Finding a bra that actually fits

Bras; most of us wear them and some of us may even take them for granted, but are you actually wearing the right size? It is estimated that some 80-90% of women wear the wrong sized bra on a daily basis, causing unsightly wrinkles and creases in clothing, overspill, awkward movement, discomfort and even health complications.

But it’s just a bra, right?

Wrong. Choosing a bra is one of those occasions when ‘okay’ isn’t good enough. The most common mistake women make when buying a bra is to overcompensate on the band size whilst selecting a smaller cup size. Whether this is down to poor measurements or utter guesswork, it leaves the breasts to be supported by the shoulder straps alone, putting pressure on the back, shoulders and neck. Far more than just being uncomfortable, an ill-fitting bra can cause migraines, neck and back pain, circulation and skin problems, stress on the bones and muscles and even breathing difficulties. A poorly fitted bra can also cause deep, irritating grooves in the shoulders and may lead to tissue migration, in which breast tissue actually becomes displaced into the armpits, sternum or back.

Did you know?

Wearing a better fitting bra can actually increase your cup size.

How do so many women get it wrong?

Being professionally fitted for a bra, particularly your first, can be a daunting and embarrassing experience. Some women may feel uncomfortable with the idea of going topless in front of a stranger, however briefly, while others may not know what they are looking for or even what a bra is supposed to feel like when fitted correctly.

There is a certain misconception surrounding bra sizing that associates a larger bust size with being fat; this is certainly not the case and no one should be afraid to get measured for this reason. Other women may mistakenly assume that their breasts are too small for a bra or that their breasts are too small/big for an attractive bra. They may even have been measured incorrectly at a previous fitting. Remember, it’s okay to seek a second opinion if the bras suggested do not feel right.

Measuring your bra size

It isn’t always necessary to head in the direction of a professional in order to get fitted for the right bra. In fact it’s perfectly easy to measure yourself, following simple guidelines that can be found online or in many store brochures. It is a good idea to take all measurements naked or wearing a non-padded bra, as this will allow for more accurate readings. Many sites also recommend stretching out first, allowing the breast tissue to settle properly; it is surprising how badly an ill-fitting bra can distort the body.

Once the measurements are complete, why not head to a lingerie specialist such as Lingeriediva.com? There are so many gorgeous styles out there these days that there is no excuse not to select a bra to suit any taste; just be wary that not all of them will suit each breast type.

Dream jeans

If there’s one bugbear that most ladies harbour it’s finding the perfect pair of jeans. Ironically, it’s usually the hardest wardrobe item to find as a good fit is difficult to achieve, but once the ideal pair has been found the confidence boost is immeasurable. And despite many ladies thinking that jeans just aren’t for them it’s not true. No matter their shape and size every woman can look great in jeans, you just need to know what style suits you best.

Curvy ladies should look for styles with a bit of stretch. Traditionally bootcut jeans balance out larger thighs, giving the illusion of balance. Coupled with this (as the name suggests) they look great with boots, meaning they are the ideal style for day to day wear all year round. However, bootcuts are easy to smarten up for the evening too, by adding a glamorous top and a smart blazer, meaning that for weekends away and holidays they save you from having to pack another pair of trousers for the evening.

For solely daytime wear boyfriend jeans suit most body shapes but look particularly good for petite wearers. Channelling a modern Audrey Hepburn in her capri pants and ballet pumps, boyfriend jeans, when rolled up at the ankle, look great with little canvas deck shoes for everyday comfort. Primarily a style that befits younger fashions, the slouchy jeans can also be contrasted brilliantly with a super sharp pair of stilettos when sipping on mixologist creations in Brick Lane.

If your thoughts are more towards babies than cocktails then sourcing the ideal maternity jeans should be a priority. Deciding between under the bump and roll top jeans is dependent on what style of tops you’ll be wearing and also the weather – if you’re going to be full term during the hot summer months roll top jeans could be too warm, as they add an extra layer over the bump. Luckily now most maternity clothes shops offer a range of styles so if you’re usually a fan of skinny jeans you don’t have to stop wearing them just because baby’s on the way. Visit a specialist maternity website such as Heavenly Bump for lots of ideas.

And let’s not forget those blessed with gorgeous slim, long legs. Although viewed as a blessing by everyone else, finding flattering jeans can seem tricky. This is where the joy of jeggings kicks in. Teamed with an oversized t-shirt and chunky ankle boots jeggings offer brilliant comfort and the illusion of legs that go on and on forever – which for those who are already leggy, is the perfect fit!

Natural baby fashions

Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy with their fashion choices, nowadays ensuring a sustainable and traceable supply chain is a key concern. Likewise the choice of materials used has garnered attention in recent years. The 1980s’ obsession with manmade fabrics – remember the joy of shellsuits and Lycra aerobics leotards – three decades later looks crass, and the advantages of natural fabrics have been rediscovered.

Organic fabrics are a recent trend and help ensure the land on which the fibres are originally grown are preserved in as natural a state as possible, encouraging wildlife such as bees to flourish. The decreasing amount of diversity in agricultural fields is of considerable concern, and the implementation of organic chains of production helps protect indigenous insects.

When dressing skin as delicate as a baby’s it’s definitely worth sourcing natural fibres wherever possible to allow the skin to breathe. Nightwear should be cool cotton to allow self-regulation of body temperature – fleece can cause overheating and should be avoided. Linen is another breathable fabric that produces soft but breathable clothing; warm in winter and cool in summer it’s extremely versatile.

Keeping warm is just as important as keeping cool for little ones. Natural wool is a fantastic material for children. Naturally water resistant and highly insulating, wool can be used for little accessories (scarves, gloves, baby hats etc.) right up to the essential winter coat. And it’s not just sheep’s wool that can be used, alpaca wool is naturally hypoallergenic as it does not contain lanolin, making it a great choice for children with sensitive skin, such as eczema sufferers.

Shoes should be leather wherever possible as they will stretch and grow with the child’s feet, preventing damage to delicate little joints. Sheepskin boots are another brilliant choice for keeping tiny toes warm. Given the recent trend for sheepskin boots for grownups, it’s tempting to go for matching ‘mini me’ pairs: one for mum one for baby.

There are however some occasions when only manmade materials will do (wellies for example) but by ensuring the bulk of baby’s wardrobe comprises natural fabrics, baby’s skin will be able to breath and they’ll be able to regulate their body temperature better. And as with most things these days it’s best to buy local where the option exists. This supports local businesses and, with organic materials, local wildlife too – something you can explain to baby as they grow and start to learn about the natural world.