According to industry estimates, four out of five women are wearing the wrong bra size — typically too large a band and too small a cup — leaving their breasts squeezed, unsupported or spilling out. “Ill-fitting bras can cause neck, shoulder and back pain, tension headaches, breast tenderness, skin irritation and poor posture,” says Steven Chang, a family physician who writes the Daily Dose newsletter for the RightHealth.com website.
The Beginnings of the Bra Revolution Actress Jenette Goldstein, who appeared in Aliens and Titanic and rocks a 32G herself, opened a Hollywood lingerie store called Jenette Bras to help women with “knockout racks” find pretty bras that fit properly. A well-fitting bra, says Goldstein, will make a woman look instantly slimmer and more shapely, banishing the “quadri-bust,” where the breasts spill over the top of the cup and under the armpits, giving the appearance of four breasts instead of two. A well-fitting bra also avoids the matronly “uni-bust.”
When Oprah devoted a couple of shows to her famous bra intervention, things began to change. “Suddenly, women were walking into a lingerie department thinking they were a 36C, getting a professional fitting and walking out knowing they were a 36DD,” says Dan Sackrowitz, a marketing executive with the online lingerie boutique BareNecessities.com.
The most popular bra size in America remains a 36C. However, sales of plus-size or full-figure bras — defined as a band size of at least 40 and a cup size of DD or larger — have risen at three times the rate of overall bra sales, according to the research firm NPD Group. Nearly 159 million plus-size bras were sold in 2008.
More Choices Than Ever Today it’s easy to find full coverage in sizes DD to G and beyond in a range of colors and sexy styles, including balconette and deep-plunge styles. Department store brands are offering specialty lines in larger sizes: Playtex has Playtex Secrets, Maidenform has its Lilyette line, and Wacoal offers nearly a dozen styles that are available all the way up to a G cup.
Plus-size retailer Lane Bryant also recently introduced its new Cacique Intimates line with the tagline “so not what mom would wear.” Says Gill Heer, the senior designer for the line: “Typically, the old plus-size bra-maker only offered nude, white and maybe black. Certainly it was never considered appropriate for plus-size women to want to wear a fashion color like lilac, lime green or hot pink.”
How to Shop for a Bra That Fits When a bra fits properly, the straps should carry about 10 percent of the weight of your breasts, with the band supporting the other 90 percent, says Goldstein. Get a proper fitting from a lingerie boutique or department store. Some fitters will use the “eyeball method,” assessing you visually before giving you several bras to try on. Most fitters, however, will pull out a tape measure and measure you right under your breasts and then around the fullest part of your bust.
The first measurement is your band size (if it’s an odd number, add one inch). To get your cup size, subtract your band measurement from your bust size; each inch represents a cup size. For example, if your band size is a 36 and your bust size is a 39, you’d wear a 36C. Sizes vary across different brands and lines, so always try on a bra before purchasing it or shop from an online boutique with a liberal return policy.
If you’re having a hard time finding that perfect fit, “sister size the bra,” suggests Alicia Vargo, owner of the online boutique Pampered Passions Fine Lingerie. “Keep the same band size but go up a cup or go up one band size and down a cup.” For example, if the band of a 36D bra fits snugly but your breasts are spilling out of the cup, try a 36DD and a 38C.
Levitt, managing editor of The Style Glossy,
is a former West Coast editor
of Self magazine and senior writer at People.
As a woman and a fashion devotee it’s no secret that every now and then dressing cute can sometimes be a bit of a challenge around that “time of month.” The bloating makes it almost unbearable to wear a lot of my favorite outfits, but I’ve managed over the years to put together a selection of all black outfits as well as some tricks to mask the six long days my “friend” is around. Check them out below:
Princess cut little black dresses are a life saver. They’re the easiest way to hide the bloating because, can be worn day or night, and yes, covers any embarrassing stain.
This is the perfect time to show off some cleavage! To keep the attention up top, don’t be afraid to loosen an extra button. And, if you’re feeling a little devilish, button up a blazer all the way and wear nothing but underneath… chic and sexy!
Tunics are a must have (I have about a dozen and they’re all black!) because they’re easy to wear and go with just about anything. Look for ones that hit right below the hips… they’re the most flattering.
Last but not least… leggings! Not just any leggings, but all cotton, non elastic waist leggings. The comfort and snug fit make them perfect for preventing accidents (which we all have). Not only can they be worn with a blazer or tunic, because they’re black you can practically wear them anywhere (even to the office with some chic heels or booties).
Always Maxi pads are designed to securely fit your curves. With a body hug fit, Always Maxi helps provide clean dry protection that’s also designed to fit. The LeakGuard(TM) core helps pull fluid deep into the middle of the pad, while the Deep All-Around Barriers help keep fluid away from the edges. Plus, the Flexi-Wings have been designed with stretchy pleats to flex with you as you move, allowing them to securely wrap around so that they help pads stay in place and help protect you against leaks. Available in Regular, Super Long, and Overnight absorbencies.
“Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Always via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Always.”
Dress from TJ Maxx Shoes c/o Shoe Privee Necklace and Bracelet c/o Twisted Silver
Ring from Charlotte Russe
Whilst many handbags are fabulous enough to multitask, there is no doubt, and therefore no argument, that a woman needs many different bags for the many different faucets of her life. By our reckoning, the average lady needs several different types of handbags in her wardrobe, all of which serve fully functioning purposes.
