Ladies, we need to talk about your bra. Or bras. Those lingering in the back of your drawer, that one which digs in awkwardly so that the first thing you do when you get home is wrench it off, the sports bra you’ve had since 2001 (and still wear to spin class). The one you’re currently wearing that really should have been popped into the wash by its third wear…
Every time there’s a survey into our lacking underwear draw we seem to come out red faced (or boobed). Apparently only 1 in 7 women match their knickers to their bra. But that’s small fry issues (and frankly, if you’re the type of woman who can always locate matching frilly knicker to brassiere then this feature isn’t really for you… feel free to move on).
Rigby & Peller, that most upmarket and British of underwear suppliers (it’s held a Royal Warrant of Appointment to The Queen since 1960), recently conducted a survey of 2,000 women which uncovered the following home truths:
- A third of women frequently discard a bra immediately purchase when they get home and discover it doesn’t fit properly after all.
- 20 per cent admit they haven’t worn lingerie which was bought on impulse.
- 70 per cent would rather wear an old grey bra which feels like a second skin than an expensive new purchase which turns out to be uncomfortable.
How many times do we need to be told that we’re wearing the wrong underwear? Boobs fluctuate through the month let alone through your life, and as tedious as it maybe, having a yearly bra-size test is half an hour well spent.
In these times of side-boob, under-boob, slash to the navel boobs everywhere, perhaps the idea of well fitted brassieres seems a little quaint. But for all of us who don’t have (or aspire to have) the surname Kardashian, correct underpinnings is a game-changer. Your posture will be better, your clothes will fit better, you’ll be more comfortable and – you’ll look better.
A proper pick you up and lift you – naturally – bra will add definition to your shape, and help your clothes flatter you. I can’t tell you the number of ‘occasion wear’ outfits we’ve grimaced over on this fashion desk which would have passed muster if only the attendee in question had hiked up her bra straps.
Primadonna Couture, Clementine full cup bra, £75.95, Rigby and Peller
The average bra size in this country is a 36DD (Rigby & Peller’s best selling bra is a 32E) – which means that the majority of us need help with scaffolding. Interestingly – and encouragingly – in spite of the red carpet proliferation of boobage – full cup bras are a top selling style. The plunge – which makes up 8% of Rigby & Peller’s sales – is on the way out.
But if we want to cover up more, then there’s even more reason to get the sizing - and branding - right. Finding the right brand and fit is a trial and error procedure, but one that should be conducted with expert fitting room help. Rigby and Peller’s fitters are brilliant, as are the assistants at Selfridges new Body Studio, whilst Marks and Spencer’s are a sure bet on the high street.
When shopping for a new bra, always wear a white T shirt or vest – and make sure to put this on over the bra you’re trying on to see how it sits under your clothes – this is key. You should also put your bra on front-ways – i.e. arm through each strap, rather than putting it on backwards and wrenching it around to the front. Fiddly, yes, but you won't stretch out the band. You need to almost pick your breast up and get it into the right place in the bra as well. So adjust, don’t just leave them where they pop in.
If you’re wearing your bras regularly you should bin them after six months. I know. You should also be wearing a fresh, clean bra every day. Wash lace and delicate items on hand wash cycles in your washing machine. Underwear shopping and logistics might be the most tedious thing about shopping for an outfit, but ultimately it’s the most crucial part.
A well organised underwear drawer is also a great help in helping you find the perfect combination in the morning, but I do understand that life is short, and this could be a tedium step nearer the cliff edge. Either way, a knicker drawer clear out is a great life cleanse – once you’ve binned those rank old grey specimens you’ll feel infinitely better.