Bras. Boob cups. Over the shoulder boulder holder. This undergarment, which has garnered a reputation for being mysterious and confusing, is actually not terribly mysterious. According to Tia Lauve ’14, boob expert and bra fitting extraordinaire, there are just a few key ideas behind getting the most out of your bra: wear and care.
Let’s start with wear, meaning how the bra fits and the process that goes into finding a bra that is suitable for your size. Firstly, where you go to be fitted matters greatly. You may think a company like Victoria’s Secret is a good place to get fitted, but, in reality, it is not. Victoria’s Secret was founded by a man, and only goes up to DD. So, if you, like a majority of women in the U.S., are over a DD, then you are out of luck. Ideally, according to Lauve, a good bra (one that will last longer and fit well) should range in price from upwards of fifty dollars. Lauve did the math on what the price per wear of a seventy-five dollar bra would be if worn every other day for a year, and it calculates out to only thirty cents a wear. If the bra lasts longer, which it very well could, the price per wear goes down. Shopping on the internet can bring a good deal; however, you have no way of know how it will fit until it gets to your door. If it doesn’t fit, you waste money on return shipping. Without the help of a professional bra fitter, like Lauve, you may not even know you’re wearing the completely wrong size.
Lauve gives three important factors to consider when checking the fit of a bra: the band, the center and the cup itself.
“The center should be resting fully against your sternum,” Lauve said. This allows your breasts get the full support they need.
“The band should be the same height across the back as the front center. That way, it’s giving you a firm hug across the middle and can lift you from the bottom instead of trying to lift up from the straps,” Lauve said. “If you over tighten your straps, it creates a seesaw effect and slips down. You want the back sitting nice and low so you don’t have to tighten the straps and your band is doing most of the work.”
“You should be able to scoop all your breast tissue into your bra and still not have it overflow,” Lauve said about the fit of the cup. The three most important details in checking your bra’s fit are the band, the center and the cups.
After buying a bra, care for it is also important. Regular laundry detergent will destroy your bra. According to Lauve, the chemicals will eat away at the fibers, and eventually dissolve them.
“Anything natural with essential oils is going to be good for you and your bra,” Lauve said about washing your bra. Essential oils, like patchouli, grapefruit and lemon, can kill bacteria and prevent the growth of more, which can cause rashes and extra wear and tear on the garment. Rinsing in cold water can also keep the elastic in good repair.
“Never ever, ever, ever put your bra in the dryer,” Lauve said. She recommends hanging it up, or lying it on a towel to dry.
I gave the natural soap a try, using a citrus soap, which has lemon, grapefruit, and lime essential oils in it. Soap like this can be purchased at your local co-op or soap store. Not only was my bra way cleaner than when I soak it in Tide, it smelled and felt better without all of the chemicals left on it. Storing more structured foam cup bras is also important. Never fold your bra and flip the cups into each other, as this will damage the cup and ruin the shape. Care is key to maintaining your bra.
Overall, what goes into a good bra are wear and care. Make sure you invest in a well fitted bra with the help of a professional fitter at a real bra boutique and, after you buy, make sure you care for your bra with natural gentle washes in cold water and proper storage. Happy fittings, Katies!
Sarah can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.