It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a subject, and then you all can comment or link up a marriage post in the linky below!
This week we’ve been “fighting the frump”. We talked about the importance of taking pride in your appearance and not looking sloppy, and in finding clothes that fit and flatter. And if you’ve decided to join me in this challenge, don’t forget to sign up my leaving a comment on Monday’s post! One lucky winner will receive a pile of my books, but best of all tuition to my online, 6-week course on The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, starting Monday, April 8.
One thing that I have found makes a tremendous difference in both my confidence levels and how I look is having the right bra. And that can help your marriage–because when you’re more confident about how you look, you’re more confident in the bedroom! A little lingerie can make everyone feel wonderful, but today I want to focus mostly on bras, because they’re the trickiest. So today let’s talk about “foundational undergarments”.
A bra is supposed to lift and separate, so to speak. They’re supposed to stand HIGH. A good bra will give support and shape to you, and create a nice line for your figure. You’re not supposed to have four boobs. If you have four, it’s because you’re wearing too tight a bra and you’re spilling out. You’re not supposed to spill out the side, under your arms, either. You’re not supposed to sag. You’re not supposed to feel as if your bra is riding up if you lift your arms.
Why do these things happen? Most people wear bras that don’t really fit. Many of us simply don’t know our bra size. Here’s a YouTube video that can help you figure that out (Warning: does feature a woman in a bra, but it’s tastefully done and obviously for educational purposes. And the bra is modest):
One line I really love from the video: she’s talking about how many women who are bigger don’t like getting bras because it makes them feel fat. But she says, “Actually, a properly fitted bra can make you look slimmer, because it pushes the breasts up and shows off your rib cage.” So don’t be afraid of going up to the proper cup size!
Need that chart she mentioned about converting your measurement into a band size? You can find one here. And there’s another video about sizing bras there as well.
Once you know your size, what should you do?
1. A new bra should fit comfortably when it is done up at the LOOSEST setting. That’s because bras, over time, stretch. If it fits comfortably at the loosest setting, then when it stretches, you can start fastening it tighter to compensate. If you buy a bra that has to be done up on the tightest one already, it’s almost guaranteed that in a few months that bra won’t be providing much support.
2. The straps are there for a reason. Adjust them. I find that I have to adjust mine every few weeks a little bit to keep a nice, firm fit. Bras stretch, so straps may have to get tighter. You want them to be right against your skin, not gaping anywhere. Don’t just set them once and forget about them. If your straps fall over your shoulder a lot, that’s a sign they should be tightened.
3. Small chested women can look great in a good bra! I’m in this category. I am the farthest thing from being well-endowed, but I’ve found that buying a padded bra that fits (not a push up, that’s too much) gives me some great shape and makes me feel so much better. If you’re on the smaller side, that doesn’t mean that you can’t look good in lingerie! You just need to find the right one. Lula Lu has a complete line for women who are A and AA cups.
4. Get the proper band size–even if it’s hard. Go for the smallest band size that fits well, because, as I said, bras stretch. Here’s something that thinner (not necessarily small busted, just thinner) women need to realize: the bras that you can buy in Sears, Wal-Mart, etc. may not actually fit. I have family members who will remain nameless who can’t find the right bra because technically they should be wearing a 30 band size, and most bras start at 34 (a few start at 32, but only a very few). So if you shop at a department store, your bras will always be slightly loose, so when you raise your arms the bra rides up (not comfortable).
So these girls buy all their bras online, where you can get band sizes as small as 28. Much more comfortable and flattering!
Other women may also have this problem for another reason: they’re very busty, but in order to find a cup size that fits, they have to go up to very large band sizes. So if they’re an F cup, for example, stores may not have those in 32 or 34. So you end up buying a 38 DDD, which does manage to cover everything. But it doesn’t support well because it’s just not tight enough around your rib cage. In that case, you, too, might be better off taking proper measurements and figuring out your actual bra size, and then buying online.
5. Play around a bit with sizes. If you find that your bra size comes out to be a 38C, for instance, but that just isn’t comfortable, go down a band size and up a cup size. So a 38C woman will often also fit a 36D bra. Or a 34B will fit a 32C. Generally you should go for the size that all those fancy measurements say you should be, but sometimes certain styles of bras look better and feel better with that little trick.
6. Scoop and Separate. I learned this trick in a lingerie store, and boy, does it work! You’re going to do it with me now: Take off your shirt so you’re just wearing your bra and stand in front of a mirror. Now, with your right hand, reach under your left breast (your hand is between the bra and your breast). Lift that breast up a bit. Now look at the difference between the left and the right breast! One is standing up so much higher! Do this with both sides every time you put on a bra and you’ll feel great all day.
7. Try Some New Styles. There are push up bras. Underwire bras. Padded bras with underwire. Padded bras with no underwire. Lacy bras with no padding. Sometimes we get used to the type of bra we wore when we were first teenagers, and then we never really try any others. I’ve tried on a ton, and I can tell you that I love lightly padded and hate no shaping at all. I just don’t have the chest for it. But I hate push ups, too, because they just feel too big and that’s not me. But I would never have known that I liked the padded ones unless I had first tried them. So don’t be afraid to try something new! And sometimes it’s nice to have different bra styles for different purposes, too.
8. Ask for Help. Many clerks in department stores/lingerie stores are happy to measure you and help you find proper bras that fit. An online resource I’ve found which is just AWESOME (and gave me suggestions I had never thought of before) is from Her Room lingerie. Basically, you answer a whole series of questions about the shape of your chest, rib cage, etc. etc., and then at the end they give some suggestions about what to look for in a bra that will suit you. I had never even thought of some of these things before, but I do have an issue with my bra straps falling off of my shoulders quite a bit because I have very narrow shoulders that are also slightly sloped. They had some good suggestions. It’s a fun test to take. After you complete it they give you a really detailed analysis with some tips, and a 10% off coupon code to use there.
How to Make Bras Last
I’ve had several bras for six years. They fit now as well as they did when I bought them (I just do them up a little tighter and I’ve adjusted the straps). How does that happen? One simple trick: I never, ever put my bras in the washer and dryer. Ever. I hand wash them.
That sounds time consuming, but it really isn’t that bad. You just stick all your bras in the bathroom sink with a little bit of gentle lingerie cleaning powder, and then you let them soak for a bit. Rinse well, and put the bras on a towel on your floor. Roll up the towel, and most of the water comes out. Hang the bras to dry. You’re all set to go!
The reason bras stretch and lose their shape is because of the dryer. If you keep your good bras out of the washer and dryer, they’ll last beautifully. (I don’t put my T-shirts in the dryer, either, and those last years).
Invest in Good Bras
Like I said in my post yesterday, I don’t care where you get your clothes as long as they fit and flatter. And if you would rather by lower quality clothing, and replace it more often, that’s fine, too.
But when it comes to bras, investing in something that fits and supports well is so important. It really does make a world of difference. And if you take care when you wash them, you’ll find that they do last. That means that you may have to spend at least $35 or $40 on a good bra, but it honestly is so worth it.
Remember to try the test at Her Room and get the 10% off coupon!
Tell me: what do you find most challenging about bras?
Now it’s your turn! Leave the URL of a marriage post you’ve written in the linky below. And then grab my Wifey Wednesday blog button and post it on your site, so other people can come back here and find other great marriage posts.
Sheila is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex. Don’t miss her 6-week in-depth class on the book, starting April 8!
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