How to find the perfect bra
You don’t take a Ferrari to a cheap mechanic, and you shouldn’t put your gorgeous rack in a cheap bra.
Why not? Because those things are heavy, if you haven’t noticed, and they are not going to hold themselves up (if your endowment is the result of implants, then sorry, most of this article doesn’t apply to you).
To support, and simultaneously flatter, several pounds of soft, pliant, alluring, feminine flesh with nothing but lace, cotton, and a few inches of curved flat wire, represents a vast and ongoing engineering achievement.
In fact, the brassiere is the most complex piece of clothing in your wardrobe. Along with shoes, bras require more skilled handwork than any other item of apparel.
That bra that seems expensive at R490 plus was far more costly to manufacture than the cute wrap dress at the same price. A few years ago, the South African textile giant Seardel announced the closing of their intimates department, citing the fact that the manufacture of bras was complex and labor intensive.
According to CEO Stuart Queen, “The garments produced are generally of a very high minute rate with low selling prices, making it extremely difficult to recover the costs of labour inputs. Bras,” he added, “are close skin-fitting items that require significant investment in design, pre-production, technical resources, and quality processes.”
And about that inexpensive wrap dress? A good bra will help it fit perfectly, but even a costly dress won’t cover the gruesome effects of a cheap or ill-fitting bra. It’s called foundation wear for a reason.
So, now that I’ve talked you into buying quality, here’s a thought to cheer you up–based on price per wear, at two or three wearings a week, over the year or three that a good bra will last, your quality bra is probably the most cost effective piece of clothing you’ve got.
Somewhere along the line, perhaps in the eighties, women became obsessed with seamlessness in brassieres. It sounds good. Sounds high tech, sounds comfortable, sounds attractive, right? Forget it, it’s the Empress’ New Clothes.
If you’ve got serious bosom, seams are your best friend. Seams make it all possible. They are the struts in your wing. Seams give reinforcement to the heavier bust. They shape and support.
It’s true that the old seamed cups made your breasts look like torpedos, but that was actually a fabric limitation and not the result of seaming.
Advances in fabric technology have allowed near-perfect conformity to the natural shape, along with a range of attractive shaping options ranging from vintage-y modified torpedo to completely-natural-only-better. The range of options has never been so good.
In a well-made bra, the straps will not simply be tacked into the back (focusing all the stress at two points), but will merge into the band to distribute weight throughout the garment. The whole bra won’t feel stretchy.
Elasticity will be controlled carefully throughout the bra, with rigidity for support and stretch for fit.
How and where to buy
Many women have been completely misled about their true bra size by unscrupulous manufacturers and retailers who simply don’t want the expense of making and stocking a full line of bras.
They have promulgated the notion that the D-cup is the largest possible normal size, and Double-D is some kind of freak show. How far from reality is this? Since cup size is relative to band size, a D cup on a 30 band is a completely different volume than a D on a 40 band.
To precisely fit a full breasted clientele, a store needs to stock D, DD, E, F, FF, G, GG, H, HH, I, J, JJ, and K., with band sizes from 30 to 44. I myself used to run around –maybe I should say bounce around—in a 36DD. I wasn’t properly fitted in my 32G until I was 46 years old. It’s effin’ tragic is what it is.
Moreover, your size will vary in bras from different lines and your body will, for better or worse, change over time. All this makes a bra just about the last thing you want to buy online (the sole exception here is buying another of the exact same bra you are happily wearing now).
So you need to get sized by someone you can trust (and hopefully joke around with). Allow me to describe all the attributes of my own store in Fourways, Bella Rouge. If at all possible, you must be periodically fitted, by a knowledgeable fitter, at a traditional full service boutique with a full stock of larger cup sizes. I may not stock all the sizes, but my knowledgeable store managers have been trained to measure ladies of all shapes and sizes and we can order the exact bra that you want.
To sum it up, if you’ve got the goods, yes, it will take a little more smarts, effort and cash than is asked of our more lightly-bosomed sisters. As it is written, from the woman to whom much has been given, much is required.