Fashion

Bra basics

Elle Canada
Fashion

Bra basics

Push-ups, strapless, padded and underwire. Nowadays bras are as diverse as our shoe collection, and similar to those impractical 4-inch 'Choos, we often purchase bras that are more frilly than functional. To help us women out (because we've all been there!) ELLECanada.com has enlisted the expertise of WonderBra designer of 30 years Raymonde Tranchemontagne to share her best advice on how to break our bra blunders.

Do your shoulder straps dig in?
If so, the bra might be too narrow or adjusted too tightly, says Tranchemontagne. Support should be distributed to different parts of a bra, so if too much tension is given to the straps, digging will occur. The trick? Every woman should be able to slip the straps off of her shoulders without losing her bra.

Is the bottom band of your bra causing the dreaded "back fat"?
This indicates that the lower band is too narrow for the body tissue, or that the band size is too small, she says. You have to check your chest measurement properly for appropriate sizing; if your midriff carries a bit of weight, a wider bottom band is what you need, not one that is thin or rope-like. Sometimes it's not the matter of finding the right size of bra, but the right style of bra, says Tranchemontagne. If you are a full-figured woman, bras that have narrow side bands or ones made out of stretch-elastic may not be the right choice. Instead, opt for fabrics that are sturdier, like cottons or polyester-blends.

Is the back of your bra riding higher than in the front?
This usually occurs when the band is too loose (which can be a sign that you need to go shopping for a new bra) or that the straps are too tightly adjusted pulling the back upward. To resolve this problem, check strap adjustment, meaning: the straps should be adjusted to give a firm – but comfortable – uplift to the bust. Also a key sign? Make sure you are able to run one finger smoothly under each strap without it getting stuck. Beyond that, measure your torso to determine if a smaller band is needed. To do this, take a measuring tap and measure around your rib cage, directly underneath the bust while holding the measuring tape straight around the body. Then, add 5-inches to this measurement to determine band size (But, note that this is an estimated figure, Raymonde suggests you try on all garments for proper fit.)

Do you have wrinkles in the cup?
If you can slide in a tube of lipgloss into your bra, chances are the cup size is way too big. There should be minimal creases or wrinkles in your cup; rather, they should form snuggly around your body. Choose fabrics that have stretch in them for an optimal fit and make sure the underwire is flush to your ribcage; your fitted white t-shirt will thank you!

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Bra basics