with no boning and has padded straps. Padded straps are like heaven to those of us with large busts since we get those dreaded red marks on our shoulders from the weight of our breasts wearing down the straps.

Cushion Comfort Balconette Bra
Lastly, we talked about the magical Multi-way Strapless Bra ($42 - $64, depending on size and color), which comes in 5 colors and prints, including my fave…leopard print! I recently purchased 2 of these prior to FFF Week during a Buy 1 Get 1 Free deal on the Lane Bryant website. And I am in love. I have always been scared of strapless bras and thought they would not be able to hold my girls. Well, I tried this one on, jumped around and all of that and the girls stayed put. I was shocked. This bra keeps the girls up where they should belong and it’s such a flattering and comfortable bra that you can actually wear as your everyday bra. This is why I call this bra "magical". It's a must-have.

So, the main key points I learned from my time with Ms Lewis are:

1: Get a bra fitting every 1-2 years. As your weight fluctuates, so does your bra size. If you have lost a bit of weight in the past 6 months to a year and plan to lose more weight, get a bra fitting every 6 months to a year.  Allegedly, 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size and that’s a big number. Wearing the wrong bra size can affect your posture, cause you back pain, and prevent your girls from looking good. Remember, up, out and in! No woman wants to have sagging breasts with a bra on. Usually big department stores (like Macy's) do bra fittings as well as Lane Bryant and Penningtons (for my Canadian readers), which is where I got my bra fitting while visiting Toronto on vacation. Just ask one of the salespeople in the store and they should be able to help you out.

2: Once you know your size, learn what bra styles flatter you. Ask the bra fitter for her opinion on what style she thinks you need (Up, Out or In). It’s also good to try different styles on and see what is comfortable. That is the deciding factor. 

3: If you’re a C cup or larger, try to purchase bras with padded straps. Your shoulders will thank you.

4: Don’t be dismayed if the store does not carry your size. If the bra sizes are 1-2 sizes smaller than yours, you can still wear them.  Invest in bra extenders. I know for me, many Lane Bryant bras only go up to a 46 DD. Since I am a 48DD, I use an extender for those with no problem. Extenders can be found at Walmart for $5.88 in different hook counts. 

5: Don’t be afraid to ask questions and shop around. That’s the only way you will find which bras work for you. If you are above a 48 or above a DD cup and have a hard time finding bras, just Google bras <your size> and see what you find. There are many companies out there who offer bras in extended sizes.

Right now, Lane Bryant is running their Semi-Annual event where their bras are Buy 2, Get 2 Free. If you happen to have any Lane Bryant coupons, you can also use those in addition to the B2G2 deal. The sale is online and in-stores. So happy bra shopping and cheers to making the girls look their absolute best!

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