As I’ve been chatting with fit clients and potential fit clients over the last few months, and speaking with brand representatives at trade shows, I’ve been reminded of how differently some women approach their lingerie choices. Some learn that they’ve been wearing the wrong size, and once they’re in the right size they just want ALL THE BRAS. Some are minimalists, preferring a seamless, streamlined, neutral lingerie wardrobe that goes with anything. For several years I leaned more towards the ALL THE BRAS school of thinking. When I meet someone who is new to the world of full-bust bras and is worried about having to wear only “big beige bras”, I tend to blurt out as many brand names and style suggestions and color options as I can, in an effort to reassure her that she can still find bras that work with her personal style and preferences. Likewise, when I meet a woman who’s tired of being told “Oh, you don’t need a bra” or “Well, this is the smallest one we have,” my main reassurance tactic is to recommend a list of all of the brand names and styles I can think of, which of course she will totally, 100% remember hours after our conversation, because who wouldn’t?
I always advise women to try on as many different styles of as many different bras as they want. Just because someone says “this bra works well for these sizes and shapes” and “that bra is better for women at these ages” doesn’t mean that their experience will absolutely, definitely be your experience, so go crazy! Try on all the bras! Try on colors you wouldn’t ordinarily try, shapes that have never worked before, brands that are new or untested, etc., etc. Some of my favorite bras I might never have looked at twice if other women hadn’t raved about them (like Panache’s Jasmine, possibly the best bra I’ve ever worn). So yes, try, but don’t be afraid to put it back.
In my personal experience, realizing that there were cup sizes beyond DD, and that there were brands that made colorful, stylish, diverse bra styles, was truly life changing. For most of my bra-wearing life I’d thought there would only ever be one kind of bra for me, namely something plain and white or beige. Realizing that there was a whole world of lingerie sets and bra shapes and styles that were suddenly available to me was thrilling, and I was determined to try every single one. Or at least as many as I could get my hands on.
That was about six years ago now, and I have tried a LOT of bras in that time. Molded, padded, full-cup, half-cup, balconette, plunge, padded plunge, molded plunge, seamless unpadded, strapless, basque, convertible, and on and on. Different brands, different wire widths, different cup shapes, different materials, in every color of the rainbow. I’ve loved taking my time to discover what I like, but along the way, as I slowly realized style after style wasn’t necessarily the best fit for me, I occasionally started to worry. Now, bear in mind, I’ve got a fairly neurotic personality, but I’d have these weird moments of self-consciousness: There were all these bra styles out there, right? Why were there so many that didn’t work well for me? I’d thought finding my bra size (or sizes, depending on brand/style) would mean that I could make every bra work for me. Everyone loved “Deco”, and I didn’t. Was there still something wrong with me and my boobs?
I’ve had women recently ask me if it’s “okay” if they have one bra they love that they just buy in multiples, if it’s “okay” that they have one or two styles that work perfectly, and they don’t want anything else. The answer is, unsurprisingly, OF COURSE. OH MY GOSH, OF COURSE. They are your boobs. You are the one who spends the most time with them. You dress them as you please. For me, that means wearing Panache’s “Jasmine” (and hopefully, soon, “Envy”) ALL THE FREAKING TIME. It means clinging to Bravissimo’s unpadded balconette bras with passionate devotion. It means replacing my most-loved bras regularly in whatever the new season’s color is. It means only wearing the padded ones or the half-cups or the seam-free bras that languish in the back of my drawer when I really, really need to do laundry.
I used to get bummed out when certain styles didn’t work well for me, and sure, sometimes I still wish I got along with some bras better. I absolutely loved the look of Curvy Kate’s original Showgirl ranges, Bravissimo’s half-cup sets are unlike anything else on the full-bust market, and I still occasionally fall in love with a set by Freya or Gossard. Then I have to shrug and move on to something else, because I know those styles probably won’t feel as good on me as they look in the catalogue images.
Having so many voices in the lingerie blogosphere right now is such an awesome thing, because we can hear from women of different ages and different bodies from all over the world, and get the benefit of their different preferences and perspectives. I know that other women inspire me to try bras I might not have thought of on my own, and I love learning about new brands that are trying new shapes and fabrics and constructions and colors. Sometimes it seems like because there are so many women who like this bra or that bra, you should like it too. Whenever I get this feeling I have to remind myself that there are so many different bras out there for a reason. We are not all going to wear a 34C. We’re not all going to want a padded T-shirt bra. So as you go forth in your bra fitting journey, be open to trying new sizes, new styles, and new shapes, but if it comes time to purchase, and you really just want another color of that bra you absolutely love, you get that bra that treats you right.
** The bras illustrating this post are all bras that I’ve heard women buy again and again, season after season, thanks to fantastic shape and fit. They are great products with devoted fan bases, and I strongly recommend them. If you’re looking for new styles or you’re new to lingerie shopping, I hope these help you get started! Maybe you’ll find your new favorite bra!