Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Girl's Best Friend

If you've read the Playground blog for any length of time you'll know that (1) about this time each year we get into a frenzy over the upcoming Romance Writers of America national conference and (2) we take our clothing for said event very seriously. And that includes undergarments.

I'm away from home, tending to my mother who is recuperating from major surgery, just finished teaching an online class and am in the middle of doing copy edits for a friend. I am devoid of creativity at the moment, so I dug through my email and found something my mother sent me a while back.

I will give credit where credit is due. It's from and was written by Sarah Burns.

The bra celebrated a birthday the end of May. The great whites finally turned 100, a milestone which has prompted us here at CS to pay a little homage. Here, some background on these cleavage caddies, and a few tips to ensure you're getting the proper fit. (Hint: There's a good chance you aren't!)

The first bra was patented in 1914 by New York City socialite Mary Phelps-Jacobs. Often on the town, Mary hated the constricting corsets of the time. Her idea: Two silk handkerchiefs tied together in the middle with ribbons sewn on to make straps--the first official bra was born. However, tried as she might, Mary could never drum up enough sales to sustain her idea, (many women considered her invention to be too taboo ) so she sold her idea to Warners. Yes, that's right, Warners -- as in the big bra company. And the rest, as they say, is history....

Today, these 'support systems' are a feminine staple. Available in every size, shape and color, women around the world now wear their bras with patience and pride. I say patience, because it's a rare woman who hasn't had to 'adjust' herself. Falling straps, too-tight bands, super-roomy cups -- any of this ring a bell? You're not alone. According to "industry studies," over 80 percent of women aren't wearing the right bra size. So, we thought, what better time than the bra's birthday to offer a little, ahem, uplifting advice.

The right way to wear a bra:

According experts, bras should be worn level (front to back). However, most women wear their bras too high on their torso, throwing their measurements off. "Most women go up in the back increasing their band size instead of getting a deeper cup," explains Susan Nethero, the "bra whisperer" and owner of the Intimacy lingerie store chain. "Instead, you want to keep the back lean so you can lift the bust." Plus, in order for your bra to maintain optimal support, she says you should give your bra at least one day of rest. "Don't wear the same bra two days in a row because you'll wear out its support elastic."

Four signs you're wearing the wrong bra size:

•Literally falling out of your bra? Go up a cup size.
•Cups caving in? Take it down one cup size.
•Suffering from unsightly back flab? Your bra is likely too big. Wearing the bra lower on your back with a smaller band size often fixes this problem.
•Straps keep sliding down? Go down a band size.

To calculate your correct bra size, Nethero suggests:

•Standing up straight, expand your rib cage (breathe out like you're going to blow out candles).
•For your correct band size: Then, measure all the way around your body, placing the tape measure directly beneath your breasts. Add five to that number, rounding up if necessary to the next even number.
•For your correct cup size: While wearing a bra, measure completely around the fullest part of your bust (across the nipple). Make sure the tape measure goes around your entire back. Then, subtract this number from your band size. The result will reveal your correct cup size (based on the guide below).








Carry on. Discuss as you will.

Or share an interesting undergarment story.

I'll go first. I was going to an office party one Christmas and decided to wear a pair of those pantyhose with the built-in panties. One less layer to worry about. So I get to the party and the pantyhose start to feel... odd. I went to the restroom only to discover the elastic in them was rotten. It had stayed in place just long enough for me to put the pantyhose on and ride to the party. But by the time I did my restroom check, the waistline was large enough to fit around a baby elephant. Oops!

How did I solve the dilemma?

HA! I'm not telling!


Problem Child said...

I know a lot of women don't like their bras, but I'm not one of them. I have a feeling that it's because I don't have a whole lot to put in a bra. :-) It's not like my girls are causing straps to dig into my shoulders or anything...

And a huge shout-out to Victoria's Secret and their ability to create the illusion of breasts where none exist!

Instigator said...

Undergarment stories? You mean like the time I accidentally flashed my thong at the TSA agent in the Nashville airport? Yeah, too bad it didn't get me moved through the security line any faster. If it had I might have taken to using the strategy more often.


Jean said...

I once bought a pair of hot pink lacy panties that were too big because they matched the bra that fit. I thought it would be all right because I wanted it to be until they fell off in public.

I cannot believe I have told this.

Verification word: pardhon. Close enough.

Anonymous said...

I sure need a bra makeover, I get so confuse when I go bra shopping, and I never can find help. I'm very conservative plain white or beige. Oh well, thats my life boring..

Beth said...

I used to buy bras at discount stores and just purchase whatever seemed to fit. Last year I got a professional fitting at a department store and discovered I'd been wearing the wrong size and style. I wrote down the brand and style number and then searched online for a site that sold them at discount. Yes, I paid more but they fit so well. Well worth the investment.

I don't have any underwear stories unless you count my grandmother always telling me to wear clean undies because you never knew when you might be in a wreck.

Julie Miller said...

Thanks for the refresher course. A good bra is a blessing; a bad bra is a curse.

My biggest complaint is that I find a style (and the particular size in that style--different styles sometimes require a different size to get the same fit) I like, and then, poof... they change the style so it no longer fits the way it did, or they discontinue it altogether.

Then the bra search happens all over again. Sigh.

Angel said...

Big girls take note!!! The best bra for anyone in a D cup or larger is the Cacique Balconnette at Lane Bryant. My girls are higher than they've been since grade school, which is a feat because I wear a DDD (let's just keep that between us, ok?). :)

I go in when they are having their Buy 2 Get 2 Free sales (at least once a year) and stock up. They also have an online store.

I don't really have an underwear story (something embarrassing happening in public), that I can think of... I may have blocked it out. But the Playfriends can attest to the fact that I have what PC calls "a feat of modern engineering" that I wear under my formals. Clear straps, lower cut so it doesn't show, and ultra lifting. It takes 3 of us to get me into it. :)


Lynn Raye Harris said...

Okay, so I'm confused. I must not be measuring right, because if I follow this logic, I wear a 38B. Not possible. These babies are D cups at least. Y'all who know me can't possibly think I wear a B cup.

And I am a Victoria's Secret bra girl all the way. ;)

robertsonreads said...

I have to get my mind geared up to go bra hunting. I'm sure I am not wearing the correct size. I need to go have a professional fitting done.

Undergarment stories...I cannot think of one right now, but I'm sure there has to be one..

Liza said...

I have to go buy new bras soon. I've lost over 40 pounds and for the first time in forever, need smaller bras. This makes me very happy...except when I have to replace my really expensive sports bras.

Pat L. said...

I know how you solved it. Brave woman! LOL.

I heard many times, most woman are not wearing the correct bra size.