Common bra issues

Common bra issues

It’s often said that a well-fitting bra is an absolute must and yet so many women wear the wrong size or an entirely unsuitable style. A properly-fitting bra will be more comfortable and will look so much better explains Brenda McCormick.

There are so many styles to choose from, everything from seam-free T-shirts bras, to delicate, lacy creations, it can be overwhelming but the starting point should always be the right size.

As most women know, the size of your breasts can change quite often, even during the month, thanks to your hormones and menstrual cycle. The Pill, menopause, and putting on or losing weight can all have an effect on breast size so it’s important to get measured a few times a year.

Most department stores offer a bra-fitting service free of charge or if you want something a little more indulgent head to a specialist lingerie shop.

When you’re buying a new bra, remember that it should fasten on the outermost hook (as the bra stretches with wear, you can move on to the other hooks). Make sure the under band is sitting horizontally around the body and the centre of the front sits flat against the chest. Check that your bust is fully contained in the cups, and not spilling out on top or over the sides, and ensure that the seams or wires are not digging into or resting on breast tissue.

Finally, the straps should be secure but not tight.

Common bra issues

The underwear experts at Marks & Spencer sort out some common bra issues.

PROBLEM: The under band arches up at the back This is usually caused by the under band being too big or it may be that the bra is too old and has lost its elasticity. What to do: Try a smaller under band size but keep in mind your cup size may need to increase. M&S suggests replacing bras after a year.

PROBLEM: The cups are too small and you’re spilling out over the top of them, resulting in that unappealing ‘four boobs’ look. What to do: Increase the cup size and check the under band fits correctly.

PROBLEM: Under wires are lifting away from your body This happens when the cup size is too small. What to do: Increase the cup size, keeping in mind your under band size may change too.

The working woman’s guide to cleavage

So how much is too much when you’re in the work place? Just one missed button and your outfit can go from classy to trashy! Stylist Sonja Mohlich has the following words of advice on cleavage etiquette. Less is more. Ditch the low cut tops and push up bras. It does look feminine and sexy for the evening time, but it is not appropriate if you want to come across as a professional who is focussed on her career. If you have a large bust, it’s best not to wear a top that has a very low V-neck. Overall, it doesn’t mean you have to look frumpy or unfeminine, but there is that thin line that should not be crossed when working within an office environment.

-Sonja Mohlich, Freelance Fashion Stylist/Wardrobe

The fab five – Underwear Essentials

Sharon Webb, Head of Lingerie Buying at Debenhams suggests the five items every woman should have in her underwear drawer.

1. Invisible knickers

An absolute essential, perfect for eradicating the dreaded visible panty line (VPL). Made with a flat bonded edge rather than traditional elastic, these are a must for wearing under closefitting trousers or a pencil skirt.

2. A t-shirt bra

This is all about creating a smooth silhouette and getting rid or lumps of bumps under T-shirts, close-fitting knitwear or body con outfits. Available in padded or non padded options these are completely smooth through the cup so don’t show any seams.

3. Shapewear

Shapewear is all about making the most of what you have or faking what you don’t. My favourite has to be a high-waisted thigh slimmer, which smoothes, redefines and shapes everything from your waist through your hips and bums to your thighs.

4. Strapless bra 

The one item of lingerie that scares more women than anything else is a strapless bra. Most strapless bras are actually really versatile as they come with straps that can be worn in a number of ways.

5. Co-Ordinated lingerie

Aside from the functional side of lingerie there are of course so many gorgeous styles to choose from. Whether it’s just to give you some inner confidence or for a special occasion every woman should have at least one set of truly beautiful lingerie.

Did you know?

The average bra size in the UK and Ireland is a generous 36D? Women`s breasts are growing (due to weight gain)! In the UK, the average bra size has expanded from 34B to 36D in just a few years.

More like this:

The truth about stretch marks
How to pick the correct foundation for you
How to wear florals

Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.


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Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.