The shoulder bag is an everyday essential for every woman. From small or medium, through to the oversized, the shoulder bag will hold a woman’s whole life inside it. From shoes, books, purse, make up, hairbrush, mobile phone, keys – the shoulder bag is the holding area for every product that a lady uses throughout her average day. The best shoulder bags to look out for are ones with plenty of internal and / or external pockets and pouches, as how many times have you tried to get to a ringing mobile phone at the bottom of a shoulder bag?!
Not too dissimilar in functionality to the shoulder bag, a crossover or satchel is a slightly more casual and sporty alternative. The across the body strap makes it easier to carry, and somewhat safer if you are moving around a big city or constantly on the go. Again, crossovers come in many different sizes, to extra small right through to specialist laptop carriers.
The clutch is a smaller equivalent of a shoulder bag, only it simply contains everything that you need on an evening out. Due to the reduction in size, a clutch must hold only the essentials such as mobile phone, lipstick and money. A clutch doesn’t have to be tiny, eighties large envelope style clutch’s’ are making a comeback and these can hold an impressive amount of products.
The Hobo bag is slouchy when set down, typically is of a crescent shape with a single strap. Worn on the shoulder but normally smaller than a shoulder bag, the hobo is ideal for women who don’t carry their homes in their bags and only need a few items with them during the day.
At one time not too long ago, the tote shopper was reserved only for use by the elderly. Luckily, the event of supermarkets reining in the use of their plastic bags meant that we shoppers had to start using environmentally friendly shopping bags and a new era of the tote was born.
Not technically a handbag, but just as useful, the weekender is a must have item for all. It is larger than a shoulder bag, with the practicalities of a suitcase but all the style of a great bag. It is one of the most sought after bags in fashion, sometimes bearing a waiting list of up to six years! Many different versions are available and it has just as much room as carry on suitcases and excludes far more style.
All three versions above are definitely invaluable additions to every woman’s wardrobe.
At first glance one would think peplum may be unflattering (unless you’re a size zero), but believe it or not it’s the exact opposite. With the right color and pieces peplum can balance out curvy women and enhances those in need of a little shape. Tips: When choosing a peplum top or skirt, one color is the easiest and most flattering; If the neckline is low, keep the hem longer (and vice versa. This is usually a given, BUT essential in keeping with a classy peplum look); bypass strappy heels or boots and instead try a slingback or stacked heel oxford to balance out the extra fabric. Most importantly, keep the jewelry simple! The peplum itself can stand on it’s own. Check out some of picks below.
The gorgeous Elizabeth Olsen (younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley) takes a Erdem printed skirt up a notch with a simple black tee, round-toe heels and fabulous Chanel Jewels. Love the edgy, chic vibe and how the jewelry pulls the whole outfit together. Get Elizabeth’s look for less from JC Penney, Max and Chloe and more!
Should we be on a “style” diet? The more I think about it, the more correlations I see between healthful eating and great style. Our relationships with food and fashion seem to be amazingly aligned!
Bling (meaningless flash) = sugar (empty calories) We seem to be drawn to items that sparkle and shine, but are they the answer to the “health” of our wardrobe? Lately I feel “overweight” just looking at all the overly embellished goods filling our stores. Look out for “fattening” bling this holiday season.
Great classics (wardrobe musts) = excellent ingredients (basic nutrition) Search out “the classics” in the latest cut to create the core of a healthy wardrobe. Consider them the essential nutrients you need to build on.
Better fabrics (durable garments) = sustainable agriculture (protected food supply) Pure and organic are wonderful criteria for both fabric and food. Quality is an important component of how we dress and what we consume. The higher the quality, the less we need to waste.
The “art of the mix” (visual excitement and “wow”) = the skill of the cook (spices and culinary imagination) The ability to make something “your own” requires sensitivity, a sense of balance, appreciation of color and the ability to identify the personality of your ingredients. That holds true whether you’re dressing for a party or whipping up a souffle.
Less closet clutter = a wholesome pantry Allowing for less “just stuff” and restricting what you buy to classic pieces, pantry staples and high-quality seasonal items (think natural fabrics and farmer’s market produce) lets you simplify both your style efforts and your meal preparation. Skip overly processed foods and poorly made synthetic garments to be sure that whatever you consume or put against your skin will enhance your well-being.
Sherrie Mathiesonhas worked extensively as a
film and television costume designer and stylist. Now a style
consultant, she has shared her expertise on “The View,” the “Today”
show and CBS’s “The Early Show,” and she is the author of the style
guidebooks Forever Cool and Steal This Style.
I’m not quite ready to expose my arms, but I want to bust out my cute warm-weather dresses. What should I do?
A cropped sweater or shrug can be a perfect — and slimming — accompaniment to your summer look, suggests celebrity stylists Monica and Barbara Abbatemaggio. “Even donning a pretty shawl can help trim the appearance of your arms,” adds Monica. And while you might be resistant to wearing a traditional cardigan, a light cotton cardigan in beautiful summer hues will not only add structure to your free-flowing dress, but also keep you warm on cooler summer evenings too. But whether you choose a sweater, shrug or cardigan, remember that proportion is key. “It should conform to your body to help define your curves and be figure-flattering,” says Barbara. After all, a well-matched garment can give a summer dress instant glam. Check out my suggestions below!